The Adventure of The Sundry Scribbler
We lay on the crumpled ruins on the ground floor for about an hour, before awakening with a loud and stern "Ahem".
It was stout elderly woman dressed in a dark overcoat.
"Mrs. Teague," Sexton Blake observed. "We must apologize for the mess we've m-,"
"Mess! Mess! Another mess - the last mess! You can clean it all up yourselves!!" She tossed an envelope at him. "I quit - effective immediately!!" She stormed off. Blake reached for the envelope and removed a pince-nez from the pocket of his vest. It was caked with sawdust. He made an attempt to blow off the dust and read her notice.
"That's unfortunate," he sighed. "She knew how to make Crab Rangoon the way I like it - that's the kind of experience that comes from a cook who travels abroad; she's the wife of retired sea captain who lives in Jamaica." He began slapping dust off his shirt and pants. "Very well. Tinker, is it time for us to head off?"
Tinker - that is, Mr. Blyth, though I'm not sure why he would let himself be regarded with a child's nickname - was in a daze, eventually settling his gaze at the ruins of a badly-beaten grandfather clock, its hands pointing at 6 and 2.
"We do, sir. The gala is about to begin in an hour."
"Excellent. We'll make a quick change of clothes at one of my spider-holes and then head off."
Holmes coughed a cloud of dust. "Gala? Am I to believe that you are the 'expert' hired by the Rajah's court to manage security for the handover with the Sultan this evening?"
Blake grinned. "That is correct. I initially took the job regardless of its social standing, but my interest has been piqued by the rumored involvement of my brothers, Henry and Nigel."
"The Blakes," I gasped. "What a vile and ghastly pair!" I bit my lip when I realized who I was keeping company with.
"It's alright, Doctor," assured Blake. "I'm sorry to say that I'm the ... black sheep of the family. But I also detected rumors that they're in league with Wu Ling and George Plummer of Scotland Yard."
Holmes raised an eyebrow at the mention of that last name. Plummer is a Detective Sergeant - as corrupt as Holmes was not, they had never crossed paths before (and it was possible that Plummer arranged to avoid doing so), but Holmes often wondered when the day would come when he would have to actually work with such a monster.
He asked Blake a question. "You believe that this teaming of villains involves the trade of the Rajah's diamond mine for the Sultan's ruby mine?"
"Yes. The Rajah of Pookajee holds a floating court - his ruby mines are exhausted, but his diamond mine is plentiful. The reverse is true for the Sultan of Lugash. The tradeoff has already been made, but the formal ceremony will involve the handover of 300 million pounds each in rubies and diamonds."
Holmes paused. "The location of this handover gala was not advertised in great detail."
Blake nodded. "Only 'in London'."
"Yet, the danger of Plummer's rumored involvement infers that the underworld is well aware."
"Unfortunately, the location chosen would have informed the underworld regardless."
"A well-respected, luxury hotel in a neighborhood of ill refute."
"The Jade Lotus."
"You are the Master."
"You are cordially invited to join us. As you once said, 'the game is afoot'."
To be continued...