Monthly Archives: August 2019

Caught in the Act

Diary of Doctor J Watson

Beneath the bedsheet, the sounds of the house came to me in subtle, oddly-subdued ways. I heard the soft creak of the French windows in the drawing room followed by the familiar slap-slap of General MacArthur’s hob-nailed boots as he crossed the hall, the soft swish as his heels caught on the carpet, then a hesitant, halting step as the old man paused outside the dining room. I imagined I could feel his gaze on me and wondered what he might be thinking.

There was a deep, almost mournful sigh, a cough, then the footsteps retreated back into the hall and the slow clop, clop up the stairs.

One down.

More footsteps in the hall. This time there had been no creak at the French widows – had someone wedged them open? The step was light and quick, reminding me of the confident, swaggering gait of that infernal ice-cream seller, Mario, whose amorous attentions towards my dear Mary had almost brought us to blows. Suppressing a growl of anger, I forced myself to concentrate. The footsteps had stopped in the hall and there came a swishing noise as if the individual turned sharply on his heel. Two steps on the soft carpet followed, then receded back into the hall. Whoever it was, had changed his mind about gazing upon the body of Sherlock Holmes. Again, I discerned the clop, clop of footsteps up the stairs.

The next sound was unexpected. It was as if something, or someone, had disturbed the air in the room. I stared up at the bedsheet that covered my face, striving to see through the thin material, but there was only whiteness.

A soft breeze seemed to waft the sheet, and I wondered if someone had opened the window. But that was impossible – at the very least, I’d have heard the scrape of wood against wood as the sash was forced upwards. So that wasn’t it. But still this soft wind blew against the sheet, as if someone was blowing gently in my ear. What could it be?

A soft intake of breath, then, “Hallo, Dokter Vatson. I haf come to kill you.”

It was her! Professor Klopp! With a swift movement, I threw back the sheet, jumped up, and thrust my hands forward. Making contact with the villain’s face, I twisted my fingers, grinding the chilli sauce into her damned eyes.

“Ow, ow, you fuckin arsehole!” screamed the man, rubbing his injured orbs.

In the same instant, Sherlock Holmes sprang out of the cupboard. “Ha!” he yelled. “Now we’ve got you. Klopp.”

“It seems not,” said I, sitting on the edge of the dining table.

Billy Blah had crumpled and sat on the floor, cross-legged like a naughty schoolboy. “What the hell was that for?” he whined. “Wasn’t going to do anyfing…”

“No, of course you weren’t,” said Holmes, his face creased in a snarl. Then leaning forward, he dug his hands into Blah’s jacket and pulled out a vegetable knife. “And you wouldn’t dream of stabbing Johnny through the heart?”

“No, I were just gonner…” He let out a loud sob and continued rubbing his eyes.

Mary and Lestrade appeared in the doorway.

“Where’s Klopp?” said Lestrade, staring at Mister Blah.

Mary glanced at me. “Are you alright, Johnny?”

I nodded and turned back to our captive. “How did you know Holmes wasn’t dead,” I said, handing the man a handkerchief. “And that it was me on the table, not him?”

Blah sniffed and wiped the hankie across his face, blinking furiously. “It’s what she said.”

“Talk sense, man,” barked Holmes. “What did she say, exactly?”

Blah looked at the Great Detective, his lower lip trembling. “She told us what you would do.”

Holmes rolled his eyes. “Which bit of it?”

“All of it,” said Blah, blowing his nose on my handkerchief. “From when Dixie Dean first went to see you at Baker Street.”

At this, Holmes sank down and sat with a thump on the floor. “All of it? Every detail?”

Kneeling beside them, I took my handkerchief back and wiped the chilli sauce from my throbbing hands. “Dixie Dean was the fellow masquerading as Doctor Armstrong?”

Blah nodded.

I looked at Holmes and saw from his face that this was as much a blow to him as it was to me.

“I think, dear friends,” said Holmes, in a low voice, “that we have greatly underestimated Frau Klopp.” He poked a thin finger at Blah. “Where is she, Billy?”

The other man shook his head. “More’n me life’s worth, mate. Yer don’t know what she’d do.”

“I know what I shall do if you don’t tell us,” said Holmes.

“Don’t care,” he sobbed, looking up at Mary. “She ain’t a woman like what you are, Mrs Watson. She ain’t human.”

“Of course she’s human, you stupid man,” said Holmes. “Though I suspect she has more resources in her arsenal of skills than we could ever have imagined.”

Blah nodded sadly. “She ‘as. And you lot are gonner be bloody sorry by the time she’s finished.”

“Why, said Holmes, his voice almost inaudible. “What is she going to do?”

Billy looked at each of us in turn. “She’s going to kill yer. Kill all of yer. And it’s gonner hurt. A lot.”

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Posted by on August 25, 2019 in Detective Fiction


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A Detective in the Cupboard

Diary of Doctor J. Watson

“Well,” said Holmes, “I think we can safely assume Miss Claymore is in the employ of Professor Klopp.”

“But why would she go up to the second floor?” I said.

Holmes smiled sardonically. “Elementary, Watson. Claymore probably feared we were getting too close to the truth and wanted to warn Klopp. She took the knife in case you got in the way.”

I shook my head. “That can’t be right, Holmes – I did get in the way and she could very easily have stabbed me as she ran out onto the landing.”

The Great Detective shrugged. “What can I say – women!”

“Now just wait a minute…” Mary butted in.

But Holmes held up a hand. “I shall take great pleasure in arguing the proverbial toss with you my dear when we have the luxury of having Frau Klopp in custody. For the moment, please listen.”

Holmes quickly outlined his idea, then massaging his chin thoughtfully, gazed around the room. “Ah-ha,” he said, “this will do nicely.” He crossed to one of the cabinets that contained serving dishes, plates and crockery and flinging the doors open, began piling teh contents on the floor. I saw his plan immediately and opening the other cabinet, transferred various items of cutlery and silverware into the lower section to make room for the additional items.

“Should be enough space for a small one,” said Holmes, sliding his backside onto the now empty middle shelf. With a little manoeuvring, he was able to fit himself into the cabinet without too much trouble. “Shut the door, Johnny, would you?”

Carefully closing the door, I gave it a gentle shove as the catch slipped into place. Taking my hand away, the door remained firmly shut, giving no clue to the cabinet’s newly-acquired cargo.

“Excellent,” said Holmes, his voice sounding oddly echoey from inside the wooden refuge. “Now, you all know what to do, so get about it.”

I nodded to Mary and Lestrade, who slipped out of the room to fetch the items Holmes had asked for. Meanwhile, I busied myself fastening the false knife onto my chest with the aid of the belt from my trousers, then I moved the little Indian miniatures to the far end of the dining table. A minute later, Mary was back carrying a large bedsheet, followed by Lestrade with a few items from the pantry.

Once I’d prepared myself on the table, my dear wife covered me over with the sheet, the false knife sticking up from my chest.

“That should do it,” she said, fussing over the edges of the sheet. “You’re not quite as tall as Holmes, darling, but I don’t think that German bitch will notice.” She patted my forehead and leaning over me, kissed the part of the sheet that covered my mouth. “Try not to breathe.”

I heard the door open and someone kicked the wooden wedge into place to stop it closing by itself. Two sets of footsteps receded down the corridor, leaving Holmes and I to our fates.

The Diary of Mary Watson (Mrs)

Having left Johnny wrapped up like a corpse on the table, Inspector Lestrade and I went back into the hall where Holmes had been ‘stabbed’. Looking up, I could see Miss Claymore’s hand waving forlornly through the banister rails on the upper landing. She was still whining softly, but from the sound of it, her raging anger had subsided.

“Reckon we’d better do summat about that one,” said Lestrade, tugging at his moustache.

“Let’s get the others together first,” I said. He agreed and we hurried back outside and walked across the lawn to the icehouse where Billy Blah, Dilip Lombardi and General MacArthur hovered near the open doorway. All three looked at Lestrade but made no comment on his sudden appearance, as if they’d expected him to turn up at any moment.

“Bally bad show,” muttered the general as we approached. “Hitting a fellow from behind.”

I looked at Mister Rogers, whose body lay face down just inside the doorway. An ice-pick was lodged in the back of his head, its handle attached to a length of wire which in turn connected to a spring-like mechanism above the doorframe. The contraception reminded me of the old bucket-over-the-open-door trick we used to play on unwary teachers at school. Though of course this version was rather more deadly.

“Anyone see what happened?” said Lestrade.

Lombardi shook his head sadly. “Holmes got here first and called us over.” He looked over Lestrade’s shoulder. “Where is he, by the way? And Doctor Watson, is he..?” He looked pointedly at me, as if I might be hiding something.

I glanced at Lestrade and he gave a small nod.

“Unfortunately,” he began, “Sherlock Holmes has been murdered.”

I watched each of them as they took in this news, but all three reacted as if they were completely innocent, though I knew that such a circumstance was quite impossible.

Lestrade explained how Holmes had been the victim of a knife attack and that Johnny had laid his body out in the dining room.

“And what about Vera?” said Mister Blah. “I mean, Miss Claymore,” he added, with a cough.

“She too has had an accident, though she’s largely unhurt,” I said.

“Ah, well that’s something.”

“So,” I said, rubbing my hands together in a let’s-get-going sort of way, “my husband asked that we should all go to our rooms for now and he will decide what to do shortly.”

“Really?” said Mister Lombardi. “Go to our rooms? Where any or all of us might be murdered at any moment?”

At this, I was sorely tempted to say something else, but I reigned myself in and simply said, “We’re all to go to our rooms and Johnny will gather us all together soon.”

The three of them grumbled for a moment, then began to make their way across to the house.

“Right then, “said Lestrade, his little eyes twinkling. “Which one of ‘em’s going to crack first, eh?”

“I think that rather depends on which one Professor Klopp finds first, don’t you?”


Posted by on August 20, 2019 in Detective Fiction


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Lestrade to the Rescue (Again)

Journal of Inspector G. Lestrade

Reaching the front door, I launched myself against it. Luckily, it was ajar and swung inwards as my shoulder made painful contact with the large brass knocker.

Getting to my feet, I looked up and saw across the hall a familiar figure lying prostrate on the floor. It was Holmes and he had a knife sticking out of his chest.

“Oh, bloody Nora,” I yelped, my hand going to my mouth in a girly display of fright. Pulling myself together, I ran to his side, aware of the clatter of footsteps somewhere above me.

“Holmes,” I screamed. “You’re not bloody dead, are yer?”

Doctor and Mrs Watson tore down the stairs and knelt beside me, the good doctor immediately taking over and checking his friend’s vital signs.

“Sherlock?” said Watson, running his fingers around the area of the apparent wound. “Is this what I hope it is?”

At that, Holmes raised his head. “What d’you hope it is, Watson?”

“I hope it’s one of Mycroft’s knife-proof vests.”

Holmes sighed. “Ah, yes. That would have been a capital idea. Had I thought of it.” His head dropped to the floor with a thump, his eyes closed and his mouth open, a last gasp of life escaping his thin lips.

Sherlock Holmes was dead.

Watson’s lower lip trembled. He placed a hand over his friend’s eyes, then murmured something that sounded like a prayer. He sniffed, then sat up and turned to me. “Lestrade. You came.”

“Too late, it seems,” said I, a sense of despair washing over me. I gazed down at the lifeless face of our former colleague. “We’ll not see the like of ‘im again,” I said. “Not in this life.”

“Hold the eulogies, chaps,” muttered Holmes.

“Bloody hell,” I gasped. “He ain’t dead at all.”

“Christ,” said Watson, “give me a hand.” Grasping Holmes under the arms we took a firm hold and hauled the undead detective to his feet, the knife in his chest waving slightly with the effort, then shuffled him over to a nearby chair.

It was only then that we noticed the other weapon – a large kitchen knife – on the floor. Holmes had apparently been lying on top of it.

Watson stared at it, then looked at Holmes. “If that’s the knife there…” He let out a low growl. “Where did this one come from?”

“What? This?” Holmes gave the knife sticking out of his chest a playful flick with his finger. The implement waved back and forth as if made of rubber.

Watson straightened up. “You fucking twat,” he hissed. “I thought you were dead.” Snatching the knife, he gave it a sharp tug and it came away from Holmes’ chest, revealing it to be little more than a handle and a two-inch ‘blade’ that had been fastened in place with the aid of sticky tape.

“Keep it down, please, John,” said Holmes, glancing around in a rather furtive manner. “Common-or-garden joke-shop, as it happens.”

Standing up, Holmes ripped off the remaining pieces of sticky tape and fastened his shirt. Then, signalling our silence with a finger to his lips, whispered, “This way.” And with that, he scurried off towards the dining room. Once inside, he shut the door softly and crossed over to the windows to draw the curtains.

Watson stood and watched him, hands on hips, indicating that he was still very angry.

“What’s going on, Holmes?” said Mary, stroking her husband’s arm in a calming motion.

“Fink he’s ‘aving one of ‘is clever clogs moments,” said I.

Holmes held up a warning hand. “Shh.” He cocked his head as if listening, then indicated for us to gather round. “Now,” he said. “Admittedly my little performance may appear to you to be in poor taste, Watson, but I have my reasons. Had you been a little quicker in looking over the banister rail just now you would have observed another individual peering down at me from the first-floor landing.”

“Oh, shit,” said Watson. “Klopp.”

“Correct. Seeing that Miss Claymore’s knife-throwing act had apparently killed me instead of you, she quite naturally decided to make herself scarce. I suggest we do not avail her of the news that I am still very much alive until we can track her down.”

“Hang on,” said I. “Is this the Professor Klopp that…”

“Yes, yes,” said Holmes, “the very same, and if she’s not the mastermind behind this whole affair, then I’m a monkey’s carbuncle.”

“I don’t understand,” said Watson. “When did you strap that device to your chest?”

“Unlike you, friend John, I prepared myself for a successful attempt to be made on my life, and as there is an abundance of large knives in this house, I suspected the killer, one of them at least, to utilise such a weapon in an attempt to kill me.”

“But you said I was to be the next victim,” said Watson.

Holmes coughed. “Ah, yes. A ploy devised purely to protect you.” He looked at the floor. “Of course, I didn’t know Miss Claymore would actually try to kill you – I thought she was merely after a bit of…” He waved a hand in a suggestive manner.

“For God’s sake,” said Mary. “And you didn’t think it necessary to tell us the truth?”

“Mea culpa,” said Holmes, the beginnings of a sardonic smile playing around his mouth. “The fact is, Mary, I expected you two would be safely out of the way leaving me free to tackle our Germanic friend. Who, by the way, is still at large.”

“Wait a minute,” persisted Mary. “So you didn’t go off to the icehouse to follow Rogers?”

“I did, actually,” said Holmes, a look of concern sliding over his features.

“Oh,” said Mary, “but you didn’t think he might be in league with Klopp?”

“Again,” said Holmes, “I did, actually.”

Mary stamped her foot. “So you know what Rogers is doing right now, then?”

“Yes,” he said, simply.

“And what might that be?”

“Right now? He’s lying dead in the icehouse with an ice-pick in his head.”

We were all too stunned to speak.

After a moment, Holmes continued. “Some sort of spring mechanism attached to the door. Rather clever, actually. Poor chap didn’t have a chance.”

“Oh shit,” said Watson. “Look.”

We all turned to look at the row of miniature Indians on the dining table. One of them was lying down, his head melting into an ice cube.


Posted by on August 17, 2019 in Detective Fiction


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The Empty Bath

The Diary of Mary Watson (Mrs)

On seeing Vera Claymore hurrying towards the house, Holmes suggested I follow her while he went after Tommy Rogers. Giving the others an irritated glance (which I interpreted as annoyance at having to leave Messrs Blah, Lombardi and the General unguarded) he ran off in the direction of the icehouse.

Miss Claymore had already reached the French windows and slipped inside as I sprinted across the lawn, grateful I’d taken the precaution of kicking off my comfortable, but impractical, garden clogs a few minutes earlier. Bare footed and determined to apprehend my quarry, I nonetheless managed to trip over one of the deck chairs, wasting several precious seconds nursing an injured big toe.

Picking myself up, I raced into the morning room and thence into the hall, catching a glimpse of my prey running up the stairs brandishing a large kitchen knife. My God, I thought, she intends to kill Johnny! Tearing across the hall, I swung round onto the staircase and pelted upwards as fast as I was able. Above me the killer’s footsteps clattered over the landing and onto the upper staircase.

Where could she be going? Johnny had planned to conceal himself in our bedroom on the first floor, but Claymore was already nearing the second floor. Could she be searching for someone else?

“Mary!” hissed Johnny, hurrying towards me. “She’s got a knife. You stay here.”

“Not bloody likely,” said I, giving him a thump on the arm. “Come on.”

We hit the next staircase together, taking the steps two at a time. As we reached the top floor, Johnny pulled me to a halt. “Which one?”

A corridor stretched the length of the top floor, leading to two doors – one at either end. The first had a small brass sign attached pronouncing it to be the linen closet. It was also padlocked shut, so posed no danger as a possible hiding place. The other door had to be the entrance to the butler’s residence.

“The servants’ quarters,” I whispered. “There’s nowhere else she could have gone.”

Taking out his revolver, my hear husband stepped in front of me, holding his weapon firmly. Having left my own firearm in our bedroom, I rolled up the rug from the landing and held it up like a baton. It may not be sharp, I reasoned, but I’d be able to give the silly bitch a good wallop round the head if she came my way.

The door stood ajar. Johnny slid along the wall opposite and craned his neck. Can’t see her, he mouthed.

Skipping lightly across to the far side of the door, I signalled that we should rush in together on a count of three. Johnny nodded, so I held up one finger, then two then…


Miss Claymore shot through the door like a mad thing, hurtled past us and ran off towards the stairs. In the same instant her right foot slewed across the uncarpeted and highly-polished surface of the landing and she did what can only be described as an impromptu ballet move – one foot went forwards, the other went back and she did the splits, causing her womanly parts to hit the ground with a sharp slap.

“Ooh,” winced Johnny. “That’s got to hurt.”

With one hand clinging to the banister rail for support, Vera twisted round as if to fling the knife at us, but in throwing her arm back in readiness, she lost her grip on the deadly weapon, sending it spinning upwards in a rather graceful arc. The knife twirled in mid-air then as gravity took over, dropped like a stone down the stairwell. I was about to run to the woman’s aid (if only to chide her for being a silly cow), but Johnny grabbed my arm.

“Leave her – she’s lost the knife and, pardon me for gloating, won’t be going anywhere fast.” He turned towards the butler’s room and nodded. “Let’s go.”

As we moved carefully into the apartment, I couldn’t help wondering if, after all, there was someone else in the house we didn’t know about, in which case that same individual might at this very moment be waiting to… but no, Miss Claymore had to have come up here for a reason and as she had now left the room, whatever she’d intended must either have already been done, or failed in its execution for some other reason.

The bathroom door stood wide open and I was reminded that the body of Professor Klopp and the head of Justice Warmonger would still be where Johnny and Holmes had left them. From the doorway, I could see the bucket with the judge’s head in it, the bulging eyes gazing up at us with a slightly surprised expression. The bath, on the other hand, was entirely empty.

“Oh shit,” said Johnny. He looked at me. “She’s gone.”

“You mean she isn’t dead?” I said.

Johnny gritted his teeth and growled. “Bloody Vera,” he muttered. “Come on,” and we started back towards the landing.

Miss Claymore, while also not dead, was definitely in a lot of pain, which I freely admit to not feeling unhappy about. Her legs stuck out horizontally front and back, and she clung to the banister rail, mewing like a cat in heat.

“Ow, ow, ow…” she whined. “It hurts…”

“Well, serves you right,” said I, making some little effort not to laugh. “Now, where’s Professor Klopp?”

She stopped her moaning, turned her face towards me and said in a horridly prissy voice, “I don’t know what you mean.”

At that point Johnny leaned over the banister rail to look down and let out a howl of anguish.

“Darling, what is it?” I said jumping up.

“Look,” he said, simply, pointing down the stairwell.

Leaning over the banister rail, I looked, and there below us was the body of Sherlock Holmes, flat on his back, the kitchen knife sticking out of his chest.


Posted by on August 12, 2019 in Detective Fiction


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