To Sherlock Holmes Esq from Doctor Watson
My Dear Holmes
I trust you’ve heard about the ‘Moriarty’s Ma’ debacle at Scotland Yard? I can’t believe Lestrade thought it was a good idea to let the Evil Genius have visitors, but that’s what a public school education does for you, eh? At least the aforementioned villain had the decency to let me have transcripts of his recordings before disguising himself as his own mother and disappearing into the mists once again. My account of what I’m calling ‘Not the Thirty Nine Steps’ will be appearing in The Strand Magazine next week.
More interestingly, I had a curious communication from the daughter an old acquaintance this morning: it seems that my former school chum Henry Poste has popped his clogs after a typically ill-fated adventure charting the inlets of the California River. He and his good lady wife (who I never met) fell to their deaths after the wind dropped and the water-cooled glider aeroplane they were travelling in plummeted into the murky depths of Folsom Lake. He always was a bit of a risk-taker, so it’s no surprise, really.
However, their daughter Flora has found herself in a rather sticky situation, and it is she who wrote asking for assistance. Having stayed temporarily with an old friend, she accepted an invitation from distant relatives the Starkadders. Arriving at the oddly named ‘Cold Comfort Farm’ last weekend, she was given a reasonably warm welcome, and while family relationships appeared normal at first, two days ago she was wakened during the night by a ‘blood-curdling’ scream. It transpired that the Starkadder matriarch Aunt Ada Doom, had been stabbed in the heart and is, unsurprisingly, dead.
Reading between the lines, I suspect Flora is concerned that something sinister may be afoot. I suggest we take ourselves off to Sussex without further delay. At the very least, she promises we shall be well fed, and if things take a turn for the worse, we will be on hand to intervene.
I look forward to your speedy response.