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Monthly Archives: October 2014

To the Devil a Doctor…

from Dr J Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

Holmes
Here is the first instalment of my notes from the other night, which I trust you will find useful:

Arriving at our host’s rooms in Mayfair, I must admit that I experienced more than a jolt of fright at the idea of meeting such a renowned author. When I’d suggested to Holmes that we take on this case, I had no idea the man was considered to be such an authority in the world of the occult. When I happened to mention it to my good lady wife, however, she soon put me right on the matter – apparently she has been swallowing every ounce of the fellow’s devilish output for the last ten years, and declares him to be a master storyteller with hordes of followers (or ‘BeWitches’) across the globe.

Given such high regard by a woman who (in my humble opinion) has no taste in literature bar the occasional foray into trashy bodice-rippers, I might normally have disregarded her comments. However, I bumped into our old acquaintance Mr Crowley on my rounds that morning and he was at pains to learn how Holmes and I managed to wangle an invitation to Wheatley’s place for dinner. I naturally put the fellow off, knowing he’d be ‘in like Flynn’ given the chance to inveigle himself into our affairs, so I sent him away with a flea in his ear. His clear adoration did give me pause for thought, though, so I picked up a couple of Wheatley’s books at the British Library in preparation for our dinner engagement.

And so, as we stood in the vast hall of that rather daunting foyer shortly after 7.30pm, I couldn’t help feel that we’d stumbled into something that might have rather more to offer in terms of danger and personal safety, than our usual run of the mill investigations.

The man himself, when he appeared at the top of the stairs, was well turned out, rather younger than I’d expected and sporting an impressive row of medals across his dinner jacket. He hurried down the stairs and shook our hands heartily, bidding us to follow him into the dining room.

Rather disappointingly, we had sherry before dinner (perhaps I was expecting goblets of blood!) Then a manservant emerged with an unusual starter: chicken wings and potato wedges. Wheatley said he’d come across them in the colonies and had been filling his face with them ever since. The main course followed (roast beef) and a simple dessert (lemon tart with cream) and throughout this, our host chattered away about everything under the sun. Everything that is, except for the reason that had summoned us to his house.

It was after we had retired to the library that Wheatley began his story…

Watson.

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Posted by on October 26, 2014 in Detective Fiction

 

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Notes on a Sandal…

from Sherlock Holmes Esq to Dr J Watson:

Dear Watson,
I trust you made provision to take adequate notes last evening since I, as you no doubt observed, ingratiated myself rather excessively into Wheatley’s household. Or put another way – I drank too deeply at the well.

Mrs Hudson has, as expected, taken me to task at my lack of discipline, however, the good-hearted soul that she is has had me laid up in bed all day with a cold compress and some foul-smelling liquid she assures me is vegetable soup. My migraine is still throbbing away, so I hope you will not think me overly demanding if I beg that you write up your notes and let me have them as soon as possible.

Incidentally, I seem to have acquired a pair of our host’s sandals – quite how they might have been secreted about my person, I cannot imagine. however, one of these items bears a strange inscription on the soul: the single word ‘Sizeten.’ It may be a clue, or it may not. Discount nothing, Watson. Nothing.

I believe Mr Wheatley may be in danger from this Sizeten fellow, whoever he is, so please go with him this evening if he insists (as I suspect he will) on visiting his ailing sister in Carlisle Square.

I shall see you anon, migraine permitting,

Holmes.

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2014 in Detective Fiction

 

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The Devil Rides Out to Dinner…

from Dr J Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

Holmes
I had a telegram this morning that I believe will interest you, and since I perceived the other night that you have no urgent cases at present, I’m sure you’ll be glad to set your mind to the mystery.

The missive was from a chap named Wheatley who apparently is the author of several supposedly ‘popular’ novels of the occult variety – not the sort of thing you would read, Holmes. However, he recounts a rather interesting visitor: Wheatley, or Big Den, as he likes to be called, claims that one of his fictional characters – the Duke de Richleau – turned up on his doorstep the other night demanding that he perform some bizarre ritual in order to make him (Richleau) into a real person, rather than a fictional character.

I’m sure you’ll have already deduced, as I have, that this must be some weird blackmailing plot, but as Wheatley has invited us for dinner tomorrow evening, I thought it would at least give us an interesting puzzle to mull over.

Watson.

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2014 in Detective Fiction

 

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The Lighthouse Family…

from Sherlock Holmes Esq to Dr J Watson:
Thank you, my dear Watty, for your inestimable help re. the humiliating recent episode – it simply proves that even the stoutest fellows can be seduced in to complying with these charlatans’ party tricks – it will take all my powers of the Thesps’ Arts to convince the Bounder that I was merely toying with him.

By the way, it means a lot to me, your giving the Devil a good seeing-to. He is a man of great persuasions, that Stevenson – to resist going in to the Family Business took a lot of Determination – I do believe at one point, they chained him to one of the most desolate Lights they Own – on a rocky outpost, surrounded by the Raging Waters of the North Sea – and still he refused to give in…you have to admire such fierce Strength of Will and Steadfastness of Mind – the man can make you believe Black is White should it suit his purposes. A man could make a Fortune from such gifts and attributes, had he a mind to.

On a lesser note, Watson, leave the Muffins chez vous – your wife is an abysmal Cook – I have Muffins Galore on my own premises – Hudson’s Muffins have won Prizes, as you know. However, I appreciate the thought.

 

Your constant colleague and friend, SH.

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2014 in Detective Fiction

 

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Stevenson’s Lament…

from Dr J Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

Holmes
Glad to know you’re back in the land of the living! I did wonder quite what you were getting involved with when you agreed to Stevenson’s “experiments”. I think it was yet another of his storytelling exercises by which he persuades some dilatory individual (in this case, you) to act as guinea pig in order to throw up one of his so-called plot scenarios. I admit Holmes, I was completely taken in by what I assumed was an amusement on your part – that of substituting the experimenter for the victim – and that at any moment you would “awaken” from your apparent stupor to renounce Stevenson’s ridiculous theory of the Dark Side and expose him as a charlatan. My apologies that my observations, on this occasion, failed you and I was unable to guess how far into his sick and tormented psyche he had lured you.

 
You may be assured that I gave Stevenson a jolly good telling off – in fact, I led him away from the company and took him into the kitchen where I put him over the table and gave him a damn good licking. He won’t try that party trick again for a while, I can assure you.
I will call round in the morning with a more tangible apology, in the form of half a dozen of my wife’s muffins – which I am certain even you won’t be able to resist.

 
Watson

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2014 in Detective Fiction

 

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