Breese Books was founded by Martin Breese in 1982 and in time became the leading publisher for Sherlock Holmes pastiche novels, while also producing a large range of books on magic. Over half of the murder mystery back catalogue was made up from two of the foremost Holmesian authors of their time, Val Andrews and John Hall.
When Martin retired in 2004 the murder mystery part of his books business became part of Baker Street Studios Limited which already produced its own books via the Irregular Special Press. At this time there were 32 Breese Books murder mystery publications, mainly of a Sherlock Holmes nature. These books complemented those already published by the Irregular Special Press. The magic books continued to be a separate entity and are today sold by Martin Breese International, while the newly acquired murder mystery books were integrated into Baker Street Studios Limited, using the former company name of Breese Books as an imprint. Likewise the Irregular Special Press also became an imprint such that, in effect, Baker Street Studios Limited now had two separate product lines (imprints) with two ISBN identifiers: 978 0 947533 (Breese Books) and 978 1 901091 (Irregular Special Press).
It was decided that going forward Breese Books would concentrate on producing new Sherlock Holmes novels, to be called the Breese Books Sherlock Holmes Collection, while the Irregular Special Press would produce other types of murder mystery books (both factual and fiction) along with its best-selling location guides and audio books. Today Breese Books has 46 books in its back catalogue with all but 2 of these being Sherlock Holmes based.
The entire range of Breese Books is still in print, with most being available as eBooks and many having been made available in foreign languages (Russian, Chinese, Italian, Estonian and Japanese) and in large print formats.
Martin Breese was born in 1937 in Streatham, South London where his father was a pharmacist. The family moved to South Africa when he was just 11-years old, and it was here that he was to remain for the next 15 years after which he returned to England.
Martin’s first love was always magic so in 1976 he released the first of a series of Magicassettes which allowed magicians to be heard in their own voices as they shared insights into their work. That first cassette featured Bobby Bernard who was a mentalist, and was followed by more than 80 such tapes on which Martin was to interview the good and great of the magic world. In 1982 he produced his first magic book, Alternative Card Magic, and in time he bought up other magic publishers such as Stanley’s Unique Magic Studio, Magic Wand and Supreme.
It was one of Martin’s friends, Val Andrews (fellow magician, vaudeville artiste, ventriloquist and scriptwriter) who first introduced him to the world of Sherlock Holmes. Soon Martin had been persuaded to start publishing murder mystery books alongside his magic ones.
Outside of magic, Matin was a world-class photographer, a collector of first editions and art lover – he even possessed a Banksy picture which he displayed on the staircase of his home in Brighton. He died following a short illness in 2012.