The Adventure of Dead Wild Bore by Andrea Frazer by Andrea Frazer - Read Online

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Summary

The recently-formed private detective agency of (Sherman) Holmes and (John) Garden is going from strength to strength. Holmes invites Garden to a meeting of the Quaker Street Irregulars, a society for die-hard fans of his near-namesake, Conan Doyle's own Sherlock Holmes. Garden is somewhat taken aback by the fervour with which members of the Irregulars defend their opinions on the great fictional consulting detective - but nobody expects a run-of-the-mill disagreement to turn into brutal murder ...
Published: Accent Press on
ISBN: 9781681465623
List price: $2.99
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The Adventure of Dead Wild Bore - Andrea Frazer

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Part One

Sherman Holmes put down the telephone handset and stared around him with satisfaction. He was at his desk in the dining room of his apartment, which was furnished and decorated in homage to his fictional hero, the consulting detective Sherlock Holmes.

He gazed fondly at the violin mounted on the wall above the fireplace and the row of meerschaum pipes displayed on the mantelpiece. He smiled at his slightly battered leather Chesterfields facing each other across the pathway of the fire’s welcome heat, and he thought about his new, cloaked overcoat, which hung out on the hallstand, a deerstalker hanging above it. He was very pleased indeed with his late Victorian/Edwardian time-warp apartment at 21B Quaker Street, in the relatively quiet town of Farlington Market.

Holmes was in his mid-fifties, fairly short and plump, and with a fine moustache that was definitely ‘of the era’, and he spent a lot of his time reading Victorian or Edwardian novels and re-reading the fascinating tales that Conan Doyle had related about his genius detective.

Before he had met his new business partner, John H. Garden, he had led a mundane life as a local government officer. Then fate had intervened, when a large inheritance from a hitherto unknown relative had landed in his lap, and he decided that it was time to change his life before it was too late. The unexpected money had given him the freedom to do just that.

At that juncture, he had decided to go away for a few days to really mull over his options, and had chosen to stay at The Black Swan Hotel in Hamsley Black Cross, a small town just a few miles away, and his fate was sealed, for he met his new business partner there, and they now had offices just a few steps away from the hotel.

As he smugly contemplated his cosy residence, his cat, Colin – he of the mercurial temper – strolled in and began to rub his face on the leg of Holmes’ trousers. ‘Hello here, old boy,’ he greeted his pet, not particularly acknowledging what a fine mood the animal was in, as, in his eyes, Colin never suffered from a bad temper and could do no wrong, no matter what house guests told him to the contrary.

He did not have a busy social life or many visitors, but even his new friend Garden had complained of being ill-treated by this feline, and Holmes believed, contrary to the evidence of his own eyes, that this was merely playfulness on Colin’s part, and that the cat meant no real harm – even when he’d decorated the inside of one of Garden’s shoes in a most unpleasant way.

‘He was just putting his mark on it, to show that he likes you,’ Holmes had told Garden, but his partner knew better, and avoided Colin as much as good manners allowed. If it was possible for a feline to look malevolently at a person, then Colin certainly did so with Garden, and Garden wisely kept his distance.

John H. Garden had received Holmes’ call on a cold, misty, damp November afternoon in his bijou flat above their offices in Hamsley Black Cross, and had been delighted to receive an invitation to accompany him that very evening to a meeting of a local branch of a Sherlock Holmes appreciation society.

He was as big a fan of Conan Doyle’s detective as his colleague, and was grateful for the opportunity of something to do and some company, for he did not get out much either. The reason for this was also the reason that he had also gone to The Black Swan Hotel, for John H. was a transvestite who was still in the closet. He had also thought that a few days away would help him sort out what he actually wanted to do, and if he dared really be himself, and had booked a bargain break at the very same hotel.

The threads of fate that had drawn them together, then threw murder in their pathway, and in the light of this, they had made an unlikely alliance, quite quickly gaining offices, due to Holmes’ large windfall, and set themselves up as private investigators.

At the time they met, John H. was thirty and still living with his mother with whom he did not get on. He had a very unhappy working life with an insurance company, and a huge secret life locked in his bedroom and wardrobes, consisting of frocks, skirts, blouses, ladies’ shoes, wigs, make-up, and costume jewellery, and yet only his mirror had seen his alter ego, Joanne.

Physically, he was slim and on the tallish side, with wavy brown hair and a predilection to brightly coloured clothing, mostly due to his experience with women’s clothes. Although he always dressed smartly, now he dressed brightly as well, and had been delighted when the office premises they’d leased proved to have a small flat above it, where he now lived a fairly contented existence, especially as Joanne had made her debut public appearance during their first case together.

The business had been trading for months now – not always busily, but steadily – but today was a Sunday, and they didn’t open on Sundays as a matter of principle. Not only did they not expect anyone to be able to get away from family on that particular day of the week to consult them in confidence, but Holmes dictated that they have one day a week free just to pursue other interests. Wednesdays was half-day closing in the sleepy town of Hamsley Black Cross, so they took it in turns to man the office on this afternoon.

The only thing the younger man had difficulty in coming to terms with in his new life as a private investigator was his mother, but for different reasons to those from which his negative attitude had arisen in the past. He had considered her a dragon when he first met Holmes, and was simply terrified of her. It was only on taking Holmes to his old family home to give him courage to tell his mother the truth about his cross-dressing that had opened his eyes to who she really was – a warm and completely understanding woman, although he still found the truth hard to believe, and his previous impression of her almost