Monthly Archives: May 2015

The Birds are Flown…

From Sherlock Holmes Esq to Doctor Watson:

I thought I had better let you know that Miss Hedren and myself are safe and unharmed; I trust you will not be offended by our sudden departure during your slumbers – we attempted to wake you, but you were like the proverbial log.

I Did advise that another Crème de Menthe might just be de trop – but by that time, your every fibre was energised to the nth degree, and your insistence on acting out every episode of “Murder She Wrote”  took precedence – your imitation of Joan Hickson’s “Marple” was consummate, and we were all agog at your “Poirot” as played by the thesp Suchet…to cut a long story short, Tippie  had had a telephone call,  forwarded by a certain Mr Farrell, from her daughter, Melanie, in a state of complete consternation, conveying disturbing revelations concerning her domestic arrangements – she had caught her husband, Antonio, in a compromising situation with a Mr Pitt and his good lady Angeline, a Mr Depp and his current paramour and various other members of the Acting Fraternity, and was consequently contemplating drastic ends.

Miss Hedren stated that you had had previous dealings with such ménages, and would have proved useful in the situation, but we were rewarded with nothing more than a prolonged snore and a small rivulet of drool for our efforts. I admit that I had no idea of this facet of your previous existence, but thought it best to remain silent, and let Miss Hedren call the shots, as my own rather cloistered life in that respect put me at a slight disadvantage.

I will send you further details as and when I am able,


Leave a comment

Posted by on May 28, 2015 in Detective Fiction


Tags: , , , , , , ,

Tippy’s Top Tips for Love Birds…

from Dr J Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

From the Diary of Dr John Watson.

Holmes was unusually quiet on the trip down to Cornwall and spent most of the journey with his nose in a book (a collection of stories entitled The Apple Tree), which he assured me was ‘necessary research, my dear Watson’ and would say no more on the matter.

Arriving at the village station, we were met by my old pal Tubby Tippy Hedren who allowed me a peck on the cheek, but immediately insisted that I drop the ‘Tubby’ epithet or she would ‘slap ten shades of shit’ out of me. (I assumed she was joking, but though it best to heed her words in case not). Holmes said nothing as we walked to the waiting hackney, though I noticed how he watched Tippy closely, noting her features in that secretive way of his, no doubt filing them away in that rabbit warren of a brain of his for future reference.

We stopped off on the way to the hotel as Tippy was keen to pick up a pair of love birds for a young man she’d taken a shine to, so Holmes and I sat in the cab waiting. After a moment, Holmes leaned forward and muttered,

“You’re a fan of those gaudy fourpenny flicks, aren’t you Watson?” I nodded, wondering where such an offhand comment might be leading. After a moment, he continued: “The rather round gentlemen emerging just now from the shop doorway…isn’t he connected with the film business?” He turned his beady gaze on me and raised an eyebrow.

I glanced at the man in question who was by now scuttling along the street with a couple of toy poodles in tow. “Ah yes,” I nodded, “I believe it’s that chap Alfie Hitchcock. Noted for appearing unobtrusively in his own films.”

Holmes snorted. “Unobtrusively, my arse. These artistic types are al the same – drowning in their own self-importance.”

“Oh, I don’t know…” I began, defensivley.

“Tell me what you see, Watson,” said Holmes suddenly, in that rather deliberate, slightly accusing voice of his, as if I’d clearly missed some obvious clue.

I looked across at the shop where Tippy was still talking to an assistant. “Well, er..”

Holmes laughed harshly. “Not in there, dolt!” He thrust an arm upwards. The sky, Watson, the sky”.

Leaning out of the window, I did as I was asked and at once took in a very peculiar scene: above us along the gutters and gable ends of the shops and houses were hundreds of birds, sitting in long rows as if attending some sort of mass gathering. I moved across and peered out of the other side of the cab – it was the same, everywhere, hundreds of birds, starlings, seagulls, cormorants, even the occasional kestrel.

“How very queer,” I said.

“Queer indeed, Watson,” said Holmes. “Quickly!” And with that he jumped from the cab and ran into the shop. I watched helplessly as he dragged Tippy and her purchase out into the street and pushed her into the cab. As soon as they were seated, Holmes rapped on the window and the cab lurched away.

“What the f…” Tippy started, but Holmes held up a hand, silencing her instantly.

“Look here,” he whispered, lifting the cage onto his knees. “See how they watch us, peering, scrutinising our every move.”

“They’re just love birds Mr Holmes,” said Tippy, reapplying her makeup. “Harmless love birds.”

Holmes laughed his harsh laugh again. “Love birds they may be, Miss Hedren, but harmless…never!”

To be continued…


Leave a comment

Posted by on May 23, 2015 in Detective Fiction


Tags: , ,

And the Birds of the Air…

from Dr J Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

Dearest Holmes
Thank you so much for your visit yesterday, and for the half-ounce of Goode Hard Shag, which I enjoyed several times last evening (so much so, that my old pipe was fairly throbbing by the time I eventually went to bed). As you anticipated, I found myself much recovered this morning and lost no time heading homewards into the arms of my loving wife. Mrs Watson, however, has abandoned me for a period of weeks as her cousin Sir Jasper Fforde has once again come down with the dreaded lurgy (more likely the demon drink, I suspect), and will require my wife’s ministrations until Thursday next.

My Gloucester colleague Dr Foster has been seeing to my caseload, so my surgery is distinctly empty for the rest of the week. This, together with my missing wife and the lack of any Hard Shag, left me at somewhat of a loose end and eventually I had no alternative but to go through my correspondence. As luck would have it, I discovered among said correspondence a missive from my old school chum Tubby Tippy Hedren who has requested our assistance down in Cornwall where she has been having a few problems with the local population of starlings. Apparently, these and several other species have been inexplicably attacking village residents and she wonders if you and I might be able to shed some light onto the affair.

If nothing else, she’s offered to put us up at the village hotel for a few days and I was thinking it might be good for you, Holmes, to take some sea air?

I can make all the arrangements if you are amenable.

Let me know soon, old thing


PS Incidentally, Tubby isn’t so tubby these days – I’ve attached a photo.hedren

Leave a comment

Posted by on May 17, 2015 in Detective Fiction


Tags: , , ,

Sensitive / Bitch…

From Sherlock Holmes Esq to Doctor Watson:

I trust you are feeling slightly recovered from your ordeal now, and I shall visit once the swelling has subsided somewhat. The rather attractive young woman, as you would no doubt see her, has confided that your ravings have lessened to an acceptable level – she admitted the other occupants had submitted a petition requesting you be sent to another ward, as they were beginning to lose sleep themselves, and could not envisage sharing space with such disturbing outbursts. Thankfully, you quietened down somewhat after a visit from the marvellous Vanessa Ives, who led you through an unconscious meditation and restorative mantras.

After sharing a pot of Assam and a Ginger biscuit with the aforementioned Sensitive, who made me privy to several previously undisclosed details appertaining to one or two prominent cases on our Files, I made my way to Notting Hill, to take the air and stretch my legs – the swallows were wheeling and squeaking above my head, occasionally chiding me for my troubles; the sparrow-hawks swooped low, snatching the poor, dreamy collared doves from their musings, and I cogitated in my bucolic wanderings, coming to the conclusion that Life truly is a Bitch, dropping micturation on its denizens willy-nilly – showing neither Mercy nor Compassion – leaving us high and dry on its shore, attempting to find comfort where we may – or die in the effort…

I shall return shortly,

Your Friend, somewhat disillusioned SH.

Leave a comment

Posted by on May 16, 2015 in Detective Fiction



Still in the Belly of the Beast…

from Dr J Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

From the diary of Doctor Watson

Day 2, Loch Ness (continued)

I have to say I was more than a little perturbed at my companion’s sudden departure, but reading his note now (in the general tranquillity of this railway carriage), I can see that Holmes was merely thinking of me and my likely reaction to the contents of his stomach erupting in the confined space we then occupied. (NB: his note, having been sent rather optimistically by carrier pigeon to the ‘Beast’s’ last known position, was perhaps not one of my friend’s better ideas, but I shall forgo that for now as it all turned out alright in the end).

Miss Adler had of course noticed Holmes’ departure and was a little miffed at this but instead of screaming the place down as I expected, she simply tossed me a wad of paper, muttering, “Page 42, I think…”

I flipped through the foolscap sheets to find page 42 and was glad to note that it did not describe the manner of my death, but something along the lines of the following:

Scene 16:


HOLMES: Now Miss Adler, as you no doubt intend to kill myself and my companion, I should like to know what devious master plan is simmering away in that cunning, but rather beautiful, little brain of yours.

ADLER: Ah, Sherlock, my love, if only you knew. In fact, it is your old adversary Professor Moriarty who is to blame for your present predicament…

And so the dialogue went on to detail the scene where Holmes and I are taken to an underground cave where that very individual is waiting for us on the end of a rickety wooden jetty. However, given that Moriarty is of course long dead, I was at a loss to explain why he would be hiding out in an underground cave. I was just about to pose this question to Miss Adler when a loud grinding noise came to my ears and the ‘Beast’ came to a sudden standstill.

“What’s happening, Miss Adler?” said I.

The young lady sighed and pulled her skirt down to a more respectable level. “Well, Doctor, since Sherl has done a bunk there’s not much point in continuing shooting today, so I’m dropping you back at the hotel.”

And with that, she slid her hand over a large red knob and gave it a sharp tug. The hatch opened slowly and I looked out to find that we were indeed back at the small pier within sight of the hotel.

Irene Adler flicked her hair back. “Go on, then, bugger off.”

“But what exactly is this, Miss Adler?” said I waving the wodge of papers.


Looking back, I suppose it was inevitable that those people at Ealing Studios would want to ‘get in on the action’ (I believe that is the correct phrase) with a film version of one of Sherlock Holmes’ adventures. That he had (of course) flatly refused to indulge their comedic whims and willingly take part in the movie (initially entitled: Sherlock Holmes and the Loch Ness Monster and Moriarty and a Few Other Baddies), was no surprise to me, but Miss Adler was clearly quite put out that her starring role had been cut short.

I glanced up from my diary. Holmes was puffing away at his Meerschaum pipe and had that knowing smile on his face. I gave him a querying look.

“I know what you’re thinking, Watson,” he said with a twinkle in his eye. “If it hadn’t been for my sudden departure, you might have had a new role in life as an actor.”

I pursed my lips and shook my head. “No, of course not, Holmes. It had never entered my head.” Nevertheless, as the train chuffed its weary way towards London, I couldn’t help wonder if our ‘adventures’ would ever make it to the silver screen.

Holmes nodded to himself. “Of course you know who took the role of Moriarty?”

I shook my head. “Eric Porter, perhaps?”

Holmes laughed. “No, it was that fool Rathbone.” He chuckled and gazed out of the window. “No talent. Probably end up playing some fool of a detective in one of those dreadful Hollywood farces…”


Leave a comment

Posted by on May 9, 2015 in Detective Fiction


Tags: , , ,

In the Belly of the Beast – or Not, as it Happens…

From Sherlock Holmes Esq to Doctor Watson:

Watson – I have been putting off sending this missive as I have been experiencing a rather strange emotion – a totally unfamiliar sensation – and in discussions with our friend Logan McRae, he surmised, no doubt quite correctly, that the feeling I have been noting at regular intervals, is none other than common-or-garden Guilt – tinged perhaps with a soupcon of Remorse. It is he who has convinced me that you require an apology…going against the grain, as it does, I have agreed to furnish you with an explanation for my last (no doubt “unforgivable” in your eyes) course of action, before leaving you “in the lurch” as you no doubt saw it.

I have been turning it over in my mind, and have to admit that at the time, I saw no other Solution; we were both Ms Adler’s captives In the Belly of the Beast, as you so aptly put it; the stench of hot vegetable oil was turning my stomach; the strength of Ms Adler’s perfume  (did she really say it was ‘Poison’?) was making me light-headed; your irritating nervous habits of constantly clearing your throat and drumming on the red leather upholstery were fuelling my senses of irritation and annoyance that we had been forced in to this frustrating state – all these several things were building in to a volcanic kernel of Fury at my own helplessness that I could not have ignored the compulsion any longer. To request a Toilet Break was my Way Out and I did feel something to think of you still ensconced in that Infernal – in the heat and the stench, comparatively so – Contraption, but I convinced myself that I was going for Help, and you would be free in no time…I did Not expect to have been deposited on the ground so close to the Local Constabulary’s Watering-hole.

Therefore, I trust and hope that you can see how a couple of minutes can have stretched to a couple of hours and then to a couple of days…need I go on? However, McRae has assured me that they have managed to narrow down the range of your present location to 100 miles or so…or a rough approximation….

Be strong! – Think of England! (or Scotland, if you’d rather…but perhaps this may have curbed your Nationalistic Fervour somewhat…).

Your Friend (I trust you will not be thinking of adding “Former” to that sobriquet).


Leave a comment

Posted by on May 2, 2015 in Detective Fiction


Tags: , ,

%d bloggers like this: