Monthly Archives: November 2014

Ode to a Genevan Urn…

from Dr J Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

Villa Diodati, Geneva
(from the Diary of Dr Watson)

Our arrival at the villa was celebrated in true Byronesque style with a Mexican Mariachi band, who lauded us with a curious rendition of Old Mother Mine, while Lord Byron plied us with the local plonk and showed off his club foot (to much applause form the locals).

Having left us to unpack, Byron, Percy and Mary, promptly went off to the village. Holmes and myself, flagging somewhat from the journey, spent an hour or so lazing around on the terrace enjoying the scenery. After an hour or so, the weather turned colder, so we hastened up to our rooms, where I sat by the window, glad of the opportunity to relax.

Apparently, there’s a storm on the way, and the ‘Romantics’ as Shell and By are now calling themselves, are planning some sort of writing exercise as a means of diversion. Holmes, needless to say, is not amused and is, as usual, chomping at the bit for a mystery. I will do my utmost to endear him to our companions, since it would not make our stay terribly agreeable if the old fart goes into one of his ‘huffs’.

As I write this, I can hear the poets returning, so I shall check on my companion and make my way down for dinner.

To be continued


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Posted by on November 29, 2014 in Detective Fiction


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Ode to the Benefits of Prime Shag…

from Sherlock Holmes Esq to Dr J Watson:

Watson –  You will think me somewhat rude, but I should be obliged if you could conduct a somewhat surreptitious test on our worthy domestic Mrs Hudson on your arrival, as I am becoming rather concerned as to the condition of her faculties. 

Only 5 minutes previously, she burst in on my Ablutions (which in itself was rather embarrassing, as I was immersed in personal, private matters) and announced, through the keyhole (as I had asked her, a tad brusquely, perhaps, to remove her presence from the smallest room, to which she replied, a mite sharply, in my opinion, that I should Jolly well lock the Bloody thing then), that there was an Invitation on the Mantelpiece, which had been sat sitting there since Saturday. 

After demanding why she had not informed me earlier of said Correspondence, the woman had the cheek to turn the blame on to my good self, complaining that I had been too wrapped up in my own affairs to pay attention to her attempts at communication, as usual, and went off muttering to herself, and asking unseen entities whether they would be able to put up with it – whatever “it” may be. 

Anyhow, having brushed myself down, and settled in to my Thinking Chair, I sliced the beggar open with my pocket-knife, and found it to be a Letter of Invitation for us both to join the reprobate Shelley, his common-law wife and her step-sister Claire, plus that scoundrel Byron, in Geneva ,for as long as we cared to join them. I harbour no illusions as to the reason for this invite –  simply my acquaintance with your good self and your access to Pharmaceutical substances – the pair have long attempted to harass me in their attempts to obtain “the Goods” – however, I have a mind to acquiesce on this occasion, as I believe we could have some sport here, and you may get a couple of good Stories out of it. 

Mull it over, and let me know what you think when you call round; ( by the way, amongst Hudson’s mutterings and remonstrations, I heard the phrases “if they think they’re having any of my Scented Foreign Fancies, they’ve another think coming!”  and  “my Puffed Custard Pillows are Definitely out-of-bounds!”   

Of course, we both know her bark is worse than her bite, so Fear Not! my friend, we shall be dribbling her mutton pie grease down our chins as always, in front of a roaring fire, amid clouds of Prime Shag, chuckling conspiratorially at exploits passed and still, tantalisingly, to come.

I await your presence, your friend, somewhat excited,


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Posted by on November 22, 2014 in Detective Fiction


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Duke de Richleau – Unmasked..

from Sherlock Holmes Esq to Dr J Watson:

Dear Watson
My apologies for the lack of response to your recent communications – I have been engaged on a matter of utmost secrecy concerning the future of the British Government. Needless to say, the villains are now residing in Pentonville and the Prime Minster has assured me that I will be receiving a Christmas Card this year.

Now, to the matter of our friend Wheatley. I trust you will not be too perturbed to learn that this case too, is now solved. Already I sense your jaws tightening, Watson, as you flagellate yourself lightly on the buttocks in frustration, but since I would not desire you to chomp too ardently at the proverbial bit, I will summarise the events leading up to my ‘unmasking’ of Duke de Richleau:

You will be aware of my apparent behaviour during our last visit to Wheatley’s house and how I appeared to succumb to the delights of his rather fine port, as well as stealing one of his sandals (just a bit of fun). However, this (as I’m sure you have guessed by now) was simply a ploy. I wished to appear somewhat lackadaisical and indifferent to our host’s story, since (as you know) our clients will often be less forthcoming if they think the great Sherlock Holmes is paying close attention.

Perhaps you will recall how I lost interest in Wheatley’s tale altogether after he had mentioned the Chapman fellow? In fact, Watson, I was already aware of the events at Wheatley’s club because (cue suitable music) I was Chapman!

You well know my penchant for dressing up old chum, so you will not be surprised to learn that I was able (after plying the aforementioned attendant with several brandies), to persuade the fellow to take an evening off. His height and build are similar to my own, so it was an easy matter to create a suitable hairpiece and whiskers. His monocle too, was a nice touch, though the tattoo of our own dear Queen on my forehead was perhaps  further than I had wished to go – apparently the damn things don’t come off. However, needs must, and suitably attired in Chapman’s clothes, I hung about the Reform Club’s toilet’s until my target happened along.

The rest of Wheatley’s tale happened just as he related, except for one minor detail: the Duke de Richleau (or anyone impersonating him), was not present. What I observed was how Wheatley did indeed walk to the corner of the room where he began to question his own reflection closely. As to the so-called ramblings of Richleau, they were of course Mr Wheatley’s own. When he grabbed hold of the mirror and demanded that it make its intentions plain, I required no further proof.

Ah-ha, I hear you ask, but if you already knew this (my handsome and intelligent friend), why bother to visit the fellow again at his home the other night? Well, Watson, having spent some time with the renowned psychiatrist Sigmund Hosseffeffor, I took his advice and allowed Wheatley to relate the story to us. This proved beyond doubt that the fellow is (to utilise the correct terminology) completely off his bloody head.

As we speak, Wheatley is on his way to the Bedlam Insane Asylum, where I’m assured the nice people there will know what to do with him.

Now, since there is nothing else on the horizon, perhaps you will join me in gobbling a few of Mrs Hudson’s muffins? I shall expect you this afternoon.


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Posted by on November 22, 2014 in Detective Fiction


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The Devil Rides in After Dinner…

from Dr J Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

Second instalment of my notes from our recent adventure:

Seated in the library, we each took to our own brands of tobacco and puffed away for a few minutes in comparative silence. Wheatley, having first changed into a rather ghastly pair of sandals, began to tell us about his ‘problem’…

“Following the first visit from the fellow calling himself Duke de Richleau,” explained our host, “he turned up again at my club. However, this time, I noticed something rather odd about him: during our first meeting, we had been standing in the darkened hallway (I had no intentions of allowing the man into my house), and so I could not clearly see his face. On the second occasion, I deliberately led him into the club toilets – partly so that I would have a witness (Chapman, the attendant) and because the lighting in there is quite bright and I was certain I would be able to have a good look at him.

“Immediately, he saw my motive and moved into the darkest corner of the room (which wasn’t terribly dark at all) and turned his face away. I moved towards him and began to question him closely, to which the fellow muttered various excuses and moved around so that I was not able to face him. After a moment, I grabbed his shoulders and demanded that he make his intentions plain. At this, he faced me and I saw with horror that his features represented the very characteristics, which I myself had imagined when I first described Duke de Richleau.

“I must have turned pale, for the attendant rushed forward and began mopping my brow and asking if I was alright. I pushed him away and turned to the imposter, demanding that he tell me who he was.

“I cannot say exactly what the fellow told me, but I was dimly aware of being told all the small facts I had worked out for myself when I created the character of The Duke. But further, the very facts which I use as a kind of ‘back-story’ in my books but…” And here he stopped and stared for a moment into the fire. Then looking up, he focused on Holmes and said, “The facts which I never write down, never discuss with anyone and which I never include in any of my books. Mr Holmes…” At this point Wheatley was visibly shaking. “Mr Holmes, this man appeared to know my innermost thoughts.”

Holmes puffed his pipe and made one or two ‘hmm’ sounds, but said nothing. Wheatley leaned forwards, eager to hear my companion’s opinion, but Holmes already had his eye on the bottle of port which stood nearby on the mantelshelf. “May I?” He asked, and before Wheatley could reply, Holmes had poured three large glasses of port (the largest for himself) and proposed a toast, “To The Duke…and all who sail in him.” And with that, he quaffed his drink and helped himself to another.

At some point in the evening, I swapped my own glass for one of blackcurrant cordial, since it was obvious my companion was quickly becoming inebriated. Wheatley too, was well on the way to drunken oblivion and became rather irritated at Holmes at his lack of response to the story.

When Homes finally blacked out, I decided we had outlived our welcome and with the help of Wheatley’s manservant, managed to get my friend into a Hansome.

To be continued.


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Posted by on November 7, 2014 in Detective Fiction


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