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Monthly Archives: June 2014

On Having Escaped Death Again…

From Sherlock Holmes Esq to Dr J Watson:

Watson – I shall attempt to continue my narrative…

Mrs Hudson has made sure I cannot strain any part of my anatomy by having me lie on the Steamer chair with various segments of my form firmly bound and strapped to said device…..it does pose problems when the call of Nature strikes, but she has rigged up a nifty contraption consisting of milk bottles and builders’ tape, thus ensuring that I need not stray from my resting-place. To continue…

I saw the gargantuan piece of machinery, belching and issuing jets of steam, emitting a ghastly cacophony of grunts, gasps and groans at irregular intervals; I saw the elation and unalloyed bestial excitement on the faces of The Brothers, as they cackled and jeered, taunting me with primitive thrusts and grinds of their pelvic areas……their features contorted with manic bursts of endorphine-releasing movement, they pranced and circled me, working themselves in to a frenzy of emotional release; I concentrated on keeping my mind in the still centre, refusing to be affected by their orgasmic vibrations; I employed every teaching of my Buddhist acquaintances, silently repeating a Healing Mantra…

Eventually, they wound down their rituals –  “Well, Mr Holmes, are you ready to die??” – the non- bespectacled one spat out, his deranged features mere sixteenth-of- an-inch from my own immobile mask…..” Eddie and I have imagined this scenario umpteen times, as we sat with Dave Hedgehog and the Fat One , over delicious home-cooked meals and home-brewed beverages, dreaming of the day we had you helpless and hatless chez nous…..” .

I drew a breath, slowly and carefully, and prepared to utter perhaps my very last words…….when suddenly, a loud crashing issued from the next room, and to my utter amazement but astounding relief, there stood in the doorway, a figure, etched forever on my retinas – it was none other than Master Douglas himself, proprietor and chief Analyst at his renowned Institution…..I vowed to hence forward forever hold him in my Supreme Estimation.

To be Continued

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Posted by on June 29, 2014 in Detective Fiction

 

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Having Escaped Death Again…

From Sherlock Holmes Esq to Dr J Watson:

Watson
I wonder if you could ask your good lady wife to organise a floral arrangement ( I believe this to be one of her specialties) and have it sent round to Master Douglas’ Institution by way of a small token of my appreciation and gratitude, as were it not for the timely intervention of said gentleman, I should now be, in the words of the immortal M.R. James’ schoolboy – ” a deader”…

Without any preamble, as you no doubt will have heard the gist of the incident, by one means or another, there I sat, bound and gagged in the William Morris- style chair, with its delicate Pugin-like carving, as the sinisterly unhinged forms of The Dangerous Brothers strutted and gurned around me, like Hieronymus Bosch characters come to life, rolling their eyes and drawing back their lips in wolf-like grins.  “Well, Eddie! What have we here? I do believe it is the famous Investigator Mr Sherlock Holmes! Honoured to make your acquaintance, sir! ” , and with an exaggerated bow, the rumpled figure leered into my face, one brow arched in quizzical fashion. On ascertaining that I was not about to engage him in any manner of dialogue, he appeared to lose patience, and aiming a battered boot at his accomplice, instructed him to “Fire her up!”

I shall take a break here, Watson, to consume some of my medicinal broth, as these exertions have somewhat weakened my recovering constitution. I shall resume my missive shortly.

Your friend, somewhat the worse for wear, SH.

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2014 in Detective Fiction

 

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From Dr Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:
 
Holmes,

Apologies for this delay in replying to your recent missive, but my mind has been racing and I have been forced to take several precautions before putting pen to paper. I am sending this to you by hand and intend to follow it shortly myself when all is ready. Read on, to learn why…

My good lady wife insisted that we attend a rather ghastly dinner party last evening at the home of that dreadful bore, Ernie Hemmingway. I’m certain you’ll have come across his books – novels, he laughingly calls them – detailing the exploits of outlandish characters who always have some similarly outlandish difficulty to overcome and who invariably end up shooting themselves in the head at the end of the story.

Anyway, the damn fellow bored the arses off his guests (myself included) for several hours while relating the turgid and unimaginative plot of his latest (apparently) prize-winning novel, which, like all his previous rather tedious attempts at entertainment, is written using what he likes to call ‘the iceberg technique’. Quite what the actual point of this farcical literary mechanism is, passed me by completely, however, one rather odd phrase of his did strike me as strangely relevant to your letter:

It seems that Ernie used to play the part of a horse’s arse in some pantomimic show down at Filthy McNasty’s Liquor Emporium between skirmishes during the Boer War. I wasn’t really listening, but when Ernie was explaining the punch-line of a particular sketch he was involved in, the phrase ‘just like The Dangerous Brothers’ caught my attention. I immediately boned him about this, but he palmed me off with some rubbish about seeing an early version of their act at the Alhambra in Newcastle.

I kept a close watch on Hemmingway after that and couldn’t help but notice a distinct lack of eye contact on his part for the rest of the evening. As we were bidding our host goodnight at the door, he suddenly grasped my arm, pulled me to one side and whispered harshly in my ear. At first I thought he said ‘By Christ, but you’ve got a big one, Watson’, but then I realised he’d actually mumbled ‘Five nights until the big one, Watson’. I gave him what I imagined was a curious stare but he merely held his forefinger to his nose and murmured ‘Dead Men Tell No Tales’.

Before I could ask him what this meant he had ushered myself and Mrs Watson into a gloomy Cheapside (his books clearly aren’t doing that well) and we quickly hailed a Hansom in case some ruffian leaped out of the shadows to relieve us of our few possessions. As the carriage trundled along, I mentioned the strange phrases to my wife and she immediately responded with a review of a novel she had recently read by some chap named Hornung, who I’m sure you’ll know is a relative of that buffoon Conan Doyle.

However, she then went on to say ‘but darling, I think Mr Haemorrhage [she was quite drunk] would have been referring to his own book of the same title, wouldn’t you think?’ She gave me a look that told me we have conversed on this same topic before, but of course I had no recollection of it, so simply replied ‘Oh, yes, of course, dear’.

I realise I am rambling somewhat, but to get to the point, when we returned home, I looked through my wife’s bedtime reading and discovered the very book in question. I’m sure you can imagine my horror on reading the title of the first chapter, which stated: In Which the Famous Detective is Horribly Killed During an Altercation with a Vaudeville Act…

Needless to say, I would urge you to stay indoors until I can pack my trusty revolver and any other weapons I can find and make my way to Baker Street.

 

Take Care!

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2014 in Detective Fiction

 

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Spirited Away…

From Sherlock Holmes Esq to Dr J Watson:

Watson – I am aware that we are due to visit with the fellow Condomine, regarding the disturbances chez lui, which he believes to be caused by his wife…who has actually passed over to The Other Side, as our friend Arthur would say…but I have just received an urgent telegram from a chap, declining to give his name – simply stating that he is one half of The Dangerous Brothers or some such…a Variety Act, perhaps…who requests our services in attempting to solve the mystery of the recent disappearance of his other half (of this association); he claims that they had been residing at an address in London, along with several other persons, and he is convinced that one of the rooms in this building is actually a Portal to another dimension, in to which he believes his partner has unwittingly strayed.

He concedes that we might find this Idea to be somewhat preposterous and highly unlikely, but he is adamant that this is the case. In the event that he should turn out to be an escaped Inmate from Master Douglas’ Institution, or some other poor, deluded soul, I request that you come prepared with sufficient supplies of Narcotic and Sedative drugs to do the necessary – and No, I am not talking from Self-Interest here, in case your naturally suspicious antennae have started quivering….these fellows can have considerable strength when cornered, as you well know from our several and varied forays in to these areas…

Also, this diversion will thankfully delay our Dealings with Madame Akari/Arkati whatever the Devil the woman’s nomenclature…..as no doubt the ridiculous creature will certainly pop up at some point in the proceedings…

Your friend, SH. 

 
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Posted by on June 10, 2014 in Detective Fiction

 

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Away with Murder…

From Dr Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

(From the diary of Dr Watson)

After the excitement of possibly facing yet another threat to our continued partnership via the odd band of villains known as The Black Moriartys, I have to admit to being a little disappointed to find Holmes had solved the case of the Green Bicycle Murder. Our pal Marshall Hall, naturally enough, was having none of it and is convinced his client Ronnie Light is a shining beacon of innocence, so much so that he point blank refused to even consider Holmes’ theories.

“The man’s a fool,” muttered my companion as we settled ourselves into our carriage for the journey home. “Can’t see beyond his own self-importance.” (I almost pointed out that Holmes is on occasion a victim of such pretensions himself, but thought better of mentioning it – I can always add something along those lines as a footnote to what will eventually be the published account of this adventure in The Strand Magazine). Instead, I offered platitudes along the usual themes of reputation and experience and eventually my kind words lulled Holmes into a restful sleep.

It may be that someday the world will recognise the guilt of Mr Light and my friend’s conclusions given due consideration, but as always, Holmes is already thinking about our next case: a telegram arrived at the hotel as we were leaving, inviting us to the home of one Charles Condomine, who apparently is having some problems with his dead wife. No doubt that awful charlatan Madame Arcati will turn up, as the house is very near her own residence. (I haven’t mentioned this last detail to Holmes since I can imagine his response…)

We should have a little time to recharge our detectivational batteries before setting out on what I shall title The Adventure of the Man Whose Wife Was Already Dead. Or something along those lines…

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2014 in Detective Fiction

 

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On our Bikes…

From Dr Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

(From the diary of Dr Watson)

Our arrival in Leicester was, unlike our train journey, uneventful. Holmes and I were met at the station by a spectacularly dull policeman by the name of Oats, who kept making banal comments about how satisfied his wife was. The man conveyed us by hackney carriage to a police station somewhere on the south side of the city.

Edward Marshall Hall met us at the front desk and thankfully whisked us away from the unintelligent constable to a public house around the corner, where we feasted on some local delicacy. He went over the facts of the case with us and after lunch we were taken to the scene where the woman’s body was found – the Via Devana road, next to a farm gate.

Holmes and Hall pondered over the scene for some time while I made notes about the possible route taken by the victim, Miss Wright, that might have led her to this terrible fate.

That evening, we dined on mince and potatoes, then Holmes excused himself and went off for a walk. I retired to my room to update my diary and had been there only a short while when a note appeared under my door:

Watson – No doubt you will have been irritated, frustrated and slightly alarmed in turn on hearing the news from Mrs Hudson that I did not show up at the expected hour to be able to receive you chez moi the other evening; you likely fell in to one of your morose, grumpy moods alternating between slightly peeved silence, and voluble, slightly agitated verbosity – I know them well….however, you would, had you known the reason for my absence, have experienced the sensation of an icy hand grasping your vitals and tightening ever more painfully to inflict the maximum levels of discomfort and panic – I can almost feel it myself now…..Listen carefully, and I shall begin…

My suspicions where immediately aroused by the reference to Holmes and I’s meeting a few nights ago. Clearly, this must be the work of The Black Moriarty’s again. However, it was also possible that Holmes had been kidnapped and that this was some sort of precursor to a ransom note. I hastened to the front door with the intention of following in my companion’s footsteps.

As I flung open the inn door, Holmes himself staggered inside, grasping his arm. “Holmes!” I cried, supporting him as he stumbled into the public bar. “What on earth…?”

But my words where cut short when Holmes caught sight of the note (which was still in my hand). “Ah-ha” he exclaimed. “As I suspected.” He gave me a long stare. “Thankfully, our friends, the Black Moriartys are not well coordinated; otherwise you might now be considering a blackmail threat.”

He pulled up a stool at the bar and ordered milk stout for both of us. “Unfortunately, my assailant was able to get his knife into me, so as soon as I have a few drinks and a quiet smoke by the fire, you had better cast your medical expertise over my wound.”

I had to admire Holmes – at a time when normal people would be screaming blue murder, Sherlock Holmes would not alter his night-time routine – even if it meant that he might bleed to death. What a trooper.

Watson

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2014 in Detective Fiction

 

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Northward Journeys…

From Dr Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

(From the diary of Dr Watson)
Our investiagation of The Extraordinary Case of the Green Bicycle Murder, began with our journey northwards, which  was, as is often the case when one is in the presence of an eminent detective), not uneventful. Holmes and I had settled into our usual idle banter for half an hour or so, when a mysterious stranger entered out compartment.

The man pardoned the intrusion and began telling us about some peculiar and (to my thinking) completely ridiculous case on which he had recently been employed as an investigator. The ‘case’ as he described it, included a series of smashed china busts of Emperor Napoleon, a huge hound that inflicted gruesome death on the poor inhabitants of a moorside village, and most incredibly, an evil genius by the name of Professor Unmoriarty.

I was about to hit the fellow around the head with my copy of Detective Monthly and admonish him for wasting our time, when Holmes jumped up and pointed out of the window: “My God!” he exclaimed. “The very hound you have just described is standing atop that distant moorland pile staring at us!”

The mysterious stranger yelped suddenly, jumped in front of Holmes and yanking the window down, clambered out and flung himself out of the train and into the ditch.

I stood aghast at all this and could do nothing but suck on my pipe, uttering incomprehensibly. Holmes, on the other hand, simply sat back down and resumed his study of small-bore ammunition.

“Holmes!” I cried. “What the f – ?”

But my companion interrupted my with his usual casual ease. “For goodness sake, Watson, didn’t you recognise him?” I shook my head dumbly, so he continued, “I identified the fellow immediately, Watson, and so should you – from his tall black hat, black cape, black canvas codpiece and the black leather breeches, it would have been obvious to a child of three.”

I was about to point out that a child of three would barely be able to converse in such terms, when he went on: “That, my friend, was one of The Black Moriartys – a band of ridiculous Moriarty fanatics who have been attempting to unsettle me for some years. Until now I have been able to keep clear of actual encounters, but I’m afraid it was only a matter of time.” He paused and scribbled something in his notebook.

“But what on earth do they hope to achieve?” said I.

“Simply this,” said my companion. “To bring me to a mental state by which I am no longer able to function as a consulting detective. And if that state should ever come upon me, they will of course put their master plan into action and take over the world.” He smiled sardonically. “Luckily for us, they are also inconceivably stupid.”

Holmes would not speak of The Black Moriartys for the remainder of our trip and I could do nothing but chart it in my diary.

I shall continue this report shortly.

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2014 in Detective Fiction

 

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