Monthly Archives: February 2015

Baltimore (Absolutely Final) Diaries…

from Dr J Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

From the diary of Doctor Watson

Having assumed that Holmes and RLS would be hard at it on some intriguing mystery, I was a little put out to learn that the subject of their heated discussion at breakfast was entirely taken up with the properties of the marmalade they were stuffing into their greedy mouths. Apparently, RLS has invested an amount of cash (from one of his tawdry novellas) in a product entitled ‘Granny’s Marmalade’, which he came across while discussing cash-flow and investments with the infamous Scottish industrialist Duncan ‘mine’s-the-pint’ Ballantyne. It seems that marmalade may be a sound financial venture for author-types, (though rather tellingly, Ballantyne himself hasn’t sunk a penny into the brand) and Stevenson (being a bit of a marmalade aficionado) is convinced he’ll make a killing with his own version of the preserve, entitled ‘Samoalade’.

Having ascertained which direction the conversation was heading (ie, in a downward spiral), I informed my companion that I would be leaving on the 10:30 train and would see him back in London. Holmes gave me one of his baleful stares and simply said “I’ve never understood your aversion to marmalade, Watson.” After which he turned back to RLS and continued his jarring conversation.

While sitting in the railway station with a ticket for my destination, I perused one of the letters my dear lady wife had forwarded to the hotel. The handwriting had a familiar scrawl to it and I eagerly ripped open the lavender-scented envelope…

I shall not make a note here of that envelope’s contents, but suffice to say that a certain ‘woman’ has requested the services of myself and my companion on a matter of some delicacy. As I boarded the train for home, I wondered if Holmes would be interested in this, or should I say, the woman’s predicament…


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Posted by on February 28, 2015 in Detective Fiction


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Baltimore (Final) Diaries (Again)..

from Dr J Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

From the diary of Doctor Watson

On waking this morning, I called on Holmes in the next room, to find that my companion had disappeared. It was only on returning to my room that I noticed a hastily scribbled note had been pushed under my door:

After we had escorted Dr Snodgrass home to his Lodgings and tucked the fellow up with a toasty Hotty and glass of H2O on his bedside table for the inevitable alcoholic thirst, I made my way, unbeknownst to you ( believing me snoring under the eiderdown in the next room), to Madame Marmalade’s Emporium, in order to winkle out some pertinent facts and relevant information….( she agreed to waive your Invoice on production of my Official Papers. I flashed her my Membership Papers for Theosophilus’ Smith’s Travelling Freakshow and Assocs, which seemed to placate her somewhat).

After some practised smarming and smooth-talking, I ascertained that Edgar had been a regular visitor to her Franchises, not to sample the wares, but to obtain ideas and suggestions for his short stories – as the other customers were a mine of information and gory details, being members of the shady and perverse stratum of Society, known as The Establishment; she kept me engrossed and enthralled for quite some time, revealing snippets and tales, which, if endorsed and tagged with names, would have brought down Public Figures and Influential Persons, over a wide and spreading radius of The Colonies.

As that may be, I was making my way towards our Hostelry, when I noticed a shadowy figure to my left, keeping to the verges, attempting to blend in with the darkness, keeping pace with my progress, albeit slightly behind me; on turning quickly round, the figure scurried back somewhat – I called out “Who goes there!” – and almost staggered back in surprise, as the familiar lanky length of Robert Louis Stevenson drew itself up to its full height – “Holmes!”, he ejaculated, “What the Devil are you doing here?!” – ” I could ask You the same question!” I emitted – “Let us immediately wend our way to my Lodgings, and rouse Dr Watson from his slumbers….we have much talking to do….”, and with that, we set off.

I washed and dressed hurriedly and made my way downstairs where I found my companion and the aforementioned RLS deep in conversation…


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Posted by on February 16, 2015 in Detective Fiction


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Baltimore (Final) Diaries…

from Dr J Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

From the diary of Doctor Watson

I should have realised that leaving Holmes to his own devices might result in my companion discovering the local liquor emporium and, just as I suspected, on arriving at “The Gibbet and Post”, there was my boon friend supping Jack Daniels as if his life was dependant on it.

A rather dull looking fellow was seated with him and clearly much further down the road to drunkenness than Holmes. The poor chap’s nose was almost on the table in his stupor, but as I pulled up a chair, Holmes grasped the fellow by the collar and hauled him upright.

Holmes smiled up at me. “Ah, Watson, about time you showed up.” He waved an empty glass in front of my face. “Get me some chores, please.”

Foolishly I fell into this all-too-familiar trap, uttering “What Chores?” To which he glibly replied, “Doubles all round, Watty!”

When I returned form the bar (bearing three glasses of ginger ale), Dr Snodgrass was once more alert. He stared straight at me and said, “I am positive that there was no evidence whatever of any such violence having been used upon Poe when I went to his rescue at the tavern.¬†However, one unusual fact was an item we encountered during his stay at the hospital – a pair of ladies undergarments hidden about his person.” And with that he closed his eyes and slid under the table.

“Did you bring your trusty revolver, old chap?” said Holmes, snatching a glass from my hand.

I nodded. “I did, but it looks as if I shan’t be needing it.”

Holmes downed his ale in one gulp. “Indeed not. We’ve been had, Watson.” He shook his head sadly. “Poe’s apparent last act was that of any writer worth his salt.”

I frowned. “Last act, Holmes?”

My companion helped himself to the Doctor’s drink before he went on: “It is clear that Poe was in poor health and that he foresaw his own death at the hands of the demon drink. But unknown to his friends and family, he in fact cured himself some weeks ago with the aid of Acme’s Patented Drink-Abstention Kit. And that, my dear Watson was why he chose to set us a mystery. You see, this whole thing…” he waved an arm around as if to encompass not only our immediate surroundings, but the whole of Baltimore. “The whole thing was merely a fabrication to entertain his many admirers and a leave them with a puzzle which will no doubt keep them guessing for years to come.”

“You mean…?” I gasped.

“Yes,” Holmes nodded. “Poe is not dead – but living under the assumed name of Mildred Flange in a small town in Pennsylvania, where he will no doubt sell clothes-pegs door to door.” He finished his drink. “I doubt if we shall hear of him again.”

Holmes would not be drawn further on the subject, so after lunch I set off for the Thomas Cook offices to book our tickets home.


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Posted by on February 7, 2015 in Detective Fiction


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