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Thurso (Donald Thomson): Week 7 – 9 September

It was a blustery September morning and the rain rattled the windows of 221B Baker Street. As I sat down to breakfast I noticed my friend and companion Mr Sherlock Holmes, after a night consuming innumerable ounces of shag tobacco and a quantity of cocaine in his favourite seven-per-cent solution, swinging upside down from the chandelier while playing popular excerpts from the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan on the violin and blowing tiny bubbles from the corner of his mouth.

“Well, Watson,” Holmes said at last, breaking in on my thoughts as I reached for a fifth croissant, “have you decided to take out a subscription to that magazine, or will you continue to buy them from those “specialist” shops in Soho?”

“Er—what magazines?” I asked, colouring.

“Why, Manly Chaps’ Monthly,” he said, executing a neat triple loop and dropping to the floor. “Those racy ones with the centrefolds showing uncovered piano legs.”

Foggy Wick Harbour

“But this is unworthy of you, Holmes!” I protested. “You have been following me.”

“Not at all, my dear fellow. The problem is a simple one. When a man in his familiar place on the sofa rises by a quarter of an inch a month to an elevation of eighteen and a quarter inches, it does not take a consulting detective to deduce that he is surreptitiously hiding magazines under the cushion. But it is easily verified. I can, if you like, lift the cushion, so—”

“No! Er—no, that’s quite all right.”

But at that moment, and somewhat to my relief, we were interrupted by the arrival of our staunch housekeeper, Mrs Hudson.

“Why, Ethelfrida,” exclaimed Holmes, “you appear flustered. Whatever can be the matter?”

“Oh Mr Holmes! The most dreadful thing has happened. Cook’s been murdered!”

“Dear me,” said Holmes. “This is most gratify— I mean, appalling news. Still, at least she’d finished cooking breakfast.”

“But not the washing up. Oh Mr Holmes, we shall all be murdered in our beds! Well, except for Cook, of course: she was murdered in the kitchen.”

Holmes strove to calm her. “Things are not always what they seem. Let us examine the scene of the crime.”

Cat Rescue at Southport Model Village

As we made our way down the stairs, Holmes asked, “By the way, what was Cook’s name?”

“Mrs Rachel Cook, it was. Her cooking was terrible, I know, but I chose her because of her name. One less thing to remember, it all helps at my age.”

In the kitchen the unfortunate woman lay stretched on her back on the tiles before the cooker.

Holmes glanced indifferently at her, then said, “Watson, you’re the medical man. Have a look at her, will you?”

But no sooner had I felt for her pulse than I cried, “Holmes! She’s still alive!”

Holmes was examining the cooker. Without looking up he said coolly, “An electric shock, I take it?’

“Good Lord, Holmes, how did you know?”

Holmes twiddled the knob. One of the rings flashed a spark and a smell of burning filled the room. “As I suspected. Mrs Hudson, how long has this element been defective?”

Mrs Hudson wrung her hands in her apron. “Well, just a few days, Mr Holmes. I was going to get a man in to look at it but what with electricity only just having been invented and all…”

“As I thought. Mrs Cook went to turn off the cooker after making our breakfast, her hands still wet from the washing up, and received a nasty shock. She’ll be all right shortly.”

“Good Heavens, Holmes,” I said. “How d’you do it?”

Sherlock Holmes arched a sardonic eyebrow. “Why, elementary, my dear Watson…”

6 comments to Thurso (Donald Thomson): Week 7 – 9 September

  • Gordon

    (Apologies for the above. We’re off on our holidays just now, so this week’s blog was written a couple of weeks ago and then, by the miracle of modern technology, we can drop the latest snapshot of the gansey in remotely. As you can see, I’ve been resting up and doing a lot of knitting!)

  • Annie

    A perfectly model rescue for a cat I must say!

  • Annie

    How could I forget to say how perfectly gorgeous this gansey is? Well, they all are. I hadn’t realized how long the pattern is for where the yoke usually is. Really unusual.

  • Melissa Simpson

    Ha,ha, an elaborate shaggy dog story. Very good one, too.

  • =Tamar

    Reactions: Loved the beginning, realized it was going on longer than usual and cheered, reached the end and recovered from whoops of laughter enough to scroll up to read it again.
    But really, you had me at “swinging upside down from the chandelier”.

    Also, it reminded me of when an electric element on my stove burned out in one spot and the little round hole was glowing red hot and spitting sparks like a tiny volcano.
    It was fascinating, but made it difficult to cook breakfast.

  • Dinah

    Ain’t technology grand?! Now you’ve gone and done it, Sir! I’m going to have to look for some Sherlock Holmes to read on the treadmill.
    And your gansey is akin to the never ending sweater I’m enduring right now. Size 3 needles, 230+ stitches, and fingering yarn. YAWN.

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