From Dr Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:
(From the diary of Dr Watson)
Our arrival in Leicester was, unlike our train journey, uneventful. Holmes and I were met at the station by a spectacularly dull policeman by the name of Oats, who kept making banal comments about how satisfied his wife was. The man conveyed us by hackney carriage to a police station somewhere on the south side of the city.
Edward Marshall Hall met us at the front desk and thankfully whisked us away from the unintelligent constable to a public house around the corner, where we feasted on some local delicacy. He went over the facts of the case with us and after lunch we were taken to the scene where the woman’s body was found – the Via Devana road, next to a farm gate.
Holmes and Hall pondered over the scene for some time while I made notes about the possible route taken by the victim, Miss Wright, that might have led her to this terrible fate.
That evening, we dined on mince and potatoes, then Holmes excused himself and went off for a walk. I retired to my room to update my diary and had been there only a short while when a note appeared under my door:
Watson – No doubt you will have been irritated, frustrated and slightly alarmed in turn on hearing the news from Mrs Hudson that I did not show up at the expected hour to be able to receive you chez moi the other evening; you likely fell in to one of your morose, grumpy moods alternating between slightly peeved silence, and voluble, slightly agitated verbosity – I know them well….however, you would, had you known the reason for my absence, have experienced the sensation of an icy hand grasping your vitals and tightening ever more painfully to inflict the maximum levels of discomfort and panic – I can almost feel it myself now…..Listen carefully, and I shall begin…
My suspicions where immediately aroused by the reference to Holmes and I’s meeting a few nights ago. Clearly, this must be the work of The Black Moriarty’s again. However, it was also possible that Holmes had been kidnapped and that this was some sort of precursor to a ransom note. I hastened to the front door with the intention of following in my companion’s footsteps.
As I flung open the inn door, Holmes himself staggered inside, grasping his arm. “Holmes!” I cried, supporting him as he stumbled into the public bar. “What on earth…?”
But my words where cut short when Holmes caught sight of the note (which was still in my hand). “Ah-ha” he exclaimed. “As I suspected.” He gave me a long stare. “Thankfully, our friends, the Black Moriartys are not well coordinated; otherwise you might now be considering a blackmail threat.”
He pulled up a stool at the bar and ordered milk stout for both of us. “Unfortunately, my assailant was able to get his knife into me, so as soon as I have a few drinks and a quiet smoke by the fire, you had better cast your medical expertise over my wound.”
I had to admire Holmes – at a time when normal people would be screaming blue murder, Sherlock Holmes would not alter his night-time routine – even if it meant that he might bleed to death. What a trooper.