NPR ran an interview last week with several Sherlock Holmes fans/scholars, in large part because Guy Ritchie is directing a forthcoming take on Sherlock Holmes starring Robert Downey, Jr. It looks intriguing, and it was a good interview (th0ugh I can’t find a link – if you score one, let me know and I’ll add it)
In any case, part of the interview shared how for decades authors have taken and placed Holmes in new adventures, and it occurred to me that I once did the same thing. Kind of. So, here for the first time on the web…
The Murder of James McNeil
(A Ronnie Holmes Mystery)
(written for Mr. Clarke’s 6th Grade Class, April 13, 1987; presented as is)
“Hi Dad,” I said walking in, “How is everything going.”
“Fine,” he said, “Watson and I just finished a case.”
“That’s great,” I said, “Where is the old chap?”
“He’s at home with Josh,” dad said.
“May I go see him?” I asked.
“Okay,” he said.
“Thank you,” I said, leaving.
I was at the Watson’s in a couple of minutes. Josh opened the door.
“Hello Ronnie,” he said, “Are you ready to go?”
“Rightio,” I said. We walked out and started for the park. Just then we heard a scream. Falling out of a window on the tenth story came a body. It hit the ground. We ran over to it.
“It’s, it’s James,” exclaimed Josh. Indeed it was, James McNeil, son of Neil Macintosh, who before he was murdered had helped my dad. Now his son was dead.
“There are no wounds,” said Josh, “but there’s blood on his back.”
“Strange,” I said, “What do you think?”
“Maybe the murder [sic] cut himself,” said Josh.
“Maybe, come on,” I said. I rushed into the building. We went up to James’ room. We went through the already open door.
“Holmes,” said Josh, “Look!” On the ground I saw a large puddle of blood.
“Well, Holmes,” said Josh, “what about it?”
I looked around the room. I found a piece of a shirt and I saw something on the bed. A blood spattered knife.
“A knife,” I said, “Now everything closes. Come on Watson,” I picked up the knife and cloth, “We’ve got to catch Wayne Simpson before he escapes.” I rushed out of the room. Josh hurried to catch up. I saw Wayne coming toward us. He [sic] shirt sleeve was ripped off and his shirt was red. He had his left hand in his pocket.
I knocked him over and his arm flew out of his pocket. His hand was cut off. I took him to the police.
“How did you know?” asked Josh.
“Easy,” I said, “When I saw the blood puddle I knew there had been a struggle. I looked at the cloth I found and it was a shirt sleeve with a Victorian knight on it. The Simpson crest. Under it I saw the initials W.S. Then I found the blood splattered steak knife I knew James cut him. But I thought only his fingers were cut off. Ends up his whole hand was.”
“How did you know it had to do with his hands?” asked Josh.
“Even Easier,” I said, “He pushed James out head first. He had to push him on the back.”
“Yes, I think your [sic] right,” said Josh, “Oh, Ronnie.”
“Yes,” I said.
“You’ll make a great detective,” said Josh, “Like your Father.”
“Thank you,” I said.
So ends this Ronnie Holmes Adventure. #1 in a series of 5.
I guess as a fifth grade author sharing detail in the narrative itself so the reader is in on the discovery was not quite as important as “Mary-Sue”ing myself into Sir Author Conan Doyle’s world. As I read this for the first time in 20+ years, I have to wonder:
- How in the world did a confirmed bachelor, with an aversion to women, father a son of the same age as his erstwhile colleague?
- What else beyond “it hit the ground” would have happened to a body falling from a tenth story window?
- And… I suppose that were this was a Star Trek adventure (instead of a Holmes story) the red shirt would have been on the corpse. 🙂