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Monthly Archives: May 2017

Cannibal Rising…


From the Diary of Doctor Watson

As I stared into the mad eyes of Doctor Lecter, my thoughts were only of my dear wife – that I would never again be able to rest my gaze on her beautiful, if misaligned features. I was filled with bitter resentment. If only I had treated her a little better, praised her exertions, looked upon her kindly, appreciated her meagre efforts in the kitchen, then perhaps –

A dull thwack came to my ears and I blinked. Lecter had disappeared. I turned my head and saw his crumpled form on the ground, a large dent in his forehead.

“That’s better, said Mary, leaning over me.

“Oh. My. God,” I gasped.” My sweet and lovely darling – how on earth…?”

“Don’t thank me, Johnny,” she said, putting down the broom shank. “Thank your own snorting slumbers.”

“Sorry, what?” I said, as she undid my bonds.

“Forgive me darling, but your performance in the marital bed has simply grown too raucous lately.”

“Well, I must say, dearest, that’s a bit below the conjugal belt.”

“No, not that!” She giggled mischievously. “I mean your snoring. I wasn’t going to tell you as I didn’t wish to hurt your poor feelings, but the last few weeks I’ve been using Doctor Feinstein’s marital aids.” She opened the palm of her hand and I stared at two small rubber grommets.

I must have looked puzzled, for she continued. “Ear plugs – they’re the only way I can get any sleep.”

I frowned. “Still don’t see how that explains your miraculous escape.”

“It’s obvious, darling. When I realised we were to view the dead bodies, I wished to appear staunch and supportive at your side, and knew I couldn’t do that if I detected the merest whiff of a decaying corpse, so I stuffed the ear plugs up my nose. When Lecter tried to chloroform me, I simply pretended to be overcome. Then it was an easy matter to utilise Mr Houdini’s open-hand technique so I had enough wiggle-room to undo the straps around my hands.”

“Houdini?”

“Yes, there was an interesting article about him in Female Emancipation Monthly.” She gave me a reproachful look. “You should read more, darling.”

I had to admit to being a little overawed at my wife’s ingenuity. Jumping up, I hugged her closely, my hands ranging over her soft warm body. “You clever little thing,” I gushed.

Mary slapped my hands away. “Don’t fucking patronise me, Johnny, I simply utilised my feminine intellect. Now, help me with Sherlock.”

We spent the next few minutes untying my companion and reviving him and Lord Lambton with another of Mary’s emergency items – smelling salts. Holmes sat up on the table, rubbing his eyes.

“Watson – what on earth?”

“No time to explain, Holmesy, we have to tie up Lecter before -”

As we all turned to look at the unconscious doctor, the colour drained from our collective faces.

“He’s gone!” cried Mary.

Holmes jumped up and grabbed Lambton by the lapels. “Quick – where are the other bodies?”

The old man trembled and shrugged helplessly. “They were down here – but Lecter sent me a telegram yesterday telling me to move them up to the bell tower.”

“What the hell for?” said I.

Lambton shook his head, his lower lip quivering. “He made me do it. Said if I didn’t he’d eat my son – Veronica.”

“Quickly Watson, and Mrs Watson,” said Holmes. “The game’s afoot.” And with that he hurried towards the cellar steps.

The three of us watched as he reached the steps, paused and looked down at himself. He turned around. “Perhaps we ought to get dressed first?”

Mary raised a hand to her mouth and I saw the glint in her eyes as she averted her gaze from Sherlock’s limp appendage.

As Holmes and I pulled on our clothes, a sickening cry echoed from somewhere above us, followed by the slow clang, clang, clang of a bell.

“Oh my God,” muttered Holmes. “He’s in the tower – it’s Bexhill-on-Sea all over again…”

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Posted by on May 25, 2017 in Detective Fiction

 

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Racked and Pinioned…


From the Personal notes of Doctor Hannibal Lecter

Despite my assurance to Mrs Watson that she’d be no match for me, I nevertheless took the precaution of whipping out my emergency-knock-out kit, and before she’d moved another inch, I’d applied a swab of chloroform to her nose. Clasped in my warm embrace, I held her close while she jiggled about like a child’s puppet. The thrashing of her buttocks against my strong serge trousers was amusing, though my lack of testicles (and their related characteristics), ensured that I remained true to my purpose.

“Now look here, Lecter,” muttered Lambton. “This sort of behaviour simply isn’t cricket.”

Dropping my charge to the ground, I took a step towards His Lordship and issued a sharp right hook. He fell to the floor like one of those sacks of tuberous crops that make up the dreary diets of the working classes.

The next few minutes were taken up manoeuvring the limp bodies of Holmes and Watson onto the trestle tables. After stripping them of their outer garments, I allowed myself the pleasure of gazing upon their naked forms (ruminating on the particular ‘cuts’ I might utilise), before securing their arms and legs.

All this had been executed with my usual swiftness and professional etiquette. It was particularly satisfying to note that at no point during the procedure had my pulse risen above 82. It was time to turn my attention back to the female of the species.

Being a gentleman (of sorts), I chose to leave her fully clothed. Quite what I shall do with this cross-eyed Mary, I have yet to decide. I may wish to strip her of everything later, including her skin, but I am presently undecided on how she should meet her death.

As my ‘clients’ would be asleep for a while longer, I took the opportunity to pop upstairs to the kitchen where I entertained the cook, the housekeeper and the parlour maid in a jolly game of run-away-before-I-kill-you. They all enjoyed it immensely, though sadly, I was unable to persuade any of them to remain on the premises. I am in no doubt they will hurry to the village and inform the authorities, but this should still give me a good forty minutes to complete my ‘tasting’ session with the good doctor and his detective friend before the cavalry arrive.

Back in the cellar, I wound up the gramophone and selected a suitable recording to accompany my endeavours. Just as the music started, I heard a moan from one of the tables.

“Ah, you’re awake. How lovely.”

Watson struggled against his bonds for a moment, then turned to glare at me.

“You fiend!”

“That’s Doctor Fiend, if you don’t mind.” I waved a hand at the gramophone. “Music while we work?”

The doctor frowned. “Is that the Goldberg Variations?”

I nodded. “Indeed. I always like to have a little Bach in my bite.”

“Is that meant to be funny?”

“Yes, though I naturally would not expect you to be amused.” I went to the knife rack and selected a suitable chopper.

“Do one thing for me,” he whined, as I approached the table. “Make it quick.”

I smiled. “Sorry, I’ll have to pass on that one. I like to eat slowly, you see.” I heard him gulp as I leaned over him. “Ready when you are, Doctor Watson…”

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2017 in Detective Fiction

 

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Knife and Easy Does it…


From the Diary of Doctor John Watson

In any other situation Holmes and myself would have leaped on the fiend and disabled him in an instant, but as Lecter raised his arms, we saw the massive choppers he held in each hand.

“Knife to see you, to see you knife,” he murmured.

I took a step back, the better to distance myself from the glinting blades, but Holmes did exactly the opposite: stepping forward, he held up his hands in a placatory gesture.

“Come come, Hannie, as a scholar of human behaviour, I’m certain this is not what you intended…”

Lecter laughed. “On the contrary Holmesy, it’s exactly what I intended.” He pointed one blade towards the trestle tables. “Doctor Watson, perhaps you and your wife would be good enough to assemble the tables?” He glanced at me. “I’m keen to prepare my next meal – kidney surprise.”

Sticking my chest out, I summoned my most manly voice. “I shall do nothing of the sort, you fiend!”

Now it was Mary’s turn to step forward. Adopting a hands-on-hips stance (which I knew from experience meant trouble), she addressed the flesh-hungry doctor. “I think you’re forgetting something, aren’t you? There are still four of us and only one of you. We shall have you tied up and helpless in a trice.” She snarled in that saucy way of hers, sending a shiver up my inner thigh.

“Ah, would that it were so,” said Lecter. “You see, the particular brand of Camp Coffee Messers Holmes and Watson enjoyed on the train, contained a little something that should be taking effect…” He pulled a rather handsome Half-Hunter from his waistcoat pocket, and gave a satisfied smile. “Just about now.”

Whether as a consequence of his suggestion or that there really had been something in our coffee, I began to feel decidedly odd. Glancing at Holmes, I perceived a trace of doubt edging across his masculine features. Perhaps it was true – we had been poisoned and at any moment we’d be the ones lying tied up and helpless while the evil brute carried out his depraved plan.

“It may have escaped your attention Doctor,” said Mary, waving a reproving finger, “but neither myself nor Lord Lambton have touched a drop of coffee, Camp or otherwise.”

Lecter grinned. “Quite so, my dear, however, I hardly think a mere woman is capable of standing in my way. If you read of my exploits in Bexhill-on-Sea, you’ll recall how I trashed that so-called investigator Clarice Starling. Poor girl’s singing a tune of quite a different sort now.”

“Then clearly she wasn’t a Grammar-school girl. If you come near me, I’ll kick you in the testicles.”

“Alas,” said the doctor, an expression of regret on his face. “I have no testicles – I ate them several years ago with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.”

“Nevertheless,” continued Mary, “there’s still Lord Lambton to consider. I’s sure he has testicles.”

Lecter flashed the old man a girlish grin. “As it happens, I have considered him…” And with that he swung his left hand downwards, embedding one of the knives in Lord Lambton’s leg.

I gave a little start, as did my companions, but Lambton simply stared at the knife and let out a faint sigh.

His attacker pulled the blade free and waved it at Mary. “Wooden legs – a consequence of the Boer War, if I recall. As they don’t say in the movies – he can hide, but he can’t run.”

By now, my vision had begun to blur and my head was spinning. I was further dismayed to see Holmes had already sunk to his knees. Gathering what little strength I had left, I directed my words at the notorious psychiatrist and part-time cannibal. “If you touch one hair of her head…”

But my words trailed away to nothing as darkness overcame me. The last sound I heard was my dear wife screaming…

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2017 in Detective Fiction

 

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The Body in the Cellar…


From the Diary of Doctor John Watson:

Reaching the door to the cellar, Holmes held out a hand, holding me back. “Something else, Watson,” he said, keeping his voice low. “I wonder if you noticed?”

“Noticed what,” said I.

“The grocer’s boy, of course.”

I rubbed my chin thoughtfully. “He’s not family, if that’s what you mean?”

Holmes slapped me on the arm. “Precisely, Watson, so why was he set up as a sacrifice?”

I shrugged. “Perhaps Lambton thought it didn’t matter.”

The Great Detective shook his head solemnly. “You are forgetting this is very much a family affair.”

“Oh, good heavens,” I said. “You mean…?”

“Yes Watson, I’ll wager the grocer’s boy was the illegitimate son of one of the Lambton brothers. And what’s more, the whole family must have known it.” With that, he began to descend the steps into the cellar, following the sound of voices.

As I hurried along behind him, I couldn’t help feeling there was another vital clue we were missing in this mystery. Something that had so far eluded even Sherlock Holmes.

At the foot of the stairs, we found ourselves in a small room lit by a paraffin lamp. Well-stocked wine cabinets filled half the space, along with several shelves of English cheeses. A half-empty knife rack stood next to these and I made a mental note to cut myself a slice of Double Gloucester on my way out. A door to our left led through into the next chamber. Picking up the lamp, Holmes pushed it open.

“Ah,” said Doctor Lecter. “Good of you to join us.” His smile was as enigmatic as ever, but there was nothing else in the room to grin about. A trestle table had been set up in the centre and on this lay the mangled body of the grocer’s boy, partially covered by a bed sheet. Mary and Lord Lambton stood to one side, staring at the body. Glancing around the room, I wondered why three new trestle tables had been stacked in the corner. However, any thoughts I might have had on the matter were interrupted when Holmes stepped towards the corpse.

Pulling the sheet away from the body, he leaned over, peering at the wounds, nodding and muttering away to himself. Then, straightening up, he addressed Lecter.

“I suppose you’ve worked this out already, Hannibal?”

Lecter offered a smug grin. “Once you dismiss the notion of an actual worm…” he said, casting a spiteful glance at Lambton, “it all falls into place.”

“Humph,” said Mary. “Well it doesn’t fall into place for me.”

Lecter raised an eyebrow. “Strange, I imagined you of all people would have put the pieces together.”

[At this point, my dear wife uttered an unfeminine phrase, which I shall not reproduce here]

“After all,” continued Lecter, “you witnessed my interrogation of the three guards on the train, did you not?”

Mary frowned. “Didn’t sound much like an interrogation to me, Doctor.”

“Of course it didn’t, but then, being locked in Doctor Watson’s trunk, you weren’t in a position to view the results of my technique.”

“Oh, God,” muttered Holmes, rolling his eyes. “He’s talking about psycho-optical pre-cognitive suggestion. An American idea I believe, and in reality about as useful as a wire-mesh pisspot.” He glanced at me. “I’m writing a short monogram on the subject. You might find it of interest, Johnny.”

“Actually Holmes,” I said, adopting a sermonising tone, “I was reading up on that very subject the other day. Apparently, they’re making great strides with similar techniques in the study of the criminally insane.”

“Really?” said Holmes, with only a smidgen of sarcasm.

“Really,” said I.

“Will you two shut up?” said Mary, looking a little vexed. “I want to hear about this. Please continue, Doctor.”

Lecter winked at her. “Certainly, my dear. The methodology utilises a connected series of statements designed to appear to be on one subject, while the subliminal messages, passed on as subtext, are on another. To the layman, my interrogation was of a teasing nature, but in fact the underlying questions related exclusively to the recent murders here at Lambton Hall.”

Holmes folded his arms and tapped his foot. “So?”

“So,” said Lecter, “by observing the eye movement of the three guards, I was able to interpret their apparently meaningless answers to my questions.” He turned to Lambton. “It seems all three have lived in the village for the entirety of their lives and thus are well-versed in local gossip, which naturally includes events…” he paused and glanced at Holmes, “…such as murder.”

Lord Lambton swallowed hard. “What’s that got to do with anything?”

“Nothing,” said Lecter. “Which, as it happens, is the sum total of local knowledge in this affair.”

“What?” cried Holmes. “Are you saying no-one else knows about these killings?”

“About the killings and indeed, about worms – Lambtonite, or otherwise.”

“What the deuce does this mean?” I demanded, glaring at our host.

Holmes held up a hand. “Calm yourself, Watson. Leave this to me. “Now look here, Lambton, what the deuce does this mean?”

The old man’s face drained of colour. His arm slowly rose, one solitary finger extended towards Doctor Lecter. “It was him.”

Even before I turned to look at Lecter’s face, I heard the ‘th-th-th…’ sucking noise coming from the fiend’s mouth, and I remember thinking ‘Oh, fuck…’

The Watson Letters Vol 2 Not the 39 Steps JULY 2016 EBOOK VERSION
The Watson Letters – Volume 2: Not the 39 Steps

Second volume in this madcap adventure series.

Available from Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and Createspace eStore.

 
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Posted by on May 8, 2017 in Detective Fiction

 

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