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Something Wicker this Way Comes (Again)…

From the Diary of Dr J Watson:

The next day Holmes and I made our way to the rendezvous as described on the invitation. I must admit to feeling some degree of trepidation as we approached the hill above the village. Following the path up to the summit, we caught glimpses of the bizarre structure ahead of us and then, emerging into the clearing, we gazed upon the thing itself, as it stood proudly on the summit, gazing out across the bay.Mrs Moriarty

“My God, Holmes,” I exclaimed. “It’s…it’s…it’s…”

“Yes, Watson,” muttered my companion. “It’s me.”

I was struck by a curious mix of terror and admiration as we beheld the strange sight before us. The Wicker man must have been more than thirty feet high, it’s features cleverly shaped into a form I was only too familiar with. “Holmes – it’s you!”

“You have a gift for repetition, Watson,” said Holmes. “Indeed, a good likeness, though currently unfinished, I think.” He peered around the clearing and raising his hand pointed to a lone figure standing some yards from the wicker structure. “Our adversary, I believe.” And with that he strode forward.

Hurrying after him, I kept my gaze on the man before us, struggling to make out his face. As we approached, the stranger lifted his head.

“My God, Holmes,” I began, but my friend held up a hand.

“For a writer, Watson, you appear to be somewhat in short supply of suitable expletives.”

“Sorry, Holmes, what I meant was – Fucking Hell.”

Holmes nodded and turned to the stranger. “Mrs Moriarty, I believe?”

The woman in black nodded as she tore away the whiskers, beard, moustache and false nose. “Yes, Mr Holmes and I am here to take my revenge on you for the death of my husband.” With a quick movement, she snapped her fingers and a horde of swarthy individuals jumped out of the bushes and surrounded us, throwing ropes and chains around our feet and hands. Moments later, they were carrying us to the wicker figure and in an instant, I understood what Holmes had been referring to – we were to be encased in wicker and bound to the effigy’s legs. We were, in short, its feet.

As our captors lashed our struggling forms into place, I glanced at my companion. “Er Holmes…I hope this was part of your plan…”

Holmes gave me a sardonic smile. “Have faith, Watson.” And with that he began manipulating his mouth in such a way that for a moment I half-expected him to pull one of his famous ‘gurning’ faces, but then I saw the short metal tube emerge from his puckered lips and a second later he blew through that same tube with all his might. As I expected, there was no sound, but suddenly the paws of a gigantic hound were upon us, its slavering jaws biting and tearing at our bonds amidst shouts of anger from the gang.

As we fell to the ground, the yells of the villains reached a crescendo as Scooby Doo rounded them up, while Shaggy shouldered his blunderbuss and aimed it at the baddies.

“Just in the nick of time, Mr Rogers,” said Holmes, dusting himself down. “Though I’m sure we could have tarried a little longer.” He turned to the woman in black, who was splayed on the ground with one of Scooby’s massive paws in the middle of her ample chest.

“Time to unmask the real villain, I think.” And Holmes stepped forward and grasped the woman’s hand.

“My God, Holmes,” I began, then “Sorry. I meant, heavens to Betsy, it’s Bertha Mason, the mad woman in the attic!”

“Yes,” said Holmes, revealing the horrendous burns that ran up and down the woman’s arms. “The unfortunate Mr Rochester’s former wife who everyone assumed had died in the fire at Thornfield Hall.”

I frowned. “So, not Mrs Moriarty, then?”

Holmes laughed. “Of course not, Watson. You see, if you had read the invitation properly you would have understood the message.”

“Sorry, Holmes, what…?”

The great detective sighed. “Colonel Sebastian Moran is an anagram.” He paused. “I see this information has not enlightened you Watson, so I will expand. It is an anagram of collarbones emanations’ which is of course completely meaningless, or to put it another way…”

“Entirely mad.” Said I.

Holmes nodded. “And since Bertha Mason is the only entirely mad person I have ever come across who might bear a grudge against me, it follows that only she could be behind such a meaningless venture. Clearly, she was able to fool Moriarty’s former associates, but unfortunately her obsession with fire has been her downfall.”

“But Holmes, this case began because Shaggy enlisted our help..”

“Indeed,” said Holmes, with a curious smile. “Bertha seems to have become a little mixed up in her literary associations, thinking that our colleague Scooby Doo was in fact, the Hound of the Baskervilles.”

“Ah,” I said.

“You don’t understand, do you?” Said Holmes as we walked away.

“Can’t say I do, to be honest, Holmey.”

“Never mind, Watson, never mind.”

Watson

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Posted by on October 17, 2015 in Detective Fiction

 

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Telegram Sam(oriarty)…

From the Diary of Dr J Watson:

Having ensconced ourselves atOld Woodward Place copy The Old Woodward Place, Holmes and I endeavoured to make our surroundings as comfortable as possible (given the recent threat to our very existence). Shaggy took his ridiculous hound for a walk while I toasted crumpets on a rather ‘homely’ fire, knocked up a jug of hot chocolate and waited for Holmes to finish his ablutions.

“Remind me to avoid Wild Rabbit Curry in future, Watson – the damn stuff has given me a roaring dose of the runs.”

“Rather like the rabbit itself, then,” I chuckled.

Holmes gave me a sardonic smile and seated himself in one of the two armchairs by the fire. I handed out my wares and we settled down to discuss the case.

Holmes unfolded the ‘telegram’ again. “So, Watson, according to this we have until tomorrow night to solve this caper before something devilish occurs.” He peered at me over the top of his reading spectacles.

“You have a plan, I take it?”

My companion nodded. “Indeed, though it relies rather too heavily on our laidback friend for my comfort.” He paused, then “But since it is the only plan, we must take it and run with it. Run, in fact, being the operative word. If I’m right, the only way to bring an end to this affair is to allow ourselves to fall into Moriarty’s trap. At which point, we will of course escape the ravages of the burning effigy and effect a capture.”

I swallowed hard. “Surely you don’t mean that we should follow the instructions on the telegram?”

“Of course, Watson. How else can we be sure of success?”

I shook my head and wondered if I should take a few minutes to write a farewell letter to my dear wife, just in case.

Holmes sipped his hot chocolate and smacked his lips. “The game’s afoot, Watson. And I do mean, a foot…” He gave me one of his Confucius-type smiles and turned to gaze into the fire.

To be continued.

Watson

 

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2015 in Detective Fiction

 

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The Message…

From the Diary of Dr J Watson:

The journey to Scarborough was a pleasant enough one and Holmes and I spent the most part of it in quiet contemplation. I read the first few chapters of the latest Stephanie Kingie gothic horror novel (‘Miserly’ – the tale of a Scrooge-like character who finds himself confined to a remote hovel with a deranged former nurse during a snowstorm), while my companion immersed himself in composing a monograph concerning the traditional rituals of Mongolian tribesmen within the wider cultural context of angoran sweaters.

The pony and trap that collected us from the station was driven by a rather dour chap by the name of Pierrepoint, who had the irritating habit of turning a beady eye on us every few minutes and commenting on my, or my companion’s, height, weight or likelihood of committing murder. After a tedious hour of winding through lanes and byways, he dropped us at the village pub in Snot-on-the-moor, where we’d arranged to meet Mr Rogers.

Holmes was quiet until we had ordered food and ensconced ourselves in a corner near the fireplace. Finally, he turned to me and observed:

“I suppose you know who is behind all this wicker malarkey, Watson?”

I made on I was considering this while fiddling with the crockery for our meal, but since I had not one solitary hint as to the answer, I eventually replied with my tried and trusted answer:

“Sorry, Holmes, not a clue.”

Holmes chuckled to himself as if he’d somehow got one over on me again (Which of course he had). “Moriarty, Watson.”

“Oh, Holmes, for God sake!” I cried. “Will you never let this go? The man is dead.”

My friend gave me a piercing look. “Or is he?” Pulling a piece of paper from his inside pocket, he unfolded the sheet and handed it to me.

“It’s a telegram, Holmes.”

“No, Watson, it is a cleverly constructed representation of a telegram, intended to have us believe that it was sent by Colonel Sebastian Moran.”

“But he’s dead too, isn’t he?” Said I, skimming the details of the message.

Holmes gave me a grim stare. “He should be, Watson – I killed him myself. But this so-called telegram suggests not.”

“It says here that you and I are invited to attend a murder.” But Holmes, what can it mean?”

“It means,” said my companion, his small eyes staring into the fire, “that we are in great danger.” He looked up and his expression changed to one of apparent delight. “Ah Mr Shag and Mr Scoob. How lovely to see you.”

Shaggy Rogers stood in front of us, grinning widely, whole his ridiculously large and stupid hound nuzzled its face into my crotch.

“Whoa, dudes, what’s goin’ on, man?” Shaggy shook both our hands vigorously, then his smile faded and in a low voice he said, “You guys are in great danger.”

Holmes gave me a sardonic smile. “I trust you thought to bring your revolver, Watson?”

I nodded. “No, but I’ve still got a bag full of Mrs Hudson’s crunchy pies.”

To be continued

Watson

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2015 in Detective Fiction

 

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Something Wicker This Way Comes…

from Dr J Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

Holmes,Wicker-Mannie-for-web
I’ve just had a rather disturbing communication from our old pal Norville (Shaggy) Rogers, who has got himself embroiled in another one of those Wicker Mannie situations. Apparently, he and that idiot hound of his are holed up in what he refers to as ‘The Old Woodward Place’ in the village of Snot-on-the-moor, near Scarborough, Yorkshire.

Shaggy claims that a group of ‘wickery fanatics’ are at this very moment constructing a gigantic effigy on the beach that bears a remarkable resemblance to your good self. Now, I know what you’re thinking, Holmes, and before you dismiss this as mere pagan nonsense, I urge you to recall the tormented death of poor old Eddy Woodward, for it is that very individual’s former residence that Mr Rogers is currently occupying. And as you are so fond of saying, Holmes, ‘there’s no such thing as a coincidence, Watson, and pass the biscuits.’

Call me a superstitious fool, but I think it would be only sensible that we investigate these curious events at our earliest convenience.

I shall make the necessary arrangements and call for you this evening. I trust you will be able to drag yourself away from whaever indulgent diversion you are engaged in. (It might also be prudent to pack a bag of Mrs Hudson’s crunchy pies to sustain us on the trip).

Yours
Watson

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2015 in Detective Fiction

 

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