Tag Archives: Charles Dickens

Marley’s Ghost…

from Dr J Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:
In view of recent events, I thought I’d better let you have my notes following on from your description of the incident concerning my exploding bowels…

From my perch inside Dickens’ water closet, I could hear the infamous scribbler arguing with my companion. As I concentrated on arranging my toilette, the stench of sulphur reached my tender nostrils. Pulling my trousers up (hopefully for the last time), I heard the clatter of what sounded like rusty chains being dragged along bare floorboards by some long-dead moneylender. I immediately put this ridiculous thought out of my head and burst through the door to take in a curious scene:
Dickens was back in his chair by the fire, his face as pale as an uncooked pancake, while Holmes stood over him,  staring across the room towards the door. I came out of the closet and turned my eyes towards an astonishing sight – a figure was in the doorway, his clothes ragged and dirty and his hands gripping the ends of the heavy chains that trailed after him. These chains seemed to consist of cash-boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds, and heavy purses wrought in steel.

Dickens voice broke out: “Who the devil are you?”

I stared at the apparition, the stench of sulphur once again in my nostrils as the strange creature uttered these words…

“Ask me who I was.” The ghost (for I was convinced that this is what we beheld before us) spake again:

“Bugger off!” shouted Holmes.

“You don’t believe in me,” said the spirit, jangling his chains.

I was stood stock still in fright, my bowels trembling in my trousers, but Holmes took charge of the strange situation. Charging forward, he grasped the figure by the collar and shook him violently.

“Nice try, friend, but not nice enough to fool the greatest ghost-buster in town.” And with that he bopped the fellow over the head with a cosh (which presumably explained the bulge in his pocket) and the ‘ghost’ fell to the ground, groaning. Holmes grabbed the canister of sulphurous fumes that protruded from the stranger’s coat pocket. “Apologies Watson, I wrongly deduced that you were responsible for the atrocious smell.”

“Oh my fucking Christ,” exclaimed Dickens, hurrying across the room. “What can it be, what can it be?”

Holmes rolled his eyes and gave him a sardonic stare. “For God’s sake, Charlie, it’s just old Crowley up to his tricks again.” He slapped Dickens across the face. “You’re an idiot. Anyone can see this charlatan was simply playing you at your own game – feeding on your own pathetic insecurities. He had me going for a moment with that clever cast of Moriarty’s face on the door knocker, but now I see the truth. You see, Mr Dickens, the market for summoning up spirits isn’t what it was, so this inventive pea-brain was clearly hoping to induce some sort of collaborative deal with you on the basis of this…” He waved a dismissive hand at Crowley, who was rubbing his injured head. “This character.”

Holmes walked over to the fire and picked up his deerstalker. “Come along Watson, and please abstain from your pharting activities til you are safely within the bounds of your own water closet.” As he strode past the trembling Dickens, he added, “And if I were you Chas, I’d join forces with Crowley on this preposterous story. The man’s an idiot, but I must admit, he has an interesting creation here. ‘Man in Chains at Christmas’ – good title for one of your yuletide tales, I should think.” And with that he was off.

I nodded to Dickens and gave Crowley a swift kick as I passed.

And home (at last) to Mrs Watson.


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Posted by on January 2, 2015 in Detective Fiction


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A Dickens of a Curry…

from Sherlock Holmes Esq to Dr J Watson:
Here are my hurried notes which I was forced to scribble down, due to your extremely quick departure to Dickens’ water-closet, caused by the unstoppable explosive nature of your severe reaction to that curry. I had a feeling when you informed me that it was a Two-for-One Deal from Master Sainsbury’s Emporium that you might be regretting it later. I heard from my Sources that they had had a delivery of old mutton from that new Butcher’s, handily situated next to the Abattoir, which unfortunately has been inundated with complaints after whole swathes of the Local Community went down with some nasty case of food poisoning. I believe this to have been engineered specifically to disguise the deliberate poisoning of Lord X, which we were called in to investigate the other day, but I digress.

After your disappearance, Dickens shot me a look so filled with Fear and Loathing that I momentarily lost my customary composure, and began fiddling with the end of my instrument, concealed safely within the pocket of my frock-coat. Dickens’ eyes bulged hugely from his whey-coloured visage, his lips drawn back in a ghastly parody of a man convulsed with laughter, but it was not hearty barks of merriment which issued from his mouth – he turned slowly in a sideways fashion and emitted a high-pitched squeal – “My God, Man, but you’re stinking up the place to High Heaven!!”

I had to admit that the odour issuing from the Water-Closet was hardly pleasant, but his rude and insensitive ejaculation did appear somewhat cruel, and I said as much to him. He turned to me with what I presumed would be some sort of Literary Put-down, but instead, a bone-chilling scream filled the room and caused him to fall off the Pouffe, dangerously close to the Fender – as I rushed to a grudging rescue, still smarting from his inconsiderate treatment of your good self, we both noticed another noxious smell in the room – but this one had the distinct tang of sulphur. What on earth!

At that moment, we heard the flush of Dickens’ new-fangled high-level cistern, and you appeared, silhouetted in the doorway, one hand down your trousers, adjusting some item of apparel, and the other locked on your trusty piece. “Let him have it!” I bellowed, and just at that moment, as your eyes adjusted to the fire-light, I heard an explosion, and muffled curses, as you rushed once more to relieve yourself.

To be continued.

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Posted by on December 29, 2014 in Detective Fiction


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A Dickens of a Christmas…

from Dr J Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

As promised, here are my notes from the other night…

Holmes and I arrived at Dickens’ house at the appointed hour (11:55pm) on Christmas Eve. At my companion’s suggestion, I had brought along my patented ‘ghost buster’ tool which Holmes thought might come in handy if the so-called spirits turned out to be more flesh than fiend.

I was about to rap on the door knocker when Holmes touched my arm:

“Watson, stay your hand a moment…” and he indicated the door knocker itself, which until that moment I had only perceived as an instrument of knockerability. Now I saw to my horror that the design of the thing took the form of a human face, and one I was all too familiar with.

“Why Holmes,” I exclaimed. “It’s the face of Mr Bun the Baker!”

My companion chuckled. “Oh my dear Watson – had I half your imagination we should be in a jolly fix indeed. No, Doctor, it is in fact the face of our old friend Professor Moriarty.”

“Professor Moriarty?!” I screamed.

“Yes, Watson,” whispered my companion, clamping a hand over my mouth. “The very same. Now let us proceed with caution and a greater degree of quietude.”

I quickly recovered myself and assured Holmes of my support.

“I advise you to keep one hand on your tool, Watson.” And with that, he took out his set of skeleton keys and a moment later the door swung open and we stepped inside the house.

Dickens appeared from a side door, sweat dripping from his brow and a look of consternation on his poor face. “Thank Christ you’re here, Mr Holmes, and you too, Good Doctor.” He strode forward and grasped our hands, welcoming us into his home with a passion I would not have thought possible for a man of his stature.

Leading us through to the library, Dickens bid us to sit by the fire. “Tis almost time,” he whispered, glancing about himself as if expecting some apparition to appear. “At any moment the apparition will appear.”

I would have congratulated myself on my assessment of the situation, but at that very moment, the grandfather clock in the corner struck the hour. It was midnight.

Dickens seemed to withdraw into himself and leaned back into his chair as if it might protect him from whatever he was afraid of.

Holmes leaned forward, his keen senses picking up every movement, every sound. A sudden explosion of hot air rattled from underneath my chair. Holmes turned to me, a look of irritation in his eyes. “Was that you, Watson?”

“Sorry Holmes, I shouldn’t have had that curry.”

He silenced me with a finger to his lips, and peered around the room. Meanwhile, I watched Mr Dickens and noted with some alarm that the fellow’s face had drained of all colour…

To be continued

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Posted by on December 28, 2014 in Detective Fiction


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Flute Notes on a Mel and Patsy Pond…

from Sherlock Holmes Esq to Dr J Watson:

Watson – I should like to express my thanks for the Hamper of Delights, having sampled a selection, with Mrs Hudson this forenoon; she expressed her satisfaction with the Tessellated Twists, stating that they brought back memories of afternoons spent on Brighton’s sands, canoodling with her Johnny on his infrequent visits to Blighty, preferring, as he did, to wend his way through the Fleshpots of Europe, hawking his wares. I believe Hudson is still seeking treatment for conditions transferred to her person on those halcyon days long-gone.

As to Byron’s catchy ditty – I have transcribed the lyrics, including those in the vernacular dialect, in to my catch-all Notebook, which also includes the verbatim reports of your Night Terrors, captured occasionally on my nocturnal travels round 221B. I give you my word that they will never be used for purposes of Blackmail while breath inhabits my body.

On a different note, I could not believe the ruckus created in Geneva by the arrival of the warbler Jim Kerr and his good lady Patsy Kensit – trust that fool Byron to stir the pot, bringing up the subject of Patsy’s latest Burlesque Performance in the Lethal Weapon franchise, pay-rolled by our friend Dickens, and his business-partner Collins. Why did he have to egg Kerr on, fuelling his already bubbling suspicions as to her relationship with Mr Gibson, our friend from The Colonies, who had a leading role in this Family-Friendly production? To infer that Mr Gibson was offering more than professional encouragement was unnecessary and inflammatory – I am rather irked at having to part-fund the replacement chandelier, broken in the fray which ensued. I wonder whether the couple will weather the storm created by that nincompoop?

To return to more important matters, I should be most keen to embark on Dickens’ conundrum with your good self; call round at your soonest convenience – Hudson may not hear you ring, as she has indulged in some of Mrs Watson’s Elixirs of The Orient. I trust they do not contain that new fashionable flavouring, purchased from Mr Chang’s Emporium – I believe it has been the downfall of several local worthies.

Awaiting your arrival, SH.

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Posted by on December 21, 2014 in Detective Fiction


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Byron’s Lament…

from Dr J Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

Just a quick note to let you know I arrived safely back in the arms of my dear lady wife this morning. My head is much better and I believe myself fully recovered from whatever awful substance I imbibed during our stay with those infantile Romantics.

I’d like to thank you too, Holmes, for not over-egging the proverbial custard with jibes about my poor constitution – I had enough of that from Byron when he cheered us off with a rendition of his infamous “We’ll Go No More A-Boozing”:

So, we’ll go no more a-boozing
So late into the night,
Though the guts be still as thirsty,
And the bum-hole still as tight…

I don’t recall the rest, but I’m sure the words will come back to haunt me if I ever dare to touch that vile liqueur again.

Anyway, I had a card this morning from Chas Dickens, claiming we promised to look into the so-called ‘three ghosts’ who are apparently still keeping him awake at night, quoting Nicholas Nickleby at him. I trust you’re up for a Christmas Investigation, old pal?

I’ll pop round shortly with some of Mrs Watson’s festive fare (though I’ve been up with the squits all night so you might want to stay away from her ‘triangles of delight’).



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Posted by on December 20, 2014 in Detective Fiction


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Vying for the Arms of Mary…

from Dr J Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

(Hand-delivered by urchins)
Watson – I sincerely hope you have recovered from the vast quantities of wine you were forced to consume last night, due to the brain-numbingly tedious hours of drivel we were bombarded with, issuing from the apertures of our companions, in a seemingly constant flow of ineffable ordure, much as Hercules must have faced when tasked with the unenviable job of cleaning the Augean stables.

I admit even I was taken aback by the huge disparity in the Public Reputation of the Acclaimed Romantic Poets, and the actuality of their output, given that what we witnessed was an average offering. I am beginning to believe the ugly rumours of their employing what is aptly (in this case) termed Ghost Writers (not to be confused with Dickens’ latest Sideshow currently hawking round the countryside – “Ghost Rider”, with that well-known Thesp. Nicholas McCage).

By the way, as Mary and I were threading our way through the Shambles which was the Market in this wearisome, parochial backwater, who did we have the absolute misfortune to bump in to (as he strode self-importantly around the place, booming in a seeming parody of that other well-known show-off, Brian d’Blessed),none other than that unholy bore Branagh, scouting for ideas for some wretched scribble he and Dickens have been working on. And wouldn’t you know – although I warned her not to breathe a word about her Idea from the ridiculous Ghost-Story-Competition – she blabbed until she was blue in the face.

What will be the outcome of That, I asked myself, while eyeing up some tasty-looking Emmenthal, lying on a bed of freshly-picked Gentians, and securing for myself a real humdinger of a chunk of the best Swiss Shag.

Anyhow, Watson, I trust we will find you somewhat refreshed when we return, and keep your fingers crossed that we have managed to shake Branagh off, as he was hinting broadly that he wouldn’t mind seeing you again, to reminisce about The Old Days. I cared not for the sleazy gleam in his eye as he pronounced the sentence.

Your friend, much wearied in all manner of ways,


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Posted by on December 9, 2014 in Detective Fiction


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Charlie’s Party…

from Sherlock Holmes Esq to Dr J Watson:
Watson – are you going to Dickens’ Birthday Bash tonight? I believe it is arranged in order to sample the delights of as many scurrilous watering-holes and dens of iniquity as possible, which surprises me not one whit, considering with whom we are dealing.   Naturally, the likes of Wilde and his ilk will be attending – I have it from a reliable source that young Stevenson is coming down from Edinburgh – no doubt with some of his cronies – you can imagine the tone of the proceedings with that shower – Mrs Leanshanks has been commissioned to emerge, scantily-clad, from a giant confection near the end of the proceedings.

I fear that will be surplus to requirements, as by that time there doubtless will be nary a one left standing, and with all faculties intact. Let me know your intention as soon as possible, as Hudson needs to know whether she must air the spare bed.


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Posted by on September 14, 2014 in Detective Fiction


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