I did this ages ago for a french magazine called Decapage. It's goes on a bit, because I got the french words for 'letters' and 'words' in a muddle.
Sherlock Holmes In His Most Mysterious Case Ever
Upon my return from the seaside I found Sherlock Holmes stretched out on the carpet, greedily trying to fit an entire cake of opium into his mouth. He had such a look of utter concentration burning in those bright intelligent eyes of his that I didn’t like to disturb him, and several seconds went by before he noticed me hovering by the doorway.
‘Mrrrfff rroo rotson!’ said Holmes eventually, waving and spitting crumbs all over his dressing gown.
‘Hello Holmes,’ I said, putting down my bucket and spade and slumping into a comfortable leather armchair. ‘Did you miss me? I got you a stick of rock. How have things been here?’
‘Like you wouldn’t believe!’ said Sherlock Holmes, rolling his eyes, and scoffing down the last bit of his cake. ‘I should say it has been the busiest week of my career.’
‘Do tell, Holmes, do tell,’ I urged, sitting forward eagerly. Listening to my friend explain the details of a mystery is one of life’s true thrills, akin to having a powerful light shone into the gloom of one’s own feeble brain.
‘It all began last Monday,’ said Holmes, propping himself up on his bony elbows. ‘I was out solving a mystery. Not a very interesting case as it turned out – it was one of those ones where it ended up being the respectable vicar all along - so I was home a bit earlier than expected. I foresaw a quiet afternoon ahead of me, perhaps involving a gentle game of scrabble, or indulging in amiable chit-chat with my wife, Mrs Holmes. But that was not to be. Because upon entering 221B Baker Street, I heard a strange rhythmic thumping sound, accompanied by an eerie moaning. It was coming from upstairs.’
‘Goodness me, Holmes! Whatever did you do?’ I asked, appalled. Holmes fixed me with a bold stare.
‘Arming myself with a poker from the fireplace I edged up the stairwell, a solitary candle illuminating my aquiline nose,’ he explained. ‘Once at the landing I realised the hellish racket was emanating from the room of my wife. So without wasting another moment I flung open the door, only to behold Mrs Holmes and Juan, our burly Spanish gardener, sat on the bed, both naked as new born lambs.’
‘Oh dear me,’ I exclaimed. ‘That’s a rum sort of predicament.’
Sherlock Holmes nodded. ‘Mrs Holmes enquired as to why I was back so early. I explained about the respectable vicar. Then I enquired as to the nature of her own situation. Well Watson, it emerged that she too had heard the unearthly thumping sounds, and had assumed that they emanated from a ghost. She’s quite frightened of ghosts. Juan had, in turn, heard her cries of distress, and was simply giving her a comforting hug.’
‘Oh well,’ I said doubtfully, ‘I suppose that seems a reasonable explanation.’
‘Don’t be so foolish,’ snorted Holmes. ‘There’s no such thing as ghosts. And besides, her story didn’t explain why both she and Juan were naked.’
‘No, I suppose not, good point,’ I admitted, a little sheepishly.
‘See Watson, it’s my ability to notice little details like that which make me a great detective. Ghosts indeed! You know how women are apt to blame the slightest thing on the supernatural realm. No, this was something far darker and more corporeal. I deduced the truth in an instant,’ Holmes paused dramatically, and raised a long slender finger. ‘It was the work of my nemesis, Moriarty! He had pretended to be a ghost in order to steal my wife and Juan’s clothing.’
Holmes often makes these leaps of logic which are rather hard for lesser minds to follow. As usual he had lost me. ‘I’m not sure I understand,’ I said, feeling like a slow schoolboy. ‘What on earth would he want with their clothes, Holmes?’
‘For disguises! He’s a master of disguise! Remember that time he disguised himself as my pipe? Three years, and he was right there under my nose all along. The man’s a genius. Not so genius as me, but pretty close. No doubt Moriarty had formulated some sort of diabolical plan which involved disguising himself as a lady and a burly gardener. Probably he intended to steal something from Kew Gardens. Like a rare flower, or a big leaf. Anyhow, I put this theory to my wife and she agreed, and said that yes, now she came to think about it, probably it had been Moriarty after all. She told me that I was very clever to work it all out.’
‘Well, I’m glad you got to the bottom of it,’ I said, relieved at Sherlock’s assurances about the lack of ghosts. ‘That Moriarty, he is a one, isn’t he?’
‘He is,’ sighed Holmes. ‘But the story doesn’t end there. I’m afraid there’s more to come. Brace yourself, Watson.’
‘Braced, Holmes,’ I said, resolutely gripping the sides of my armchair.
‘The next day I was out solving the case of a missing albino gypsy horse. But, being November, it was quite cold, so I returned home at lunchtime to pick up my deerstalker, which I had left hanging in the wardrobe.’
‘Sensible to wear a hat, Holmes,’ I remarked. ‘The top of the head is where you lose 90% of your body heat.’
‘Quite,’ said Holmes, not really listening. ‘Anyway, I opened the wardrobe to retrieve the article of headwear in question, and what should I find inside but my wife, again in something of a state of undress, locked in a tight embrace with the opium delivery boy!’
I just shook my head and made some tutting sounds, and waited for my friend to continue his story.
‘Mrs Holmes explained that Moriarty had turned up at the house again! Apparently he had been absolutely livid about me cracking his Kew Gardens scheme, and had flown into a terrible rage. Fearing for their safety my wife and the opium delivery boy decided to hide in the wardrobe. There, in its cramped confines she quickly became rather hot, and so was forced to remove a layer or two of clothing. The delivery boy had been kindly helping to brush perspiration from her décolletage when I chanced upon them. Obviously straight away I searched the house top to bottom, but I could find no sign of Moriarty.’
‘He must have fled the scene when he heard you returning for your hat,’ I reasoned. ‘What a cad. Well, I hope that’s the last you heard of him?’
‘Alas, no. The very next day I was out and about fighting a giant rat that had gotten into one of London’s sewers. Messy business, and I got rat lick all over me, so I returned home to wash my hands. But to my great surprise when I opened the door to the bathroom I found Mrs Holmes and my violin repair man both sat in the bath together, lathered with soapy bubbles.’
‘What on earth were they doing in the bath?’ I wondered aloud, utterly baffled now.
‘My own fault, Watson’ said Holmes, shaking his head sadly. ‘It turns out that I can’t have made as thorough a search of the house as I thought I had, because according to my wife, Moriarty had sprung from behind a curtain where he must have been hiding all along, and - presumably mistaking the violin tuner for myself - he had thrown a vial of anthrax at them.’
‘Good grief,’ I said, pouring myself a whisky. ‘The monster.’
‘Monster. Indeed. I really don’t think that’s too strong a word,’ said Holmes. ‘Well, obviously there’s no time for decorum where anthrax is involved. They had to make sure they washed it off right away. So reluctantly the pair of them stripped and plunged into the bath, and when I arrived on the scene the violin repair man had been making sure my wife’s thighs were thoroughly scrubbed of any remaining anthrax.’
‘Surely that was the end if it, Holmes?’ I asked, somewhat exhausted by the tale.
‘If only it had been,’ said Holmes, pacing back and forth in that agitated manner of his. ‘But the following evening worse was to come. Again I arrived home early, not having been able to concentrate on my work because of all these terrible goings on, and seeking solace in my study I found not an orderly pile of books heaped upon my desk, but instead Inspector Lestrade, with my wife sitting astride him, wearing a lace red camisole rather than her usual more modest attire.’
‘Moriarty’s handiwork again?’ I chanced.
‘Yes, it seems the fiend had struck once more, this time climbing through the window, though Mrs Holmes had been brave enough to chase him off with a rolled up newspaper. She had called Inspector Lestrade immediately. Lestrade, I’m pleased to say, has at long last learnt something from me in regard to the importance of collecting evidence and crime scene analysis. He had sensibly asked Mrs Holmes for a detailed description of Moriarty’s attire. Apparently my nemesis had been wearing a red cape, which sounds rather vulgar if you ask me, and Mrs Holmes wanted to describe it as exactly as possible. Unfortunately they’re very hard to describe in words, colours. But she remembered that she owned a camisole which was of an exactly matching hue. She was sitting astride Lestrade simply so that he could get a really good look at the fabric.’
‘Clever of her to think of that, Holmes.’
‘It certainly was, Watson. But somehow Moriarty had evaded me yet again. I needed a stiff drink after that, so I went to one of the Limehouse gin rooms. I can barely have been gone more than a couple of hours, but when I came back to my house I beheld another shocking scene. For there was Mrs Holmes, disrobed to the waist, accompanied by no less than my own brother Mycroft, who appeared to be kissing her naked bosom.’
‘Kissing her naked bosom?’ I said, almost knocking over my glass. ‘That’s a bit much.’
‘Appearances can be deceptive,’ said Holmes sternly. ‘For it turned out that whilst I was out my wife had received a package from Moriarty addressed to me, which – somewhat foolishly - she took upon herself to open. To her horror it contained a snake, which leapt out and bit her on the breast. She was somewhat vague about what the snake looked like, but from her description I believe it to have been the deadly Green Mamba. Luckily, thank the heavens, my brother Mycroft happened to be visiting at the time, and he had the presence of mind to tear off my wife’s blouse and suck out the poison with his mouth. At considerable risk to himself, I might add.’
‘That does seem nice of him,’ I said. ‘I’ve always liked Mycroft.’
Holmes nodded again, looking a little rueful. ‘I was keen to examine Moriarty’s letter and the package which had contained the snake in case I could glean any clues from them, but unfortunately my wife had already thrown them away.’
‘Good of her to think to keep the place so tidy even after having been bitten by a dirty great snake,’ I said. ‘A lot of people wouldn’t have thought about domestic tasks like that in the midst of a life or death situation.’
‘Yes, she’s a remarkable lady. And even though I have yet to apprehend Moriarty she somehow soldiers on,’ Holmes stopped his pacing and leant on the fireplace for a moment. ‘But forgive me, Watson. Where are my manners? I have been boring you with this tale of dastardly deeds without a thought as to your own adventures. Tell me, how was your medical conference down in Brighton?’
‘Oh, you know,’ I shrugged, looking at my boots. ‘Inject this, amputate that, the usual boring stuff.’
‘As it happens,’ said Holmes. ‘Mrs Holmes went to Brighton just the other day, in order to take the sea airs and recuperate from her recent ordeals. Did you chance to see her at all?’
‘Um, no, Holmes, can’t say I did. When I wasn’t busy discussing medical matters, I, uh, just spent most of the time swimming. They have a lovely beach down there.’
‘Of course, I deduced as much,’ said Holmes, with something of a flourish.
‘Really? How so?’
‘That mark on your neck. Whilst some observers would probably mistake it for a love-bite, and funnily enough a love-bite that exactly matches my wife’s dentition, the trained eye of Sherlock Holmes can see that it is, in actual fact, a jelly fish sting, from the species Cyanea capillata. You’ve been dashed unlucky Watson, because they rarely visit these shores.’
‘Yes, that’s it, it’s a jellyfish sting. Brilliant, quite brilliant,’ I said with a grin. I stood up and clapped my friend on his back. ‘You’ve still got it Holmes! Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.’
‘Damn straight,’ said Sherlock Holmes, taking another big satisfied bite out of his opium cake.