Monthly Archives: March 2016

Moriarty and the Death of that Stupid Detective Sherlock Holmes

Clapperboard 350

From the Diary of Doctor J. Watson

As I squeezed through the sweaty throng of the Snug Bar, it occurred to me that if Lestrade was already present, I might endanger not only my own life, but his too. The rubber mask was beginning to itch and as it was considerably smaller than my face (Holmes has a narrower, more angular skull), sweat was already pouring down the inside of the wretched thing, filling my eyes and making it difficult to see anything clearly. However, neither of these issues, or indeed the small matter of the unsettling silence that fell over the bar on my entrance, was uppermost in my mind. I ignored the fact that all eyes had turned towards me and instead approached the bar and declared in a rather higher voice than usual, “A large Babycham please, potman.”

An uproarious shriek of laughter broke out among the regulars, with taunts of “Och, the fairies are in,” and “Haud me back!” which I was easily able to ignore, for my attention was now taken with the dark figure at the end of the bar. I saw a sly smile steal across Professor Moriarty’s features as he began to creep towards me, his eyes wide and staring.

“Inspector Lestrade,” he announced in a loud voice (prompting the background laughter of the crowd to cease abruptly). “How lovely to see you again.” He reached out a hand, presumably with the intention of greeting me formally, but I knew a theatrical cue when I heard one, and I turned on my heel and headed for the door.

Or at least I would have done if a hairy hand had not grasped me by the collar. “Not sae fast, ma wee man.”

I whirled round to find the barman staring into my sweaty eyes. “Oh, do excuse me,” I began, fumbling for my wallet, but Moriarty was quicker. He held out a fifty pound note, fluttering it in front of the publican. The man’s gaze and grip loosened immediately and I saw my chance – whirling round (again) I legged-it for the door and this time no-one stood in my way.

Back in the alley I glanced to my right and spied Holmes lurking in the shadows at the end of the lane. Hurrying along, I couldn’t help noticing several other individuals lurking in other shadows, as if waiting for their own thespian-type cues. As I quickened my pace, I became aware of footsteps behind me – no doubt the Evil Genius giving chase. But then I also became aware of more footsteps, as if two or more additional people had joined in the chase.

Holmes beckoned me from the corner and I slipped into the narrow alley beside him.

“Well done Watson, the bear has been baited.”

“Bear? What bear?”

He rolled his eyes. “I was simply observing that Moriarty is on your tail.” He paused and looked over my shoulder. “In fact, it would seem you have attracted something of a following…” Grasping my wrist, he stuffed something into my hand, then pushed me down the passageway towards a dim glow at the end. “Run towards the light, Watson and don’t look back.”

As I hurried along, I noticed Holmes had dropped back, but being a trusted companion, I determined to do as I was bid. As the passage narrowed, the light became stronger. Reaching the end, I was somewhat startled when a small figure jumped out in front of me.

“What the devil!” I muttered, but the young boy simply held up a chalked board, slapped a piece of wood across the top of it creating a sharp ‘crack’, and shouted something along the lines of ‘Scene 31, take 1’ whereupon he vanished into the shadows.

At that point, the alley split into two and I stood for a moment contemplating my choices. Then I noticed a sign on the wall in front of me – a piece of paper bearing the words Left, Watson!

Recognising my companion’s handwriting, I turned sharp left as instructed and ran down the narrow steps that led into what appeared to be Moriarty’s maze of subterranean passages.

Standing at the bottom of the steps with a wall in front of me and several passages running off to right and left, I suddenly remembered the piece of paper Holmes had thrust into my sweaty palm. Fumbling for a box of Swan Vestas, I struck a match and held it up next to the crumpled note. I read:

Watson – If you should come upon a series of subterranean passages, do not be fooled.

I gazed around me, but once again all I could see was what looked like a series of subterranean passages. What on earth could Holmes mean?

Before I could ponder the question further, the still-burning match flickered and went out. Plunged into darkness, I took a step, tripped on the cobbles and stumbled forward. Reaching out a hand to save myself, my fingers appeared to completely miss the stone wall and continued in a forward motion unrestricted. I tumbled headfirst through the ‘wall’ and collapsed in a heap on the other side.

A moment later a light came on above me. Shading my eyes against the sudden glare, I stared up at the portly figure standing over me.

“Ah, Doctor Watson. Glad you could drop in…”



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Posted by on March 31, 2016 in Detective Fiction


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From the Diary of Doctor J. Watson

Stabb Inn Alley

As we hurried away from house, I could hear the cackling laughter of our dubious hostess echoing down the street behind us.

“Take no notice Watson,” muttered Holmes. “Remember – you’re a married man.”

“Of course,” I panted, quickening my pace to keep up with him. But it wasn’t the crone’s ulterior motives that were on my mind. “Holmes?”

“Yes, Watson?”

“Where are we going?”

My companion slithered to a halt and gave me one of his for-fuck’s-sake-Watson looks. “Think, Watson. What was Moriarty’s intention?”

I blinked rapidly. “Er, to meet Lestrade?”


“But, but, but…” I stammered.

“But me no buts, Doctor.” He stared at me, his blue/green/grey eyes boring into my skull as if they might have the power to unearth some long-forgotten fact. “Sometimes I despair of you, my thick-headed friend.” He began to run down the darkening street.

Hurrying to keep up, I grasped his sleeve. “But where are we – ”

“For God’s sake, Watson, it’s elementary. Look, we know Moriarty has arranged to meet Lestrade, right?”

“Right.” Said I, a little out of breath.

“And we also know wherever that meeting place is can only be a few minutes away, right?”

“Right again, Holmes.”

“So, consider this – our arch enemy is a man of letters, of learning.”

“An evil genius, in fact.” I added.

“Quite. Therefore it is a simple matter of elimination to discover the name of that meeting place. If you had made a study of Moriarty’s habits and lifestyle, as I have done myself, you would know he is a lover of hunting. You would also know he has an enviable collection of Eastern European hunting knives on the wall of his Evil Genius Headquarters in Geneva. And it is that very love of all things sharp and knifey that tells us the name of the public house he is headed for.”

I shook my head. “Sorry Holmes, I’m lost.”

“Of course you are, Watson. Nevertheless, if you had taken a few minutes to peruse my latest monograph on the Public Houses of Edinburgh, you would know that there are only two with names linked to sharp objects: one is The Pink Pricke on Leith Walk, a place frequented by homosexuals, and the other is The Stabb Inn near Fleshmarket Close.”

“Ah-ha!” I exclaimed. “Then we’re going to Leith Walk?”

“No, Watson.” He slowed to a trot, then dragged me into the shadows of a dark alley. “There. Fleshmarket Close. And just round the corner is the back door to The Stabb Inn.

“You don’t think he’ll still be there?”

My companion’s eyes twinkled. “You are forgetting two things, Watson. One – Moriarty is a stickler for recording his dark deeds. I’ll wager he has some bizarre, steam-powered device about his person that somehow records his own voice. And as you know, I am one of the few people in Britain who has the lung capacity to communicate fluently and make haste towards my destination at the same time. Therefore Moriarty will have been forced to stop for breath, which naturally will cause him to be late in arriving. It’s my guess he has only in these last few minutes taken up his place in the Snug Bar and is at this very moment scanning the dull faces of that hostelry for signs of Lestrade.”

“Very good, Holmes, but Lestrade will already be there, won’t he?”

“Yet again, Watson, your ineptitude for numeracy is astounding.”


The second thing you have forgotten, Watson, is that Lestrade also has a failing.” He raised his eyebrows.

“You mean his penchant for Liverpudlian prostitutes?”

“No, no, no, Watson. I mean his habitual lateness. I should be most surprised if he is already at The Stabb Inn. In fact, I imagine he is only at this moment approaching Fleshmarket Close, no doubt having got lost on his way here.” Holmes reached into his coat pocket and pulled out what at first sight appeared to be a very large flesh-coloured prophylactic sheath. He opened it out so I could see.

“Ah.” It was the facemask he’d used on the train to escape detection by Lestrade’s officers. “Your Lestrade mask?” I stared at him. “You’re going to put it on?”

He shook his head and smiled. “No, Watson. You’re going to put it on. Moriarty is no fool and he will detect in an instant that I am too tall to pass for Lestrade, so it must be you.”

I took the rubbery object from him and slipped it over my face and head.

“How are the eye holes?”

“A bit small, but I can see.”

“Excellent.” Holmes took my arm and led me down the lane to a dark doorway. “Here we are. If my estimations are correct, Moriarty will be sitting to the right hand side of the cash register underneath a portrait of the Queen. He will be drinking Vermouth and his eyes will be everywhere, so take care.” He pushed open the door. “As soon as he makes contact, you must leave by this very same door. I will be on my guard.”

I nodded and swallowed hard. “Very well, Holmes. I’ll do my best.” I turned and walked along the passageway. On my left was a small wooden sign bearing the legend ‘Bogs’ and on the right was another small sign saying ‘Snug’. I took a deep breath and turned right…


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Posted by on March 27, 2016 in Detective Fiction


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The Liebster Award

liebster5I was nominated by Vicki Turner Goodwin from The Page Turner to do the Liebster Award. Thanks for including me in The Liebster, Vicki – much appreciated.

The Liebster is an award given to small bloggers to help them gain some more views and get recognized.

The rules for the award are:

Acknowledge the blog that nominated you and display the award.

Answer 11 question that the blog gives you.

Give 11 random facts about yourself.

Nominate 5-11 blogs you think are deserving of the award that have less than 200 followers.

Let the blogs know you have nominated them.

Give them 11 questions to answer.


Questions asked by The Page Turner and answered by me, are as follows:

  1. What is your best memory?

My best memories are too personal to discuss here. Sorry!

  1. Are you part of a fandom?Bas and Nige

I’m a big fan of everything Sherlock Holmes – from the original Conan Doyle books to the films, TV series and (given the chance) the costumes.


  1. What singer do you endlessly listen to?

I can’t get it down to just one, so: Nick Drake, John Martyn, Jez Lowe, David Gray, Kate Rusby, Ralph McTell and Jake Thackray.

Jez Lowe

  1. What is the number one thing on your bucket list?stevie king

I don’t have a bucket list. There are lots of thing I’d like to do but putting them on a list (physical or imaginary), is never going to happen.

  1. Who is your favourite author?

Stephen King – he’s the guy that makes me want to be a great writer.

  1. What movie can you watch over and over again?

There are a few: ‘Truly, Madly, Deeply’, ‘Funnybones’, ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’ and ‘Sideways’.


  1. What motivates and inspires you?

I love the creative process, so anything that involves making or producing a piece of work, whether it be writing, drawing, music or whatever, always makes me feel worthwhile.

  1. Do you have any pets?

I’ve had lots of cats and the odd dog over the years, but I don’t have a pet at the moment.

  1. What is your favourite book series?Lee-Child-Book-190x179

Lee Child’s ‘Jack Reacher’ books. I don’t think Child is the best writer ever, but with this series he has a knack of keeping the reader on edge and I’m constantly yearning to read the next book. As I’m only up to book 10, I’m still catching up.

  1. Where is your dream vacation spot?

I’m not a big fan of sitting in the sun, but I do like to be warm, so probably Koh Samui, Thailand.

  1. Why did you start your blog?

I started the Watson Letters blog as a bit of fun to indulge my Sherlock Holmes fantasies. It began as a series of emails between myself and a friend but is now a solo effort. It’s also become a bit more serious since I brought out Volume 1 of The Watson Letters. Putting it into book form was a bit of a mad experiment, but people are buying it, so it must be okay!


Eleven Random Facts about me:

When I was studying Drama, I did some TV ‘extra’ work and appeared in several episodes of the children’s TV series Byker Grove.

I once appeared in a play written by a friend, which required me to be naked on stage.

I was taught to play the guitar by Tom Jones (that’s my Uncle Tom Jones, not the famous singing Welshman).

tom jones
I met Princess Anne at the opening of a garden centre project.

When I was a kid, I was run over by a Co-op delivery van.

I was a co-founder of WACtheatre – a theatre company run by actors and writers in Abethe Body in the Bag 150xrdeen, Scotland.

While working as a taxi driver, I walked into what I thought was an open door, only to find it was made of glass and it was shut!

I studied Drama at the University of Northumbria at Newcastle.

I wrote six songs for my stage play ‘The Body in the Bag’.

In my teens, I read John Wyndham’s ‘The Day of the Triffids’ ten times.

Day of the triffids









I love making cakes and recently baked a ‘Leprechaun Hat’ cake to help raise money for Sport Relief.









My questions to you:

  1. What is the most dangerous thing you ever did?
  2. Which person do you most admire?
  3. What is your earliest memory?
  4. What are you most proud of?
  5. Which period in history would you have enjoyed living in?
  6. How many books have you read this year?
  7. Who is your favourite musician, and why?
  8. What was your favourite book as a child?
  9. Have you met anyone famous?
  10. If you were stranded on a desert island, which item or object would you not want to be without?
  11. If it were possible to live forever, would you want to?


I nominate:

Shea at Shea Oliver

Lucy at Wayward Women

‘Billy Sykes’ at The Whitechapel Whelk 

Yvonne at Krista Yvonne

Steph at S C Richmond

Dale at Dale Britton    

Carole at Carole Louie

And BookLoverWormBlog


Posted by on March 26, 2016 in Uncategorized



Exit, Pursued by Lestrade…

Fleshmarket Close copy
From the Journal of Inspector G Lestrade

On arrival at Waverley Railway Station, Edinburgh, shortly after 6:34pm, I checked my map and proceeded in a northerly direction with the intention of locating and observing the premises of a public house by the name of the Stabb Inn.

As I was about to turn into Princess Street, Constable Painter caught up with me (I’d given him leave to evacuate his bowels after alighting from the train).

“Sir,” said he. “I think you might find this of interest.” And waving a geographical diagram drawn on the back of an envelope, he pointed to an area of the City that I quickly discerned was located in a contradictory bearing to the one in which I had, up until that very moment, been travelling.

“I was accosted by a suspicious-looking fellow on the platform,” he continued. “And after questioning him, he gave me these directions.” Painter smiled at me the way young constables always do when they think they may have ‘got one over’ on a superior officer.

“You dickhead, Painter, we’re in Scotland now. Don’t you realize fellows like that see you coming? They say to themselves – Ah, there’s a stupid wee mannie in a silly hat that disnae ken where he’s going. I’ll knock oot a quick sketch in return for a penny or two. No wonder the country’s in such a state!”

Constable Painter gave me a blank look. “No Sir, what I meant was I think he may have been one of Moriarty’s men.” He waved the drawing in my face again. “And look…” He pointed to an area that appeared to lie in an upwardly direction from the Railway Station.

I snatched the thing from him and peered at the area in question. To my surprise, a narrow lane near Fleshmarket Close was marked with a cross and the following words: ‘Moriarty’s Favourite Pub’.

“That’s odd,” said I.

“That’s what I thought. You think it’s a trap, Sir?”

“What? No, of course not – the man is obviously one of Scotland’s many honest souls who happily came to the aid of the British Police. This is exactly what we want, Painter. Really man, you ought to be more trusting.” And with that I set off for the Stabb Inn with renewed vigour.

On approaching the aforementioned hostelry, I spied a darkly-cloaked figure removing himself from what appeared to be the rear entrance to the public house. Knowing the Evil Genius Moriarty as I do, I recognized at once the swaggering walk, the hunched shoulders and the faintly Eastern-European accent he tries so hard to disguise. As we watched, he hurried off, apparently speaking into a tube attached to his trousers.

“Quickly, Constable,” I whispered. “Follow that Evil Genius.” And we padded up the darkening lane after him…

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Posted by on March 23, 2016 in Detective Fiction


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A Word From Our Sponsor…

Moriarty MovieFrom the Memoirs of Criminal Genius Professor James (Napoleon) Moriarty

Via M-CRaP

I am documenting this narrative via a recent, and fantastically clever, invention of mine. It is a relatively small and inconspicuous device, which I am easily able to conceal about my person by means of an elasticised waistband.

As I speak, my patented Moriarty-Conical-Rite-a-Phone (or M-CRaP) machine, interprets my words and scribbles them down by means of a copper nib onto a wax cylinder. The cylinder will be replayed at a later date by one of my evil assistants and transposed into text, a copy of which I shall send to that pea-brain Watson, to be included in what I am certain will be yet another of his ridiculous ‘adventures’ for the Strand Magazine, assuming he lives to tell the tale, which of course he won’t, in which case I shall publish it myself under the pseudonym ‘Maury Artie’.

Of course, all this information is already known to me so I am actually wasting my time telling myself this.

[Note to Evil Assistant – please delete the last sentence. And obviously that one as well. And this one. You know what I mean]

So, having left Sherlock Holmes and his dim-witted associate in the under stairs chamber, I am now making my way to the Stabb Inn to meet another idiot – Inspector Lestrade. If my calculations are correct, I expect that at this very moment, Holmes has already found the second underground chamber, discovered the wax head of Lestrade that my men swiped from the Policemen’s Benevolent Society, and put two and two together to make six and a half. In other words, he thinks the so-called thriller writer Hannay is in league with me and will no doubt be in hot pursuit of that very man as we speak! What a fool.

The truth, as always, is far simpler – I stole the Bruce Partridger plans, planted them in the public park where I knew Hannay took his morning walks, and ensured he found them. Then, knowing the man has a photographic memory, it was simply a matter of time before the stupidest detective in Londen got involved via the stupidest villain in Londen, Bill Sikes. Then it was simply another matter of time until Holmes and Watson ‘found’ my hideout here in Edinburgh.

[Note to Evil Assistant – there were too many mentions of the word ‘simply’. Have them shot. I mean er, removed]

And so, as I stroll nonchalantly down to Fleshmarket Close, I know in my dark heart that Holmes and the troglodyte Watson will follow Hannay into the subterranean passages I happened to mention in my earlier monologue. And as I’m sure you’ve guessed dear reader (whoever you are) there are in fact no subterranean passages. Ha ha ha! That was simply a ruse [note to Evil Assistant – please remove the word ‘simply’], to enable me to lure all three of them into taking part in my next moving picture project entitled ‘Moriarty and the Death of that Stupid Detective Sherlock Holmes’, which I suspect may do rather well at the box office. Especially in the penultimate scene when Sherlock Holmes actually dies at the hands of his arch-enemy – me.

[Note to Evil Assistant – find out what a box office is]

I am now approaching the Stabb Inn so I will stop talking to myself in case the local peasants think I am a little soft in the head. Clearly I am not a little soft in the head or I wouldn’t have been able to invent such a clever device as I am now utilising for the celebration of my evil ways. I will stop talking now.

Ah, there is Lestrade, sitting in the corner like a virgin at a funeral.

[Note to Evil Assistant – remove that last line. And this one]

To be continued


Posted by on March 21, 2016 in Detective Fiction


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Up, Up and Away…

TWL Submarine Plans copyFrom the Diary of Doctor J. Watson

“Look here, Holmes,” I muttered as my companion plopped his boot into my waiting grip. “If all this stuff is in Hannay’s head, what was all that about the secret plans?”

Holmes dragged himself up my quivering body, reaching for a handhold in the shattered ceiling above. “Ah. I’m glad you mentioned that, Watson…” Wriggling his lithe torso over the ragged ledge, he hauled himself onto the floor of our previous place of captivity. Then, kneeling over the edge he smiled down at me. “You’re referring to the plans for a top secret steam-powered undersea torpedo-ship designed by the famous submarine boffin Bruce Partridger?”

“That’s the one,” said I.

Holmes moved out of my line of sight. There was a loud wrenching noise and a moment later a length of wood slid down towards me. I recognized it as the banister rail from the stairs that led out of the underground chamber (the first underground chamber, that is).

Bracing one end against the foot of the work bench, I shimmied up the sturdy shaft and into the room above.

“Glad to see you haven’t lost any of your gymnastic skills,” chuckled Holmes.

I stood up and dusted myself down. “Nothing to do with gymnastics, Holmes, “ I said, with a sniff. “I learned how to climb trees when Bummer Harris used to chase me across the common at home. The rotter was always trying to inveigle himself into my trousers.”

Holmes gazed off into the distance. “Ah, yes. The yearnings of youth. I remember it well…”

His eyes began to glaze over and a familiar smile slid across his features. I gave him a punch on the arm. “You were saying…?”

“What? Oh, yes, the Partridger plans.” He leaned against the wall in a nonchalant fashion. “Hannay did find the blueprints as I said before, but what is not clear is how he assimilated those plans into his internal version of ‘Die 39 Stufen’, since they were clearly not part of the original book.” He rubbed his crotch thoughtfully. “I’m beginning to think I may have misjudged Hannay.”

I started up the steps to the door. “We’d better catch him, then, hadn’t we?”

Holmes shook his head. “On the contrary, Watson, Hannay is of no further interest to me. By now he will have passed on his knowledge to Moriarty – including details of the secret steam-powered undersea torpedo-ship which, if that evil genius has his way, I fear may bring down not only our Government, but our country, our civilization and indeed, life as we know it.”

“Bugger,” said I.

“Bugger indeed,” said Holmes, as he pushed past me, banged open the door and stormed into the house above.

To be continued.


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Posted by on March 17, 2016 in Detective Fiction


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Hannay Gets Ahead…

From the Diary of Doctor J. Watson
Die 39 Stufen Book
In what seemed like an instant, but was probably about half an hour, we were free, our bonds cast aside on the dirty floor as we struggled to our feet and brushed ourselves down.

I gazed at the sombre-faced head still sitting on the bench. My desire to touch Lestrade’s likeness had melted like the wax that created it, and I felt only a genuine wish to see the man himself alive and with his be-whiskered bonce unharmed. I turned my attention to the hole in the ceiling. “Give me a leg up, Holmes.”

My bosom companion shook his head. “No, Watson. You give me a leg up – I’m lighter than you.”

I frowned. “Are you inferring I’m fat, Holmes?”

“No, no, no, Watson.” He paused, a sly smile creeping across his rugged features. “A little on the stocky side, perhaps?”

I gritted my teeth and was about to throw him a witty riposte when Hannay butted in:

“Actually, chaps, I’m probably lighter than both of you.” His dark eyes flicked back and forth between us as if we were part of some bizarre underground tennis tournament that had turned sour due to lack of strawberries and cream.

I waited for Holmes to slap the man down with one of his amusing rejoinders. But he didn’t. “Excellent idea, Dickie.” And with that he bade me clasp my hands together with his, forming a cradle of fingers in preparation for Hannay’s foot. Bracing ourselves, we took our companion’s boot in our grip and hoisted him upwards.

“A little higher, chaps,” he muttered, reaching for one of the sturdier joists.

A moment later, Hannay was standing on the floor above. Peering down, he effected a small bow, waggled his fingers in a sort of ‘toodle-oo’ gesture and was gone.

“Come along man!” I shouted to the empty space. “Find a rope, a ladder, a sturdy plant – anything to get us out of here.”

But there was no reply, only Hannay’s retreating footsteps above us.

“Oh for fu – ” I began but Holmes silenced me with a warning look.

“I knew it, Watson. The cad’s double-crossed us.”

I stared at him for a moment. “Holmes, sometimes I despair of you – if you’d suspected such underhandedness, then why the buggering hell didn’t you take some sort of..some sort of…” I struggled for a suitable phrase.

“Evasive action?” quipped Holmes. “And alert him to my superior intelligence?”

“Well, yes. I mean, no. I mean…” I took a deep breath and indulged in a moment of internal reflection, albeit tinged with a degree of resignation. I breathed out slowly, releasing the tension in my shoulders, my torso, my nether regions. “Very well, Holmes. Since I clearly have no idea what’s going on, here, why don’t you share your enormous perspective?”

Holmes picked up one of the chairs from the floor and settled himself onto it. He took out his prized Meerschaum pipe and began to stuff it with shag. “This book of Hannay’s. You’ve seen it eh?”

I felt the tension returning. “Not seen it as such, no.”

“But you believe he has written it? Or has at least made a measure of progress with the manuscript?” He patted down the rough shag with his little finger in a slightly ‘camp’ fashion, and proceeded to light the pipe. I watched as a plume of blue-grey smoke spiralled up through the hole in the ceiling.

“Well…can’t really say for sure.”

Holmes stared into space. “Then you are clearly unaware that the title of his so-called book ‘The 39 Steps’ is also the title of a previously published volume by one Johannes Buchanus? In German, of course, but nevertheless a thrilling read.”

I could barely contain my astonishment. “Sorry Holmes – are you saying you’ve read a book? A piece of fiction? A collection of what you yourself have often termed mindless drivel?”

His features twisted into what I’ve come to recognize as his ‘innocent’ face. (The one he wears when I’ve inadvertently touched on one of his many contradictory habits). “I do occasionally read, Watson.”

I huffed. “Never read anything of mine, expect to criticize, point out its inadequacies, its…”

He held up a hand. “I’ve no wish to upset you Watson. I’m simply pointing out that the book as Hannay relates it has already been written by someone else, and it is in fact that very story you and I, and indeed Hannay himself, are playing out here for the benefit of Professor Moriarty.”


“Except of course, Moriarty has not yet realized it.”


Holmes sighed noisily. “For God’s sake, Watson!” He pointed the stem of his Meerschaum at me in a badgering way. “In actual fact, I was not certain of his treachery until a moment ago, when our former colleague disappeared through that hole – carrying out, as it happens, the events described in Chapter Six. You see, Watson, I don’t believe Hannay has written down one word of this so-called novel. He is in fact a victim of subliminally-acquired literature: having read Buchanus’ book some years ago, he has unconsciously assimilated the text as if it were his own work and in an effort to test its authenticity as a piece of literature, he is, also unconsciously, acting out the whole thing before our eyes.” He shrugged. “You and I are simply playing our parts.”

I stared at him. “Really?”

He nodded. “Afraid so.”

“So what do we do now?”

Holmes gazed up at the ceiling. “Now, Watson? We move onto Chapter Seven. Escape.”

To be continued.


Posted by on March 14, 2016 in Detective Fiction


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Getting Ahead…

From the Diary of Doctor J. WatsonCops Series Cards 350

We stared at the severed head and I felt a familiar sensation in my bowels as my nether regions prepared themselves for an immediate loss of control.

I glanced at Homes who, with his eyes fixed on the shocking sight before us, muttered “Keep ‘em clenched, Watson. Keep ‘em clenched.”

I nodded, took a few deep breaths to reassure myself, and a moment later the feeling had passed. I was once more myself – though I suspected a small stain might have manifested itself in my undergarments. I looked back at the grisly scene.

Hannay was the first to speak. “Arrrgh!”

I leaned towards him and patted his arm with my head. “There, there, it’s not so bad. He had a good life. Relatively speaking.”

“I think we may have succumbed too easily in our conclusions.” said Holmes. “Answer me this, friend Watson, how could this gruesome article before us be what we think it is?”

I blinked several times and steeled myself. Staring hard at Lestrade’s head, I studied it’s all-too familiar lines, it’s jutting cheekbones, it’s manly forehead and flabby mouth. “I must say, on closer inspection…” I paused. “You think it isn’t Lestrade?”

“Consider – Moriarty left this building to meet Lestrade less than ten minutes ago.” He raised in eyebrow. “Even allowing for the man’s murderous genius, how could this so-called murder have been committed with such speed?”

A thought struck me. “It’s Lestrade’s death mask!”

“Exactly, “said Holmes. “Or to be more precise – his near-death mask. The very near-death mask I created myself when Poor Lestrade was holed-up in bed with Yellow Fever last year.” His gaze moved away from mine and I could see his pleasure at recalling that special day, with hot wax, rubber gloves and an almost dead policeman to play with. “Lestrade’s wife wanted something to remember him by – I had suggested removing a certain appendage and popping it along to my old pal Risible Ronnie the Teasing Taxidermist, but she said she never let him shag her when he was alive, and he certainly wasn’t going to when he’d passed on!”

“I remember it well,” I said. “You covered her dear husband’s head with wax in the style of a death mask, but of course, as the fellow didn’t die, it ended up as an unclaimed raffle prize for The Policemen’s Benevolent Society.”

He nodded. “Yes, which is why, for the last few months it’s been sitting on top of the cistern in their toilet.” He cast me a quick glance. “From where Moriarty’s men undoubtedly swiped it.”

“We have to escape,” I muttered. And without further hesitation, I began shuffling my chair forward towards the workbench. Or at least, that was my intention. What actually happened was that my chair fell forwards and I whacked my face on the filthy floorboards.

Behind me I heard the twin sharp intakes of breath as Holmes and Hannay took in my calamity. But I didn’t care, for I had discovered something: wedged between the floorboards was a broken piece of blade – perhaps from an old knife. Sliding my aching face around in the muck, I was able to pick up the blade between my upper lip and my nose. Then, shuffling sideways, I made my way slowly and somewhat painfully towards Holmes’ chair.

A sudden “Ouch-fuck!” sounded in my ear and looking up I saw that Holmes himself was now on the floor beside me, though he’d had the foresight to turn his manly features to one side, thus avoiding damage to that handsome Roman nose.

“Good thinking, Watson,” said he, as he manoeuvred himself around so that I could pass the short blade into his tied hands. “Just like old times, eh?” he said with a sly wink. And then slowly, ever so slowly, he began to saw his way through the ropes…


Posted by on March 10, 2016 in Detective Fiction


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Chants for the Memory…

In the Cellar copyFrom the Diary of Doctor Watson

As the three of us were still bound tightly to our chairs, I cannot describe the relief that flooded over me when Holmes confirmed he did in fact have a plan. I think I may even have closed my eyes for a moment and uttered a quiet prayer (highly untypical of me, I might add). But my relief was short-lived, for Holmes began to chant. And not just any old chant, but a droning, bagpipey screeching that seemed to emanate from his very bowels.

Now, while I have nothing against chanting per se, having witnessed my colleague’s distinct mantra several times, I could well imagine the utter nonsense behind yet another of his ridiculous theories. “I see, Holmes,” I muttered with more than a degree of irritation. “So you’re aiming to utilise your entire body in some ritualistic quivering, which I expect will rise up from your anal region, into your throat, cascade back down your manly torso and out through the souls of your feet, and then I shouldn’t be at all surprised if the vibration did not crack open the very floor on which we stand, allowing us to make our escape.”

Holmes ceased his monotonous droning and cast me a sidelong glance. “That’s right, Watson.”

“Oh, for f – ”

“Watson!” Holmes gave me a hard stare. “A little understanding, please?” He nodded to Hannay, whose face was drenched in tears.

“I say, old man,” I said in as kindly a voice as I could muster. “Don’t worry yourself – Holmes will have us out of this fix in a trice.”

Hannay turned to me, sniffling quietly. “It’s all my fault.”

“No, no, no…” I began. But he shook his head.

“If it hadn’t been for that damned book…”

I looked at Holmes. He looked at me. We both looked at Hannay.

“You mean,” said Holmes, “that if you had not included in your narrative the details of those secret plans you happened to find in a small paper bag down the side of a park bench a few weeks ago when you were strolling in the park one Wednesday evening, none of this would have happened?”

Hannay gasped. “You know?”

Holmes smiled that sardonic smile of his. “Of course. My brother Mycroft asked me to keep an eye on things vis-a-vis stolen Government documents detailing plans for a top secret steam-powered undersea torpedo-ship designed by the famous submarine boffin Bruce Partridger. That’s why I allowed my trusty companion here to inveigle himself into your affairs.”

I twisted round in my chair. “You’re fucking joking?”

“I’m fucking not,” quipped Holmes.

“You mean…” My gander was up and raring to go. “You knew all along? And you didn’t think to tell me? Oh, I can’t believe it – no wonder you weren’t interested in helping out! You absolute boundah!”

“Language, Watson.”

I shook my head in rage. “Not only do you keep me in the damn dark about EVERYTHING, but you sit there like the Mad Bloody Monk chanting that stupid tune. It really is the – ”

And at that moment my anger had piqued to such a height that I stamped my feet, lifting my chair clean off the ground. A second later it crashed back down with a resounding, well, crash.

“You see, Watson?”

“See what, damn you?”

Holmes looked at me, then swivelled his piggy little eyes downwards. I followed his gaze and saw (to my astonishment) that the wooden floorboards on which we sat had split right across from one side of the cellar to the other.

“Oh.” Said I.

Holmes smirked. “I know how much you despise my singing, Watson, so I knew if I wound you up tightly enough, sooner or later you would do what you always do in these circumstances.”

I frowned. “I haven’t wet myself.”

“No, I meant the other thing…”

I looked down at the floor again. “Ah, you mean have a temper tantrum?”

He nodded. “So now, if all three of us jump up and down a little more, I’m sure we can…ready? One, two…”

And as the three chairs and combined size-tens of our boots hit the floor again, the ground gave way and we tumbled into the cellar below.

“Ah ha,” said Holmes gazing up through the hole in the ceiling. “Now all we need to do is something to cut these bonds with…” And he cast his eyes around the dark room. “There we are.” He nodded towards a bench at the other side of the room where an array of bloodstained carving knives, hatchets and other stabbing instruments lay next to a pile of cardboard boxes of varying sizes, along with an abundance of brown paper, string and a few labels bearing the following meaty message:

Best Scottish Beef

However, it was not these chilling items that caught our attention, but the object that lay at the end of the bench. It was a head. A severed head. The severed head, in fact, of Inspector Lestrade…



Posted by on March 7, 2016 in Detective Fiction


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Not the 39 Steps…

Not the 39 Steps blogFrom the Diary of Doctor Watson

I’m happy to report that I’m writing this from the comfort of my favourite armchair beside a roaring fire at Baker Street. My companion is tentatively fingering another of Mrs Hudson’s tea-time delights and I’m ashamed to say I’ve just finished off her hot muffins. It seems unthinkable that only a few hours ago Holmes and I faced such peril as I have rarely imagined. Only this morning, as we struggled against our bonds, I remember thinking that perhaps this would be our last adventure. But I digress…

When that wizened old crone gurgled Moriarty’s name, I admit that my blood ran cold. I turned to Holmes but his attention was on the staircase. I barely had time to follow his gaze when the crunching of splintering wood caused me to jump backwards in fright. The staircase (or what was left of it) had split in two halves, each section moving up and to the sides revealing a secret chamber beneath.

“I say,” came a voice behind us. “What’s all the kafuffle about, chaps?” Hannay squeezed between us, saw what we saw and immediately gave way at the knees. Holmes grabbed his arm and hauled him to his feet.

“Stiff upper lip, Hannay,” he barked. “Don’t let the side down.” Then switching his sharp eyes to me, muttered. “Don’t suppose that’s a gun in your pocket, Watson?”

I glanced down at myself and adjusted my stance. “Ahm, no, actually, Holmes. Just a little…excitement, don’t you know?”

My companion nodded. “Perfectly understandable, Watson, considering the gargantuan intellect that is now upon us.” And turning to the space where the staircase had been, he smiled and gave a short bow. “Ah. Professor. How lovely to see you again.”

Moriarty strode up the steps from the underground room, followed by a brace of disagreeable henchmen. “Shirley, Johnnie and Dickie. Glad you could join us.” He made a small gesture and the henchmen moved forward waving their weapons.

“Get dahn the stairs,” said one, pointing his gun at my head.

“An don’t try no funny stuff neither,” said the other.

Holmes groaned. “It’s Don’t try any funny stuff, you dullard.”

And so it was that we were ushered unceremoniously into the nerve centre of Moriarty’s villainous emporium. In a matter of minutes we were trust up on three chairs against the back wall. Moriarty advanced toward us waving a pointy knife.

“It never fails to amaze me how stupid you are, Holmesy. Even now, as you face certain death at the hands of your arch enemy – ”

“What? Again?” Holmes laughed contemptuously.

“Don’t bloody interrupt me!” Moriarty jumped up and down several times, rather like a small child might react to having their favourite toy confiscated. He took a deep breath. “As I was saying – even now you have no clue what is going on.”

“Hah!” said I. “Holmes knows exactly what’s going on, don’t you Holmes?” I turned to my companion but he merely shrugged.

“Actually I’m not entirely sure. Perhaps the Professor might care to enlighten us?”

Moriarty straightened up, preening himself. “Why, of course, I should take great delight in doing so…”

Over the next few hours Moriarty explained his elaborate plans for world domination and other mad ideas. He went into great detail regarding the subterranean passages that (apparently) ran under the city, connecting his various hideouts, arms depots and sundry meeting places. I was beginning to grow rather tired, but then I noticed Holmes was shuffling around in his chair. I suspected he’d managed to free himself using some clever device he’d had the foresight to secrete about his person in case of such an emergency. But then he let out a loud phart and I realised he was simply suffering from his usual stomach trouble. I also realised something else – if Holmes couldn’t get us out of this, nobody could.

Moriarty’s rambling continued. “…and that is why I sent a message to that fool Lestrade.” He glanced at his pocket watch. “Ah. We are to meet in a few minutes, after which I shall kill him and then all of you. Mwah, hah, hah.”

When the staircase had closed behind him and his henchmen, I turned to Holmes. “Well?”

“Well what?” said he.

I sighed loudly. “You do have a plan?”

“Of course, Watson.” And he smiled.


To be continued.

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Posted by on March 2, 2016 in Detective Fiction


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