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The French Connection…


Diary of Doctor J. Watson

Holmes
I’m writing this missive in the expectation that you will shortly return from whatever den of immorality you’re currently residing in and give me a little guidance on what sounds like an interesting case.

I called at Baker Street in the hope of a late breakfast and a tête-à-tête of the manly kind with your good self (and also to escape my dear wife’s carnal demands). However, all I found was a confused housekeeper and a noticeably absent detective. Mrs Hudson let me in and with her usual exuberance pressed her steaming muffins upon me along with a pot of Earl Grey. It seems she too is mystified by your non-appearance. Following a long explanation of exactly how much you have disrupted her routine with your ‘constant comings-in and goings-outs’, she revealed that a ‘saucy bint wiv a lopsided face’ called early yesterday morning and ‘whisked Mister ‘olmes away wiv neither a by-your-leave nor nothin’.

However, to the point of my visit: I received a letter by second post yesterday from a person named Passepartout (who I surmise is of the French variety), regaling me of his latest position as a manservant with that well-known philanthropist and inveterate shirtlifter, Phileas Phogg. It seems that Mister Phogg is to embark on a round-the-world trip as part of some ridiculous bet and Passepartout is concerned the trip may be in peril due to the machinations of one of Phogg’s associates.

I made a few inquiries at my club and discovered (via Bert the porter), that a certain person has been engaged to trail Phogg and sabotage his journey by whatever means necessary. It all sounded a bit far fetched to me, though Bert was adamant that whoever has employed the aforementioned saboteur is determined to win the bet.

On leaving my club I was in half a mind to put the whole thing down to rumour and innuendo, when I noticed a strange-looking chap watching me from the corner of the street. On realising I’d seen him, the fellow took off with some haste. Needless to say, I followed at close quarters and tracked him to a dingy boarding house of poor repute. Further probing of the landlady (and a few shillings to slacken her wanton mouth), I obtained a business card bearing the name The Hooded Claw. The card bore an address in East Londen, and while I have no desire to visit the place, it put me in mind of an old friend of ours, Bill Sikes.

In your absence I shall have a quiet word with friend Sikes and see if he can shed any light on the matter.

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Posted by on August 2, 2017 in Detective Fiction

 

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Doctor in the House…

doctor-in-the-house-350
From the Diary of Doctor Watson

It was several weeks before I saw Holmes again; following our rather drawn-out adventure at Milford Junction, my dear wife put her foot down, demanding that she and I spend some ‘quality’ time together.

Leaving the Thankyew Twins to bask in the success of their performance at The Community Hall, Much-Banter-in-the-Woods, we boarded the Midnight Express to York and booked into the Grand Hotel and Spa for a week. Indulging in a series of water sports (or ‘treatments’ as the locals call them), we allowed ourselves free rein in the pursuit of relaxation. (I shan’t go into details due to the intimate nature of some of the procedures, but suffice it to say the sessions did wonders for our connubial activities).

So it wasn’t until the following weekend on returning to Londen, that I called on Holmes at 221B Baker Street. Settling myself into my usual chair by the fire, I helped myself to a copy of The Times and one of Mrs Hudson’s jammy muffins. As is his wont, Holmes had his head buried in Amateur Detective Weekly, while puffing away on his Meerschaum and muttering the occasionally derisive comment relating to this or that article. It was therefore a good half hour before he finally addressed me:

“He’s in the other room.”

I looked up. “Sorry, what’s that, Holmes?”

My companion rolled his eyes. “I said, Watson, he’s in the other room.”

I frowned. “How did you –”

“How did I know you were going to ask about our new lodger? Elementary, my friend.” He lowered the periodical and removed the pipe from his mouth. “When you opened the door twenty seven minutes ago, you paused for a moment. I noted your left eyebrow was raised a fraction above its usual position, indicating something had irked you a little. You then blinked rapidly as your gaze fell on the plate of muffins.”

I coughed. “That may be so, but I don’t see how it relates to the lodger.”

“On the contrary, Watson. I think you understand very well. You are merely a little slow in reaching the obvious conclusions.” He paused and let out an irritatingly self-satisfied sigh. “The raised eyebrow was my first clue – having mentioned to you the news of our new tenant some weeks ago, you had naturally expected him to be present this morning. Secondly, you observed that the plate bearing the muffins was not our usual willow patterned one, and therefore you correctly surmised Mrs Hudson must have utilized that very item for our guest, leaving us with the second-best china, yes?”

“Well, yes, possibly,” I agreed, with not a little annoyance.

“And since you have not,” he went on, “posed the question of where the aforementioned individual might be, you supposed I might be keeping that vital piece of information from you.”

I shrugged. “Wouldn’t be the first time, Holmes.”

He gave me a sardonic smile. “Indeed.” Then, leaping to his feet he strode over and pulled back the partition revealing the kitchen beyond. Seated on a chair in the centre of the room, was a man. He was of about average height, quite plain-looking face and with thinning hair. His face seemed familiar, though I could not at that moment recall where I’d seen it. Scattered around the legs of the chair were several lengths of rope and a sort of face-mask, the likes of which I had previously only observed in institutions such as the Londen Asylum for the Really Rather Mad.

The stranger rose to his feet and turned his face towards me. I noted his eyes were startlingly blue and his gaze as piercing as any I have yet witnessed. An involuntary chill ran up and down my spine.

“Dr Watson, your reputation precedes you.” He held out a hand towards me and without thinking, I grasped it firmly. His fingers were icy cold and his grip unbelievably strong. I must have winced, for he gave me a half-smile and winked in an unexpectedly sensual manner.

“Oh dear,” said Holmes with a chuckle. “He’s got you now.”

I glanced at my companion, then back at the stranger. It was then I realised I was unable to remove my hand from his grip. “I say, “ said I, a tremor in my voice. “What’s this – some sort of game?”

The man held onto me for a few seconds longer, before letting go. It was then I remembered where I’d seen him before. “Oh. My. God.” I stared at Holmes. “You know who this is?”

Sherlock nodded sagely. “John Watson, meet Doctor Hannibal Lecter.”

“Hannibal the Cannibal,” I whispered.

Lecter nodded slowly. “I see my reputation too, has preceded me.” He smiled then turned to Holmes: “Be a love and tie me up again, won’t you?”

“Of course. Give me a hand, Watson.” He opened a cupboard and extracted two lengths of rope. We then spent the next few minutes tying our guest to his chair. When we’d finished, I had the curious feeling that these ropes would not hold this particular man for long.

Holmes and I stepped back into the study and my companion closed the partition. When we had seated ourselves again, he gave me an enquiring look.

“Well, I’m absolutely at a loss, Holmes,” I said, struggling to contain my anger. “What on earth are you doing with a murderer in your rooms? And more to the bloody point, why did we tie him up?”

“Doctor Lecter enjoys a challenge.”

When he said nothing more by way of explanation, I banged my fist on the arm of my chair. “Dash it all, Holmes, he’s a killer!”

“Most probably, Watson, but he’s also a psychiatrist – a very clever one.”

“Humph,” I muttered. “That’s a matter of opinion.”

“Nevertheless, Watson, Lecter was acquitted of killing and eating that busload of tourists in Bexhill-on-Sea last summer and has instead dedicated himself and his considerable talents to helping the police crack a particularly vexing case.”

“Has he? Well fucking good for him!” I slapped my hand on the chair again. “And what case might that be, or is it a secret?”

“Calm yourself, Johnny, calm yourself. You’ve heard of the Lambton Killings, I imagine?”

I had, and a particularly gruesome one it was – three members of one family had been brutally slaughtered, leaving the police baffled. “What has it to do with us?” I jerked my thumb towards the room behind us. “And that monster.”

Holmes pulled out his pipe again and rubbed the shaft thoughtfully. “I fancy we might solve it. With the good Doctor’s help, of course.”

I allowed myself a moment to digest this, then, “So we’ll be catching the train to the North?”

“Tomorrow morning, Watson.” He paused for a moment. “I’ve also come up with a rather witty title for the case.”

“I don’t want to hear it,” said I, feeling miffed that Holmes considered it perfectly normal to tread on my literary skills as well as everything else. “If it’s all the same to you, I’ll choose my own titles.”

“Very well,” declared Holmes. “Better go and pack, then, eh?”

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2017 in Detective Fiction

 

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A Bridge Too Far…

a-bridge-too-far-350
From the Diary of Doctor J. Watson

Holmes and I stood on the platform gazing down at the tracks.

“Wonder how long we’ll have to wait,” said I rubbing my hands together.

“If your account of events so far is accurate old friend, I suspect we shall hear the patter of ghostly train wheels any moment now.”

“Really? How so?”

“Elementary, Watson. As you yourself observed the return of the locomotive shortly after it first passed through the station at 11:15, whatever evil scheme they’re hatching doesn’t require much time.”

“Ah.”

A low rumble began to make itself felt. “Sorry Holmes,” I said, patting my tummy.”Haven’t eaten for a while.”

The great detective raised a finger. “Hold, Watson, on this occasion that familiar abdominal growl is not your innards but is in fact – look!”

I followed his pointing digit and saw a whirl of smoke in the distance. “Oh, my…”

“Quickly, Watson.” Holmes jumped down onto the track and I hurried after him, hoping we weren’t about to do something dangerous.

Leaping over the rails, we headed for a large bush. “Here,” Holmes crouched down behind the shrubbery and proceeded to pull a length of rope from his pocket.

“Odd item to be carrying around with you, Sherl,” I muttered as his clever fingers deftly fashioned the twine into a loop.

“Confiscated from Mrs Hudson this morning. She was using it to tie up the new lodger.”

“What new lodger?”

“Shh! I’ll tell you later. I shall endeavour to throw this lasso at an appropriate moment and with any luck it will give me enough purchase to scramble aboard the vehicle as it passes. I suggest you hang onto my coat tails.”

I did as he asked and grasped the ends of his greatcoat. We half-stood as the locomotive approached, smoke billowing and whistle screaming. I caught a glimpse of my Mary standing on the platform, her face pale in the moonlight. I imagined she must be thinking we were launching ourselves into yet another nest of metaphorical vipers. But my gaze was interrupted as the train thundered past.

Holmes straightened up and we hurried towards it, my companion hurling the rope with a quick flick of the wrist. Amazingly, the loop fell over some rail or bar on the vehicle and we were yanked forward. Holmes jumped and grabbed hold of the top of what appeared to be a trailer of some sort. He scrambled on board while I ran alongside, one hand still holding onto his coat, the other scrabbling to catch hold of anything that might allow me to heave myself up.

The smoke was thick and I could barely see a yard in front of me. My poor legs pounded like pistons in a pudding factory and had almost given way when Holmes leaned down and hoisted me up onto the platform, pulling me aboard in a rather ungainly fashion. I fell on top of him and for a moment our eyes met.

“Now, now, Watson,” he muttered. “Let’s keep our attention on the ball, eh?”

I scrambled to my feet, my arms spread wide to keep my balance as the truck bed juddered beneath us. The smoke was less of a hindrance from up here and I could see that we were standing on a low wagon with a rail around the edge. Ahead of us was another wagon with a familiar wooden crate strapped to its centre. Beyond that, the smoke obscured the exact means by which we were being conveyed forward.

Holmes took my arm. “Did you see the wheels, Watson?”

I shook my head. “Can’t say I did, old bean. Too busy trying not to get run over.”

“They bore an uncanny resemblance to those horseless carriage machineries we experienced in Edinburgh a little while back.”

“What are you saying Holmes – that this isn’t a train after all?”

“Of course it isn’t a train, you dimwit – if it weren’t for this damned smoke, we’d be able to see the slideshow from the projection device on the next carriage. It provides the lights that give the impression of a locomotive passing by. No doubt a similar device supplies the necessary sound effects.”

“But why on earth would anyone run a road vehicle on rails?”

Holmes steadied himself enough to give me one of his sardonic smiles. “If, like me, you had walked the last few hundred yards to the station, you’d have observed that the rail track ends half a mile before the platform. Clearly our Nazi friends have adapted their vehicle to travel on both road and rail.”

“But why, Holmes, why?”

Holmes grimaced. “I’m not certain yet, but I suspect we shall find out very soon. See…” He pointed ahead of us and through the smoke I discerned the outline of the swing bridge.

As we thundered towards it, I couldn’t help wonder what fate awaited us…

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2016 in Detective Fiction

 

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Lying in the Arms of Mary…

Attached to its leg 350
From the Diary of Doctor J. Watson

It was while I was snuggled up with my dear wife on our last night at Cold Comfort, that I began to run over the events of the previous few days. I tried to recall the details of my arrival, my early suspicions and of course – the murders. It was then that I remembered Henri.

Detaching myself from my good lady, I slid off the straw mattress and rooted around in my rucksack. Even in the semi-darkness, it was not difficult to guess what the cold, feathery mess was in the side pocket of the bag – the poor creature must have got himself tangled in my spare long-johns and simply passed away. (Although I realised later it was probably because I forgot to feed him).

Call it soppy sentimentalism, but I felt a tear in my eye as I knelt by the window in the half-light and cradled yet another dead body in my hands. Christ knows what I would tell Holmes – he was devoted to that bird, and the Baker Street Pigeon-Fanciers and Whippet Snatchers Club won’t be happy either.

Gazing down at the empty farmyard, I noticed Judith Starkadder crossing to the house, a bottle of scotch in one hand and Seth in the other. She glanced in my direction for a moment and waved the bottle at me. Whether this was in gratitude at the way we had foiled Flora’s murderous plans, or acknowledgement that the family fortune could (for a while, at least) remain intact, I cannot say. She disappeared into the house and (romantic soul that I am), I imagined I could hear a sense of normality descending on the farm once again.

I turned to look at Mary and wondered if she was still pissed off at Holmes for solving the mystery. Given that she had brought to light facts about the knives which I myself had missed, prompted me to wonder how my dear wife might have utilised her deductive skills in catching the killer if Holmes had not turned up. Watching her sleeping form, I determined to involve her in whatever mystery we might be called upon to tackle next.

Fumbling around in my shoe, I found my pocket watch and checked the time: it was 2AM. Sherlock would be back in Londen by now, having departed in the paddy wagon with Lestrade and the prisoner. I yawned and was about to crawl back into bed, when a sound not unlike the fluttering of wings came to my ears.

Sitting on the windowsill was a bird wearing a miniature deerstalker. For a moment, I thought perhaps Henri had come back to life, but the size of the creature quickly discharged such thoughts. I pulled the window open and allowed the owl to hop onto my arm. Attached to its leg was a message:

Watson

Arrived baker Street 20 mins ago. Mrs Hudson v. Anxious. Urgent telegram requiring our services in Transylvania.

Meet me at the boat train 9.00AM sharp.

PS Bring Mary.
PPS And stakes.

H.

I smiled. We had another case.

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2016 in Detective Fiction

 

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The Cutting Table…

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From the Diary of Doctor J. Watson

The next few hours passed like a blur as Holmes, Lestrade and I were trussed up and bundled into the back of one of those new-fangled ‘horseless carriage’ machineries and transported to the place of our execution. Had my focus not been drawn by our perilous situation, I might have admired the strange vehicle as it trundled through the dark streets of Edinburgh, clouds of noxious gas bellowing from its rear, accompanied by intermittent phart-like gurgling noises. A similar mode of transport chugged along behind, bearing Moriarty and the rest of the film crew.

We had been tied up and shoved onto the passenger seat of the vehicle, while the arsehole formerly known as Hannay sat at the wheel, casting the odd glance over his shoulder and grinning like the proverbial cat. Holmes sat beside me and (to my consternation), spent the whole journey attempting to engineer ‘a quiet smoke’. Having managed to extract his Meerschaum pipe from his top pocket using only his teeth, he gave me one of those ‘Would you mind, Watson?’ looks, and urged me to lean over his crotch to grasp his pouch with my own sturdy incisors and pull it out of his trouser pocket. How he succeeded in opening the small bag of Hard Shag, stuffing his pipe and lighting it using only his mouth and left ear, will forever remain a mystery.

Lestrade, on the other hand, was considerably less relaxed, screaming, “Arrrgggh!” and “Eeargh!” several times throughout the journey (in a surprisingly varied selection of tonal ranges). Thankfully, he eventually settled down and adopted a ‘fed-up’ expression.

We arrived at our destination in the early hours of the morning – a remote farmhouse on the outskirts of the city. In the dim light, I could make out two or three large barns. While Moriarty supervised, the three of us were manhandled off the motor vehicle and into the nearest of these, where we were made to stand in one corner of the building while the crew set things up. Once again, had I not been preoccupied with thoughts of my impending death, I might have enjoyed watching the proceedings: several large pieces of ‘set’ were arranged to resemble what I eventually realised was a representation of a stage play I’d seen at the Almeida a few months ago, entitled ‘Herr Batman Gets Cut in Half by Count Von Joker’, a piece of German-expressionistic theatre I hadn’t understood at the time, but which now made perfect sense.

“Don’t worry, friend Watson,” purred Holmes, still puffing on his pipe. “I have a plan.”

I snorted rather scornfully. “It’d better involve a bloody miracle then, or we three are about to be well and truly fucked.”

“Now, now, Watson, no need for that sort of talk. Stiff upper lip and all that.”

I didn’t bother replying as my attention was taken by the extended workbench that Moriarty’s henchman had manoeuvred into the middle of the ‘theatre’ set. Slotted in one end of the thing was a shiny circular saw, with a small steam engine fixed beneath. More worryingly, the parallel conveyor belts that ran the length of the table would ensure any item placed there would quickly be thrust towards the jagged, yet twinkling, teeth of the saw. I began to feel sick.

“Now gentlemen,” said Moriarty, tying a bloodstained apron around his waist. “Who’d like to go first?”

At this point, Lestrade gave way to his cowardly side. “It’s Holmes you want – do him, let me and the Doc go.” A familiar smell hit my nasal passages and I realised the poor chap had weed himself.

Hitchcock finished setting up the cameras and wobbled over to where we were waiting. “I assume you don’t want to rehearse this bit?”

Moriarty grinned. “I’d be happy to do a run-through, but I think Mr Holmes might find it a bit difficult. The first cut, as they say, is the deepest.” He broke into a hearty laugh.

Holmes gave him a sardonic smile. “Shoot me from the left, won’t you, Hitch? It’s my best side.”

At a signal from the Evil Genius, four henchmen dragged Holmes to the saw bench, untied the ropes that held him and strapped his manly form onto the despicable device. My companion now lay face up with his legs either side of the circular saw. It didn’t take an evil genius to work out what would happen when the machine screamed into life and the conveyor belt shunted the great detective towards his final problem.

“Wait!” I yelled. “Haven’t you forgotten something?”

Moriarty inclined his head and gave me a condescending smile. “Really, Doctor Watson? Don’t you think it’s time to give up?”

I knew I was grasping at straw-like articles, but I soldiered on. “Of course it is, any fool can see that, but I wanted to point out that you haven’t filmed the scene before this one – the one where you capture Holmes and bring him here.”

Hitchcock glanced at Moriarty. “He’s right, you know. We haven’t.”

Moriarty glared at me. “A small matter – we’ll use stooges dressed as you three. A couple of long shots should do it, I think.” He took a step towards me. “In any case, the punters won’t remember the penultimate scene, they’ll remember the last one: the one where Sherlock Holmes gets sawn in two. Mwah, hah, hah…”

The next few minutes passed in a blur (much like the earlier one), and I had to force myself to concentrate. As the circular saw started up and the set was lit, I saw Moriarty take up his position next to the staircase at the edge of the set.

“Action!” Hitchcock clicked his fingers and the next few seconds seemed to slow into some sort of slow motion that was very, very slow. I watched transfixed as Moriarty took his cue:

“And so, Mr Holmes, this is the end. I will be rid of your meddling forever. Goodbye.” He started up the staircase and moved along the gantry. The cameras tracked his progress as he looked down on Holmes, the conveyor belt juddering my friend’s nether regions ever closer to the saw.

Holmes, however, appeared unconcerned. “Do you expect me to talk?” he called.

“No Mr Holmes, I expect you to die.” Moriarty laughed again.

Holmes stared up at him. “But what about the plans for a top secret steam-powered undersea torpedo-ship designed by the famous submarine boffin Bruce Partridger?”

Moriarty sneered. “You cannot distract me from my purpose, Holmes.”

My soon-to-be-sliced companion chuckled. “You don’t know what they are, do you?”

Moriarty stopped. “I’ll have an abundance of time to peruse them, Holmes, after I’ve seen you in halves – preferably two.”

Holmes lifted his head and peered at the screaming blade. I detected a note of concern in his voice as he looked straight up at the ceiling and yelled, “I think we can safely say this would be a good time, dear brother!”

At that moment, it seemed that the whole roof of the barn was lifted away as if by some gigantic, unseen hand. The cold air gushed in and the whirling blades from the flying machines hovering above us filled the air with a great noise. Seconds later, dozens of hunky, leather-clad men descended into the barn on ropes, and in the melee that followed, Hitchcock, Buchan, Moriarty and his men were caught and tied up, Lestrade and I were set free and (most thankfully) the deft flick of a switch ensured that the circular saw juddered to a halt a mere three millimetres from the testicles of the great detective Sherlock Holmes.

“You took your bloody time,” barked Holmes to the man in the white suit.

Mycroft smiled and helped him up, then gazed around as his men dragged their prisoners into the centre of the barn. “You know me, dear brother, I like a dramatic ending.” He rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “Good thing we gave you that locating device, eh?”

Holmes stuck a hand down his trousers and fiddled around for a moment before pulling out a small metal box. “Your patented Telegraphical Steam Conduit.” He handed the device to his brother. “Indeed, as Watson pointed out, we’d have been fucked without it.”

Mycroft slipped the device into his own pocket. “I suppose you do still have the plans for the submarine?”

Holmes nodded. “Of course. In fact I never gave them to John Buchan at all – what he thought were the submarine plans was merely a design for a new type of exploding cigar I’ve been working on. Would have been rather fun if Moriarty had tried to build it.”

“So the plans are…?”

“In the safest place I could think of – inside Mrs Hudson’s knickers.”

Out of the corner of my eye, a sudden flash of Evil Genius tore towards my companion, his face fixed in a snarl of rage. I stuck out my leg and Moriarty fell in a heap on the ground.

“Ow!”

“Tch,” muttered Mycroft. “Keep him under control, can’t you?” Two of his men hauled the Evil Genius to his feet and tied him up. Again.

As we climbed into one of the steam-powered gyrocopters, I slid in behind Holmes and half-listened to the idle bickering between the brothers. Another adventure at an end, I thought, allowing myself a satisfied sigh. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help wonder if all this might have been resolved more easily and with considerably fewer threats to human life. But then, it wouldn’t have been half so much fun!

As the machine rose into the early dawn, Lestrade rested his head on my shoulder. He stank of wee, but I didn’t mind – I was already thinking about the title for this adventure…

 

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2016 in Detective Fiction

 

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Not the 39 Steps…

Not the 39 Steps blogFrom the Diary of Doctor Watson

I’m happy to report that I’m writing this from the comfort of my favourite armchair beside a roaring fire at Baker Street. My companion is tentatively fingering another of Mrs Hudson’s tea-time delights and I’m ashamed to say I’ve just finished off her hot muffins. It seems unthinkable that only a few hours ago Holmes and I faced such peril as I have rarely imagined. Only this morning, as we struggled against our bonds, I remember thinking that perhaps this would be our last adventure. But I digress…

When that wizened old crone gurgled Moriarty’s name, I admit that my blood ran cold. I turned to Holmes but his attention was on the staircase. I barely had time to follow his gaze when the crunching of splintering wood caused me to jump backwards in fright. The staircase (or what was left of it) had split in two halves, each section moving up and to the sides revealing a secret chamber beneath.

“I say,” came a voice behind us. “What’s all the kafuffle about, chaps?” Hannay squeezed between us, saw what we saw and immediately gave way at the knees. Holmes grabbed his arm and hauled him to his feet.

“Stiff upper lip, Hannay,” he barked. “Don’t let the side down.” Then switching his sharp eyes to me, muttered. “Don’t suppose that’s a gun in your pocket, Watson?”

I glanced down at myself and adjusted my stance. “Ahm, no, actually, Holmes. Just a little…excitement, don’t you know?”

My companion nodded. “Perfectly understandable, Watson, considering the gargantuan intellect that is now upon us.” And turning to the space where the staircase had been, he smiled and gave a short bow. “Ah. Professor. How lovely to see you again.”

Moriarty strode up the steps from the underground room, followed by a brace of disagreeable henchmen. “Shirley, Johnnie and Dickie. Glad you could join us.” He made a small gesture and the henchmen moved forward waving their weapons.

“Get dahn the stairs,” said one, pointing his gun at my head.

“An don’t try no funny stuff neither,” said the other.

Holmes groaned. “It’s Don’t try any funny stuff, you dullard.”

And so it was that we were ushered unceremoniously into the nerve centre of Moriarty’s villainous emporium. In a matter of minutes we were trust up on three chairs against the back wall. Moriarty advanced toward us waving a pointy knife.

“It never fails to amaze me how stupid you are, Holmesy. Even now, as you face certain death at the hands of your arch enemy – ”

“What? Again?” Holmes laughed contemptuously.

“Don’t bloody interrupt me!” Moriarty jumped up and down several times, rather like a small child might react to having their favourite toy confiscated. He took a deep breath. “As I was saying – even now you have no clue what is going on.”

“Hah!” said I. “Holmes knows exactly what’s going on, don’t you Holmes?” I turned to my companion but he merely shrugged.

“Actually I’m not entirely sure. Perhaps the Professor might care to enlighten us?”

Moriarty straightened up, preening himself. “Why, of course, I should take great delight in doing so…”

Over the next few hours Moriarty explained his elaborate plans for world domination and other mad ideas. He went into great detail regarding the subterranean passages that (apparently) ran under the city, connecting his various hideouts, arms depots and sundry meeting places. I was beginning to grow rather tired, but then I noticed Holmes was shuffling around in his chair. I suspected he’d managed to free himself using some clever device he’d had the foresight to secrete about his person in case of such an emergency. But then he let out a loud phart and I realised he was simply suffering from his usual stomach trouble. I also realised something else – if Holmes couldn’t get us out of this, nobody could.

Moriarty’s rambling continued. “…and that is why I sent a message to that fool Lestrade.” He glanced at his pocket watch. “Ah. We are to meet in a few minutes, after which I shall kill him and then all of you. Mwah, hah, hah.”

When the staircase had closed behind him and his henchmen, I turned to Holmes. “Well?”

“Well what?” said he.

I sighed loudly. “You do have a plan?”

“Of course, Watson.” And he smiled.

 

To be continued.

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2016 in Detective Fiction

 

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Some Murders are Announced…

By Carrier Pigeon to Inspector Lestrade

Best Beef
My Dear Lestrade

I am writing to advise you of the current situation vis a vis Messrs Sherlock Holmes and Doctor John (Big Boy) Watson. If you have been exercising your underemployed observational skills recently, you may be aware that the aforementioned pair evaded your constables and boarded a train to Edinburgh, and further, that the well-known novelist and misanthrope Richard (mine’s a pint) Hannay had engaged them in a bid to solve a mystery pertaining to yet another of his lacklustre tales of woe, ‘The Thirty-Nine Steps’.

I am at this moment entertaining this trio of tiresome tricksters at one of my lodging houses near the Anatomical Museum – an unintentional, but rather fitting geographical location, considering the procedures I have in mind for the three unfortunates.

Naturally, I wouldn’t as a rule choose to enlighten ‘The Fuzz’ regarding my preparations for what I imagine you would term ‘a triple murder’, but my enjoyment of a good brawl has thus far remained unfulfilled (Holmes in particular is being somewhat droll in his attempts at retaliation, and Watson is a useless twat at the best of times). I should be obliged, therefore, if you would be good enough to hop on the next train. We could meet for a drink in a quaint little hostelry just off Fleshmarket Close known as The Stab Inn, where I shall take pleasure in availing you of my plans. This will allow you, should you so wish, to attempt a rescue, and that in turn, will add (I hope) the necessary modicum of excitement to the proceedings to make it worth my while.

Should you not wish to attend, I shall be happy to post the various body parts back to Baker Street for the delectation of that slattern Mrs Hudson, labelled, of course, as ‘Finest Scottish Beef’. It would tickle me to imagine the silly cow stuffing her favourite detective into one of her ghastly pies.

I look forward to killing you seeing you later,

Yours murderously
Professor Moriarty

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2016 in Detective Fiction

 

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