Monthly Archives: December 2017

Good Vibrations…

Diary of Doctor J. Watson

Taking the lamp from Mary, I spent a few moments studying our metallic prison in the hope that we’d missed some possible escape route. But there was nothing. As sticky situations go, I had to admit to feeling the three of us had landed ourselves in a hole from which we could not possibly hope to escape. Even so, Holmes puffed contentedly on his pipe as if the problem was a minor irritation in an otherwise cheerful venture.

I sighed and patted Mary’s arm. “Never mind, darling, at least we’re together.”

She gave me a look that told me this was not what she wanted to hear. “Really Johnny, you do have a knack of stating the fucking obvious.”

“Oh, I’m bloody sorry,” I huffed. “But as I can’t very well say Don’t worry, Holmesy’ll get us out of this soon, I think we’d be better off facing facts – we’re going to die and it’s not going to be nice.”

“Come, come, Watson,” muttered Holmes. “All is not lost.” He turned his piggy little eyes on Mary. “I’ll wager your wife has something else up her sleeve that might entertain a little optimism.”

“Like what?” I said, staring at Mary.

Mary blinked. “For once Holmes, I think you’d have to agree my husband is right – there is no hope.” She gave herself a shake as if to demonstrate that her sleeves (or any other part of her attire), contained no surprises.

Holmes was not to be put off. “Really, Mary? And what about that…” he glanced at me, then back at her. “That other piece of apparatus my brother gave you?”

Mary frowned and shook her head. “What apparatus?”

Holmes gave her a sardonic smile. “Mary, we’re all adults here. Why don’t you…” He coughed. “Why don’t you extract the other device from your person?” His eyes slid down her body and focused on my wife’s private area.

“I say, Holmes,” I started. “What the hell are you insinuating?”

“Calm yourself, Johnny.” He turned back to Mary. “I’m aware your husband’s hearing is not what it was, but my own audio facilities are perfectly intact. When you were first ushered into this chamber, I distinctly heard a soft buzzing noise above the pounding of the ship’s engines. I expect you switched it off when you were fussing with your evening gown earlier.”

I have never witnessed such a change in my wife’s countenance. Her face flushed a shade of scarlet that could have ignited a small fire, if such a thing were necessary. Taking a long breath in, she focused on Holmes – even her wonky eye appeared to stare straight at him. When she spoke, her voice was a mere whisper but there was no mistaking the tone – she was very angry. “He told you?”

Holmes raised an eyebrow. “Mycroft and I don’t always agree, but he can never resist boasting about his latest inventions.” He glanced at me. “I suggest you and I give the lady a moment, John.” He turned his face to the wall and after giving my wife a sharp look, I did likewise.

Mary let out an irritated sigh, then I heard the rustle of her gown being lifted and sensed she must be bending down. There was a soft slurping noise and a grunt, before she sniffed and coughed.


We turned to face her, though both of us had the good grace to keep our attention toward the floor. I glanced at Holmes as he took the device from her and wiped it down with his handkerchief. The thing resembled a small torpedo and had a switch at one end. I raised my gaze to meet that of my wife’s but her face was turned away.

“Hold up the lamp, Watson,” muttered Holmes, running his fingers over the contraception. “As I thought. With one or two adjustments…” Taking a small screwdriver from his inside pocket, he undid one end of the phallic object and pulled free one of the wires from inside. Then, moving to the door, he fitted the loose end of the wire into the lock.

“What’re you trying to do, Holmes,” I said, trying to sound interested.

“There are certain locks, Johnny, that are susceptible to vibration. If I’m right…” He flicked the switch on the base of the device and I could just make out a low whine coming from the door.

Holmes nodded slowly. “Just a little more…”

As I watched, I discerned that the metal door had begun to amplify the buzzing and a moment later there was a sharp click.

“Hah!” exclaimed my companion. Tossing the device aside, he grasped the door handle and twisted it. Incredibly, the door opened.

“My God, Holmes,” I gushed. “You did it.”

“With Mary’s help,” he murmured, giving her a sly smile.

Stepping out into the corridor, all three of us blinked in the harsh light. I turned off the lamp and gave it back to Mary, who shrugged and mouthed a ‘sorry’ to me. I was about to say something magnanimous, but a sudden lurching sensation threw all three of us against the wall. An unearthly metallic screeching noise came from the starboard bow, as if a gigantic knife had gouged a hole in the side of the ship.

“Bugger,” said Holmes. “I think we’re too late.”

Before the words were out of his mouth, the vast liner tilted to one side, throwing us to the floor.

The ship was sinking.


Posted by on December 29, 2017 in Detective Fiction


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Three’s a Crowd

From the Diary of Mary Watson (Mrs)

Finding myself locked in a cramped cupboard below decks with my husband might be, in any other circumstances, an opportunity for a bout of adult fun, but squashed together with Mr Gooseberry himself, Johnny and I would have to forego that particular delight until later. Assuming, of course, the Hooded Claw didn’t kill us all in the meantime.

The darkness crowded in on us and I began to feel a little uneasy. “Come on, then, Holmsey,” I muttered, “light another one.”

Holmes let out a sigh. “Alas, dear lady that was my last Swan Vesta.”

I blinked in the darkness but could only make out the dim shapes of the fat-headed detective and the noble outline of my dear husband’s face. “Right then,” I went on. “Mary to the rescue. Again.” Undoing the buttons on my evening gown, I reached inside my corset and unzipped the secret pocket I’d sewn into the fabric for just such an occasion. Pulling out the emergency flashlight, I fastened myself up again before fitting the handle into its base.

“What’s that whirring noise?” said Johnny.

I didn’t bother replying, and instead began rotating the small handle. After a moment, the lamp flickered into life, illuminating our faces once more.

“Oh, I say, “said Holmes. “That’s rather clever.”

“It’s a clockwork lamp,” I said, unclipping the handle and sliding it into the small compartment in the base of the device. “Mycroft gave it to me.”

Johnny sniffed. “Did he, now? And what did you give him?”

I narrowed my eyes and showed him my don’t-you-fucking-dare face. He quickly changed the subject.

“At least we can see where we are,” he said, brightly. Turning around he tried the door but it was firmly locked from the outside.

Gazing at our surroundings, all three of us immediately understood the predicament we were in – the small compartment appeared to be a store cupboard of some description, with a stack of built-in metal shelves on one side and an area of about three-feet-square, just large enough to accommodate the three of us, on the other.

“Living in a box,” muttered Holmes. “Living in a cardboard box…”

“What’s that, Holmes?” said John.

“Just a music hall ditty I heard the other day.” Holmes slid his bony hands into his pockets and leaned against the wall behind him, humming a tune.

Crouching down, I examined the floor, but if I’d hoped for a handy escape hatch, I was disappointed. “Do you think they’ll come back?”

“Who?” said Holmes. “The baddies?” He shook his head. “No need – we’re out of harm’s way so they can safely continue with their evil plan.”

Johnny nodded solemnly. “To kill poor old Phogg.”

“Well…” the other man made a face. “Along with twelve hundred other people.”

I stood up and held the lamp to his face. “What d’you mean, Sherlock?”

“Simply this, Mary – after they bundled me in here, I heard two of the rogues discussing their strategy with the Claw. Apparently, they cannot risk killing Phogg by himself as it would be obvious, so they plan to crash the ship into an iceberg and blame our old friend Captain Smith.” He laughed gently. “After all, he does have a reputation for accidents at sea.”

“That’s ridiculous,” said Johnny. “We’re in the English Channel. No icebergs for miles.”

“Ah,” said Holmes. “But this isn’t any old iceberg, Watson. This is an M21.”

“Oh, crap.”

I frowned. “What’s an M21?”

My husband took my hand. “You recall the details of Moriarty’s secret steam-powered undersea torpedo-ship?”

“Designed by the famous submarine boffin Bruce Partridger?” I nodded. “What’s that got to do with icebergs?”

Holmes interjected. “I’m surprised you didn’t hear about it, Mrs Watson, as you’re so well-in with my dear brother.” He gave a snort of derision before continuing. “Mycroft heard a rumour that Moriarty planned to use the Partridger blueprints to manufacture a series of gigantic sea-going icebergs that could destroy the British fleet.” He raised his head and gazed at a spot on the wall. “If I’m right, the Hooded Claw is in league with him and intends to sink this ship, making it look like a freak iceberg-type accident.”

“Oh my God,” I murmured. “And there are no lifeboats on board.”

“Indeed,” said Holmes. “Though even if there were, we wouldn’t be able to get to them.” He sighed. “No, Mr and Mrs Watson, I think we’re properly fucked this time.” He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out his Meerschaum pipe. “Could I get a light please, Mary?”

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Posted by on December 9, 2017 in Detective Fiction


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