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Monthly Archives: January 2014

In the Belly of the Beast…

From Dr Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

December 16th

Since I am writing this by the light of a candle fashioned from my own earwax, I can hardly dare imagine that my narrative will at some future point be delivered to my companion, let alone copied up in my notes and published in the Strand Magazine with the many other adventures from the annals of our investigations. I fear these very words may in fact be the last that I write, as I can see little hope of rescue and therefore scant possibility of seeing my faithful companion, my dear wife or even Gerald, my pet hedgehog, ever again.

Having said that, my fellow captive Stevenson, has been remarkably chirpy and is at this moment working on an escape tunnel (I have not the heart to tell him we are on board a ship!) I dare say, it is feasible that we may still yet see an avenue of light ahead – the sounds of sea-going traffic (tugboats perhaps?) have caught my ears over the last half hour, which would seem to indicate we are near a port and if so, the possibility of escape.

Nevertheless, given that my usual companion presumably cannot still be lost in his drunken slumber, I have to admit that my hopes of rescue etc are no longer high. In normal circumstances, I would have expected a carrier pigeon to have found its way to our place of detention, but I suspect the location is beyond even the cunning of Sherlock Holmes. This fact is even more unlikely given that I had caught a glimpse of the man who I now know to be behind all these shenanigans. The villain turned his evil features away when he I caught his eye, but I am in no doubt – the criminal mastermind in charge of this vessel is none other than Professor Moriarty! Clearly, he is no longer dead. Or rather, if he was dead, he must have come back to life, unless he’s a vampire, no that’s silly, oh for God’s sake Watson you’re rambling. (Ah, even now the voice of my erstwhile colleague comes back to haunt me…

My earwax candle is burning low, so I will dare to hope that a further opportunity presents itself when I may continue this narrative.

Watson

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Posted by on January 20, 2014 in Detective Fiction

 

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Kidnapped!

From Sherlock Holmes Esq to Dr J Watson:

(Delivered by carrier pigeon to a slave ship somewhere in the North Atlantic…)

Watson  –  I cannot believe you have allowed your pig-headed stubbornness to lead you by the nose into such a foolish, and need I add, potentially fatal situation! Whatever did you think you were doing, man? – you knew we were dealing with Dangerous Forces here – you knew we had to prepare thoroughly and in the most minute detail before declaring that The Game was On, yet, despite – despite! – all these conditions, you decided to plunge in, most probably right up to the Hilt, with only that Nincompoop Stevenson by your side. Need I add that I am dismayed, and not a small part, disappointed that you chose to avail yourself of his companionship, rather than wait, such a short time, until my head was thoroughly clear and my wits completely back to their fighting mettle; I can only add that I am somewhat hurt, also, at your decision.

Nevertheless I will do my very best to come to your rescue; it will prove no small task, however, therefore you Must do all you can to protect yourselves in the meantime. I Still cannot believe that you have allowed yourselves to be captured, and are now on your way to the East, bound and gagged, no doubt, in the hold of one of the most notorious White Slave ships our times have ever witnessed, in the company of one of the most feckless and reckless of men.

God Help You Both…

SH.  

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2014 in Detective Fiction

 

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Fishing for Clues…

From Dr Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

December 14th (still) continued…
Having ascertained the whereabouts of Littlemill from one of the servants, I ordered a trap and set out to bring my bosom chum back to the bosom of his chum, or put another way, I hastened forth to yank my wayward companion out of his current dalliances in order that we might employ ourselves more productively at Balmoral.

As expected, I found Holmes sitting by the river with his rod out, studying the movements of spawning salmon in the Girnock Burn. He was also, as expected, somewhat the worse for several glasses of malt whisky, which I ascertained our pal Stevenson had left at his side (bastard), before somewhat typically trotting off on some storytelling picnic. In any case, it took me some considerable time to persuade my companion into the trap before we were able to set off back to the castle.

Naturally enough, Holmes was as good as useless for the rest of the day, so I put him to bed and left him to sleep off what I fervently desire will be a stinker of a hangover. Having the rest of the day to kill, as it were, I sought out the King’s secretary and had him go over the details of the case so far. They are thus:

Several letters written in what purports to be human blood, have been delivered for the attention of His Highness demanding that he refrain from consorting with the well-known music-hall star, Felatia Spankwater, who is currently appearing in Whoops, There goes my Virginity! at one of Aberdeen’s popular theatres. I did ask (in a round-about way) if these stories are true, and of course, the secretary denied everything. However, the difficulty is that whoever is writing these letters is threatening to kill the King if he should ever again meet with the aforementioned beauty.

Rather annoyingly, I was a bit at a loss what to do without the guidance of my companion, so I determined to give him until tea-time and then wake the drunken bugger up!

Watson

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2014 in Detective Fiction

 

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Holmerian Epic…

From Dr Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

December 14th continued…

After questioning several members of the household, I returned to my room to find the following note had been pushed under the door. How it got there is, at present, a mystery:

Watson – just a short note to let you know that, unbeknownst to me, the Ghillie to whom I entrusted my feverishly-scrawled scribbling is an immigrant from the Balkan States, whose command of the written word is rather poor; in consequence, he delivered said scribbling to, would you believe, our old friend Bob Stevenson, who happens to be staying at a place called “Littlemill” , situated not too far from here, on the Girnock Burn.

Rumours of ugly and sinister goings-on at Balmoral have drawn him by the nose, sensing a rollicking Ripping Yarn might come of it. I think the flurry of interest stirred up by his last preposterous Tale has gone to his head – that is bye the bye – I have to admit I was never as pleased to see his enthusiastic grin and twinkling eyes as met my own bleary set of ocular orbs and hear his drily-amused Edinburgh tongue pronounce the Time-honoured phrase, somewhat modified to suit this particular encounter – “Sherlock Holmes, I presume!”.

Your friend, somewhat relieved, SH. 

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2014 in Detective Fiction

 

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Room with a Phew…

From Dr Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

In continuation of my previous notes…

December 14th

I awoke this morning somewhat the worse for wear, having spent the night dreaming of spectres and ghostly goings-on which frightened me half to death several times during the night. I determined to share my experiences with my colleague and perhaps gain some insight into my night-time imaginings via his dream-explanation technique. However, when I negotiated the connecting door between my own room and that of my companion, I found that not only was Holmes not in his room, but his bed had not been slept in.

Initially, I thought he might have tarried with that reprobate John (mine’s-a -scotch) Brown, who occasionally scares the servants with his stories of long-legged beasties and the likes. However, I was told by the under-footman (or was it the over-understairs-man?) that Brown is spending all his time with some old queen in the village, so that theory was out the window.

I put myself in Holmes’ shoes. No, really – I put on his shoes and paced about the room looking thoughtful (as I’m sure Holmes would do in the circumstances). It was thus that I was able to retrace his steps, quite literally, via several tell-tale clues – Holmes’ deer-stalker on the edge of the bath; a large turd in the WC; traces of singed hair from my companion’s curling-tong activities; and most telling of all – a hand towel lying in a heap on the bathroom floor. Now, knowing Holmes as I do, I could not picture a scenario where he might allow a dropped towel to stay dropped. It was at this point that it occurred to me that I was wearing his shoes, in which case he had clearly left the room unprepared. In other words – he had been abducted.

Watson

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2014 in Detective Fiction

 

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Dungeon Days…

From Sherlock Holmes Esq to Dr J Watson:

Watson –  As I sit here, chilled to the bone and still suffering somewhat from the after-effects of our wild night with our friend McRae, in Aberdeen’s saltier  establishments, I am filled with conflicting emotions; my already somewhat bludgeoned cranium, having suffered another glancing blow, can scarce cope with the series of images and feelings which are conducting a bare-knuckle match inside its confines.

I know you believe me to be nigh inviolate to these things, but I have to preserve a façade of invincibility to convince you of my immunity to life’s slings and arrows in order to encourage confidence in my abilities. Nevertheless, I am, at root, a mere Mortal, like all the other Souls struggling to make sense of this World of confusion and Pain, trying to unravel the twisted strands of Good and Evil, vying for supremacy, oblivious to the Casualties left behind in their wake.

However, you will be wondering where I am, no doubt, at this moment, as you perform your ablutions and take your first repast of the Day – you will scarce believe that as you feed your face with Kedgeree and Smoked Kippers, washed down with several cups of steaming Darjeeling that your friend and fellow-Investigator sits on the dank and foetid earth, several feet under the grounds of our Host’s Large and sprawling Pile, chained to an iron post, listening to the sound of his own innards complaining loudly of their hollow emptiness.

I trust the Ghillie on to whom I pressed this note, wrapped around several coins of the realm, will have delivered this to your good self; nevertheless,  I am not as naïve to believe that this will not happen until the coins have been exchanged for several large glasses of whatever poison the fellow chooses to imbibe – if he is anything like the average fellow, I look forward to another night in this hell-hole.

Your friend, somewhat worse for wear,

SH.

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2014 in Detective Fiction

 

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Balmoral Schmoral…

From Dr Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

Holmes,

In continuation of my previous notes…

December 13th
Our evening with friend McRae turned into a bit of a drunken brawl when Holmes became embroiled in a ridiculous argument about the various methods by which he managed to evade death at the hands of Moriarty (I am heartily sick of telling him to ignore such jibes and simply rise above it), and the various methods he may, or may not, have utilised instead.

The upshot of the above was that our staunch defender Logan McRae, dragged Holmes and his nemesis (one Angus McShite) outside and gave them both a good talking to, which unfortunately resulted in Logan himself being awarded a rather nasty blow to the head. The following day, therefore, was deemed by all to be cancelled due to poorly heads and upset stomachs and so it was only this morning that we finally packed out bags and hailed  a Hackney to take us to the coach station where we boarded the Deeside Wanderer (a notably comfort-free omnibus with an equally unenthusiastic driver).

Some several hours later, we were dumped unceremoniously at the gates of Balmoral where we were greeted by one Abraham Rosenburg, a rather surly member of the King’s household. We were subsequently led through a maze of corridors to an attic room which in earlier times must have been used as a nursery, as the only furniture was a pair of undersized bunk beds and a very small chest of drawers.

At this point, Rosenberg allowed himself a little light entertainment in the form of what I assumed was an ‘in’ joke: he inferred that Holmes and I would be welcome at the back door at any time of night. This was followed by an evil laugh and the man reversed himself out of the room with a final “Heil Hitler”.

Naturally enough, Holmes immediately began to question me on the character of the man and in particular, what I might have deduced from his behaviour etc. I had to admit that I was a little puzzled and after some initial theorising (which Holmes denounced as ‘crap’), I gave up and asked him (in what I admit was a somewhat sardonic tone) for his expert analysis.

“Ah,” said the famous Baker Street detective, with a twinkle in his eye [Holmes insisted I put that bit in], “You clearly did not notice the man’s footwear, for if you had, you might have gained a small insight into his behaviour.” I feigned ignorance and he continued unabated. “Elementary, Watson, you see, the fellow was clearly wearing thigh-length leather boots, which, admittedly were hidden under his over-sized jodhpurs, but any fool could have worked out what they were by the small SS insignia stencilled on the sole of each boot.”

“Oh for God’s sake Holmes,” said I. “How on earth could you see the soles of his boots?”

“Once again, Watson, your talent for non-observation astounds me. If, like me, you had had the foresight to walk in front of the fellow as he led us up the driveway, and had you had occasion, as I did, to turn around on the pretext of questioning him on a paltry matter, you would have noticed the soles of both boots as he goose-stepped along the road.”

I did not venture my own theory that this goose-stepping was in fact some form of traditional Armenian dance, as this would not have gone down well with the aforementioned famous detective. I was beginning to feel somewhat downtrodden when Holmes began to explain about the references to the King in Rosenberg’s last words.

“But Holmes,” said I. “Surely the fellow was referring to the back door of Castle Zenda during our adventure in Bohemia?”

It was with some degree of delight that I watched Holmes’s face fall. “Oh,” he muttered. “My God, Watson, for once you may have hit the nail on the proverbial head…”

To be continued

Watson

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2014 in Detective Fiction

 

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