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…