I’m pleased to see that Amazon has Baker Street Irregulars 2: The Game’s Afoot available for preorder! This is the second volume of alternate takes on Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson — basically our remit as authors is to do Holmes and Watson anywhere but Victorian London — and includes stories by Derek Beebe, Nat Gertler, Narrelle M. Harris, Daniel M. Kimmel, Gordon Linzner, Stephanie M. McPherson, Jody Lynn Nye, Chuck Regan, R. Rozakis, Hildy Silverman, Sarah Stegall, Mike Strauss, and, oh yeah, me!
I’m doing a story called “Six Red Dragons” which, like my story “Identity” in Volume 1, features Shirley Holmes and Jack Watson in modern New York City.
Here’s an excerpt from the story:
The next morning, I came downstairs, and Shirley was in the same spot, the tea stuff all there, though the food was all gone. Ever since her aunt got cancer, they’d hired someone to come in and clean the place every other day, but today wasn’t her day on, so I figured I’d clean up after Shirley, since nobody else was gonna do it, and cockroaches would mess up the nice house.
I grabbed the tea service, trying not to spill any crumbs, and commented on her having been here all night.
“I would think, Jack, that even someone of your intelligence would be able to determine that for yourself, given that I am wearing the same clothes, I have eaten all the food and drunk all the tea that was left, and my hair now has the oily consistency it frustratingly acquires when I have not showered in more than thirty-seven hours.”
“Was just making a comment.”
“The pitch of your voice went higher on the word ‘night,’ which is indicative of an interrogative rather than a declaratory statement.”
I honestly didn’t remember if I’d done that or not. “In that case, it was rhetorical. What’d you find out?”
“Quite a bit. The clinic does indeed have security footage, which was appended to the report that Detective Lestrade forwarded to me, the Morse Shop has an Etsy site that shows off its wares, and Dr. Barnicot regularly updates his Facebook page with a near-constant stream of pictures. I have been able to find images of all three figurines.”
She held up the tablet, which had what looked like a screengrab focused on a red dragon figurine, a picture of a windowsill filled with tchotchkes, one of which was a red dragon figurine, and a picture of a red dragon figurine against a white background.
“They all look the same to me.”
Shirley sighed, and I knew I’d said something wrong. “The grooves and lines of the image from the Morse Shop are sharper than those of the one on Dr. Barnicot’s windowsill. The resolution of the security camera is insufficient to compare that level of detail for the one in the clinic. That they are similar enough that your eye cannot determine the difference indicates that these figurines were cast, but not with metal, plaster, or concrete—likely they were resin cast, as those molds tend to degrade over time, particularly ones created by single artisans rather than industrially produced.”
“Which tracks with stuff sold at the Morse Shop.”
“Indeed.” She looked straight at me, which was rare. “If you are free, would you like to accompany me to Columbus Avenue?”
“Wanna get some brunch?”
“I am sated after consuming the remains of the tea service. No, I was referring to the Columbus Avenue crafts fair that occupies the section of that street behind the American Museum of Natural History. Based on the information in the Etsy shop, the creator of these dragon figurines, one Liese Gelder, has a stand there. Your presence would be useful in questioning her.”
I chuckled. If somebody wanted Shirley’s help, she could interrogate better than the Army CID guys I served with in Afghanistan, but when it came to just talking to people, having a doctor-in-training along was a lot more useful.
“Well, I got today off, so sure. I got some lab notes I need to translate into English at some point, but I can do that later.”
“I assume that to mean a figurative translation of poor handwriting and abbreviated text into something coherent rather than an actual translation?”
Some of the doctors who were training me didn’t have English as their first language, as it happened, but I did not want to get into that with Ms. Literal, so I just said, “Yeah.”
We each showered, and I drank some coffee, and then we took an Uber to Columbus and 81st. Shirley has the Uber account because she got tired of being ignored by cabbies when she tried to hail one. As a large black man, I could relate.