The Crew of the Barque Lone Star, my local Sherlockian scion, will be sharing their second collection of Sherlock Holmes solving cases from the Brothers Grimm and other fairy tales. An excerpt from my contribution, “The Adventure of the Counterfeit Squire” is shared below. Sign up for my newsletter to receive notice when A Grimmer Holmes is available on the scion Website.
Excerpt from “The Adventure of the Counterfeit Squire”
A scream alerted me to the intruder’s presence. I caught up to and passed the swarm of bees heading in the cry’s direction, only to stop when I reached the woman and wave her backwards.
Between pants from the exertion, I shouted at her. “Get behind that rock wall.”
She turned and rushed around to the road side of vine-covered enclosure. The honeysuckle and peppermint covering its stones deterred the insects from crossing over into the lane
No longer sensing her presence, they returned to the hives I’d been tending and freed me to meet my unexpected visitor at my cottage’s border.
I quickly understood the bees’ interest. Her jasmine scent penetrated my hat’s protective veil as well as the smoke still drifting from the cannister in my left hand. She wore one of those straight, loose garments that had come into fashion with the end of the Great War. Forest green. And a large-brimmed straw hat with a velvet ribbon. She raised her head slightly to peer at me from under its shadow.
“Sorry about that,” I said, lifting my veil to get a better look at her. “I’m—”
“Mr. Sherlock Holmes,” she said, holding out her hand. “Mrs. Heather Miller. I need you to find my husband.”
I studied her for a moment. Her face presented a tension, a marked anxiety telling me this was no ordinary missing person case. All that aside…
“I’m retired,” I said “There were more than one hundred and sixty thousand soldiers missing at the end of the war. The army would be a better place to start.”
“How did you know my husband was in the war?”
“The poppy pin you’re wearing.”
Her lips, painted the same color as the small brooch fixed above her right breast, formed an o. “What if I were to tell you the army won’t help me because they believe he has come home?”
As if having developed a will of their own, my eyebrows rose, then dropped into a v.My interest piqued, I decided no harm existed in hearing her out.
“Why don’t you explain your problem over acup of tea?”
I gestured to my home, and asmile flitted across those poppy lips. We both knew she’d played out her bait and lured me in.