Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Melting Man

By Jove, what a suprise! While rooting through old Word documents on my laptop, I came across this; an abandoned opening to a Sherlock Holmes story. See what you think.

The Adventure of the Melting Man

From the Reminisces of Dr John H. Watson M.D.
Of all of our incredible cases that have threatened to break a man’s view of the world, few have been as singular as the affair of the death of the eminent author, Vincent De Lacey.
The year was 1887 and it was a bitter February morning. The rain hammered on down on the cobbled streets of London with terrific force; I pitied any poor soul misfortunate enough to be out in such a storm. Fortunately, I was inside 221B Baker Street in front of a blazing fire Mrs Hudson had lit for us earlier that day. My wife had gone to visit her sister for a short period so I had temporarily taken up my old lodgings with my dear friend, Sherlock Holmes.  Holmes was busying himself on the opposite side of the room with the morning’s papers, reading through his favourite agony columns.  In my particularly comfortable armchair, I had begun to doze but a sudden call from my friend woke me:
‘Watson, look sharp, there is a poor young woman making her way towards us.’
I went over to Holmes and discovered he was peering out of the window. Soon, the door to our room was opened by Mrs Hudson, who led in the sobbing, soaked young woman Holmes had foreseen.
She was a simply delectable creature, her golden brown hair, carefully gathered under her hat, was beautiful if considerably wet from the rain. I instinctively lent the girl my seat in front of the fire and knelt down beside her with a comforting pat on the hand.
‘My dear child,’ began Holmes with a gentle smile. ‘You must be in dire circumstances to travel to us on such a day. Pray, when you have composed yourself; tell us what troubles you so.’ 
‘I’m sorry to trouble you, Mr Holmes, Dr Watson, but I don’t know who else to turn to. It’s my father. Last night, he was fine, as jovial as ever, but this morning –‘ The young woman relapsed into her outburst of tears.
‘Carry on, my dear,’ I soothed. ‘What happened?’

‘When I came into my father’s chamber this morning, he had simply melted. away.’

And that's all I did. I'd largely forgotten about and am actually quite impressed by how I portray Watson's 'voice' in the piece. And the 'favourite agony columns' part completes fathoms me now, but must be a reference to Holmes' tastes within the real stories. The idea of the Mystery of the Melting Man has been with me for awhile and eventually found life in some form as a (very) short story I entered into a Crime Writing competition (you can read it here). It's an idea that I still think I can do something else with so I may come back to it again in the future. What I'm definitely doing, or at least planning to, is to write a Sherlock Holmes story this Christmas, proisionally titled 'The Phantom of Vortigern House'. So watch this space!

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