From the Diary of Dr J Watson:
The journey to Scarborough was a pleasant enough one and Holmes and I spent the most part of it in quiet contemplation. I read the first few chapters of the latest Stephanie Kingie gothic horror novel (‘Miserly’ – the tale of a Scrooge-like character who finds himself confined to a remote hovel with a deranged former nurse during a snowstorm), while my companion immersed himself in composing a monograph concerning the traditional rituals of Mongolian tribesmen within the wider cultural context of angoran sweaters.
The pony and trap that collected us from the station was driven by a rather dour chap by the name of Pierrepoint, who had the irritating habit of turning a beady eye on us every few minutes and commenting on my, or my companion’s, height, weight or likelihood of committing murder. After a tedious hour of winding through lanes and byways, he dropped us at the village pub in Snot-on-the-moor, where we’d arranged to meet Mr Rogers.
Holmes was quiet until we had ordered food and ensconced ourselves in a corner near the fireplace. Finally, he turned to me and observed:
“I suppose you know who is behind all this wicker malarkey, Watson?”
I made on I was considering this while fiddling with the crockery for our meal, but since I had not one solitary hint as to the answer, I eventually replied with my tried and trusted answer:
“Sorry, Holmes, not a clue.”
Holmes chuckled to himself as if he’d somehow got one over on me again (Which of course he had). “Moriarty, Watson.”
“Oh, Holmes, for God sake!” I cried. “Will you never let this go? The man is dead.”
My friend gave me a piercing look. “Or is he?” Pulling a piece of paper from his inside pocket, he unfolded the sheet and handed it to me.
“It’s a telegram, Holmes.”
“No, Watson, it is a cleverly constructed representation of a telegram, intended to have us believe that it was sent by Colonel Sebastian Moran.”
“But he’s dead too, isn’t he?” Said I, skimming the details of the message.
Holmes gave me a grim stare. “He should be, Watson – I killed him myself. But this so-called telegram suggests not.”
“It says here that you and I are invited to attend a murder.” But Holmes, what can it mean?”
“It means,” said my companion, his small eyes staring into the fire, “that we are in great danger.” He looked up and his expression changed to one of apparent delight. “Ah Mr Shag and Mr Scoob. How lovely to see you.”
Shaggy Rogers stood in front of us, grinning widely, whole his ridiculously large and stupid hound nuzzled its face into my crotch.
“Whoa, dudes, what’s goin’ on, man?” Shaggy shook both our hands vigorously, then his smile faded and in a low voice he said, “You guys are in great danger.”
Holmes gave me a sardonic smile. “I trust you thought to bring your revolver, Watson?”
I nodded. “No, but I’ve still got a bag full of Mrs Hudson’s crunchy pies.”
To be continued