‘You’re forgetting something,’ I said, raising my revolver.
‘Ah,’ said Moriarty. ‘I did hope to avoid your typical English tit-for-tat behaviour.’
Holmes had also raised his weapon, but the villain showed no sign of having been outmanoeuvred.
‘Would you, my dear?’ said Moriarty, inclining his head to one side.
Klopp stepped forward and reached out to take our guns.
‘Hah,’ said Holmes, ‘you think I don’t have the nerve?’ And with that, he pulled the trigger.
For the second time that day, there was a dull click.
Holmes sighed. ‘Typical.’
‘Vot’s vrong, Holmes?’ said Klopp, grasping our weapons by the barrels. ‘Did you zeriously zink ve vould haf let you vander round wiz guns full of real bullets?’ She laughed and threw the revolvers on the floor behind her. ‘No, papier mâché, a wemarkably fwexible material.’
Moriarty made a gesture towards two of the white-coated workers and the pair stepped towards us, each one holding a German Luger.
‘Keep them covered,’ said the Evil Genius. ‘And if anyone moves before Mrs Christie gets here, kill them.’
‘Now, just wait a bleedin minute,’ said Lestrade, pushing past me. ‘I’ve met this Mrs Christie and she ain’t a bad old girl if yer ask me, so I’d like to know just what you fink she’s going ter do when she gets ‘ere.’
I nudged his arm. ‘It isn’t Mrs Christie we need to worry about,’ I said. ‘It’s the other one. Ratched.’
‘Oh, right. Sorry.’
‘Yes,’ said Moriarty. ‘So, to clarify, Maudie will aid Mrs Christie in locating us down here. She will escort the silly woman into the dining room which will then descend into our little departure lounge over yonder, where she and you will be … departed, forever. After that, our team here will make the final preparations to begin the takeover of Londen.’
‘Don’t think so,’ said Holmes. ‘I think you underestimate the cunning of our favourite lady novelist.’
‘I do not underestimate her cunning at all, Holmes,’ said the Evil Genius, ‘but I’m sure you’ll agree, real life is not one of her strong points. Take that eleven-day disappearance of hers—hardly the actions of a sound mind, eh?’ He laughed. ‘No, I don’t think we have anything to fear from that quarter.’
I had to admit, I could see Moriarty’s point—a middle-aged woman who spends her time drinking tea and writing novels is hardly likely to parachute in, all guns blazing, and save the day.
All in all, things were looking rather bleak.