Hugh Ashton was born in the UK in 1956, and after graduation from university worked in the technology industry around Cambridge (the first personal computer he used was Sir Clive Sinclair’s personal TRS-80) until 1988, when a long-standing interest in the country took him to Japan.
There he worked for a Japanese company producing documentation for electronic instruments and high-end professional audio equipment, helped to set up the infrastructure for Japan’s first public Internet service provider, worked for major international finance houses, and worked on various writing projects, including interviewing figures in the business and scientific fields, and creating advertorial reports for Japanese corporations to be reprinted in international business magazines.
Along the way, he met and married Yoshiko, and also gained certificates in tea ceremony and iaidō (the art of drawing a sword quickly).
In 2008, he wrote and self-published his first published novel, Beneath Gray Skies, an alternative history in which the American Civil War was never fought, and the independent Confederacy forms an alliance with the German National Socialist party. This was followed by At the Sharpe End, a techno-financial-thriller set in Japan at the time of the Lehman’s crash, and Red Wheels Turning, which re-introduced Brian Finch-Malloy, the hero of Beneath Gray Skies, referred to by one reviewer as “a 1920s James Bond”.
In 2012, Inknbeans Press of California published his first collection of Sherlock Holmes adventures, Tales from the Deed Box of John H. Watson M.D., which was swiftly followed by many other volumes of Holmes’ adventures, hailed by Sherlockians round the world as being true to the style and the spirit of the originals by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Inknbeans also published Tales of Old Japanese and other books by Ashton, including the Sherlock Ferret series of detective adventures for children. He and Yoshiko returned to the UK in 2016 for family reasons, where they now live in the Midlands cathedral city of Lichfield.
In December 2017, Inknbeans Press ceased to be, following the sudden death of the proprietor, chief editor and leading light. Since that time, Ashton has reclaimed the copyright of his work, and has republished it in ebook and paper editions, along with the work of several other former Inknbeans authors.
He continues to write Sherlock Holmes stories, as well as various other fiction and non-fiction projects, including documentation for forensic software, and editing and layout work on a freelance basis, in between studying for an MSc in forensic psychological studies with the Open University.