“Gee, Miss Plumtartt, after our calamitous arrival on this unsuspecting city, do you think we are still under threat of imminent murder by gangs of assorted, yet stylish, assassins?”
“I say, I do fear this to be the case, Mr. Temperance. The machinations of intrigue are not unlike one of your ingenious spring-driven contraptions,sir. Yes, plots boil and swarms of suspicious characters are at our every turn, eh hem?”
“Yes, Ma’am, Miss Plumtartt, Ma’am. It’s a good thing we have enlisted the assistance of this notorious, Victorian-era London detective to assist us in this baffling murder mystery adventure, for I fear there is more to this tale than meets the eye!”
Targeted Age Group:: Teen and up.
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I am a life-long fan of Sherlock Holmes. As I find myself living in his era, it behooves me to enjoy an adventure with him. 🙂
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
The Holmes in my portrayal is a conglomerate of all my favorite performances. The detectives we meet along the way are patterned after different actors that have been in his films. The many suspicious characters are based upon my friends in acting, wrestling, and music.
“Query, sir. I see how the brutes came to enter this room, but how did they leave and where have they gone?”
“Through the back window, Madame. The tracks of the Metropolitan railroad pass extremely close to the back of this building. If the train were stopped, it would be simple enough for the sufficiently desperate criminal to make his escape by simply making a short jump atop the train’s roof. It is my conjecture that a train had stopped whilst our foes were here. This cumbersome stone block they stole from the museum was slid across on planks. The train resumed its journey before the miscreants could complete the destruction of their incriminating remains, otherwise we would not have the great store of evidence that this lady and these gentlemen so thoughtfully left for our perusal. As to their current whereabouts, they could by now be miles outside of the city. A pursuit of the train itself would prove fruitless as they could easily switch from one to another, or abandon the railed transport altogether.”
We move back through the plaster works to the front of the building from which we entered. Along the way my gentlemen friends return their borrowed, improvised, weapons to the relatively obliging terra cottists.
Stepping out into the morning sun, I know that plans are forming in each of our minds as how best to proceed.
An excited newsboy can be heard to be hawking a sensational headline.
“Temperance, run and fetch that paper.”
Mr. Temperance soon returns, but he is obviously struck by the story told therein.
GRISLY MURDER IN
Chief Inspector Benny Slumberpootch, along with detective Freebie Martini, vow to discover the dastardly villain that up and shivved sleazy Whitechapel skeazo photographer ‘shutterbug’ Lenny Wreefenstahl in the reprobate’s darkroom.
“Do you all reckon that might be the same fella that took the picture of Miss Plumtartt for these gangsters? You don’t think these folks killed that boy just to protect themselves, do you?”
“Indeed, Mr. Temperance, I think that is a very safe assumption to make. The plot thickens, as they say, and our mystery takes a deadly turn. I say, we are scheduled to travel to my family home in the countryside. We do so appear to be in need of your inestimable talents my serendipitous sleuth. Could we prevail upon you to travel with us? The estate is just North of Elderberry Pond of the district, Crimpenmestylenshire.”
“Elderberry Pond has the ring of the quintessential English village.” The detective smiles as he conjures a pleasing image of the hamlet in his head. “Can you describe the picturesque environs?”
“Oh, yes. Plumtartt Manor enjoys a southern exposure across what was once Elderberry Pond. Cromwell drained it during the Interregnum, and now that acreage is more often referred to as ‘the Forsaken Barrows.’ To the East is an uncontrollable sprawl of thorn trees that stubbornly cling to the bare stone in their starkly beautiful four inch thorn sort of way. They enjoy the charmingly rustic moniker of ‘the Iron-Maiden’s Briar’. To the North is a lovely expanse of classic marsh-like moor country known as the ‘Great Sucking Death Mire’. To the West lies Daisy Meadow. This was the site of the infamous bloody battle that came to be known as the ‘Three Way Dance of Daisy Meadow’. During this country’s tragic ‘War of the Pretty but Thorny Flowers’, the Torries were ripped asunder, as the Whiggleys held firm against the inflamed Boyalists. I learned at an early age to avoid the melancholy and haunted fields by that evil name.”
“Gee whiz, this is awful, us having a gang of ruthless killers set on kidnapping Miss Plumtartt, but I feel lots better about going out to the country estate knowing we have such an indomitable ally as our consulting investigator with us.”
The London investigator closes his eyes and lets his chin fall to his chest. A deep breath is drawn to fill that torso with life-giving nutrients and then slowly released as a mental process apparently has been gone through and a decision reached by the gesture. He then slowly raises his head and pulls back his heavy eyelids.
A distasteful grimace, barely noticeable, passes over our counselor’s features.
I see Mr. Temperance catch the expression. His excitement begins to dim.
A tiny frown precedes a slight smirk. The thin lips betray the slightest hint of a sneer.
“I’m afraid not, Madame. This case, though it had at one time showed some promise of interest, has now plunged into the depths of the commonplace. You do not require my skills, which are of a wholly different level than that of which you are in need. No, you see, yours is a case of needing a bodyguard. Security is not my field. This fellow Temperance would seem adequate enough in that regard. I think that my business here is concluded.”
I am shocked at his insensitive words. I was quite looking forward to having this man as a formidable ally.
My poor Mr. Temperance is wounded to the core at this turn of his mentor. Though he desperately fights to maintain a strong jaw line, I see his bottom lip quiver and his eyes pool up with sudden tears that threaten to overflow their containment. Neck muscles swell as my sensitive Ichabod forces a large gulp of nothingness down a fiercely resisting throat.
What a cold, cruel, clockwork, calculating machine this detective is! Mr. Temperance has obviously developed a substantial amount of affection for this talent-filled man. Mr. Temperance’s unquestioning trust and loyalty are being cast aside, rebuked by this callous and indifferent automaton. It is as if he allowed Mr. Temperance to gather many great bushels of fruity admiration for the remarkable mind and reasoning ability this man of consultation has displayed. Now the hopeful bounty of these tender emotions is piled up into a small room built beneath a horrifically large and powerful soul-destroying hypothetic hydraulic press. This organic Babbage Engine, apparently lacking any trace of fellow feeling, has engaged the relay that will close the circuit sending the ceiling of our little room to crush all the loving spirit from the naïve acolyte.
I can almost visualize this analytical computer nonchalantly bearing all his weight down upon his thumb, oblivious to the fact that he squashes the flame of respect burning so fervently within Mr. Temperance. How I wish that I had some great and dreadful metaphorical cleaver so that I could separate the damnable digit from its thoughtless task.
I can see my Ichabod’s heart being broken right before my eyes.
His true and sensitive feelings are ground to dust.
I make a last attempt to hold the detective’s interest and hopefully change his mind.
“Are we not in danger from possible foreign nationals?”
“I would say that the least of your threats will appear as enemies. On the contrary, Madame, the fiends that are after you look very much like you and me. It is the friendly faces you must revile and recoil from as if your very life depends on it. I should also advise you to avoid the moors.”
Mr. Temperance makes a courageous show of trying to put a more pleasant spin on the unpleasant affair.
He tries to smile and extends his hand for a parting handshake.
The Great Detective does not appear to notice the gesture. Rather, giving a final bow, turning on his heel, and whistling a cheery tune, he briskly walks away, giving every indication of offering Mr. Temperance and me his last consideration.
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