Tag Archives: R L Stevenson

Sherlock Vs ‘The Children’…

From the Diary of Doctor Watson

It has taken me some little time to come to terms with the bizarre episode I faced yesterday afternoon and I am only now able to put pen to paper and collect my thoughts in a cohesive manner.

My companion’s reaction to my visit yesterday gave me quite a start. His quip “Excuse me, do I know you?” was (thought I, in my stupidity) just another Holmsian joke, but no – it was in fact, merely the tip of the iceberg.

Holmes turned his head slightly as if talking to someone else. He went on to speak rapidly, recounting numerous antics and anecdotes. The fact that I stood there in the conservatory quite alone, did not seem to deter him and though I waved a hand at the empty space he continued to address, there was no change in his demeanour. I watched, dumbstruck, as his head swivelled between my own face and the void next to me, Holmes​ nodding occasionally and giving that sly wink in answer to (presumably) whatever communication he thought was emanating from our imaginary companion.

I studied him carefully over the next few minutes. He appeared to have succumbed to some strange trick of the mind, which convinced him that our old pal RLS was in the room with us and clearly holding a most interesting conversation. After some minutes, I retired to Matron’s office in the hope that what I was witnessing was not some feature of my own troubled imagination.

“Och Doctor Watson,” gushed the large lady, giving me a playful dig in the ribs. “We’ve heard soooo much about you from dear Mister Holmes. But you’re much smaller in real life.” She guffawed loudly and I detected a quick glance in the direction of my nether regions. Then her face changed as she recounted the dreadful incident when my companion was brought into the asylum (yes, dear reader, I too was shocked to learn that the building we were presently occupying was not the village hospital but the local Insane Asylum!!!) It seems that Holmes was having some sort of continual hallucination that also included whatever was going on in the real world (which explains why he could see me as well as Bobby Stevenson).

Matron leaned forward conspiratorially. “I believe those vile creatures have done something to your friend, Doctor, but how long it will last we cannot say.” She then went on to tell me how another villager had been forced by the Children to drive his car into the duck pond, and yet another appeared to believe he had turned into a mole and had spent a whole day digging holes all over the village green.

I left Holmes writing out a series of letters (to me, I believe) detailing his ideas on ‘the Problem of Thor Bridge and how the new Science of Mesmerism will sort things out…’ At least my companion could come to no further harm in the Asylum. As I left the building, I pondered on the problem ahead of me – if Zellaby was aware of these bizarre goings-on, he had neglected to mention them to me, but given his own clock-fixated behaviour, that’s hardly surprising.

I decided the only way to tackle the problem was to tackle the creatures themselves – The Children.

Last night I telephoned Inspector Lestrade. Since it seemed I have no option but to take over the case myself, I decided I had better get some help.

(to be continued).

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Posted by on September 5, 2015 in Detective Fiction


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Behind the Scenes at the Asylum…

From Sherlock Holmes Esq to Doctor Watson:

Watson – you know I am not one for effusive praise, but I have to congratulate you on the quick thinking and modicum of initiative demonstrated in your recent actions. When you realized the jolt from the capsized vehicle had resulted in Memory Absence, your decision to bring our old friend and trusted confidante RLS to the Convalescent Home was nothing short of a Light-bulb Moment; despite your having to use some effort to distract him initially from “conducting research” for his latest novella, as he likes to call the wretched scribblings.

When you finally managed to drag him away from some gruesome treatment or other and focused him on my predicament, it worked like a Charm –  how such an airy-fairy, wool-gathering nincompoop can be so gifted in the new Science of Mesmerism escapes being pinned down by the Rational Process, but however he does it, the results speak for themselves. I was instantly jolted back to my Old Self, with the recent events seared in to my brain as though by some burning device – the Remembrance of Times Just Passed caused my synapses to spark off each other like Dr Frankenstein’s Resuscitation Machine, only with less ghastly consequences.

I will Begin…..


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Posted by on September 3, 2015 in Detective Fiction


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Those Flocking Seagulls…

from Dr J Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

From the Diary of Dr John Watson.

To say that I was a little irritated by my companion’s disappearance is only scraping the surface of that particular Holmesian iceberg, but to then be forced to spend two whole days trying to solve the difficulty of these flocking birds by myself, has had me at my wits end.

This morning, finding I was (yet again) left to my own devices, I made my way to the local library where I spent a rather fruitless morning going through back issues of ‘Mad Cornish Birds’ in search of clues to our feathery mystery. Unfortunately, it turned out that the phenomenon had not vanished with the night. On leaving the building at the side of a rather pretty young librarian (who had been assisting my search), a flock of seagulls swooped at us from out of nowhere, forcing me to push my new friend to the ground and leap on top of her in an effort to protect her womanly virtues.

I did offer to take her out to lunch as some meagre form of recompense, but the girl simply gave me a funny look and turned away. As I watched her walk off, I realised my flies were undone, which may explain her reaction. Then, gazing around me, I became engrossed in examining one of the dead seagulls which had attacked us – the dreadful creature was definitely deceased, but gazing into its lifeless eyes, I couldn’t help but think I’d seen its face somewhere before.

I had been back at the hotel only a few minutes, when I took delivery of another note from Holmes, this time conveyed by carrier pigeon. This in itself was rather curious – the bird did not arrive at my room in the usual manner, but appeared to have made its journey on foot. The strange creature rapped its beak on the door, untied the knot that held the message to its leg and held out the note in its beak, all the while staring at me with, again, a strangely familiar face.

Unfortunately (again), I fear Holmes has gone off on one of his ‘episodes’ and I may still be faced with solving this mystery on my own…


Whatever feelings of Irritation and Annoyance you are harbouring towards me, be assured that I possess them tenfold…you cannot imagine the turbulent maelstrom which is my Being at this moment in time –  the giant waves of virulent reprehension which are crashing on the rocky shores of my person threaten with each pounding volley to drown me in the boiling Seas of Despair and Despond…I cannot believe that I succumbed once again to the Siren Call of The Waters of Oblivion, to the seductive charms of Lethe, to seeking out the darker Roads to Freedom…but of course, all too soon they shape-shift in to our Gaolers and Tormentors, trapping us in the dingy, sordid cells of our very own Newgate – our Minds, which keep us captive, delighting in inflicting the most ingenious means of Punishment their twisted, bitter thoughts can concoct.

I shall start at the beginning…little did I realise the Horror which would ensue…It began with a chance encounter in Theosophilus Screech’s Tobacco Emporium. I was musing on the points of comparison between Black Harrington Twist and Worsted Old Shag, when I gradually became aware of a voice, penetrating my cogitations – “Why! – if it isn’t old Stinker Holmes himself!” (my habit of conducting chemical experiments even then left its often noxious impression on my clothes and hair earning me the unwelcome appellation).  I turned, to see Shufflebottom Minor’s familiar  bluff features beaming with simple pleasure  –  “Just the man I would wish to accompany us on our Expedition!” It turned out he was about to become joined in Holy Matrimony with the only daughter of one of our country’s Minor Nobility, and had planned a Last Blow-out with some of his Cronies, one of whom happened to be our friend RLS…need I say more.

I shall send you details of the ensuing Fracas once I have had a soothing and restorative Brew.

Prepare Yourself.

To Be Continued.


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Posted by on June 9, 2015 in Detective Fiction


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Baltimore (Absolutely Final) Diaries…

from Dr J Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

From the diary of Doctor Watson

Having assumed that Holmes and RLS would be hard at it on some intriguing mystery, I was a little put out to learn that the subject of their heated discussion at breakfast was entirely taken up with the properties of the marmalade they were stuffing into their greedy mouths. Apparently, RLS has invested an amount of cash (from one of his tawdry novellas) in a product entitled ‘Granny’s Marmalade’, which he came across while discussing cash-flow and investments with the infamous Scottish industrialist Duncan ‘mine’s-the-pint’ Ballantyne. It seems that marmalade may be a sound financial venture for author-types, (though rather tellingly, Ballantyne himself hasn’t sunk a penny into the brand) and Stevenson (being a bit of a marmalade aficionado) is convinced he’ll make a killing with his own version of the preserve, entitled ‘Samoalade’.

Having ascertained which direction the conversation was heading (ie, in a downward spiral), I informed my companion that I would be leaving on the 10:30 train and would see him back in London. Holmes gave me one of his baleful stares and simply said “I’ve never understood your aversion to marmalade, Watson.” After which he turned back to RLS and continued his jarring conversation.

While sitting in the railway station with a ticket for my destination, I perused one of the letters my dear lady wife had forwarded to the hotel. The handwriting had a familiar scrawl to it and I eagerly ripped open the lavender-scented envelope…

I shall not make a note here of that envelope’s contents, but suffice to say that a certain ‘woman’ has requested the services of myself and my companion on a matter of some delicacy. As I boarded the train for home, I wondered if Holmes would be interested in this, or should I say, the woman’s predicament…


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Posted by on February 28, 2015 in Detective Fiction


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Baltimore (Final) Diaries (Again)..

from Dr J Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

From the diary of Doctor Watson

On waking this morning, I called on Holmes in the next room, to find that my companion had disappeared. It was only on returning to my room that I noticed a hastily scribbled note had been pushed under my door:

After we had escorted Dr Snodgrass home to his Lodgings and tucked the fellow up with a toasty Hotty and glass of H2O on his bedside table for the inevitable alcoholic thirst, I made my way, unbeknownst to you ( believing me snoring under the eiderdown in the next room), to Madame Marmalade’s Emporium, in order to winkle out some pertinent facts and relevant information….( she agreed to waive your Invoice on production of my Official Papers. I flashed her my Membership Papers for Theosophilus’ Smith’s Travelling Freakshow and Assocs, which seemed to placate her somewhat).

After some practised smarming and smooth-talking, I ascertained that Edgar had been a regular visitor to her Franchises, not to sample the wares, but to obtain ideas and suggestions for his short stories – as the other customers were a mine of information and gory details, being members of the shady and perverse stratum of Society, known as The Establishment; she kept me engrossed and enthralled for quite some time, revealing snippets and tales, which, if endorsed and tagged with names, would have brought down Public Figures and Influential Persons, over a wide and spreading radius of The Colonies.

As that may be, I was making my way towards our Hostelry, when I noticed a shadowy figure to my left, keeping to the verges, attempting to blend in with the darkness, keeping pace with my progress, albeit slightly behind me; on turning quickly round, the figure scurried back somewhat – I called out “Who goes there!” – and almost staggered back in surprise, as the familiar lanky length of Robert Louis Stevenson drew itself up to its full height – “Holmes!”, he ejaculated, “What the Devil are you doing here?!” – ” I could ask You the same question!” I emitted – “Let us immediately wend our way to my Lodgings, and rouse Dr Watson from his slumbers….we have much talking to do….”, and with that, we set off.

I washed and dressed hurriedly and made my way downstairs where I found my companion and the aforementioned RLS deep in conversation…


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Posted by on February 16, 2015 in Detective Fiction


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The Lighthouse Family…

from Sherlock Holmes Esq to Dr J Watson:
Thank you, my dear Watty, for your inestimable help re. the humiliating recent episode – it simply proves that even the stoutest fellows can be seduced in to complying with these charlatans’ party tricks – it will take all my powers of the Thesps’ Arts to convince the Bounder that I was merely toying with him.

By the way, it means a lot to me, your giving the Devil a good seeing-to. He is a man of great persuasions, that Stevenson – to resist going in to the Family Business took a lot of Determination – I do believe at one point, they chained him to one of the most desolate Lights they Own – on a rocky outpost, surrounded by the Raging Waters of the North Sea – and still he refused to give in…you have to admire such fierce Strength of Will and Steadfastness of Mind – the man can make you believe Black is White should it suit his purposes. A man could make a Fortune from such gifts and attributes, had he a mind to.

On a lesser note, Watson, leave the Muffins chez vous – your wife is an abysmal Cook – I have Muffins Galore on my own premises – Hudson’s Muffins have won Prizes, as you know. However, I appreciate the thought.


Your constant colleague and friend, SH.

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Posted by on October 5, 2014 in Detective Fiction


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Stevenson’s Lament…

from Dr J Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

Glad to know you’re back in the land of the living! I did wonder quite what you were getting involved with when you agreed to Stevenson’s “experiments”. I think it was yet another of his storytelling exercises by which he persuades some dilatory individual (in this case, you) to act as guinea pig in order to throw up one of his so-called plot scenarios. I admit Holmes, I was completely taken in by what I assumed was an amusement on your part – that of substituting the experimenter for the victim – and that at any moment you would “awaken” from your apparent stupor to renounce Stevenson’s ridiculous theory of the Dark Side and expose him as a charlatan. My apologies that my observations, on this occasion, failed you and I was unable to guess how far into his sick and tormented psyche he had lured you.

You may be assured that I gave Stevenson a jolly good telling off – in fact, I led him away from the company and took him into the kitchen where I put him over the table and gave him a damn good licking. He won’t try that party trick again for a while, I can assure you.
I will call round in the morning with a more tangible apology, in the form of half a dozen of my wife’s muffins – which I am certain even you won’t be able to resist.


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Posted by on October 1, 2014 in Detective Fiction


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From the Dark Side…

from Sherlock Holmes Esq to Dr J Watson:

It is with the utmost relief that I have regained the capacity to use a pen. I have been to Hell and back in the last 48 hours. I thought I would never again see or hear your familiar features and gruff yet soothing cadences – do not ask where I have been or what degradations I have been through – I am doing my utmost to wipe the shameful details from my internal memory bank. I ought to have heeded your advice to decline Stevenson’s invitation to embrace my dark side.

Watson, you have no idea of the horrors that lurk in the recesses of the psyche when unleashed and unfettered – aided and abetted by substances and unholy impulses. Stevenson maintained I was helping him test some theories in his Research towards a forthcoming opus, regarding the primitive impulses which reside in each of us, thinly veiled beneath the civilised veneer. I will tell you more once I have recovered slightly.  

Your penitent friend and fellow- explorer.  

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Posted by on September 25, 2014 in Detective Fiction


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Wilde Nights…

from Dr J Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

Please inform Mrs Hudson that I would be very glad to avail myself of the spare bed after tonight’s adventures. I cannot say, however, that I’m looking forward to meeting Stevenson again – after that face-changing charade he pulled off at Dr Jekyll’s apartments last year, when his lodger Hyde appeared and went on a killing spree down at the local butchers. If you hadn’t had the foresight to bring along your meat cleaver and get a good swing at the madman as he emerged from the shop with a pork chop on his head, God alone knows what might have transpired.

It will be good to see Wilde again – especially since he denounced that bunch of homosexual vagabonds he and Bosie used to hang around with. (I can put up with Bosie and his boring anecdotes about that illiterate drunkard and rarely-known-to-be-sober shit-faced father of his – just so long as he doesn’t get his John Thomas out in public again!)

At any rate, the girl in the cake should allow us an amusing interlude – provided she doesn’t go and get herself murdered. I could not countenance another “The Case of the Knife in the Chest of the Girl in the Cake” again.

Ah, my Hansom has arrived. I will see you anon.


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Posted by on September 17, 2014 in Detective Fiction


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Not Really in the Belly of the Beast…

From Dr Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:

Dear Holmes

No doubt you are sitting at your window in Baker Street reading an account of my ‘adventures’ as penned by some idiot journalist, and laughing your diamond-patterned socks off at this very minute. Well, I would call you an absolute boundah, cad and scoundrel of the first degree if I was the sort of chap to do that. But I’m not, so I won’t. However, I do think you might have troubled yourself a little to let me know what was actually going on and saved me the embarrassment of recent days.

As you know, the ‘kidnapped’ scenario with my so-called friend Stevenson, was in fact nothing of the sort, but an ill-fashioned attempt by Stevenson himself and those people at Charter Film Productions to knock together some sort of ridiculous adventure featuring the infamous Sherlock Holmes and his rather stupid friend, Doctor Watson. Well, perhaps we both could have had a laugh about it if we’d both known. As it happens, I knew nothing until one of the stage hands employed to ‘shoogle’ the ‘boat’, happened to mistake his footing and fall through the scenery which gave the game away somewhat.

Stevenson, of course was very apologetic and admitted immediately to his part in the proceedings (writing what he likes to call the script) and I was then invited to spent some considerable time with those boundahs the Boulting Brothers (Roy and Johnny) in an attempt to work out how to ‘make good’ their appalling behaviour.

Well, Holmes, it might interest you to know, as you sit in your socks, smirking at my apparent stupidity, that Messrs Roy and John have actually given Stevenson the boot and offered me an interesting position as a consulting screen writer in the production of a series of adventure films based on the Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (you may have heard of it – a reasonably successful booklet I penned based on our own exploits). The films are to feature two of the team’s regular actors to play you and I: the rather lovely John Le Mesurier is to play me and the extraordinarily polite Ian Carmichael is taking the role of your good self. I think they will do rather well, don’t you?

So, Holmes, I do hope your smirk has vanished as I sit here drinking excellent tea at the Cafe Royal and sharing Jammy Dodgers with Terry Thomas (Moriarty), Dennis Price (Lestrade) and Irene Handl (Mrs Hudson). I expect The Times will shortly be running my new column detailing my work with the studio – you may find it interesting.

If you should care to call on me later today, I expect to be home sometime after ten this evening, as Mrs Watson and I are attending the premier of the Boulting’s latest offering – I’m Alright Jack. (I expect Peter Sellers will want to spend some time chatting with me about his next project…)


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Posted by on February 14, 2014 in Detective Fiction


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