Author's Note:

What follows is an excerpt form a work in progress, with the working title: "Dr. Watson's American Adventure." All going well, the entire short novel will see print in 2010 from Airship-27 Productions. Another story of HM's Secret Agent Quincy Harker, by Aaron Smith, will round out the book.

(c)2010 by Robert E. Kennedy

1892: Sherlock Holmes is believed dead. Dr. John Watson, and his wife Mary Marstan Watson, travel to the United States to seek the mysterious American branch of Mary's family. Their host in New York City is Theodore Roosevelt. ("Please call me "T.R.", as all my friends do!")

Two weeks after "The Adventure of the Empty House" Watson recalls his journey to Sherlock Holmes over dinner.


The first morning following the voyage from England I rose to find the day well advanced. I always seem to lack energy after being at sea. This feeling was compounded somewhat by T.R.'s seemingly boundless energy and enthusiasm.

"Ah, Watson, there you are," he began as he positively bounced into the room. "Break your fast but lightly. I have a wonderful luncheon planned for us. The women of the household plan to kidnap your good wife for the purpose of showing her off around our circles. The only men present will be those too infirm to escape.

"Meanwhile, you and I will see some of the lesser known by-ways of the city. Stop briefly at my office where I shall sign whatever papers await. Then we will proceed to one of the finest places to eat in the city. A place that serves food of a quality rarely seen in an off the beaten path location. After our meal I shall endeavor to show you any attraction of our city you may wish to see."

And shortly we set out with T.R. driving what he referred to as "a simple one horse, two-place rig." Soon after we left his immediate neighborhood he turned from the very fine streets of yesterday's route.

"I brought you from the docks only by the best looking streets. With no women with us, and no men given to the vapors, you will see much of the real city. And we shall save a goodly amount of time."

As lost in this large city as I felt the previous day, I became positively bewildered as we wound through secondary streets, alleys, small areas of open ground, and the grounds of various institutions. Where we went came frequent calls of greeting to either "Mr. Roosevelt" or "T.R." He cheerfully returned them all, calling many by name. I heard the American version of English accented by many other tongues. And not a few greetings were themselves in other tongues.

It was all too much for me to really absorb in a coherent manner. Still I was reminded of how various trips with one Sherlock Holmes opened my eyes to parts of London I'd never dreamed existed. As we returned to a main thoroughfare I commented on this.

T.R. replied, "This dates to my time on the City Council. I felt compelled to learn more about the people who I represented, and the city in general. I met so many for whom city government was a complete mystery. For many, if not most, I was the first part of the political process they'd ever encountered. Save possibly some self-serving ward-heeler. Nowadays I try to keep up with changes. I still can tell you which areas are simply odd or unusual, and which are actually dangerous."

When we finally stopped all I could have said about our destination was that its location was the island of Manhattan. Now, you well know Holmes, I am far from fond of lifts, or elevators, as the Americans call them. But T.R.'s office was located in a nine story building. As we rose to the sixth floor I commented on the smoothness of the ride. T.R. asked the operator to explain. This he did saying that Otis Brothers And Company not yet four years ago began producing these "direct-connected geared electric elevator machines." The car in which I rode was among the very first installed.

When we reached the offices of the Civil Service Commission T.R. proceeded through them like an extremely polite whirlwind. He greeted all he met pleasantly and by name. He received concise reports. Asked incisive questions and received answers while affixing his initials and full signature to various papers and documents. He paused only twice. In the first instance he gave civil, but blunt, instructions for one fellow to stop "beating around the bush" and reach his point. As to the second, he noticed a ring of engagement on one of the young typists' finger. He left her small desk with a full description and history of her intended. I simply followed in his wake the whole time. I concluded that if all government staff operated as did T.R., the world would be a far different place.

As we waited for the elevator T.R. wrote in a small notebook. "Watson," he said, "though I hold a politically appointed position, I believe in giving the people of our country value for my services. I keep track of all the time I spend in activities related to improving treatment of Federal workers and the quality of work that they do. In some cases I make enemies for my efforts. But I am able to account for all that I do. And the Why of it. Ah, here is the car, now."

Instead of returning to the street, T.R. asked the operator to take us up. He then borrowed a key from the chap. A moment later we emerged on the structure's roof, a full ten stories above the ground. The island of Manhattan lay spread out around us. At ten stories few buildings obstructed our view. T.R. pointed out various landmarks.

Once again, in the distance, I saw the statue of Liberty Enlightening the World. From memory my companion recited the full sonnet The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus. I had read the poem at the time of the statue's erection, but Theodore Roosevelt's emotional recitation of those fourteen lines gave me a larger insight into the character of the United States of America than if academics were to lecture me for a fortnight.

"Watson, do you see that island off to the side of the statue's? I have been spending a bit of time there. And shall be spending quite a bit more in the future. That is Ellis Island. This very year the place becomes the new portal of immigrants for our city and for a large part of our nation."

Back on the streets T.R. again ducked and darted our carriage so that I became hopelessly lost again. "Next we cross Canal Street," he said. "In this area one can find food from all over the world. Most of it is excellent quality. However, I always inspect the kitchen of any restaurant I patronize. And especially the more expensive ones. Far too often a clean kitchen takes a rear seat to making the dining room look opulent. Surely, as a military man, you must have seen bad food take its toll."

And I mentioned to him one or two instances, Holmes, that I have recited to you in detail. Bonaparte had the right of it. An Army travels on its stomach, or may not travel at all when its food is bad.

But, to continue. After we crossed Canal Street T.R. began to point out small establishments that served food from all parts of the world. I remember him saying Russian Borscht lay in that direction while Nabil of Lebanon served exquisite stuffed grape leaves the opposite way. And, along with the sound and odor of factories of the area, I could indeed smell the aromas of a dozen different kitchens.

T.R. tied up his horse near a place with a simple sign saying only "Gio's." He paused to give the animal its feedbag. Remarking that the horse had done the real work of the day, thus far.

Then he led me inside saying, "Giovanni Martinelli, our host, is from the north of Italia. He offers a wider selection than his more refined appearing competitors. And his kitchen stays immaculate no matter how busy. Fortunately we have arrived before the crush of workers seeking lunch. Come, I'll introduce you."

The fixtures and furniture inside showed all the signs of heavy use and wear. But, the tables and covers could have passed any inspection for cleanliness one could name. As we entered a group of women, the only other customers, made a cheerful and apparently satisfied exit. Soon we chatted with the proprietor, a robust man of my height and about sixty years. As he explained the restaurant's offerings we heard a most dreadful crash from behind the swinging doors to the kitchen.

Giovanni dashed to the doors of the kitchen. He tried to push through the one opening inward only to find it blocked. T.R. and I reached him as he pulled the other door open. The action caused length of wood some three inches thick by a foot wide to slide to the floor blocking the door open. What we saw put me in mind of a pre-dawn morning in Afghanistan when an earthquake collapsed part of a building where our troops billeted. Now, a very high, long, and deep row of shelving, and its heavy contents, lay in shattered sections covering floor, food preparation tables, and unfortunately several people.

As he took in the scene Giovanni whispered what I took to be a short prayer in Latin. Then he turned to the boy who had been rolling sets of flatware into napkins at one of the tables. "Antonio," he called out in a steady voice, "get your grandmother! And her bag!"

The lad took off like a shot as I began to look at the injured. I immediately counted five. Others, however, might still be under piles of huge pans and smashed crockery. The eyes of the fellow nearest me moved in their sockets without seeming intention, or focus. A small amount of blood came from where a chunk of wood had impacted his scalp. As I snatched up his arm to check his pulse I called out, "See that all the others are not bleeding. Then see if they breathe."

As Giovanni repeated that in Italian I looked around for T.R. To my surprise he stood in the doorway to the street. He removed a metallic object from a pocket. He put this to his lips. By its shrill sound it produced I deduced it to be the local version of the police whistle.

I turned back to see our host and his remaining kitchen staff moving among the debris. My man had a strong pulse, but obviously he was without his wits due to the blow. Then one of the kitchen staff reached a man writhing in pain on the floor. As a wide flat pan was pushed away a large meat grinder came into view, and the arm it had landed on.

"Don't move him!" I cried out. "His arm is broken, badly." For I could see a shard of bone protruding from his sleeve.

A lull in the sounds came briefly over the kitchen. Above the low moaning of the victims I heard the rush of footsteps on the sidewalk outside. I spared a glance to the outer door. The Constable on Patrol must have been very close by, for he dashed up unwinded.

"Sir," he asked T.R., "I trust you have a good reason to use that whistle!"

"We need medical help, Officer," replied T.R. As he began to describe the accident I turned back toward the injured.

In that move my eyes focused on a part of the fallen shelving. Suddenly I felt the bile in my stomach rise. Thanks to you, my good Holmes, I understood what I saw. I swallowed heard, then loudly called out, "T.R.! This is no accident. This was a deliberate crime!"

Before I could say more one of the kitchen men cried, "He bleed. He bleed!"

Praying that T.R. believed me, and that he could convince the Police Officer, I hurried to the newly uncovered victim. The portly man wore a fresh apron beneath the debris. A crushed chef's hat lay by his head. Someone had lifted a length of the shelf framing off of the man's arm. And he began to bleed profusely. A shard of broken china had been driven into his arm. Blood welled around it. And the fellow wore braces, as did I.

"A belt," I called out, "or a strap, please!"

At that moment a heavy leather medical bag appeared at my side. Fine female hands yanked open the top to reach in. An instant later I held a dedicated tourniquet, old, but fully ready for use.

I began to apply the device without looking up. I do believe I muttered a word of thanks, but only by reflex. Then a fine contralto voice said, "I'll look to the others, doctor."

I got the tourniquet in place with barely time to spare in terms of lost blood. I slit open the poor man's sleeve with my pen knife. As I began to remove the pottery shard I felt movement beside me. The contralto voice came again.

"One man probably concussed. The compound arm fracture, that you have seen. The others seem to have been luckier. Bumps, bruises, minor cuts, and such."

Still intent on the man's arm I replied without looking up. "Thank you, madam..." For I had noticed the wedding ring on her hand as it dove into the miraculously arriving bag.

"I am Maureen, Mrs. Martinelli."

At that moment I reached a point where I could spare her a glance. From almost prone on the floor I looked up. And it seemed like the Goddess Minerva stood over me. This was not the pudgy little Italian woman I might have pictured. Here stood an older woman in a much younger one's body. Her hair, now mostly gray, must have once been a flaming red. Giovanni appeared beside her. I then realized she stood as tall as her husband. A few years younger, Holmes, and she might have posed for Liberty herself.

As soon as I finished with the lacerated blood vessels Maureen Martinelli offered to finish stitching the wound while I attended the others.

"I take it you have some experience at this, Mrs. Martinelli?" Obviously, she did, but I felt I must inquire.

"I was not out of my teens when I spent the last year of our Civil War working with Clara Barton and her associates. I still do the occasional patching and stitching."

The chef bit down on a heavy leather mouthpiece she produced from her medical bag. Swabbing the wound with alcohol must have hurt terribly. As I prepared to set the other man's arm she talked to the chef, even as she stitched him up like one of Mr. Howe's machines.

Once sure he was not needed to assist with the injured, T.R. appointed himself as gatekeeper to Gio's. He kept the curious out and let family members of the injured in. Finally a man with graying temples and a medical bag entered.

"Good morning, Dr. Adams," called Mrs. Martinelli.

"You've left me but little to do, it seems," he replied.

Dr. Adams and I set that badly broken arm. We then consulted about the other injured men. We made them all as comfortable as possible in the dinning room while waiting for transportation to home or hospital.

About that time a well dressed young looking man arrived. I saw him talk briefly to T.R. though the glass of the doors. I felt a bit puzzled until the young fellow called out and the Police Officer summoned by T.R.'s whistle pushed through the gawkers to take my new friend's place at the door. As Dr. Adams and I lashed the now splinted arm in place T.R. conducted the apparent police detective into the kitchen.

I watched surreptitiously as T.R. showed the man where I had been when I stated that a crime had been committed. He looked around for a moment to take in the entire scene. Then he put himself into the very position I had occupied. He looked toward the door, then back. I thought I saw a gleam in his eye for a brief moment. Then he schooled his face back to a neutral expression. With that he began examining various areas of the huge set of shelves. He made a number of notations in a small book. I believe he drew a few quick sketches, as well. In fact, his actions reminded me no little of you, Holmes.

T.R. and Giovanni answered a number of his questions. Finally he headed in my direction.

"Sir, I am Detective Walter Brooks of the New York City Police. Can you spare the time to show me what made you think this was not an accident?"

At Dr. Adams nod I rose. I led the way back into the kitchen. I pointed to the same piece that had caught his eye.

"The load bearing portions of these substantial shelves were connected with what we British sometimes call 'tree-nails.' I am not sure what Americans may call them."

"Dowels," interjected T.R. And Brooks nodded.

"This dowel, then, has been weakened by somebody cutting it all round with an extremely fine toothed saw. The center then sheered when an otherwise acceptable strain came on it. I do not doubt that you will find others similarly weakened. In fact, I noticed sawdust at the edge of the back wall."

T.R. spoke up, "But Giovanni uses sawdust as a sweeping agent, as do many restaurants."

"That is true, Detective," said Giovanni

"I believe I know the variety that you mean," I replied. All the while very glad that I was with you on that case in Nottingham, Holmes. The evidence was quite similar. With that I picked up a scrap of clean bandage that Maureen had cut off and discarded. Using my trusty pen-knife I scraped some of the dust in question onto the cloth.

"That sort of sweeping compound is used in Brittan, as well. Or something decidedly similar, I'm sure," I continued. "It is made up of freshly cut pine or other evergreens for the most part. The moisture and pitch pick up dust and dirt. This sawdust, on the other hand, comes from very well cured wood. It has little moisture. And I'm sure a close inspection will show that this is a mixture of pine from the saw blade scraping the main boards and some hardwood like maple from the dowels."

With that I held out the cloth to Detective Brooks. Almost instantly he produced a magnifying lens nearly the twin of yours, old friend. It was all I could do not to burst out laughing, so familiar was the action.

"I do see what you mean, Doctor. Doctor...?" he added an inquiring note. I glanced at T.R. who attempted to stifle his mischievous grin. Only then did I realize that he had withheld my name from the eager young detective.

"Watson," I said softly.

I swear, Holmes, that I could nearly see and hear the gears and governors spin and stop in the man's head. A doctor, a British doctor who can identify a felonious situation? When my name took hold his eyebrows shot up.

"Watson? Doctor John H. Watson, formerly of Her Majesty's 5th Northumberland Fusiliers?"

"The same," I replied with a slight smile.

Suddenly my hand was being wrung like the fellow wanted it for a souvenir.


Twenty minutes later Maureen Martinelli prepared an impromptu luncheon for myself, T.R., and Detective Brooks in the family home above the restaurant. Dr. Adams accompanied the seriously injured to a local hospital. Giovanni, and the remaining kitchen staff, waited for a man from the Blackhawk Insurance Company to review the damage before beginning the massive project of putting Gio's back in business.

T.R. asked Brooks, "Who might have perpetrated this unholy incident?"

"I have a fair idea, Mr. Roosevelt," he replied. "However, suspecting, and proving, are two far different things. I'm sure Dr. Watson is well aware of that. However, I am far ahead of the situation thanks to your friend. Had he not recognized the sabotage for what it was, that lumber would soon have been cut up for salvage and reuse. At that point it becomes useless as evidence. But forewarned, I was able to reach a photographer friend who is now taking pictures of the whole room and close ones of the sabotaged pieces. As he finishes each of those, Officer O'Brien stands by with a good saw to cut off and pack away those pieces as formal evidence. Chances are in a few days somebody would have approached Mr. Martinelli, claimed responsibility, and demanded an extortion payment. So called 'protection' from further incidents. But then again this may not happen. A wise criminal knows when a scheme, or part of one, is beyond salvage.

"It is my hope that mixing New York police procedure with the methods of Mr. Sherlock Holmes will allow me to bring the actual saboteur, and especially his boss, to book. But not soon, I fear."

"I take it, Detective Brooks, that the good Mr. Roosevelt failed to use my name in your conversation downstairs."

"No, he did not," replied Brooks with a crooked grin. "He used the term 'my doctor friend.' It is probably just as well that I was not distracted at that point. In spite of some successes, my stated reliance on Mr. Holmes' methods is something of a running joke both on the force, and by newspaper reporters."

"'Some successes' is an understatement, Watson," replied T.R. "Detective Brooks can be as dogged as an angry badger. Thanks to my City Council time I hear things that many others do not. This case is in good hands."

Later that afternoon T.R. and I emerged from the store called Tiffany's in the five hundredth block of Broadway street. There I had purchased some small things to surprise Mary with when back in London. We resumed our conversation about Brooks and the police force.

"Simply put, my friend," remarked T.R., "most senior police officials are aware that Sherlock Holmes existed. However, they take your accounts as highly exaggerated. Something akin to the Brothers Grimm in their level of reality. Please do not take offense at my repeating their view. In spite of this, Brooks impresses people. He has every chance to go far. Hopefully more intelligent and imaginative men like him will be attracted to police work. For they are needed, just as the solid beat officer is needed.

"Unfortunately, the investigators of our own popular fiction only reinforce the negative view of your friend. Old Sleuth and Old Cap Collier not only solve mysteries and uncover secrets, but they leave whole platoons of pummeled criminals in their wake. The King Brady father and son team are but little more realistic. Unfortunately your Holmes stories are often tarred with the same brush of disbelief."

"I quite understand, T.R. I encounter some of the same issues in regard to fictional characters in our own so called Penny Dreadfuls. And the fictional accounts of the very real Sexton Blake suffer from similar 'enhancement.' Speaking of large reputations, is yonder horseman who I think he might be?"

T.R.'s eyes followed the direction I pointed. Coming our way at an easy walk came a beautiful white horse with riding tack just as outstanding. Astride the horse sat a man in highly adorned fringed bleached buckskin. A hat of the ten gallon variety partially matched the rider's somewhat graying mustache and goatee. A second later a wry chuckle came from my companion.

"Indeed, Watson, that is truly Colonel 'Buffalo Bill' Cody. I did not know he was in town. This must be about his last run of the day."

"Last run?" I inquired. "Whatever do you mean, T.R.?"

"He is on his way to the Beadle and Adams publishing house. It is they who issue the Dime Novels purporting to record his real life adventures. When William is in the city he dresses up in his finest show costume. Then, five or six times a day, he rides his horse to the front door of said publishers. Everyone is supposed to think he has important business to conduct, or new stories to relate. In reality, he soon slips out the back door, then heads for another part of town to make the journey anew. Visitors to the city spread the word, as you might back in London."

With that T.R. stepped from the curb with his arm raised calling, "William! William! William F! Hop down off that equine hulk and meet someone!"

A moment later the renowned Buffalo Bill made an acrobatic dismount from his horse right in front of us. "T.R.," he said as the two shook hands, "good to see you."

"And you, William," replied T.R. with a smile. "I'd like to make you acquainted with Dr. John Watson of London."

As we shook hands Colonel Cody flabbergasted the both of us by saying, "A pleasure, Doctor. In fact, as I was conveyed across the city, I read about you in the New York Clarion. My congratulations on your saving lives earlier today."

Both T.R. and I stood there open mouthed. Finally I managed to say, "I had no idea the incident would be mentioned by the press."

"My dear sir, when the associate of Sherlock Holmes both saves a life and launches a police investigation, that is indeed news. Reports on this sort of attack on honest businessmen will be the bread and butter of the new owner of the Clarion. Perhaps you have met him out in the Dakotas, T.R., Franklin Havens?"

"Bully!" cried T.R. "I have met him a time or two. The city, and the nation, need more journalists like him. I had not realized it was he who purchased the paper that is now the Clarion."

"You must tell me about this man later, T.R.," I said. "Col. Cody I am glad for the opportunity to meet you at last. Holmes and I saw your Command Performance in '87."

"Really, Doctor," replied Cody. "I would have enjoyed meeting you, and Mr. Holmes, had you come behind the scenes that night."

"We were behind the scenery already, sir. We investigated a totally false threat to Her Majesty, said to be in the mind of one of your performers. We quickly assured ourselves the plot was indeed a fiction. Then still dressed as dustmen we stayed for the show. When Her Majesty stood and bowed to your flag I nearly lost my hearing to the screaming of your grooms and stagehands."

"That is not surprising, Dr. Watson," said Buffalo Bill, a far away look in his eyes. "For you saw history made that evening."

"Indeed, Watson," commented T.R. in a very earnest voice. "For the very first time the Stars and Stripes was saluted by a foreign head of state in that ruler's own country. And, I hope, that act finally finished burying the hatchet, so to speak, between your nation and ours."

After a few more pleasantries we parted ways with Buffalo Bill. As we took yet another short-cut laden route I took note that the many American flags flying seemed to differ in the area of the blue Union. When I mentioned this T.R. began a storied explanation.

"With each new State added to the Union a new star is added to the flag. I doubt you will observe Old Glory with less than thirty-eight stars on your visit. The thirty-eight star flag flew beginning in 1876. And, as long as they are fit to fly, they may be used indefinitely. In 1889 we added North and South Dakota, Montana, and the State of Washington, in about ten days. You will see only a few of the forty-two star flags, because we also added Idaho and Wyoming in July of 1890. The newest flags will have forty-four stars. A new flag design was created for each state, but would only have been executed but rarely indeed for those intervening numbers.

"Let us look at the flags we pass, Watson. I shall try to identify the number of stars."

Those flags hanging from poles jutting from the sides of buildings T.R. easily identified. Then we approached an intersection with a tiny plot of grass and newly emerged spring flowers at its center. From the midst of the greenery sprang a twenty foot pole topped by a sizable American flag drifting only slightly in the light breeze.

T.R. changed to the center lane of traffic so that we might pass close by, saying, "This will be a bit of a challenge, my friend. Let me look... Hold on Watson!"

As T.R. spoke a strong puff of wind threw the flag hard away from the pole. Somehow the halyard parted. The large flag weighted by rope, grommets, and clips quickly fluttered down directly in front of our carriage. As he cried that warning T.R. rose from his seat to haul back on the reins as hard as he could. I grabbed the side rail and the front of the rig as hard as I could. For the horse reared up like a Lipizzaner stallion in a show.

T.R. vaulted out of the carriage just as soon as he managed to set the brake. He calmed the horse for an instant or two before moving ahead to where the Stars and Stripes lay on the dusty pavement. After but the briefest of looks at the fallen colors he snatched it from the ground with all the fervor of a man yanking a relative about to go over a cliff.

He held the bundle carefully in his arms for a second. Then he turned his gaze to me as I joined him in front of the still nervous horse.

"Watson," he said in an almost pleading tone as he removed the clips from the grommets, "I know these colors are not the ones you acknowledge, but would you please bear me a hand?"

"Of course, my friend. How may I help?"

"Please take the corners of the end with the blue Union. Now we will pull everything taut. Fine. Now let us turn the colors over. Excellent, Old Glory only picked up a bit of dust. That she can shake out when she flies proudly again. Were there stains or tears the flag would have to be destroyed.

"Let us shake her a bit to remove what dust we can. Now we fold the stripes over the Union. Next fold in half again so that the blue is visible top and bottom. Very good. Keep your end taut at all times and step toward me as I begin to fold."

With that T.R. began folding the stripes of the flag into an isosceles right-triangle. He continued folding as I approached him. About half way through the procedure a Police Officer came hurrying up. I suppose he wanted to know why our carriage blocked part of a busy pair of streets. I nearly dropped my end of the flag when he realized what we were doing. With a last step he sprang to attention and crisply saluted until we had finished. In addition three carriages and a heavy beer wagon halted, with some of the drivers standing. A truly astonishing sight, Holmes.

As he stuffed the remaining material neatly inside the triangular bundle T.R. remarked, "Three sided, Watson, for the tri-cornered hat of 1776. Excuse me, Officer...?"

"Jablonsky, sir!"

"Jablonsky, do you know who should take charge of this flag until yonder halyard can be repaired?"

"Yes, indeed, sir."

"Then may I ask you to deliver Old Glory to that person?"

"Of course sir!"

We then headed back to T.R.'s home without further incident. But, Holmes, I'll be jiggered, but we received a small round of applause for our efforts as we boarded our carriage.


"A most interesting incident, Watson," remarked Holmes as he refreshed our coffee cups from the sideboard. "I have known that many Americans seem far more serious about their flag than most peoples. Perhaps you can tell me the 'why' of it."

"I discussed this with T.R. on several occasions as we traveled. The best point I can put forward is that the flag is their common history and common heritage as Americans. That Officer, Jablonsky, may have been born in the United States, but perhaps not his parents. Giovanni, the Italian restaurateur, married to an Irish Colleen and not to another Italian. But they are Americans all."

"T.R. told me he once met an Englishman who had written a book about all flags of the world. The man concluded that Americans lavished so much care and ceremony on their flag because they lack a Royal Family to heap honors upon. My friend was definitely not amused by that idea."

"Thank you for your insight, Watson," said Sherlock Holmes. "Now if my sense of smell is correct, we shall soon partake of Mrs. Hudson's excellent gooseberry pie. Then a potential client is due at a quarter after the hour. I fear we shall have to save your fascinating narrative for another venue."

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