Saturday, 6 May 2017

Now in print!; Sherlock Holmes' Practical Handbook of Bee Culture

On a drive in East Sussex, Paul Ashton and his Wife decided to stop at a car boot sale. What he found there has both shocked and delighted the literary World. For just £2, Mr. Ashton purchased an old copy of Practical Handbook of Bee Culture-the Author?, none other than Sherlock Holmes!. It was thought no copies of the Handbook had survived, yet here over 267 pages is the diary kept by the great man, covering events from his 1903 move to a farm near Beachy Head, in East Sussex.


At this time, Holmes was engaged to his former landlady Mrs. Hudson and fulfills his promise of a retirement keeping bees. The book itself contains exhaustive advice for the would-bee keeper (!) as well as original and unique accounts of some of Holmes' final cases. Adjusting remarkably to domestic life, Holmes takes to rustic life with the passion of the city-dweller. Among the former Detective's acquisitions is a box brownie which he uses to great effect capturing images both charming and dramatic.

Just for fun-Holmes showing Watson his Hives (IMAGE NOT IN THE BOOK!)
Holmes' work also includes a litany of current events – as well as their intrinsic value, these serve to give the book a framework and place the events securely in their time, as they happened. In the approved style of Forrest Gump and The Hundred Year Old Man (who climbed out of the window and disappeared) Holmes moves through this period meeting or renewing acquaintance with such luminous creatures as Lenin and Debussy, to name, but two. Old habits die hard though and from time to time Holmes engages his legendary mind on those problems to which is is best suited-an enquiry for a concerned American family here-a poltergeist case there, these include two cases that set Holmes' past crashing into his present.


The rural idyll continues, with Holmes the bee-keeper fully immersed in village life. A visitor!-none, but Watson and the two old friends discuss the atrocious events known as the Whitechapel Murders. Other cases follow- bigamy and blackmail mix with the ever-present trials and tribulations of apiculture.


The book blends Holmes' (fictional) cases with actual criminal scandals of the day in a seamless fashion and as well as solving a Regal jewellery theft with his old comrade-in-arms, Holmes finds the time to champion the cause of Suffrage, foil Latvian Anarchists and attempt to recover a stolen Da Vinci. Ill-health then causes Holmes to break off his writing-or so we are told. The book itself concludes with an intriguing yet informative end-note from Mr.Ashton. For the first time, Ashton reveals that Sherlock Holmes became a Secret Agent, including a stint working on vital matters to foil the Germans at the outset of the Great War.


So, does Practical Handbook of Bee Culture warrant a place on your shelf?. Most assuredly!; it is a gem, a weave of fact and fiction that sets Holmes' later years down for posterity in a unique and rather charming way. As a Sussex resident myself, I was delighted with the Author's knowledge of the area and the whole thing is such an unexpected pleasure I have no hesitation in recommending this fine book to you all.



Monday, 17 April 2017

THE TRIALS OF SHERLOCK HOLMES - EXCLUSIVE AUTHOR INTERVIEW


Here at 221b our interest was captured by a new and most promising author; aficionados may have visited James Moffett's excellent blog where all things Holmes are covered in a refreshing and concise manner. We have been lucky enough to be granted an interview with the man of the hour himself, but first let us share this remarkable site with you; https://apalaceforthemind.wordpress.com/

Now you will be delighted to hear, James has written his first novel, The Trials of Sherlock Holmes, a collection of short stories which can be approached individually or as separate tales. Here is the Publisher's blurb;

It is a cold London morning in 1887, and the discovery of a dead man in an abandoned house plunges Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson into a series of eight trying cases that will test the friendship of the two companions and threaten the safety of the country itself. From a staged murder to an impossible suicide, the theft of a national document to the disappearance of an entire family, London's foremost consulting detective and his faithful companion must seek out the clues and venture into the very heart of each mystery. All the while a sinister force, lurking amid the busy streets of London, stalks their every case, testing their own mental and physical prowess; ultimately they require the assistance of their closest allies, including Mycroft Holmes and the unsophisticated Inspectors Gregson and Lestrade. Will Holmes and Watson be able to avert the approaching threat that appears to be vengefully heading straight for them?

Intrigued, to say the least we tracked down the author and here is the result of our conversings;

James, what inspired you to challenge Holmes with such a dazzling range of cases?.

The idea of 'The Trials of Sherlock Holmes' initially started as a single novel. It then occured to me to try and tackle the whole concept of a collection of short stories from a different perspective. In essence, the book can be experienced either as a single overarching case or collection of separate stories. The way it is written allows for each short story to serve as either a collection of adventure, or one of eight chapters in a series of stories that are ultimately interlinked. That provided for an interesting take on Holmes and his quest to discover the truth.

What got you writing in the first place?.

My passion for writing was in fact something of a recent spark. At a young age I was never much into reading or writing, but there was always a sense of wanting to "create" something of my own. Some six years ago I discovered how liberating and satisfying writing can be and this has led to the creation of a blog and the idea that started the journey to this book's completion.

Which writers inspire you?.

Besides Arthur Conan Doyle and J.R.R. Tolkien as inspiring authors, I much prefer going by genre or book rather than specific writers. Besides the occasional thriller novel, I'm also keen on reading biographies of historical figures, science-related arguments and fantasy stories.
Who is your favourite Actor to play Holmes and why?.

Tricky question! Without being too much of a cliche' I must admit that Jeremy Brett's interpretation is spot on. At the same time, given the modern-day alternative, Benedict Cumberbatch is as good as Brett.

Controversial!... have you any advice for aspiring writers?.

Keep on writing! It's advice I have received and advice I relay to others. Sometimes, having the drive to write something that you want others to read is strong. Yet, there are circumstances when you're not always going to feel good about what you're writing. The trick is to keep at it until you're done. Nothing beats the satisfaction you get once you've completed your own work - whether it is published or not.

We agree there... what are you working on next?.

I am currently hard at work on a long historical fantasy poem, whilst fleshing out ideas for a Sherlock Holmes novel.

We await these with interest. Thank You for talking to us.

James Moffett (Photo Copyright: Author)

James Moffett is a Masters graduate in Professional Writing, with a specialisation in novel and non-fiction writing. He began developing a passion for writing when contributing to his University's student magazine. His interest in the literary character of Sherlock Holmes was deep-rooted in his youth and has recently launched a blog on Arthur Conan Doyle's titular character; the aforementioned https://apalaceforthemind.wordpress.com/

James' book The Trials of Sherlock Holmes (ISBN: 9781787051355) weighs in at 220 pages and is reasonably priced at £9.99. It is published on the 13th of June, but you can guarantee a copy for yourselves by Pre-Ordering here-


-or direct from the publisher;

Monday, 10 April 2017

Monday, 3 April 2017

Sherlock - A Study in Pink; imagining the present through echoes of the past.




Images. Afghanistan. The British Army. Dreams... memories. John Watson bursts from his nightmares to another night, wracked with guilt, haunted by the past, mocked by the present. 



Martin Freeman plays John Watson, Doctor and ex-Soldier.
Sitting on his singly bed in his dingy flat, he's utterly lost. The stick he walks with leans on the table. Breakfast is an apple. Coffee in a Medical Corps mug. Sliding his drawer open reveals a pistol*, 


but he takes his laptop out instead. He's got a blog, at the advice of his therapist. It isn't working, hasn't written a word.
*A Sig Sauer P226 for the obsessed among you. 

 
Therapy isn't helping much, either, come to mention it. In the chair, he notes she's written down 'still has trust issues.' She notes he's read that upside down. Fair point. It'll take him a while to adjust to civilian life, she says. And writing a blog about everything that happens to him will honestly help. Swallowing hard, he tells her 'Nothing happens to me.' Cue the music.


Titles; London, crowded, teeming London. Piccadilly Circus then Westminster. That tilt-focus thing that was fashionable so many years back, you know, the gimmick that makes everything look like that model village your parents dragged you to. Distressed titles over glimpses of magnifying lens, gun, chemical experiment. Expansive, dramatic music to match. 

 
The London skyline; The Old Bailey to St.Paul's, the Gherkhin loitering in the background as if ashamed to be seen in such illustrious company. October 12th, we are told. A man in a business suit phones his PA from the station asking where the car is; they flirt, she professes her love, suggests he gets a cab. Sir. Jeffrey Patterson does not take cabs!. Happy at the thought of impending carnality, he goes to find one.

Sir. Jeffrey is in a deserted building. No longer happy, he opens a glass container and removes a large pill. Eyes wide with fear, he puts it between his teeth. Writhing in his death agonies, he dies, quite alone. 




At the press conference, his Widow tells the media he was a happy man, who lived life to full (didn't he just...) and loved his family (among others). For him to have taken his life in this way is both mystery and shock. Helen, the PA watches distraught from the sidelines. 
 
November 26th. Heavy rain. Two young men try and fail to hail a cab, Gary and Jimmy. Jimmy runs back to get another brolly, not wanting to share. Two minutes, no more. After more, Gary turns back to see where his friend is. Jimmy's in a bad place; a sports centre. 


Holding a jar of familiar-looking pills, he weighs it up, his face racked with pain and doubt. The next day the paper's are full of his death, his Uncle's disbelief at his suicide.

January 27th. Beth Davenport is at a 'do.' She's your local MP and Junior Minister for Transport and it's her birthday. Her aides have taken the car keys and she's dancing-or attempting to. A great night. So great, the next time we see Beth she's on a construction site sobbing pitifully and reaching for... but you've guessed. How sharp you are...

Sergeant Sally Donovan does the talking this time, the assembled Press and media snapping away, while, distracted, Detective Inspector Greg Lestrade takes a text. 

Rupert Graves is Lestrade.
Sgt Donovan confirms this suicide closely resembles those of Sir. Jeffrey Patterson and young James Phillimore. Now DI Lestrade fields the questions. How can suicides be linked?. You can't have serial suicides... well, apparently you can. These three people-there's nothing that links them?. They haven't found a link yet, but they will. As if by magic, every mobile in the room gets an identical, one word text; Wrong!.  


Reading her own 'Wrong!', Sally Donovan tries to deflect asking everyone to ignore this singular intrusion. There's more; If these are suicides, why are the Police investigating?. Holding on to some fading notion of credibility, Lestrade clenches his hands and insists the suicides are clearly linked. It's an unusual situation and they've got their best people investigating... everyone in the room checks their mobiles as the word 'Wrong!' makes a re-appearance. Another question from the pack; If these are linked, is there a chance it's the work of a serial killer?. These are suicides, the Police know the difference. Yes, but if they are connected, how do people keep themselves safe?. 'Don't commit suicide.' is Lestrade's answer to that, perhaps unwittingly committing career suicide with a phrase...


under her breath, Sally tosses him a line; the woman is from the Daily Mail. Influential, if you are Middle England, white and think cricket is a sport. Rolling his head in despair, he trots out the standard Mail quote about 'frightening times' and 'taking precautions.' We are all as safe as we wanna be. Wrong!. The next text if for Lestrade's eyes only. You know where to find me. Signed 'SH'. 

 
Going through a busy CID floor at Scotland Yard, Sgt Donovan tells her Boss he needs to stop 'him' doing 'that'. If Lestrade knew how he does it, he could stop him. Also walking, awkwardly with a stick, is John Watson, taking a stroll through Russell Square Gardens, when he's hailed by an old acquaint, Mike Stamford was at Barts with Watson back in the day. Mike heard John was abroad somewhere getting shot at. What happened?. He got shot... oh. 


Over a cup of Criterion Coffee, they talk; Mike's teaching at Barts now, John... well, he can't afford London on an Army pension. Couldn't Harry help?, not happening. A flat share?. Who'd want him for a flatmate?. Stamford laughs; he's the second person to ask him that today. And who's the first?.


The young man unzipping the body bag is tall, thin, young, hair unkempt. Blue eyes and a mischievous expression that suggests either he doesn't quite get what's going on or doesn't much care. How fresh?; Just in responds Miss Hooper, the doyenne of the dissecting rooms. 67, natural causes. Used to work here (Barts) A nice guy. She watches with what is quite obviously infatuation as Sherlock Holmes examines the body. He decides to start with the riding crop.

Benedict Cumberbatch portrays Sherlock Holmes.

Miss Hooper watches her idol as he energetically thrashes the life out of... well, just thrashes the cadaver. 

Louise Brealey is Miss Hooper.
Her attempt at a joke reaches a deaf ear as Holmes states coldly he needs to know what bruises form in the next twenty minutes; a man's alibi hangs on it. She can text him. She asks maybe later, when he's finished... Sherlock does a take. Something's changed. She wasn't wearing lipstick before. She just... refreshed it a bit. Would he like to have coffee?. He would; Black, two sugars please, he'll be upstairs. Her hopes shattered on the floor, she squeaks out an okay to an empty room.


In the lab, Sherlock carefully drops some liquid from a pipette and prepares a slide, looking up irritably as Stamford brings in Watson. It's all changed since John's time here. Holmes wants to borrow Mike's phone as he's got no signal. What's wrong with the landline?; he prefers to text. As Stamford left his mobile in his coat, John proffers his and Sherlock accepts, Mike introducing Watson as an old friend.


Texting, Sherlock hits him with 'Afghanistan or Iraq?'. Stamford's smiling-seen this bit before, but Watson is taken aback-how did he?... but Molly arrives with coffee. Taking it without thanks, the odd young man walks off asking what happened to the lipstick. It wasn't working she says. 'Really?, I thought it was a big improvement... your mouth's too-small now.' Awkwardly, she leaves as, without looking from his experiments, the brusquely youthful Holmes asks 'How do you feel about the violin?.' It takes a moment for Watson to realise this is aimed at him.

I play the violin when I'm thinking,
sometimes I don't talk for days on end
-would that bother you?;
potential flatmates should know the worst about each other.


Uneasy, Watson thinks Mike told Sherlock about him. Not a word. Donning coat and scarf, Sherlock explains he told Mike this morning he must be a difficult man to find a flatmate for. And here is an old friend just returned from Afghanistan. No difficult leap. Watson wants to know about the Afghan bit, but Sherlock ignores the question; he's got his eye on a nice place in central London. Together they should be able to afford it. Meet there tomorrow evening at seven. Sorry, got to dash-I think I left my riding crop in the mortuary. Not at all sure what to make of any of this, Watson asks is that it?. Pausing at the door and returning, Sherlock asks Is that what?. Well, they've only just met and are going to look at a flat together.


Problem?. They don't know a thing about each other, he doesn't know where they are meeting, even the name. His manner oddly unsettling, somehow distant and focused at once Sherlock tells him;


I know you’re an army doctor and you’ve been invalided home from Afghanistan.
I know you’ve got a brother with a bit of money who’s worried about you, but you won’t go to him for help because you don’t approve of him - possibly because he’s an alcoholic, more likely because he recently walked out on his wife. And I know that your therapist thinks your limp is psychosomatic - quite correctly, I’m afraid. That’s enough to be going on with, don’t you think?


The name’s Sherlock Holmes and the address is 221b Baker Street.


Watson is left utterly speechless, Stamford re-assuring him that he's always like that. The music swells to a forceful exuberance, the miniature London gimmick again and Watson sits back down on his bed. He checks his messages. There's an odd one from Sherlock; If brother has green ladder arrest brother.* 



Sighing, Watson goes to his laptop to search Sherlock Holmes. At the same time, a woman dressed in pink squats down on her matching heels to reach, trembling, for a bottle of pills.



*A subtle reference to the case Holmes is working on, taken from an unfinished Holmes story found among the papers of Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle after his death.


Baker Street, W1. Seven sharp sees Watson limping up to 221b, by Speedy's Cafe just as a black cab disgorges Holmes. The place looks expensive remarks Watson, but Sherlock points out Mrs. Hudson the landlady owes him a favour and has given him a good deal. A few years ago her Husband was on Death row in Florida and he helped out. So he stopped her husband being executed?; John is skeptical, but with a smile Sherlock tells him 'Oh no; I ensured it.' 


The door opens and Mrs. Hudson welcomes them in with a hug for Sherlock. 


Its first floor, the room itself a bit of a time-warp circa 1975, filled with boxes of bric-a-brac, old books, some furniture, god knows what else. Sliding doors to the kitchen, the table covered with chemical apparatus. John thinks it could be very nice... as soon as they get this rubbish cleaned out... 


embarrassed, Sherlock makes a show of tidying his possessions, transfixing a piece of mail to the mantelpiece with a knife. Watson is left wondering about the human skull on the mantel... 


Mrs. Hudson, a slightly dotty, charming favourite aunt type mentions the second bedroom upstairs-if they need two. Frowning, the bemused Watson responds of course they'll need two. There's all sorts round here, she says, Mrs. Turner next door's got married ones...

 Una Stubbs is Mrs. Hudson.
Choosing an Union Flag* cushion, Watson patriotically parks his arse on it, staking claim to the comfortable armchair. He lets Holmes know he's checked his blog; The Science of Deduction. 


Thoughts?. With unmistakable challenge, Watson relates Holmes' claim to know a software designer by his tie and an airline pilot by his left thumb. Answering the challenge, Sherlock says 'Yes', and he can read Watson's military career in his face and leg and the drinking habits of his brother in his mobile phone. Somewhat subdued, John asks how, but just receives an enigmatic look . Mrs. Hudson returns with paper; how about these suicides?. She thinks this would be right up his street. Three, exactly the same. His expression one of intense interest, Sherlock looks out of the window at the Police car that has just pulled up outside. Four. There's been a fourth...
*If you call it the Union Jack you must leave now, never to darken my door again. Philistine.


DI Lestrade takes the stairs in a rush to announce this one is in Brixton, Lauriston gardens. There must be something different as he's never come to pick him up before. This one left a note. Will he come?. Who's on Forensics?; Anderson. Anderson won't work with me states Sherlock. He needs an assistant. Watson is clearly frustrated not to be a part of all... this, whatever this is. Declining a ride in a Police car, Sherlock tells a grateful Lestrade he'll follow. No sooner has the Detective Inspector left than Holmes leaps up exclaiming 'it's Christmas'; four serial suicides and now a note!.


Grabbing his scarf he makes to leave, telling Mrs. Hudson he'll be late, cold food will suffice. Her protestation that she's a landlady not a housekeeper is left behind. He tells John not to wait up, to have some tea. Mrs. H comments Sherlock's just like her husband, always dashing about; clearly John's more the sitting down type. 'Damn my leg!' He ejaculates. She offers to make tea-just the once, she's not his housekeeper. Couple of Biscuits, if she's got them. 


Not your housekeeper... she leaves to make tea while Watson reads the front page of The Times; something about Suicide Cults with a photo of Beth Davenport. There's a photo of the man who just called; naming him as DI Lestrade. 


The quiet voice from the doorway startles Watson; 'You're a Doctor.' Sherlock re-enters, pianist's fingers fussing into his gloves. 'In fact you're an Army Doctor.' 



Keen, Watson stands as Holmes goes on; any good?. Proudly-hopefully, Watson professes himself to be very good. Seen a lot of injuries then. Violent deaths. Seen some trouble, too... Yes, far too much. Want to see some more?. Oh, God yes...



Sherlock hails a cab and they set off. Sensing Watson has questions, he invites them. Where are they going?. Crime scene. What do you do?. What do you think?. Watson would have gone with Private Detective, but the Police don't go to them. He's a Consulting Detective-the only one in the World, he invented the job. When the Police are out of their depth-which is always-they come to him. Cynical, Watson says the Police don't go to amateurs. Proving his point, Sherlock reveals how he got to Iraq or Afghanistan. 



He didn't know-he saw... from the haircut and the bearing he got Military, from his comment on how things had changed he studied there at Barts. Army doctor; obvious. His face is tanned, but no tan above the wrists. Abroad, not sunbathing. Bad limp when walking, but he didn't ask for a chair when standing, as if he's forgotten about it; at least partially psychosomatic. Therefore original injury traumatic-hence wounded in action. Wounded in action?-Afghanistan or Iraq.


By now noticably quieter, John reminds Sherlock of his mention of a therapist. With a psychosomatic limp of course he's got a therapist. Then there's his brother. His brother?; the phone-expensive, e-mail enabled, mp3 player-if he's looking for a flatshare he didn't have the money to waste on such a gadget. Therefore, a gift. 


The phone is heavily scratched, from the same pocket as keys, coins etc. Holmes states Watson wouldn't treat his one luxury item so callously, so; previous owner. The next part is easy enough-it's engraved; Harry Watson from Clara XXX. 


Harry Watson, clearly a family member who's given John his old phone. Not father-this is a young man's gadget, possibly cousin, but he's a war hero who can't find a place to live-unlikely to have extended family, none he'd be close to. So, brother it is. Clara and three kisses-romantic. The expense of the phone suggests Wife rather than girlfriend. The model is only six months old. A marriage in trouble-after six months he just gives it away?. If she'd left, he'd have lept the phone-sentiment-no, he wanted rid; he left her. Giving John the phone means he wants him to stay in touch.


You’re looking for cheap accommodation, but you’re not going to your brother for help - that says you’ve got problems with him. Maybe you liked his wife, maybe you don’t like his drinking - How can Sherlock possibly know about the drinking?. The power connection. 


Tiny little scuff marks all round it - he plugs it in every night to recharge, but his hands are shaking. Never see those marks on a sober man’s phone, never see a drunk’s without them. There you go, you see? John was right. Right about what? The police don’t consult amateurs. John is amazed and says as much. Sherlock seems surprised by this-and pleased. Extraordinary, in fact. That's not what people usually say... usually they say 'Piss Off'...


As they arrive at Lauriston Gardens, walking to the scene Sherlock asks if he got anything wrong. Harry and me don't get along, admits Watson. Clara and Harry split three months ago and are divorcing. Sherlock hadn't expected to be right on everything; he wasn't. Harry is short for Harriet. Sergeant Donovan watches them approach, greeting Sherlock with 'Hello Freak.' he explains he was invited. Clearly this is not a towering intellect. With a face that says 'Slap me' she sneers a 'well you know what I think, don't you?' at Sherlock, who instantly replies 'Always' before telling her she didn't make it home last night and strolling up to the house examining the roadway intently. An unpleasant looking oik in a forensics boiler suit is exiting the house, removing his gloves. This is Anderson. Anderson hates Sherlock who hates idiots like Anderson in turn. After some unpleasantness, Sherlock infers his Wife is away, which the forensics man dismisses; clearly someone told him. No, his deodorant told him. It's for men. Well of course it's for men, that's why he's wearing it. But so is Sgt. Donovan... Anderson's attempt at retaining his dignity is somewhat destroyed by Sherlock's comment about the state of Donovan's knees... perhaps she came round to scrub the floor?. With Watson in tow, Sherlock enters the house.


Lestrade, donning a forensics suit, wants to know who Watson is and Sherlock simply says 'He's with me.' Declining a paper suit for himself, Holmes follows the Di upstairs in the shabbily abandoned house. Lestrade tells him he's got two minutes and a name; Jennifer Wilson, acoording to her cards. Hasn't been here long-some kids found her. The late Ms Wilson is face down, immaculate pink nails and everything else. 




She's lying in the press-up position. Unexpectedly, Sherlock snarls at Lestrade to shut up, although he hasn't spoken. He was thinking, it's annoying. Lestrade and Watson exchange a look and Sherlock goes into the room. The woman has scratched a single word 'Rache' into the floorboards, with her nails. 


As Sherlock's singular mind begins to work, we see his thoughts; the words 'left handed' appear over her nails, 



Rache, German noun for revenge... no, must be Rachel... 



back of jacket 'wet', folding umbrella; 'dry', running a finger beneath the collar of her jacket; 'wet'. Producing a natty little folding lens, the Consulting Detective scans her jewellery, a bracelet is clean, 


likewise ear-rings and neck-chain, wedding band 'dirty'. As if it were an uncanny little fruit machine, the words spin to produce the fact she's been married over ten years, unhappily so. Removing the ring shows the inside to be clean, polished, in fact. Regularly removed, she was a serial adulterer. Adulteress?. 

 
Finished, Sherlock stands, removing his gloves as Anderson leans smugly in the door frame. Lestrade asks if he's got anything, to which Sherlock's reply is 'Not much.' Anderson claims she's German, attempting to impress with his knowledge; 'Rache' German for revenge-she could be trying to tell us... but Sherlock has slammed the door shut to reduce the level of moron in the room, consulting his phone for the latest Weather Maps. She is, in fact from out of town, intending to stay in London one night, then return to Cardiff. So far, so obvious. Gaping somewhat, Watson is finding this far from obvious, but Sherlock asks his opinion of the body. Lestrade isn't happy; there's a whole team outside, he's breaking the rules as it is. Watson goes to it, however-examining the late Mrs Wilson. After a moment's attention to her neck and hand, Doctor Watson pronounces her dead of asphyxiation, probably choked on her own vomit. No smell of alcohol, possible seizure, possible drugs. Intently, Sherlock reminds him of the papers. Another suicide?. Lestrade's out of time here; he needs whatever they've got.


Victim late thirties, professional; probably media, judging by the alarming shade of pink she favoured, up from Cardiff for the day, obvious from the size of the suitcase. Suitcase?. Suitcase, yes, married ten years, unhappily, with a string of lovers, none of whom knew she was married. Arms folded, Lestrade is not in the mood for any falsehoods here. Sherlock indicates the victim; wedding ring; ten years old at least, the rest of her jewellery has been regularly cleaned, not the ring -state of her marriage right there. Inside shinier than outside; regularly removed, clearly not for work, look at the manicure-she doesn't work with her hands, therefore lovers. She'd never sustain the fiction of being single over that length of time, hence the plural. Simple. Awestruck, Watson forgets himself, exclaiming; 'That's brilliant.' Lestrade wants to know where Sherlock got 'Cardiff.'


What does he mean, 'suitcase?'; Lestrade's query is met with another; 'Yeah, where is it?.' She must have had a phone or an organiser... find out who Rachel is. She wasn't writing an angry note in German... the suitcase?; tiny splash marks on the back of one leg, caused by the wheels. Smallish case, to judge by the spread. Case that size, woman this clothes-conscious?; an overnight bag. So what has Lestrade done with it?. There was not case, says the DI. This gets Sherlock's attention and he rushes from the room to call down. Has anyone seen a suitcase?. Frustrated, Holmes gesticulates expressively; they take the poison themselves, chew the pills thems-there are clear signs, even 'you lot' couldn't miss them. It's murder; all of them, he doesn't know how. Serial killings. Gleefully, morbidly, Sherlock scampers down the stairs exclaiming 'Got ourselves a serial killer. Love them, there's always something to look forward to.' Lestrade-Watson, too for that matter, are totally bewildered by all this. The case!; she didn't eat it-the killer must have took it, driven away with it. Watson thinks maybe it's at the hotel?. Look at her hair!; she colour-co-ordinates everything, this woman wouldn't have left the hotel with her hair in that... then, a bolt hits Sherlock. 




Serial killers are always hard, you have to wait for them to make a mistake. He leaves, calling up for Lestrade to get onto Cardiff, check the victim out, find out who Rachel is. Lestrade can't wait!. 'Oh, we’re done waiting. Look at her! Really, look! Houston, we have a mistake...' What mistake?. One word; 'Pink!.' Very much the spare at the wedding, John limps down the long flights of stairs on his stick.


Outside, Sgt. Donovan informs him Holmes has gone; he just takes off. Feebly, John realises he doesn't even know where he is, where he can get a cab. Holding up the POLICE tape for him to pass under, she suggests the main road. But she tells Watson he's not Sherlock's friend-he doesn't have friends.Unpleasantly-but then everything about this young woman is unpleasant, she tells John Sherlock gets off on bodies, one day it won't be enough and he'll start supplying them. Appalled, John asks why he would do that-because he's a psychopath, she says, and psychopaths get bored. Lestrade calls her back in and she advises Watson to steer clear of Sherlock Holmes.


As he limps off painfully, an odd thing-a public phone box by him starts to ring. Ignoring it, he hobbles off to the High Road. It's busy there, so much so he has trouble getting a cab. Another oddity; the payphone in Chicken Cottage is ringing, only to stop as a member of staff goes to answer it. What was it Fleming said?; about once being happen-stance and so on and so forth?-when the third public phone-another box, begins to ring just as Watson reaches it, it's too much and he goes to answer. 




A voice-well-educated, softly-spoken tells him there's a security camera on the building to his left. Does he see?. He asks who this is, but the voice repeats the question. Looking up, he does, to see the camera swivel round. The mystery toff directs Watson's attention to two other cameras, both of which do the same trick. How is he doing this?. By way of answer, the voice directs him to get into the car which has just pulled up; he won't bother with the threats, the situation must be clear to Watson. A large and rather burly driver steps out and opens the rear door for him. With no other choice, he gets in.


It's a Jag or a Daimler or whatever these people have, driving though the city at night. A stunning girl is sitting in the back alongside John, pre-occupied with texting as they all are these days. An ugly habit. As you do, he asks her name-she gives Anthea, but concedes it's not her real name. She already knows his. Any point in asking where he's being taken?. None whatsoever. At length, the car pulls up in an empty factory of some description in front of the solitary figure stood, one leg cocked to lean on his umbrella. 






Is it John Steed?. As Watson makes his way towards him, he indicates the sole chair, but John isn't in the mood for any of it. He could have just phoned him rather than all this. 'When one is avoiding the attentions of Sherlock Holmes one learns to be discreet-hence this place.' The man is tall, spare of build, all out of proportion from the neck up. This curious fellow seems to have been a mish-mash; neck too long, chin too high-a great pecking beak of a nose. When John declines to sit, his sinister host remarks he doesn't seem very afraid. Defiantly, John fires back he isn't very frightening, to which the man forces a laugh and a sneering comment on the bravery of the soldier. 'Bravery is by far the kindest word for stupidity, don't you think-what is your connexion to Sherlock Holmes?.' He barely knows him, met him-yesterday. Yes-and since yesterday he's moved in with him and now they're solving crimes together... might we expect a happy announcement by the end of the week?.


Watson asks who this man is. An interested party. Interested in Sherlock, why?; Watson gathers they aren't friends. You've met him, says the umbrella man-how many friends do you imagine Sherlock Holmes has?. He's the closest thing to a friend that Sherlock has; an enemy-in Sherlock's mind, certainly. Holmes would say his arch-enemy, he does love the dramatic... looking around, Watson dryly comments 'Well, thank god you're above all that.'


A bleep; Watson has a text. 'Baker Street. Come at once if convenient. SH.' Mr. Umbrella asks if Watson plans to continue his association with Sherlock. He could be wrong, but he thinks that none of his business. It could be, says Umbrella man. It really couldn't... Affecting to ignore John's defiance, the odd fellow consults a note-book. If he intends moving in to 221b, Baker Street, he'd be happy to pay a meaningful sum of money on a regular basis. For?; information, nothing indiscreet... Why the offer?; he worries about Sherlock. Constantly. He would prefer for his interest to go un-noticed. 



Bleep; If inconvenient, come anyway. SH. Watson gives his answer; 'No.' At any price. He's not loyal, just not interested. Mr. Umbrella takes another tack, consulting his note-book again. 'Trust issues', it says. Swallowing and frowning together, Watson asks what that is, but clearly this man has access to his therapist's notes. Not good. Could it be, mystery man asks, that he's decided to trust Sherlock of all people?.


Done with this, Watson turns towards the waiting car, but an odd remark causes him to linger. He says that he can imagine people have warned him about association with Holmes before, but he can see by his left hand that's not going to happen... to John's bewilderment he asks to examine it. 
 

Bleep... Watson doesn't read this one straight away. Mr. Umbrella walks off, trying a little too hard to appear enigmatic as he does so. Still glued to her phone, the girl approaches. She's to take Watson home. He consults his phone. Could be dangerous. SH. With a little smile, John notes his hand is, indeed, rock steady. She wants the address and he gives it, needs to stop somewhere first; his place, where he picks up his pistol, shoving it down the back of his belt. The Jag-ler drops John off outside 221b, but he asks the pretty girl if she'd mind not telling her boss his destination. With a smile, she says 'Sure,' but she has, of course, already done so. He who dares... punching like Muhammad Ali, Watson gamely tries to ask her out, she's not interested. Defeated (But with my everlasting admiration) he goes inside.


Sherlock Holmes is lying on the sofa, clutching his arm. Oh-oh. 




But-this is 2010, not 1890 and banging up cocaine in solution is so dated... he's got nicotine patches on. Watson enters and asks what he's up to. A smoking habit is impossible to sustain in London these days... helps him think. But three patches?; it is a three patch problem*. 




When Watson reminds him he asked him to come, Sherlock remembers why; he wants to borrow his phone. His own phone has a recognisable number. What about Mrs. Hudson's phone?. She's downstairs-he tried shouting, she didn't hear. Annoyed, Watson points out he was the other side of London. Deep in thought, Sherlock allows that the killer made a mistake in taking the victims' case. Realising there’s no other way, he tells John 'We’ll have to risk it. There’s a phone number on my desk - I want you to send a text.' At the end of a very frayed tether, John re-iterates. 'You brought me here, to send a text.' Taking the phone, John hobbles over to look out of the window, telling Sherlock he's just met a friend of his. Alarmed at this, Sherlock relaxes when Watson corrects himself to 'enemy'. Well, his arch-enemy, do people even have arch-enemies?. Did he offer money?. Yes?. Did he accept?. No. Pity, they could have split the fee...
*I know. You have to hand it to them for cheek though.

Watson asks who this arch-enemy is. 'The most dangerous man you've ever met and not the problem right now. On the desk. The number.' Watson is shocked to see it's for Jennifer Wilson, the dead woman. Sherlock dictates; “What happened at Lauriston Gardens? I must have blacked out. 22 Northumberland Street. Please come.” 



Getting up, Holmes strides across to the kitchen to retrieve a pink suitcase from a chair there, spinning one of the lounge chairs round to set it down and open it. The contents are almost invariably pink. When Watson notices, Sherlock, sardonic notes he didn't kill her. Watson never thought he did, but it would be a perfectly logical assumption. Hearing this, John asks if people assume Sherlock to be a murderer. Now and then, yes. He found this by looking. The killer had to have driven her to Lauriston Gardens, could only have kept her case by accident, if it was in a car. No one could be seen with this case without attracting attention - particularly a man; statistically likely. So obviously he’d feel compelled to get rid of it the moment he noticed he still had it - wouldn’t have taken him more than five minutes to realise his mistake...


Sherlock checked every back street and place you could dump an object within five minutes of the house; eventually finding the right skip. The case, of course had to be pink. When John wonders why he didn't think of it, Sherlock replies because he's an idiot then tells him not to look like that-practically everybody is. The one thing missing is her phone. Maybe she left it at home?. She has a string of lovers and is careful about the fact, this woman never leaves her phone at home. Perhaps the murderer has it then. Watson is horrified to discover he's just texted a murderer, but then the phone rings with a with-held number. Exalting in his triumph, Sherlock explains anyone finding the phone would ignore that text. The murderer-the murderer would panic. As Sherlock is getting up to go out, Watson asks if he's spoken to the police. With four people dead, there isn't time he says. So why is he talking to him?. John isn't best pleased when the answer comes; 'Because Mrs. Hudson took my skull...' Sherlock reassures him; he's doing fine as a stand-in. Besides, he prefers company when he goes out - he thinks better aloud, and the skull just attracts attention. Seeing John's hesitation, he asks; 'Problem?'. John tells him what Donovan said, about his getting off on all this. With that enigmatic half-smile of his Sherlock replies 'And I said “Dangerous”. And here you are.' Sherlock's gone for no more than a second before Watson grabs his stick to follow.


The two reach Charlotte street (Not bad for a man on a stick) when Watson asks where they are headed. Northumberland Street; five minutes from here (On roller-skates, perhaps). John asks if he thinks the killer stupid enough; no, he thinks he's brilliant enough. The brilliant ones are always so desperate to be caught. Why?. Appreciation, applause; at long last, the spotlight. ' The Detective's next comment is most revealing; 'That's the frailty of genius, John, it needs an audience.' This is his hunting ground, the crowded city. All of his victims abducted from busy places. Think!; who do we trust-even though we don't know them. Who passes un-noticed?.* Watson doesn't know, but neither does Sherlock.
*As he started this bit, a black cab went by and I'm guessing you, too were fairly leaping up and down by this point.


They enter a favourite Tapas restaurant of Sherlock's and take a window seat, convenienly overlooking 22 Northumberland Street. The proprietor comes up and greets Sherlock warmly. Anything on the house free; for him and his date!. 




Watson's protest he's not his date falls on deaf ears. The restaurateur, Angelo, insists Sherlock got him off on a murder charge. Sherlock recalls he proved to Lestrade that at the time of the killing, Angelo was in a completely different part of town committing a burglary. 'He cleared my name' says the happy Angelo. I cleared it a bit, says his benefactor. Eyeing Watson, he offers to get candles. More romantic. Piqued, John repeats his statement. Not his date. Sherlock intently watches the target house, shaken from his vigil by Watson's comment that people don't have arch-enemies, not in real-life.  




Sounds a bit dull to Sherlock. John asks who he met, but his friend just asks what people have in their 'real' lives. Friends; people they know, people they like/don't like... girlfriends, boyfriends. Not taking his eyes from the street outside, Sherlock thinks its still dull. John asks if he has a girlfriend. No, not really his area. Boyfriend?. No. Mistaking interest for, well, interest, Sherlock starts to tell John he's married to his work and while flattered... awkwardly, John tries to tell him it's all fine.


Luckily for John, a taxi has just arrived outside number 22, a youngish man staring intently at the house. Why a taxi?, clever. That's him!. He tells John not to stare-they can't both stare, can they?. Grabbing his coat, Sherlock leaves, followed by John. He's forgotten his stick. The cab passenger looks back, seems to spot Sherlock's interest and the cab rolls off. Watson's got the cab number, but Sherlock wants the cab


Shutting his eyes, he quickly accesses his unique memory, working out the way the cab will go. Sherlock sets off at a clip, Watson in tow as they charge along the pavement and into a building-up the stairs-to a winding iron stairway-jumping down to a rooftop outside-as they go, we see the route the cab is taking-pedestrian crossing holding it up for a moment-Sherlock leaps the gap between buildings-Watson hangs back until Sherlock calls out 'We're losing him!'.


The uneven chase continues-the taxi hits a 'No left turn' sign-the pair sprint along an alleyway-road closures-no entry signs-just missing a chance to intercept the Taxi at a junction-they run on, desperate now-through the maze that is Soho-pedestrian zone ends-give way signs and all the rest that make driving in the Capital so unappealing. 


Finally, Sherlock bursts from a passageway to collide with the Taxi, holding up a Police badge and shouting for the Cabbie to open up. The man inside isn't as youthful as he appeared on first glimpse; a Californian, Sherlock infers from the man's teeth and tan. LA, Santa Monica-just arrived. How can he possibly know that? Breathlessly, Sherlock answers Watson; the luggage tag. 


Probably his first trip here judging by the route the Cabbie was taking him. The American-indeed, Californian asks if they are the Police. 'Yeah', says Sherlock, holding up the badge again, photo conveniently obscured by his gloved hand. 'Everything alright?' The baffled tourist says it is and DI Holmes welcomes him to London before walking off, leaving Watson to close the door.


Himself still somewhat winded, Watson states that wasn't the murderer. Not the murderer, no. Reaching for Sherlock's badge, John discovers it belongs to DI Lestrade; Holmes pick-pockets him when he's being annoying. He can keep that badge, he has plenty at home. The attention of the real Police is being directed to the bogus cops by the tourist, so the two make a run for it.


Back in the safety of 221b, the two pause in the hallway. John thinks that the most ridiculous thing he's ever done. 'And you invaded Aghanistan' Sherlock points out, to laughter. The restaurant was a long shot anyway. So what were they doing there?. Proving a point. What point?. 'You'. Calling out to Mrs. Hudson, Sherlock informs her Doctor Watson will take the room upstairs. Says who?. Says the man at the door. A knock; Angelo, from the Tapas place. Handing Watson his stick, he tells him Sherlock texted him. He forgot his stick... 
 

All is not well in Baker Street; a distraught Mrs. Hudson arrives and asks what Sherlock's done. Upstairs. Bursting into their lodgings, the two tenants find it occupied; Lestrade sits in sherlock's chair, uniformed Police are ransacking the place. Lestrade knew Holmes would find the case. Holmes is livid; he can't break into his flat!. The Detective Inspector bats that one away; he can't with-hold evidence. And he didn't break in. So what does he call all this, then?. Brightly, Lestrade answers; 'It's a drugs bust!.' Watson's face is a picture; this guy-a junkie?, seriously, have you met him?. 






Watson's fairly sure they could search the flat all day and not find anything recreational. Leaning close, Sherlock tells him he probably wants to shut up now, to John's surprise, then tells Lestrade he's not his sniffer dog. The DI tells him anderson is his sniffer dog; sure enough, the densest forensic is there. Irascibly, Sherlock demands to know what he's doing on a drugs bust. 'Oh, I volunteered' responds stupid. They all volunteered, says Lestrade, none of them are strictly speaking on the drugs squad, but they were all very keen. Donovan emerges from the kitchen holding a plastic bag. 'Are these human eyes?.' 

Vinette Robinson as Sgt Sally Donovan and Jonathan Aris as Anderson; Sherlock's dual headaches.

Angrily, Sherlock demands she put them back. 'They were in the microwave.' It's an experiment. Lestrade directs everyone to keep looking-or Sherlock can start helping properly. Sherlock claims this is childish-Lestrade that he's dealing with one. He tells Sherlock this is their case (the Police), but he's letting him in as long as he doesn't go off on his own. So he set up a pretend drugs bust to bully him?.


Sherlock insists he is clean, he doesn't even smoke-he rolls back his sleeve to show his nicotine patch. So does Lestrade; he has a matching one. He wants to work toghether with Sherlock on this-then mentions he's found who Rachel is, Wilson's only daughter. Why would she write the name of her daughter?. Anderhole, or whatever his name is now pipes up.


Returning his attention to Lestrade, Sherlock tells him to bring Rachel in. She's dead; died fourteen years ago at birth. It doesn't sound right to Sherlock, which causes Anderthing to pipe up again. For her to scratch the name with her nails would have taken effort and it would hurt. Rationalising, Watson wonders of the killer makes them take the poison by talking to them somehow, perhaps using the death of her daughter to influence her. 'But that was ages ago, why would she still be upset?.' Sherlock's complete lack of empathy stuns the others and an awkward silence ensues, which he notices; 'Not good?.' 'Bit not good, yeah.' Says John. Intensely, Sherlock asks him if he were dying, being murdered, in his very last seconds, what would he say?. Watson's 'Please God, let me live.' wasn't the answer the sleuth wanted. She was clearly trying to tell us something, but what?. Mrs. Hudson has come upstairs; doesn't the doorbell work?, Sherlock's taxi's here. He didn't order one and rudely shoos her away. She asks what's going on and Watson tells her it's a bust. Hilariously, the worried old dear says 'But they're just for my hip, they're herbal soothers.'


Hands in the air, Sherlock shouts out for everyone to be quiet, for Anderson to turn his idiot features away even; he can't think. Going with it, Lestrade calls for silence, but Mrs. Hudson keeps on about the taxi, prompting a furious Sherlock to wheel round and shout her name in frustration, which sends the poor thing scurrying off downstairs. Abruptly, Sherlock's mood changes, to resemble that of an evangelist on a high; 'Oh, she was clever. She’s cleverer than you lot dead! Do you see? Do you get it? She didn’t lose her phone, she never lost it. She planted in on him. 




When she got out that car, she knew she was going to her death - she left the phone to lead us to her killer!'. When everyone looks blank, Sherlock berates them for their stupidity; Rachel is not a name... he tells John to get the e-mail address from the luggage ticket. He reads it; Jennie dot pink at mephone dot org dot uk. Typing it in on his laptop, Sherlock thinks aloud; he's been too slow. She didn't have a laptop, which means she did her business by phone; her phone was a smartphone, e-mail enabled and so on. 


The user name is her e-mail address and, altogether now, the password is... Rachel. Andergimp squawks 'So we can read her e-mails, so what?.' He gets his just desserts with the request not to speak, he lowers the IQ of the whole street. It's a smartphone-they can track it's whereabouts with GPS.


As the computer searches for the GPS signal, Mrs. Hudson re-appears; the taxi driver?. Dismissing her with an insulting reference to evening soothers, Sherlock goes back to work as the cabbie comes upstairs behind her, his face hidden in shadow. Seated at the laptop, Watson is confused by the location results.  




It's here in 221b Baker Street. How can it be here?. The words Sherlock spoke earlier come back to haunt him – 'Who do we trust-even though we don't know them?.' The camera focuses on the badge hanging round the cabbie's neck. 




In his mind's eye, Sherlock sees the victims, all hailing... Taxis. Unseen, the cabbie produces a startlingly pink phone and sends a text. 




Holmes takes out his own phone; COME WITH ME. The cabbie turns and goes downstairs. Sherlock's mood has changed so abruptly, Watson asks what's wrong. Nothing, just going for some fresh air-won't be long. And with that, Sherlock goes down the stairs. 




Outside, a funny little man; ordinary, nondescript. Flat cap and glasses, late fifties. 'Taxi for Sherlock 'Olmes.' Sherlock answers he didn't order a Taxi. 'Doesn't mean you don't need one.'

Phil Davis is the Cabbie.
So this is the cabbie-the one that stopped outside Northumberland Street. It wasn't the passenger that was so interested, but the driver!. 'See; no-one ever thinks about the cabbie, it's like you're invisible; just the back of a head. Proper advantage for a serial killer.' Is that a confession?. 'Oh yeah.' There's more; if Sherlock calls the Coppers, he won't run. He'll sit quiet and let them take him down, he promises. But he won't call them. 




Sherlock asks why. He didn't kill those four people; he spoke to them, they killed themselves. And if he gets the Coppers now, he promises Sherlock one thing; he will never tell him what he said to them. As the odd little man goes around to the driver's side, Sherlock says no-one else would die, he believes they call that a result. 'And you won’t ever understand how those four people died. Which result do you care about?.' Slowly, sherlock bends down to the passenger window. What does he have to do, to understand?. Let himself be taken for a ride. So he can be killed?. 




The Taxi Driver doesn't want to kill him; he's going to talk to him and he'll kill himself. What do they say about curiosity and the cat?; whatever, sherlock gets in and the Taxi drives away. On his phone, Watson sees this from the window. 




The pink phone is ringing out. Galling as ever, Sgt Donovan walks up to Lestrade; she thinks it's all a waste of time, he's a lunatic, murr-murrr-muh something. (She's basically here to be a mosquito; no brains, buzzing around irritating everyone). Lestrade realises the drugs bust thing has played out, so calls it a night. 


In the back of the cab, Sherlocks asks how the Cabbie found him. Oh, he recognised him; soon as he saw his interest in the cab the other night. Sherlock 'Olmes. He was warned about him; he's been on his website too-brilliant stuff, loved it. Intrigued, Sherlock asks who warned him-not before he's noticed a sliver of dried shaving foam on the man's neck; just someone who's noticed. 


The cabbie's not giving out names, so Holmes uses the time to examine the cab; there's a photo of some kids stuck to the dash. 




He tries again; who would notice him?. 'You're too modest, Mister 'Olmes.' 'I'm really not.' He's got himself a fan. That's all he's gonna know.... in this lifetime.


Back at 221b, Lestrade is asking why Sherlock left; John thinks the policeman would know him better then himself. Not really; Lestrade's known Sherlock five years and doesn't really know him. So why put up with him?. Honestly, the Detective Inspector replies; 'Because I'm desperate, that's why.' 




Then, the honest answer;


The cab rolls to a halt between two identical looking buildings (oh-oh), this is Roland Kerr college. Holmes asks where they are, but the Cabbie isn't fooled; Holmes knows every street in London as well as any taxi driver and he knows it. 




So why here?; it's open-cleaners are in. One thing about being a cabbie - you always know a nice, quiet spot for a murder. So, he just walks his victims in?. By way of answer, the strange little man produces a gun.




When Holmes protests you can't make people take their own lives at gunpoint, he explains he doesn't; it's better than that. Anyway, he doesn't need the gun with Holmes – he'll follow him anyway. 


Back at 221b, Watson is just reaching for the stick he doesn't need when a little trill from the laptop announces an update for the phone; The college. Suddenly realising the terrible danger his new friend is in, Watson rushes off to find a cab. The irony there won't have escaped you, will it?.


Switching on the overhead lights, the cabbie unveils a study room. He asks Sherlock's opinion; he's the one that's going to die here. Amused at this, Holmes responds 'No I'm not.' That's what they all say. Pulling out a chair, the cabbie invites Holmes to talk. Sherlock thinks it a bit risky, taking him under the noses of half a dozen police-and Mrs. Hudson will remember him. 'Call that a risk?. Nah. This is a risk.' So saying, the cabbie sets down a bottle containing a single, large pill. The murderer enjoys this bit; the victim has no idea what's going on. But this one is about to. 




He sets down another, identical bottle, containing another identical pill. He's gonna love this...
 


Sherlock asks about the bottles. There's a good bottle and a bad one. Take the pill from the good bottle; you live. Take the pill from the bad bottle; you die. Both identical in every way and only he knows which is which. It wouldn't be a game if Sherlock knew; he's the one who chooses. There's nothing to go on, what's in it for him?, he asks. The cabbie's kept the best bit back. Whatever pill Sherlock chooses-he takes the pill from the other one... and then, together 'We take our medicine.' He won't cheat and Sherlock has the choice. The cabbie will take whichever pill he doesn't...

He advises Holmes to take his time, get himself together; he wants his best game. 'It's not a game, it's chance' the detective fires back. 'I’ve played four times. I’m alive. It’s not chance, Mr. Holmes. It’s chess. It’s a game of chess, with one move, and one survivor. And this-' he slides a bottle over to Sherlock '-this is the move.' Now did, he give Sherlock the good pill or the bad one?.

While this is going on, Watson is trying to reach Lestrade by phone in the back of a cab, the laptop open on his lap, the MEPHONE tracker pinging away. He directs the cab as he goes. 

 
Back in the college, the Cabbie asks if Holmes is ready to play. Play what exactly?, it's a fifty-fifty chance. The Cabbie insists he's no playing the numbers, but playing him. Did he give him the bad pill?, is it bluff or double bluff?. It's still just chance, says Holmes. Four people in a row?, that's not chance it's genius he claims, he can see how people think, how they think he thinks, can see it all like a map inside his head. Everyone's so stupid, even Holmes-or maybe God just loves him?. Going to what he knows, Holmes leans forward, hands clasped. 'Either way, you're wasted as a Cabbie...'

Watson alights from the cab and stands staring at the twin edifices of the Roland Kerr college. Which building?. A fifty-fifty chance-he's facing a fifty-fifty chance too! (What are the odds?.)

Sherlock begins to use that remarkable faculty of his, to collate, analyse and infer. This man risked his own life four times to kill four strangers?. Already rattled, the Cabbie inists it's time to play. 'Oh I am playing.' says Sherlock. Traces of shaving foam under left ear; traces where it's happened before. No-one to tell him before he leaves home?; he lives alone. But there's a photograph of children, the mother cut out of the picture. 'If she’d died, she’d still be there. The photograph is old, but the frame is new. You think of your children, but you don’t get to see them. Estranged father, she took the kids, but you still love them, and it still hurts...'


But there's more; as the Cabbie fights to keep a poker face, Holmes states his clothes are freshly laundered, yet at least three years old. He's keeping up an appearance, but not planning ahead. And here he is on a kamikaze murder spree. Three years ago; that's when they told him.  


Told me what?. 'That you're a dead man walking.' 'So are you'-snarls the taxi driver, before smiling and admitting he's got an aneuryism. Every breath could be his last. And because of that, he murdered four people?. 'I’ve outlived four people. That’s the most fun you can have, with an aneurism.'


No, there's something else... he didn't kill four people because he was bitter; bitterness is a paralytic. Love, now love is a much more vicious motivator. Somehow, this about his children. This is clearly getting to the Cabbie; the scrutiny, the examination. Nodding, the cabbie admits Holmes is good. When he dies, they won't get much, his kids. Not a lot of money in driving cabs (Times must have changed; London Cabbies used to be notoriously well compensated). 'Or serial killing' adds Holmes. He'd be surprised-the Cabbie has a sponsor. 




For every life he takes, money goes to his kids. 'Who'd sponsor a serial killer?' Who'd be a fan of Sherlock Olmes?. He's not the only one to enjoy a good murder, there's others out there. Sherlock is just a man, they are so much more... Intrigued, Sherlock wants to know more. An organisation-what?. There's a name, that no-one says – he's not saying it either. Time to choose.


By now, Watson is charging through the building, room to room, calling Sherlock's name.


What if Sherlock doesn't choose either-what if he just walks out of there?. Sighing, the Cabbie draws his gun. Sherlock can take fifty-fifty – or a bullet to the head. Funny enough, no-one's ever chosen Option B... until now. Sherlock chooses the gun. The Cabbie invites him to reconsider, but he insists. The gun. With a cold stare, the Cabbie pulls the trigger. With a click, a flame emerges from the barrel. 




'I know a real gun when I see one.' None of the others did. Well, this has been very interesting-Sherlock tells him he looks forward to the court case, gets up from the table, reaches the door. Before he goes, the Cabbie asks, did he figure it out?. 'Of course-child's play.' Well, which one?. Just so I know if I could have beaten you. Come on-play the game... Closing the door again, Holmes returns to the table, snatching up the bottle nearest the Cabbie. The murderer finds this fascinating.


Watson is running now, as the Cabbie opens the remaining bottle and holds the pill in his hand, examining it as if hoping to discover a truth hidden within. 'So what d'you think-shall we?.' A desperate Watson sprints from door to door. 'Can you beat me?, are you clever enough, to bet your life?.' Holmes holds his bottle, too much the gambler, the addict to walk away. Watson bursts into the room.... across the way, in the wrong building. His scream of Sherlock! Goes unheard.


'You get bored, I know you do - a man like you, so clever. But what’s the point in being clever if you can’t prove it.' Holmes opens the bottle, holds the pill up to the light as if a clue were to be had. 'Still the addict!. But this is what you’re really addicted to, isn’t it?. You’ll do anything, anything at all - not to be bored.' Holding his own pill up to his mouth, the Cabbie watches, transfixed as Holmes prepares to swallow his. You're not bored now, are yer?.'  


The Cabbie starts to say something when the nine millimetre round explodes through the window and into his chest. Even for a Military man it's a good shot, by the time Holmes gets to the window there's no sign of Watson.


Desperate, Holmes leans over the mortally wounded killer. Was he right?, he must know!. With no answer save agonised gasps for breath, he throws the pill off the doomed man's face in disgust. 'Okay, tell me this; your sponsor, who was it?.' He wants a name, but the Cabbie refuses, even at death's door. He's dying, but there's still time to hurt him; the name. Placing his shoe on the dying man's shoulder next to the wound, Holmes again demands the name. Only a whimper of pain, of agony. Again he demands it, puts more pressure on, unbearable pressure. The name comes as a howl of pain; Moriarty!. Sherlock steps back as the man dies. 
 
Police cars everywhere and an ambulance, in which sits Sherlock, a paramedic draping a blanket around him. As Lestrade strolls up, Sherlock asks why they keep putting this blanket on him. 


It's for shock. Sherlock insists he's not in shock. Maliciously, Lestrade explains; 'Yeah, but some of the guys want to take photographs.' The shooter cleared off before the Police arrived, a guy like the Cabbie must have made enemies... but they've got nothing to go on. Sherlock knows better and Lestrade wants what he has;


'The bullet they just dug out the wall was from a hand gun. A kill shot over that distance from that kind of weapon - that’s a crack shot you’re looking for. But not just a marksmen, a fighter - his hand couldn’t have shaken at all, so clearly he’s acclimatised to violence. He didn’t fire ‘til I was in immediate danger, though. So, strong moral principle. You’re looking for a man probably with a history of military service and nerves of steel-' Realising where this is heading, he breaks off, looking over at Watson, standing there innocently, hands clasped behind his back. 




Actually ignore me, says Holmes. What?. Ignore all of it; it's just the... shock. Lestrade still has some questions for him and, amusingly, Sherlock insists he's in shock; look, he's got a blanket. And-he's just caught Lestrade a serial killer. More or less. Reluctantly, Lestrade agrees to pull him in tomorrow for a chat.


Going under the Police tape, Holmes chucks his blanket into a patrol car. Watson tells him Donovan explained it all; the two pills bit. Terrible business. Sincerely, with a hint of gratitude, Sherlock says 'Good shot.' It must have been, bluffs Watson. Not fooled for a moment, Holmes tells him he needs to get the powder burns off his fingers; best to avoid a court case. Holmes asks if he's alright; of course he is. Well, you have just killed a man... falling into the trap, Watson replies 'Yes... that's true. But he wasn't a very nice man. And frankly, an awful cabbie...' To laughter, Sherlock agrees; he should have seen the route he took to get here.


As the two walk away giggling, John tells Sherlock he was going to take that damn pill, course he wasn't; just biding his time, he claims. Knew Watson would show up. John's not having any of it; this is how Sherlock gets his kicks, he says-risking his life to prove he's clever. 'Why would I do that?'. 'Cos you're an idiot.' Smiling at his new friend, Sherlock suggests dinner. There's a good Chinese at the end of Baker Street. He starts to explain how to spot a good Chinese when John spots Umbrella Man emerging from his car and points him out to Sherlock. 


The pretty girl is next to her boss, still texting away. Umbrella speaks; 'So! Another case cracked. How very public spirited of you. Though that’s never really ever your motivation, is it?' Sherlock asks what he's doing here and the man claims it's out of concern for him. Holmes responds to this acidly. 'Yes, I've been hearing about your concern...' 'Always so aggressive. Does it never occur to you that you and I belong on the same side?.' Oddly enough, no is Sherlock's reply. 'We have more in common than you like to believe. This petty feud between us - it’s simply childish. People will suffer. And you know how it always upset Mummy.' If Watson was absorbed before, he's fascinated now. Mummy?. Intently, Sherlock states 'It wasn't me who upset her, Mycroft.' Watson wants to know who Mummy is. Sherlock tells him; their Mother. This is Mycroft Holmes, his brother!.


Sherlock can't resist a familial dig; is Mycroft putting on weight again?. 'Losing it, in fact...' So, he's not a criminal mastermind?. 'For goodness sake!; I occupy a minor position in the British Government.'


Looking after Sherlock, Watson absent-mindedly responds 'Yeah... no, God, no.' Turning to the pretty girl, Watson says hello. When she looks at him blankly, he reminds her they met earlier and she seems surprised by this. At that, he goes off to join Sherlock who suggests Dim-Sum and mentions his wound. Left shoulder?. That was a guess, says John. Sherlock tells him he never guesses. Yes, you do, insists John, wondering why Sherlock is beaming. Moriarty... 'What's Moriarty?.' Sherlock has absolutely no idea.

Mark Gatiss is Mycroft Holmes, the 'Umbrella Man'

Watching them leave, the girl suggests to Mycroft that they go. She calls him 'Sir.' 'Interesting, that soldier fellow. Could be the making of my brother. Or make him worse than ever. Either way, we’d better upgrade their surveillance status. Grade 3 active.' Looking up from her texting, she asks whose status?. 'Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson...' Smiling, the two in question walk towards the camera together. A new partnership is born...


And that is the end of 'A study in Pink'. So, the show that took me seven years to watch... created by Steven Moffat and League of Gentlemen member and writer Mark Gatiss, Sherlock is, as the preceding text shows, a modern re-working of Arthur Conan Doyle's original premise. The characters of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson have been transplanted fairly effortlessly-Holmes is pretty much as the original; aloof, vain, brilliant. Also-as there's always a war in Afghanistan (Stupidity the one commodity we don't seem to lack) Watson's war was one with machine guns and rocket launchers rather than muskets and horses. He blogs instead of writes, Holmes has patches instead of the real thing (Coke and pipes). The supporting characters-Lestrade, Mrs. Hudson are given make-overs to suit the modern day. It all works effortlessly-which means there was huge expenditure of effort to create the effect. 221B is a tad disappointing-221b has been portrayed many different ways in various productions and all have bits I liked and bits that let the rest down. I've yet to see a 'perfect' 221b yet-though some came close. Here, it all looks bland, dull and drowsy. 

 
The cast of Sherlock all shine; although Moriarty (Andrew Scott, who went on to play 'C' in the somehow-disappointing Bond film SPECTRE) hasn't shwoed up yet, Cumberbatch and co. carry the opener brilliantly; Martin Freeman (The Office, Fargo) is the perfect comic foil for Holmes, sturdy, loyal, intelligent and above all, human, Freeman's Watson gives the production the normality to balance Cumberbatch's Aspergic Bipolarism and the genius that allows us to forgive it. 




Una Stubbs (A lifelong family friend of the Cumberbatch family) is superbly cast; she reminds me of my own, Dear, late Auntie Jean, albeit a dotty version. Stubbs is a delight, in short. Phil Davis (Quadrophenia, Scum) would go on to play Inspector Gilbert in Mr. Holmes (2015), but this icon of British youth culture is genuinely surprising as Jeff, the murderous and doomed Cabbie-not least because I was shocked at how much he'd changed since Quodrophenia

Phil Davis, British icon.

Davis plays the odd little man to a T and the producers were wise to secure his services; a lesser actor might have seemed unequal to the protagonist. Rupert Graves plays D.I. Lestrade with dignity-hard to achieve given that the role essentially calls for him to be decent, but dim. Luckily, instead of plumping for the traditional 'Bumbling idiot who somehow made Inspector', the role allows him to be a  person of average intellect who happens to be out of his depth with certain cases. In the same year as Sherlock was filmed, Graves appeared in the fantastic Made in Dagenham, which alone should have secured his fame, but he started his career with the wonderful A room with a View  (1985) so he fits in well here. Mark Gatiss gets in on the action as Mycroft Holmes, perhaps not the strongest casting in the production, but you go with it as he is clearly a fellow fan and something of a genius in his own right; watch Series One of The League of Gentlemen  if you doubt this. Actually, watch it anyway; it's ground-breaking, mad, hilarious and utterly transfixing. Lisa Mcallister is Mycroft's stunning assistant ANTHEA. Apparently a cameo, but I'd never heard of her until I Google'd the name. 

The plot of A Study in Pink carries a ghost of inspiration throughout; the original haunts it as echoes in the quieter moments. Moffat and Gatiss bring us essentially a completely new story here and it works a treat. The whole thing is enormous fun, which allows us to overlook the silliness. Surely a man backed by a Master Criminal could have just asked for a real pistol?. Surely a DI this much in schtick over a case wouldn't let a 'Consulting Detective' lead him round be the nose so publicly?; wouldn't Lestrade have just brought him in through quieter channels?. What are the odds the Cabbie would survive FOUR fifty-fifty deadly games?. The odds one or more of the victims wouldn't have just gone for him, try to get the gun from him and then discover the gun was a cigarette lighter, slap him around a bit then storm off?. Either way, these niggling doubts soon drop away because of the aforementioned fun. It is, quite simply a winning formula; two good friends, mis-matched in most respects, but they get to solve mysteries together. I'm up to Series Four now in my desperate and self-consciously embarrassed effort to catch up and I can see the cracks from somewhere in Series 3. Happily, Series 1 romps along, unrestrained, exuberant and original. A Study in Pink was originally filmed as an hour-long pilot, but the BBC decided on a three-part series instead and so the show had to be re-shot. A different director and cinematographer were used, the original footage was shot on inferior cameras so couldn't be re-used. I've yet to see this Pilot, but plan to at some point soon. Don't expect a review any time soon, though-as ever, tempus fugit...

Anyone know the Latin for 'Trivia?'... no?, oh well...

From Lestrade's mention of the Lauriston Gardens suicide, the plot of A Study in Scarlet is referenced heavily; appropriately, the first Sherlock Holmes mystery is the first 'Sherlock' production to be aired.

Interestingly, the original script for the episode lists Mycroft's character only as 'M'. This is either because his character was at that stage a closely-guarded secret, possibly intended to cause bribe-able crew members to confuse 'M' with 'Moriarty' and confound any press leaks... or a nod and a wink at the 'M' character from James Bond. I'm going with the former, myself.

The 'If convenient' text and it's successor are, of course direct references to the telegram Watson is sent in The Adventure of the Creeping Man.

The Tapas bar Sherlock and Watson visit 'in Northumberland street' is at 46 Broadwick Street, although it's changed hands since filming.

When the victim's pink mobile rings in the cab, we learn Watson's mobile number; 0751 17890531. Please don't bother calling it, it's actually Benedict Cumberbatch's number.

Roland Kerr college was actually the University of Cardiff's School of Chemistry; a single facade of which was duplicated using CGI effects to make two identical buildings for the programme.

For those of you wondering about the identity of Mycrofts pretty, Blackberry-obsessed assistant?. Her name is Andrea.

It may seem odd that Watson's wound is to the shoulder; why then, would he walk with a stick and a limp?. Arthur Conan Doyle's continuity was errant at times; the original Watson was first said to be suffering with a shoulder wound from a Jezail musket, later the wound has somehow traveled to his leg. The writers of Sherlock clearly included this as another reference.
Angelo, the Tapas Restaurant owner was saved from a murder charge by Holmes, who proved he was across town housebreaking. This is taken from Dressed to Kill, the 1946 Basil Rathbone/Nigel Bruce film.
For many years, 221b Baker Street was a branch of the Abbey National Building Society (Now Santander, for those that care) The Sherlock Holmes Museum petitioned the Post Office for the rights to the address, which were indeed subsequently granted. 221B in Sherlock, however, is located at 187 North Gower Street. Speedy's cafe is indeed real and I am advised rather decent.

The address Holmes uses to try to trap the killer, 22 Northumberland Street - was once the Northumberland Hotel, which featured in 'The Hound of the Baskervilles' when Sir Henry Baskerville came to stay in London at the start of the story. The Sherlock Holmes Pub is also located on Northumberland Street.

There are a number of references to Sherlock Holmes trivia throughout the episode. For example, Mrs. Hudson refers to Mrs. Turner, the landlady next door. In A Scandal in Bohemia the landlady was named "Mrs. Turner."

In one of the opening scenes, James Phillimore goes home to get his umbrella and becomes a victim of the Cabbie. In one of the original stories, The Problem of Thor Bridge, Dr. Watson mentions in passing a James Phillimore who once went home to get his umbrella and was never seen again.

Holmes's shout of “The game, Mrs. Hudson, is on!” is a nod to the original-far superior “The game is afoot” from The adventure of the Abbey Grange.
The cabbie has been diagnosed with a brain aneurysm. The murderer in A Study in Scarlet is suffering with aortic aneurysm.
So, we come crashing to the end of A Study in Pink. All that remains is to shout up some tea and biscuits from Mrs. Hudson and award it our customary pipes...