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Reflections of Doom…

Three Knives 350
From the Diary of Doctor J. Watson

Having carried the body of the former police officer upstairs, Flora, Mary and myself laid him out next to the similarly lifeless corpses of Adam Shitebreath and Aunt Ada Doom. The double bed was getting a little crowded.

“If there’s any more murders, we’ll have to start putting them in the wardrobe!” Flora’s voice had a merry tone to it, but I could barley raise a smile.

I turned to my wife and grasped her bony fingers. “Mary, would you help me examine the murder weapons, please?”

She nodded enthusiastically. “Delighted.”

I had taken the blade from the latest victim and placed it on the dressing table next to the other one. Mary crouched down and peered at the knives.

“These two have the same markings on the handles, Johnny.” Mary looked up at me with a grim expression. “They’ve been used by the same person. A left-handed person.”

I rolled my eyes round in my head, trying to focus on the problem. More specifically, I wondered what Holmes would make of it. No doubt he’d be able to see through the fog that clouded my deductive abilities. “Even so,” I ventured, “Anyone could have picked up either of these knives and committed murder.”

Mary shook her head. “To use a baking metaphor, these killings have a leftish whisk action to them – you see dear, the angle of entry in each case shows the stabbing action was made by a left-handed person.”

I cleared my throat noisily. “I hardly think whisking comes into it…”

But my wife was not to be outdone. “I’m not making this up, Johnny – there’s an obvious modus operandi in the killer’s method of attack. Actually, there was a lovely article on that very subject in The Police Gazette last week.” She gave me a rueful smile. “You should read more, dear.”

“Pshaw!” I muttered. “Police Gazette? Codswallop. I wouldn’t wipe my bottom on that piece of trash.”

“I’m afraid I agree with Mary, “ said Flora in a small voice. “It makes the most sense.”

“Oh, I see,” I rejoindered. “Makes sense does it? And the only left-handed person in the house is..?”

Flora pouted. “Well – Adam.”

“Exactly – so how in God’s name do you imagine the man not only killed himself, but then stabbed someone else after he himself was already dead, eh? And that’s assuming that he was the one who killed Ada Doom in the first place.” I waved my hands expansively. “Explain that if you can.”

The two women looked at each other.

I harrumphed and turned to look out the window. “See? You can’t, can you, and d’you know why?”

While I waited for their response, my eyes scanned the farmyard below, where the rest of the family and various workers were gathering in the gloom. As I watched, Judith Starkadder began pointing up at me, gesticulating at what I took to be my right shoulder. Only half-aware she might be trying to tell me something, I nevertheless continued with my train of thought.

“Well, Mary? Got an explanation, have you, dear?” I glared at her reflection in the bedroom window. But even as the words left my lips, I realised my mistake. As Sherlock Holmes himself would say – When you have eliminated the impossible, Watson, that which remains must be the truth. I stared at my wife’s reflection and took in the scene behind her: the naked body of Adam Shitebreath had heaved itself off the bed and was striding towards the unsuspecting women, it’s left hand raised high above its head. Clasped in its (apparently) undead grip, was a large kitchen knife.

I whirled round and opened my mouth to scream, but all that came out was “Oh, fu – ”

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2016 in Detective Fiction

 

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The Unusual Suspects…

Mrs Watson at the Fence 350

From the Diary of Doctor J. Watson

Had my voice possessed an ounce of the gravitas of Sherlock Holmes, I am in no doubt the entire gathering would have suspended their movements entirely. Sadly, this did not happen, and instead every person in the room (save Flora and myself) began screaming and running around. However, in the instant before this travesty occurred, I caught a glimpse of Seth’s face and I could swear there was a gleam of vengeance in his dark eyes. Though it might have been shock, I suppose. Or dismay. In any case, I determined to advance his name to the top of my list of suspects, followed closely by Judith, Amos and Elfine (whose innocent, virgin-like charm is surely a front).

The sharp retort of my revolver brought the madness to a standstill, and every face turned towards me. I slipped my trusty weapon back into my trousers and allowed a very serious expression to take up residence on my ruddy features. “No-one must leave this room.” I narrowed my eyes for added effect.

“Aw, gorn zuk yer bollecks.” The voice came from a farm-hand in the corner. “Yorn thenk Oim gonner ang round ere time yer werk out oo mur’drer is, yer can gorn get fuck’d.” He nodded his fat head, lest there be any doubt vis a vis his intentions.

I glared at the man, then muttered, “That’s alright, you can go. But the rest of you stay right here!”

For a long moment no-one moved, then as one, the entire assemblage fled the scene via the stairs, window, dumb waiter and kitchen door. Three seconds later, only Flora, myself and the dead man were left in the room.

“That went well.” Flora patted my arm. “Never mind, you did your best.”

I grunted. “Best wasn’t good enough, though. Was it?” I sniffed and headed for the back door. “Just going to have a quick word with Ho…” I caught myself in time and coughed loudly.

Flora’s brow developed a frown. “Have a quick word with who?”

“Oh, er…H-Ho-Hossenfeffer. One of the bovine creatures.”

“Really? I don’t know that one.”

“Yes.” I nodded vigorously to hide my embarrassment. “I’ve developed a bit of a relationship with some of those lovely, er, cows.” Her frown increased, so I added, “There’s nothing sordid about it, Flora – I just talk to them.”

“Well, I’ll stay here and watch the er…” She pointed to the dead man.

“Yes. By the way, who is he?”

She cleared her throat. “You don’t want to know.”

It was my turn to frown. “Yes, I do, actually.”

She shook her head. “No, you don’t.”

“I most certainly do, Flora. Now spit it out – who is he?” I went to thump my hand on the table for emphasis, but missed and slapped my thigh instead. Unfortunately, my automatic reaction to that particular gesture, prompted me to shout ‘Hurrah!’ like a pantomime dame. I coughed again.

Flora graciously turned her gaze to at the floor. “You recall I told you the policeman who came up here was never seen again?”

I nodded, a sickening feeling growing in my loins.

She pointed to the corpse. “That was him. Undercover detective Sergeant Flange.”

My mouth dropped open. I closed it. “Flange? You mean like an outcrop or protuberance?”

“Don’t be a dick, Johnny. That’s just his name – Flange.”

“Oh. Right, well you stay here and I’ll just go and converse with my, ahm, bovine associates…” I headed for the door.

Outside it was already dark and I took a few gulps of fresh air – or rather, air tinged with cowshit and stale urine, but at least fresher than that of the room I’d vacated. Crossing the yard, I made my way down to the field where I’d seen Holmes, but it was so gloomy, I could barely make out the edge of the fence. Leaning over, I tried my best to effect a loud whisper. “Sherl! Sherlock! Where are you?”

A sudden noise behind me caused my to whirl round and pull out my gun, waving it in front of my face. “Don’t you bloody kill me too, you murdering bastard whoever you are…”

A figure slid out of the darkness towards me. “Well, that’s a nice way to greet your beloved.”

My wife stopped and smiled, and for once the sight of her gappy teeth and wonky eyes filled me only with relief, and dare I say it – love. “Thank the Lord,” I gushed. “My darling Mrs Watson – am I glad to see you!”

She handed me her bag and turned to wave at someone in the field. A gush of hot vapour and a pounding of Bakelite on rubber told me a steam-powered gyrocopter was in the throes of taking off. I frowned – only one man could have arranged such a mode of transport.

As the huge machine lifted into the night sky, my wife stepped forward and slipped a hand round my waist. “You don’t object to Mycroft dropping me off, do you, darling?”

I harrumphed. “I wasn’t aware you were acquainted with him. You’ve always given the impression you couldn’t stand to be near either of the Holmes’ boys.”

She rolled her eyes. “No, dear, it’s only Sherlock who gets on my tits – Mycroft and I frequently have tea together, in fact that’s what we were doing when your telegraph arrived. How else could I have got here so quickly?” She snuggled her nose into my shoulder and made that infernal purring noise that always gets me going.

“Well, you’re here now.” I lowered my voice. “Listen – there’s been another murder.”

Her eyes lit up. “Excellent! Lead me to it.” She paused, then “I’m doing this on the understanding you include me in your journals. And you’re to be truthful – I won’t be the butt of your smutty innuendos or those caustic comments about my womanly needs.” She raised an eyuebrow. “Clear?”

“Of course, dear.” Inwardly, I groaned. Outwardly, I smiled. “I shall write you as you are. For the most part…” As I pulled out my notebook, my wife set off up the track towards the farm.

 
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Posted by on June 16, 2016 in Detective Fiction

 

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The Last Breath of Adam…

The Last Breath of Adam 350
From the Diary of Doctor J. Watson

On examining the corpse, I was gratified that at least he did not have a large pointy object sticking out of his chest – the sight of blood at that time of night was more than I could have borne. The marks around Mr. Shitebreath’s neck indicated he had been strangled (although I admit the presence of a length of rope in the vicinity of his collar, did help qualify this conclusion).

“Who could have done this,” muttered Flora, descending the stairs.

I looked at her. “More to the point – why is he naked?” I glanced down at Adam’s nether regions and wondered at nature’s methodology in awarding a small man such a large appendage. I’m only glad my dear wife was not present to witness such unnecessary cockage, since I could imagine how the conversation would run, come bedtime.

“Oh,” said Flora. “That’s easy – Adam always washed the dishes in the nude. He claimed it saved his clothes getting wet from waving his cletterin stick”

I walked across to the stone sink and studied the evidence. The cletterin stick was on the window sill as usual, while the dishes were all washed and draining at the side. I peered out the window. Four farm hands were standing idly in the yard, peering back at me. No doubt Flora’s screams had brought them running, though clearly their eagerness to discover the cause had not sustained their curiosity enough to prompt them to actually enter the house.

“I want to speak to everyone. Now.”

Flora waved a hand at Adam’s body. “Shouldn’t we move him first?”

I coughed. “Yes of course, I’ll cover him up, but it is imperative that I question everyone while their individual movements are still fresh in their minds.”

Flora nodded. “I’ll gather them together.” After she had departed, I covered Adam’s body with a bed sheet, but not before noticing that he had a quantity of cottage cheese between his fingers. Curiouser and curiouser.

Ten minutes later, I stood on the stairs gazing at the whole family and several of the workers. I studied the list of names Flora had kindly provided and tried to work out which was which. Since I’d had little contact with the Starkadders as a whole, I allowed myself a moment to put names to faces:

Judith and her son Seth stood by the fireplace, and noting their physical proximity to one another, I was reminded of a conversation I’d had with Flora and her implication that an ‘unhealthy relationship’ might be under way. Judith’s pouting mouth and wandering hands did little to dismiss this theory. Next to them stood Judith’s husband Amos, who busied himself with caressing the breasts of Mrs. Beatle, the cleaning lady. Only the waiflike Elfine (as rare a beauty as I’ve ever set eyes on) seemed not to have her hands full, or her bounties fondled. Arms folded across her ample chest, she stared back at me with eyes that could light a fire or two on a dark night.

Dragging my gaze away from hers, I took in the various half-brothers, cousins, half-cousins, third-cousins, second uncles, wayward aunts and other relations that stood around the room. It occurred to me that almost everyone in the house seemed to be romantically preoccupied with someone else to whom they were related, but not married. If the motive for killing Ada Doom had been money (understandable), there might be more than a dozen possible suspects, but in the case of Adam Shitebreath, I couldn’t see what possible reason there might be for his murder.

“Good evening,” I began when the general hubbub had subsided. “As you know, there has been another death…” I paused, allowing my eyes to skim across the assembled group in the hope the guilty party might give themselves away with an involuntary shudder or self-conscious twitch, but all faces were turned towards me, and even Judith Starkadder removed her busy hands from her son’s trousers to listen to what I had to say.

“I would like you all to line up and give me a few minutes of your time so that I may take details of your whereabouts during the last half an hour.” I waited for the expected growl of annoyance, but they simply nodded their heads and quietly formed into an orderly queue. For a moment, I wondered if there was some sort of mass conspiracy going on involving them all. Glancing at Flora, I saw from her expression that the same thought had occurred to her.

Moving to a small table at the other end of the kitchen I prepared myself to take the first statement.

The first to sit down opposite me was Judith herself, hanging on to her son’s hand. “I was upstairs.” She glanced at Seth.

“I see,” said I, making a note of this. “And were you alone?”

She shook her head and smirked. “Let’s just say I have an alibi.”

“Or an accomplice,” I suggested. Her smile fell away and she sniffed in a rather sniffy way.

“Anyway, I didn’t kill him. Why would I?”

“That’s what I’m trying to find out.” I gave her a hard stare, but she merely stared back.

“Very well, I said. “That’s all for now.”

Judith stood up. “Appen you should be looking elsewhere for murderers.” And with that she walked off. I turned to my next interviewee.

“Oright Dotter Watton, what yer antin ter know, en?”

I took a deep breath and studied the man’s face. “And who might you be?”

“Oi be yer prime witness, that oo.” He grinned. “Cos Oi did saw oo did in owld Adam.”

I leaned forward. “Really? Go on.”

The man’s face seemed to freeze in an expression of smiling benevolence. Then it sagged, lost its grin and his eyes rolled back in his head. For a moment I wondered if he was having a seizure, but then his head dropped and he slumped across the table, emitting a low groan. I immediately discerned the probable cause of this change in his demeanour – there was a knife sticking out of his back.

“Oh, for fuck’s sake…” I leaped up and threw out my hands. “Nobody move!”

The Watson Letters Vol 1 5_25x8_Cream_110 NEW COVER copy
The Watson Letters – Volume 1: Something Wicker This Way Comes

 
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Posted by on June 12, 2016 in Detective Fiction

 

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