Friday, January 18, 2013

"The Adventure of The Sundry Scribbler", Part 1

If Sherlock Holmes was a real person, he would have celebrated his birthday on January 6th. Fans ("Sherlockians" or "Holmesians", whichever you prefer) claim he was born in 1854. This year, he is 159 years old.

There is an easy way to celebrate (I just did that) and an interesting way...

                                   The Adventure of The Sundry Scribbler
                                                     By Joseph Adorno
                                                             Part One

 It was another gray day in London. Sherlock Holmes decided to spend the afternoon refilling the Persian slipper he hung by the fireplace with a supply of fresh tobacco...and looking over my shoulder, to my irritation.

 "Actually, Watson, these are very good. You needn't bother with crafting a draft and just let the editor have it." He held up my notebook and pointed to a page. "Make sure Doyle does not change a single word."

 "Holmes, I will warn you that any talk will permit me to bring up your own efforts as well, like that business with the soldier with leprosy. Or when you let Mycroft write up that attempt on your life by Count Silvius."

 "Ah, touche! Forgive me, John, but are you really surprised? It's nothing I haven't remarked before."

 Holmes had taken a liking to reading my notes on his cases and ignoring the published accounts altogether. It is no secret that he complained, over and over, that my approach veered toward the melodramatic and tacky. My notes offer no narrative - in the very least, I take some consolation in the fact that he has not ordered me to cease and desist my efforts.

 "Holmes, you're showering me with praise on work equal to the daily toil of schoolchildren!"

 He laughed. "Come now, Watson, if I were truly patronizing, I would have suggested that I had compared your work to a sampling from one of the irregulars! No, I do find an art to these scribblings. For example, this page I've highlighted marks an item of interest sandwiched hours later between two facts established hours earlier. This deduction is erroneous, but the thought process is very revealing and entertaining."

 "I was simply recalling how the broken mousetrap was found in Mr. Pall's study and that was Inspector Jones' summation, not mine."

"Well, Jones' summation was sandwiched between the factual observance that Weston Pall lived at his manor house in squalor, surrounded by stacks of books and penny dreadfuls piled on top of furniture. The deduction has intimations that the mousetrap will reveal the true solution to Pall's disappearance, but we know that was not true."

 "Of course! We're only a third of the way into the problem! The audience needs to be entertained while they wait for you to show your hand."

 "You're setting it up as a miraculous leap in the dark, when it was all fairly commonplace. Just because my caseload has become repetitive doesn't mean you have a right to bait them that way. I'm going to ask Mr. Blyth to consider a crack at the Pall disappearance and compare the results with yours."

 "Who is this 'Blyth'?" I asked.

 He smiled again. "Mr. Harry Blyth. He's our new neighbor - 221A. He claims to be a writer, like yourself, but whereas writing is your avocation, it is his vocation, full-time. I wish to meet him?"

 "Of course!"

To Be Continued...