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.