Chapter 1: The Abbey Grange
The Abbey Grange: Decision
"You have heard the evidence. Do you find the prisoner guilty or not guilty?"
The British jury tensed; this responsibility was sudden and sobering. He straightened his back, tucked his hands behind him and looked Captain Crocker over with care. The man was worn through completely by powerful love and concern. Watson rendered his decision quickly.
"Not guilty, my lord."
Chapter 2: The Beryl Coronet
The Beryl Coronet: Lubricate
An offer to split the meager roast beef sandwich in Holmes' pocket was all it took to get the hungry valet’s tongue wagging, in more ways than one. The detective listened as the man chewed and chattered, gossiping about his employer between bites.
Gentlemen often require alcohol to lubricate conversation. For workmen, just a little meat and bread can do.
Chapter 3: Black Peter
Black Peter: Considerations
Now, with his sleeves rolled up his arms, Holmes got to work. The first two wounds were somewhat shallow and tentative as he made his considerations. Anatomy, physics. Force. Mass times... acceleration. For the third blow, he reared back, and with all of his might plunged the harpoon as deeply into the dead body dangling before him as he could.
Chapter 4: The Blanched Soldier
Yeah, I shipped it. :)
The Blanched Soldier: Visitor
Old Ralph told Godfrey about the visitor, but he had to see for himself.
No. It can’t be.
Godfrey crept to the window for a better look.
J-James? Oh, God, it is.
His head fell against the glass at the sight. James, for the first time in years. Strong, brave, beautiful James.
But that was before, Godfrey. That was before.
Chapter 5: The Blue Carbuncle
The Blue Carbuncle: Ingredient
Mrs. Peterson’s recipe for golden goose had been passed down for six generations. Each ingredient lent a unique character to the dish: thyme for aroma, peppercorns for spice, orange peel for brightness. This particular goose carried with it a special ingredient of its own, however, and although it didn’t add flavor, the meal was made all the richer for it.
Chapter 6: The Boscombe Valley Mystery
Poor Holmes. At least he's wrong here...
The Boscombe Valley Mystery: Paddington Station
Holmes paced the length of the platform again, scanning every inch of it for any sign. Nothing.
He’s not coming.
But why would he, after all? Burgeoning practice, young bride... a normal life. What room was left for an eccentric detective friend and his macabre adventures?
None. And you knew that. This is how you always knew it would end.
Chapter 7: The Bruce-Partington Plans
The Bruce-Partington Plans: "I am going out now."
“I am going out now.”
Watson throws me a look tinged darkly with worry. Immediately, I raise my hands to reassure him.
“It is only a reconnaissance. I will do nothing serious without my trusted comrade and biographer at my elbow.”
He sighs and visibly relaxes. My good Watson, always concerned, always caring. He is far more than I deserve.
Bonus 60: "I play the game..."
“I play the game for the game’s own sake.”
Mycroft never believes me when I tell him that. He has always favored honors and accolades, but such frivolities are meaningless to me. Only clues matter; only the answers are real. My rewards come in the form of intellectual self-satisfaction and not in the empty gestures of titles or tie pins.
Chapter 8: The Cardboard Box
The Cardboard Box: Recollection
I can see it in his eyes; he is thinking of the war. In his mind, he is there, hands caked in blood and sand, struggling mightily against desperate odds to save as many shattered lives as he can.
Watson never speaks of it. With me, he doesn't need to. Perhaps that helps explain why he remains by my side.
Bonus 60: Furnace
"What is the meaning of it, Watson? What object is served by this circle of misery and violence and fear?”
I wanted to tell him. I wanted to explain that it’s love that drives men mad. Love that makes men miserable and joyous. Love that inspires violence, fear, passion, devotion. The furnace of souls burns hot for all but himself.
Chapter 9: Charles Augustus Milverton
Our escape was intense. After, Holmes grinned triumphantly until he noticed me gasping, spent from the run.
“Watson? Are you all right, old man?”
“I’m not... an old man... but you... are a lunatic!” I replied between ragged breaths.
He threw his head back laughing and clasped my shoulder.
"Perhaps so! But there is nothing madness loves more than company.”
Chapter 10: The Copper Beeches
The Copper Beeches: Sworn
It is in his hands one can see Watson’s true nature. His finger pulls the trigger, eliminating the threat with one shot. His palm presses the kidnapper’s gaping wound while his other hand reaches for gauze and anesthetic. Watson’s hands save lives, good or evil, deserved or not. All life is life, and the doctor is sworn to protect it.
Chapter 11: The Creeping Man
The Creeping Man: Final
Presbury’s injuries were alarming and serious. He needed a quality surgeon’s immediate assessment. That professional recommendation was rejected outright however to protect reputation and position, neither of which would be of much use to the man debilitated or dead. All my years of experience were in an instant overruled and the matter settled. As ever, only Holmes’ word is final.
Chapter 12: The Crooked Man
The Crooked Man: Watch
The candle illuminating the bedroom window finally blinked out, leaving only the room beneath lit. Holmes checked his watch and noted the time. An average woman takes ten to twenty minutes to fall asleep; he’d give it a round half-hour, then. Exactly thirty minutes and four cigarettes later, he stepped to the threshold, smoothed his hair, and rang the bell.
Chapter 13: The Dancing Men
The Dancing Men: Joined
Hilton took Elsie’s delicate hand into his own. How he came to be marrying this beautiful woman, his best friend, was beyond understanding, but he thanked every lucky star in the sky for it. For her. She was nearly floating at his side, light and free.
The priest continued. “Those whom God hath joined together let no man put asunder.”
Chapter 14: The Devil's Foot
The Devil's Foot: Edge
It is a blessing that the river flow of years has eroded some of the details from my memory. What remains is sharper than ever though, honed to a fine scalpel's edge that slices me open again every time -- Holmes’ face, twisting in agony as he silently screams, and the only sane thought left in my mind: SAVE HIM.
Chapter 15: The Dying Detective
A personal theory, because what else makes sense? Holmes' plan with the doctor as described is madness.
The Dying Detective: Collapse
One may spend a week concocting a plan, three days enacting it, and still it can collapse in a second. Belladonna's sting remains fresh in my eyes when Mrs. Hudson checks in. Her worry dissolves into panic and all my careful timing dissolves with it.
Watson is now on his way here as planned, but two full hours too early.
Chapter 16: The Empty House
The Empty House: Loss
"Your brother was a dear friend of mine, Mr. Holmes," Doctor Watson says. "I offer you my deepest condolences for your loss."
Mycroft lies for a living. He lies here too, of course.
But so does the doctor, pretending "friend" covers the depth of their connection and hiding his collapsing grief crushed inside the clenched fist tucked behind his back.
Chapter 17: The Engineer's Thumb
The Engineer's Thumb: Gift
Sheer determination alone must have carried Hatherley up the seventeen steps to see me.
He held out his uninjured hand, as pale and clammy as his face, and it bobbed in the air in time with his bounding heart. Somehow he was still standing.
Only a truly singular experience inspires such resolve. Watson had brought me a gift.
Chapter 18: The Final Problem
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
The Final Problem: True
"John! John, wake up!"
Mary's hands are cold when she shakes me awake for the third time this week.
"You saw him again."
She's right. And wrong.
I do see him every night. His dark figure, hurrying along the winding path, full of single-minded determination and purpose.
Mary thinks I dream of Holmes. If only that were true.
The idea that Watson saw Moriarty on his way to kill Holmes was very disturbing to me. So creepy.
Chapter 19: The Five Orange Pips
The Five Orange Pips: Sea
The sea is a being above the vagaries of human pettiness. When the sea hungers, it devours. The sea takes what it desires without prejudice and without mercy, guilt, or pride.
When the Lone Star sank and her men drowned in that driving September gale, it was not murder. It was not vengeance. It was only, as ever, the sea.
Chapter 20: The Gloria Scott
The Gloria Scott: Possessed
I watched the light dim in Mr. Trevor's eyes as he keeled over. Long had I known I had talent and skill in reading my fellows, in interpreting the many details that make a man. But until that day, watching a person fall faint from my simple words and inferences alone, I failed to realize the power I possessed.
Chapter 21: The Golden Pince-Nez
The Golden Pince-Nez: Weaponry
The first time the detective came into the room, Anna nearly fainted behind the bookcase. Breathing shallowly for silence as he paced and smoked, she was almost undone in the fearful toxic atmosphere.
The detective finished the job upon his return, armed with his most deadly weaponry.
"I have solved it."
Like champagne, the poison tingled on Anna's tongue.
Chapter 22: The Greek Interpreter
The Greek Interpreter: Together
It is peace. Peace and quiet. The waiter brings my wine, a rare vintage, and I retreat from the chaos outside these walls into the rich pleasures of a fine piece of fiction. I am not alone by any means. The room is filled with my fellows. Here all of us have come together to venture into other worlds alone.
Chapter 23: The Hound of the Baskervilles
Dark smoke poured from the engine into the sky in a twisting spire as the train shrank into the distance. Sir Henry was in the best hands I could leave any man, but he and his dependable guard were treading into dangerous, uncharted waters. My brain fixated itself upon the Satires of Juvenal. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes, if not myself?
Chapter 24: A Case of Identity
A Case of Identity: Forgot
"I forgot that I had not seen you for some weeks," Holmes said demurely. I swallowed my laughter.
'Twas mere coincidence he was that day wearing an ostentatious diamond on a normally unadorned finger and wielding a jewel-encrusted snuff box instead of his preferred simple pipe.
He forgot baubles don't impress me. He does that well simply being himself.
Chapter 25: The Illustrious Client
The Illustrious Client: Omission
Eventually the morphine pulled Holmes under despite his best efforts.
In the kitchen Mrs. Hudson was waiting, worried hands curled around her steaming teacup.
"Why did you not send for me last night, Martha?" I asked finally, stung by the omission.
She sighed. "Why does anything happen in this house, Doctor? Even then, I could do only as he wished."
Chapter 26: The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax
Watson's offered brandy swirled inside the glass, a churning witches' cauldron nestled in my palm.
"To our success," he said.
"Some success. The criminals are free and the lady barely alive. If this be success, I dread seeing failure."
"You did your job finding her and I did mine reviving her. Take success where you find it, my friend."
Chapter 27: His Last Bow
His Last Bow: Importance
The telegram was not signed.
I NEED YOUR ASSISTANCE STOP
MEET ME AT DOVERCOURT IN HARWICH TOMORROW AFTER SUNSET STOP
COME WITH A CAR AND DRESSED AS A CHAUFFEUR STOP
THE MATTER IS OF VITAL IMPORTANCE STOP
WATSON I TRUST ONLY YOU STOP
Thirty-two hours later, Watson was driving, feet dancing on pedals, white leather gloves squeaking on fidgeting fingers.
Bonus 60: Lit
Van Bork roared and thrashed but Watson held firm. A few frantic breaths later, the noxious fumes from the sponge pressed to the man's face overpowered him, and his body fell limp into the doctor's arms.
Across the table, Holmes' face lit into a wide Cheshire grin. "Oh, my dear Watson, it is good to have you back."
Chapter 28: The Lion's Mane
The Lion's Mane: Accidental
The French would call it déformation professionnelle. When a detective spends years investigating murder, every corpse comes to resemble that of a victim. I never once seriously considered McPherson's death could be accidental. The man, a scientist, even told me the name of his killer!
For once, I was glad Watson was not at my side, witnessing this embarrassment.
Chapter 29: The Mazarin Stone
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
The Mazarin Stone: Games
"You have never failed to play the game. I am sure you will play it to the end."
He says it so casually, that way he says everything.
No. Unlike him, I do not play games with his life.
Holmes' note goes with all the money in my wallet to the cabbie. I and my revolver remain, ready.
I refuse to believe otherwise.
Chapter 30: The Missing Three-Quarter
The Missing Three-Quarter: Specialist
"A very eminent specialist," he said as I poked at the last of my runny eggs at breakfast. I believed him, of course. And of course, he was telling the truth in his way. But I should have known then and there. Sherlock Holmes does not so freely compliment another detective's skill.
Not a human one, at any rate.
Chapter 31: The Musgrave Ritual
The Musgrave Ritual: Hours
The pages turned and I learned. Anatomy, physics, ballistics, chemistry. Anything I thought I may need. The hours in the reading room developing my index of pertinent knowledge were long and rewarding.
The long hours after the library doors closed, however, I spent alone in the candle-lit stillness of my small rooms at Montague Street. They were another thing entirely.
Chapter 32: The Naval Treaty
The Naval Treaty: Enough
"Have you had enough?"
Joseph scowled miserably on the floor. He glared through one eye and held his palm tight over the other. Just as well, as it was swollen shut.
"I take your lack of response as a no."
The shadow of the walking stick passing over him got his attention.
"No, stop! It's yours!"
"Yes, it is."
Chapter 33: The Noble Bachelor
The Noble Bachelor: Autumnal
The autumnal days grew short, as did Watson's days beside me. He spent them in pain, holding his leg with a claw-grip, needing the warmth of a woman's touch, nothing I could give him. I offered instead my own meagre solace: my violin and music, my hands and my heart. My dearest audience smiled, listened intently, and left.
Chapter 34: The Norwood Builder
The Norwood Builder: Mistreatment
By the third time Holmes starved himself into unconsciousness I was no longer surprised, but the visceral fear caused by watching him crumple motionless to the floor remained as powerful as ever.
When he woke, I told him the truth.
"Your heart may be strong enough for this mistreatment, but mine is not."
I waited. The fourth occurrence never came.
Chapter 35: The Priory School
A bit of H/W UST.
The Priory School: Between
He paddled out in bare feet and nightgown, rubbing at the pearls of water left glistening in his hair with a towel.
"So, what have you got?"
I shook out the match between my fingers half a moment too late. The smooth roll of tobacco smoke across my tongue made up for the mistake.
"This case grows upon me, Watson."
Chapter 36: The Red Circle
Wordlessly, the same thick hands that tossed Mr. Warren into the cab shoved him hard out of it. He landed roughly, rolling in the dust of the road and blinking into the angular sunlight at his captors' retreat, his eyes yet unadjusted from an hour blindfolded. Flaxen heath spread around at all sides and Mr. Warren found himself again alone.
Chapter 37: The Red-Headed League
The first was inspired by the fact that The Red-Headed League takes place chronologically only two cases before The Final Problem.
The Red Headed League: Always
His book lies on the table by the door, ready as he passes in the morning. Patients wait but this appointment always comes first.
Once more, Holmes bites his lip, but even his iron will breaks. They laugh together like schoolboys.
Watson chuckles as he always does at the memory, closing the cover bearing their names for one more day.
Bonus 60: Imagination
"Did I finally manage to convince you?"
"Convince me of what?"
"That the world is far stranger than the limited human mind can imagine. If ever you required proof, I believe we've just seen it."
"Ah, no! It was an extraordinarily bizarre event in our world, true, but it came from John Clay's clever brain. Imagination wins again."
Chapter 38: The Reigate Squires
The Reigate Squires: Nothing
He wore the thumbprints on his swollen throat like crimson and purple badges of honor beneath his equally prominent self-satisfied smile.
"You're taking your near-murder well, I see," said Lestrade, laughing incredulously yet still half serious.
Dismissive, Holmes waved his left hand but kept his bandaged right tucked close.
"It was nothing Doctor Watson and I could not handle."
Chapter 39: The Resident Patient
The Resident Patient: Involving
I bided the day in chemistry more involving than Watson's yellow-backed fiction. He turned pages across my ocean of glass, his image bent and stretched in the curvature of beakers and bottles. Evening fell, the wind died down along with his pains, and I stole his attention back at last.
"What do you say to a ramble through London?"
Chapter 40: The Retired Colourman
I learned a new word today! I love research. :)
The Retired Colourman: Compelled
He perceived the threat even if he did not recognize its source. A quality player learns to sense risk.
"I don't think I shall go."
Faced with a true master, he was forced into zugzwang, and as the German suggests, he was compelled to move.
"...but if you think --"
"I do think."
And Amberley's game was lost.
Chapter 41: A Scandal in Bohemia
One 60, plus a bonus matched set of two. Watch out, the extra two are VERY angsty.
A Scandal in Bohemia: Profession
My biographer is over-quick to mourn the loss of my talents from the realms of stage and science. He fails to appreciate it is precisely those talents that make me the specialist in crime that I am. I am an actor. I am a scientist. The profession I devised for myself requires all my skills, with nothing lost or wasted.
Bonus 60s: Vacancies
Spring again, cool and damp. The breeze rustling the curtains steals the last warmth off another untouched dinner plate.
The detective sits curled in his own chair and tries to avoid looking at its mate standing loyal guard by the open window, much as its previous owner did.
The doctor's chair is empty.
At least the syringe is full.
Their funerals were a week apart, as it happened. Holmes' was an indistinct blur, a parade of pale well-wishers squeezing Watson's hand and dropping flowers onto an empty casket.
Irene's ceremony was similarly overflowing with mourners, admirers, and hangers-on. But the only witness to her wedding three years prior was missing, his seat there as coldly vacant as his grave.
Chapter 42: The Second Stain
The Second Stain: Replaced
We'd only just replaced the rug and furniture; replacing our calm was trickier. Ever the actor, Holmes had no trouble whatsoever, falling instantly into lazy, yawning nonchalance. I buried myself in my notebook, scribbling nonsense and awaiting Lestrade's reaction.
"Sorry to keep you waiting, Mr. Holmes. I see that you are bored to death with the whole affair."
Chapter 43: Shoscombe Old Place
Shoscombe Old Place: Partner
Holmes took to fly fishing as he took to everything else: naturally. He danced with pole, line, and fluid grace until his eager partner, the glistening fish, leapt from the currents to follow his lead.
Upon his proud success, I congratulated him exactly as my brother had me on my first trout.
"Well done! Now you get to clean it!"
Chapter 44: The Sign of the Four
Was I going to miss Holmes as a boxer? No way.
The Sign of the Four: Formidable
McMurdo was formidable in the first. His punches swung brick-heavy. Dangerous, if Holmes had allowed him to land any.
Fatigue set in by the second round. Holmes softened ribs and reddened cheeks.
The third involved a tactical choice, loss for gain. A fist connected, doubling Holmes over, but an uppercut square to a square jaw felled McMurdo like a pine.
Chapter 45: Silver Blaze
Silver Blaze: Desire
She embarked on her treasure hunt, past the rivers of ribbons, under the lid, and beyond the forest of green crêpe paper. At last, she came upon the object of her desire.
"William! It is beautiful! The feathers!"
He knew she'd like the feathers. The ostrich feathers were what made the dress so expensive, but first anniversaries are special.
Chapter 46: The Six Napoleons
The Six Napoleons: Forgery
Holmes snatched the Conk-Singleton file out of my hand with nary a thank you and flung himself into his chair. With his nose buried deep in the pages, an outside observer would have assumed he was poring over the minutiae of high-level forgery rather than concealing a delighted blush and a smile. I let him think I thought so too.
Chapter 47: The Solitary Cyclist
The Solitary Cyclist: Duty
"There now, lie back. You are safe." Violet's eyes were still hazy with shock, but at least her trembling had faded. Holmes' voice from the dining-room caught my attention.
"Doctor? Your help, if you would."
Woodley. He wanted me to treat the violent tormentor of the guiltless beauty beside me.
I did my duty as asked. And nothing more.
Chapter 48: The Speckled Band
Warning: implied rape
The poor Stoker girls, trapped with that lunatic Roylott. So creepy. Seems like even Holmes was holding back on what really happened behind those closed doors.
The Speckled Band: Strength
"...he hardly knows his own strength."
No, Roylott knew exactly his own strength in that moment. Indeed, that was the point. The angle and pattern of bruising could mean nothing less: up-facing fingertip impressions made forcing her arms above her head, and the wider, flatter marks on the sides of her hands left when he crushed them against the headboard.
Chapter 49: The Stockbroker's Clerk
The Stockbroker's Clerk: Return
"I trust that you don't consider your collection closed."
"Not at all. I should wish nothing better than to have some more of such experiences."
"To-day, for example?"
"Yes, to-day, if you like."
"And as far off as Birmingham?"
"Certainly, if you wish it."
"...if you like." "...if you wish it."
I liked nothing more. I wished for nothing else.
Much later, when I was the one away and missing for far, far too long, I wondered what Watson would say upon my return. Three months apart or three years apart, his answer remained gloriously the same.
"When you like and where you like."
Chapter 50: A Study in Scarlet
A Study in Scarlet: Stranger
I was no stranger to death, my enemy in a long war fought on dusty battlefields and candlelit bedsides. No, I was death's intimate then, but it was my first brush with murder. After all I'd seen, somehow I thought it would be the same, that it would make sense to me. I never made that mistake again.
Chapter 51: The Sussex Vampire
Two this week. They're both a little odd, I think, but I liked them anyway. The first is a bit of a doddering post-retirement Holmes (who knows where that came from) and the second is wistful Watson. Things could have been very different.
The Sussex Vampire: Decades
We were all old by then, and we are even older now. Watson's athletic frame and my dark hair were last seen in distant decades. Not a rugby ball but a book now lies under his hand against his stomach, still open to the pages that lulled him to sleep. Or perhaps it was the honey-sweetened tea. Ah, nevermind.
Bonus 60: Gentleman
"Good-bye, little man. You have made a strange start in life."
I could hardly help but smile. Holmes, ever serious, greeted the baby as a client, shaking his plump hand with his fingertips as if the babbling infant had been a gentleman.
He would have made a mad, marvelous uncle, wholly unsuitable and absolutely delightful. A perfect uncle. Or godfather.
Chapter 52: Thor Bridge
The image just struck me as a play bow, and I couldn't resist it.
Thor Bridge: Invitation
I kept a sprightly puppy as a boy that would lean his paws out into almost a bow when he was excited.
"Come play a game with me," he seemed to say, scrawny tail flapping.
Holmes made that same invitation reaching out for my knees in the train-car, his eyes just as brightly enthused even without a tail to wag.
Chapter 53: The Three Gables
The Three Gables: Armament
Steve Dixie brandished his fist, a brick made for pummeling, while I resorted to the only armament in an arm's length, the fireplace poker.
Holmes wielded naught but his fearless voice, talking his way out of trouble as easily as he talks his way into it. He trusted his weapon, as did I, but I kept my cudgel.
Chapter 54: The Three Garridebs
The Three Garridebs hits all my buttons. Canon H/C? Oh, yes. The first two here are a pair, and the last is an AU ending. There's angst to go around in these, but the last one is off the charts, so mind the warning.
The Three Garridebs: Assured / Reassuring
What was I to think?
It clearly was not nothing. The carbon stench of gunpowder burning in my nostrils and his hand clamped to the stain on his thigh assured me of that.
I knew John Watson to be an honest man, but if ever he were likely to lie to me, this was the time.
A surgeon he was not, tearing indelicately into my trouser leg with a penknife and shaking hands. Holmes nearly sliced me open reassuring himself of my survival since he stubbornly refused to take my own word on the matter.
I didn't need to see the injury to know it was nothing. In my experience, a mortal wound feels quite different.
Bonus 60: Remaining
Warning: This one is AU, the alternate ending Holmes mentions. And it is DARK. Seriously, beware. Feel free to skip it if you like.
Evans dropped instantly limp. His eyes were closed when he stopped breathing an instant later. It was a very different death than the last one Holmes had watched.
His ears were still ringing from the shot. Shots.
He was alone now. And an unrepentant killer. Killer Holmes.
For a murderer, the next task was obvious. Eliminate the only witness remaining.
Chapter 55: The Three Students
3STU was published in 1904, the first full year of Holmes' retirement in Sussex. I liked the jovial insults at play here in these telegrams.
The Three Students: Offer
YOUR TALE OF THE THREE STUDENTS IS DREADFUL STOP
PERHAPS RETIREMENT IS IN ORDER FOR YOU AS WELL STOP
NOT ALL BATTLES ARE WON STOP
MY NEMESIS THE DEADLINE CANNOT BE TOSSED OVER A WATERFALL STOP
THERE IS ONE WAY TO RELIABLY DEFEAT YOUR NEMESIS STOP
OFFER STILL STANDS STOP
I NEED A DOCTOR FOR ALL THESE STINGS ANYWAY STOP
Chapter 56: The Man with the Twisted Lip
The Man with the Twisted Lip: Question
"My God! It's Watson," said one of the fallen gentleman sots lying by the door, seemingly speaking aloud my own thinking directly from my brain.
I ran through multiple thoughts at once. How had he found me? Why had he found me? Something was wrong.
One question stopped all the others: who else here would know Watson's name?
Chapter 57: The Valley of Fear
This week's idea is based on repeated wording that caught my eye. I've been in a weird brain-space, so I wrote and rewrote and rewrote some more. Eventually I ended up with three complete 60s, each beginning the same but ending differently, and I thought I might as well post them all as an experiment. Next week, likely back to our regularly scheduled programming.
The Valley of Fear: Stagecraft x 3
"Badly stage-managed" is what Holmes called Douglas' first death. The ring was missing, as were Mrs. Douglas' tears. Douglas' second death, the real one, he termed "well stage-managed", and it was, the set dressed perfectly in a driving gale on a distant shore. It was the work of a genius. In my life, I only witnessed such expert stagecraft twice.
"Badly stage-managed" is what Holmes called Douglas' first death. The ring was missing, as were Mrs. Douglas' tears. Douglas' second death, the real one, he termed "well stage-managed", and it was, set perfectly in a driving gale, convincing in every detail. The work of a genius. Holmes' own stagecraft never earned a mention. I've often wondered at his assessment.
"Badly stage-managed" is what Holmes called Douglas' first death. The ring was missing, as were Mrs. Douglas' tears. Douglas' second death, the real one, he termed "well stage-managed", and it was, set perfectly in a driving gale, the work of a genius. Holmes' own stagecraft never earned an assessment from him, although I think I know what he'd say.
Chapter 58: The Veiled Lodger
A pair for this week from Mrs. Ronder.
The Veiled Lodger: Own & Keep
"Your life is not your own," he said.
If it isn't mine, whose is it? If my life is a lesson, who is to learn it? No person, not even the stoic detective, can bear to look at me. My room is my barred cage and my only hope for escape the small red-labeled bottle rolling in my hand.
The brown paper package looks innocuous, as I do behind my veil. Inside lies the bottle, hard-capped to keep its toxic contents from spilling out into a world unprepared for its horror.
I will remain inside my bottle as well, but this temptation is too great for me to hold.
"Keep your hands off it," he said.
I intend to.
Chapter 59: Wisteria Lodge
This is based on the theory from the sherlock60 discussion post that since Holmes was a bit dead during this case, Watson actually tried to investigate it himself. And yes, I admit I can never resist a Reichenbach reference. I'm an addict, I know it.
Wisteria Lodge: Definition
Eccles came in to see me blustering as much as the spring wind outside, complaining of palpitations, clearly less angina than just acute agitation.
"Singular." "Incredible." "Grotesque."
Words have meaning. I knew that well as a writer even before I was a... detective's trailing assistant? Occasional attempted bodyguard? Well-meaning, incapable friend? What? That was a definition I could not find.
Chapter 60: The Yellow Face
My 60th! I have loved writing these first sixty. Here's to the next!
The Yellow Face: Walk
In my peripheral vision, Watson breathes deeply as we amble, filling his lungs with the soft fragrance of fresh growth and fresh rain. By the bridge, he shakes the lingering winter off his sunlit back with a shiver in the warm air.
He breaks our long silence halfway across.
"You're smiling. I told you you would enjoy a walk."