Sunday, 30 January 2011

The sign of the Pi part 4

“First rule of detective work my friends keep your friends close and your enemies even closer.” Said Homer as he stood, “now is not the time to question my methods, I think we have to set off if we hope to get Miss Harland’s share of the treasure.
“For once he is right,” said Jones, “we must set off now, if you please Mr. Fernandez.”
We all got up and followed Mr. Fernandez who led the way out to a coach, with Homer leaving his card on the clock and telling it to call him. We stepped into the coach and much to our surprise homer also took a seat in the coach, however he sat upside down for the journey, but it was the best we could hope for. The journey was longer than expected as we made our way into the suburbs. The house whose drive we eventually pulled up onto was a grand house with 3 floors, and the lights were on downstairs and one lone room on the second floor. It was at this point that I wanted to ask Jones about the theory he had developed on the identity of the face in the window on the night the Major had died.
“Ah I would have thought it quite clear when one knows the whole story of the treasure, I bet even our upside down detective could tell me who the man could be, could you not Homer?” Jones asked.
Homer took this chance to give his opinion with delight “Well from the story we all received I would move away from my usual line of guessing and put the blame clearly one the shoulder of one man, Count Blackula!”
“Who the devil is…. Never mind,” retorted Jones, “the man at the window will undoubtedly be none other than Martyn Sampson. His whereabouts were never mentioned but from the fear it put into the Major of seeing the face it must have been someone who he knew but did not expect to be there and in relation to the story that mean the person would either be Major Harland or else Mr Simpson. With us knowing the former to be dead it could only be the latter.”
“A good point and series of deduction there Jones. Will we have to keep a look out for this fellow?” I asked.
Jones had a sombre look upon his face as he replied, “he is certainly a fellow who we should be careful of. We have no idea what the betrayal of the Majors and subsequent years as a prisoner of war did to his mind, hopefully after not being able to find the treasure he has given up, but we cannot expect that to be the case.”
We got out of the coach and Mr. Fernandez ran up to the house and had a conversation with the maid who answered the door, then ran back over to us. “Quickly then, my brother has been up in his room since last night. He came down this morning for food but other than that has not left the side of the chest, we will go up to him and get our part of the fortune,” he said.

We entered the house. I did not take much in as Tia was positively bouncing next to me, I felt a pang of pain as I realised that with this treasure she would be out of the reach of a simple doctor who only brought in several hundreds of thousands of pounds in his ever growing practice. When we reached the second floor we proceeded to a door at the end of the corridor. Mr. Fernandez knocked twice and after waiting a while for a reply decided to proceed into the room. The sight that greeted us was a horrific one, in a chair facing the door was sat an identical copy of Malik Fernandez yet he was slumped back eyes wide open and a knife protruding from his chest, Falik Fernandez lay dead.

“What, what has happened here?” cried Malik in despair.
“A murder mystery party?” suggested Homer, with a look of hope on his face.
“Not quite,” said Jones, “there has been murder. Look here upon the floor, there is distinct marks that a heavy item once laid here, it would have been the chest with the treasure and over there the window is open with a rope out of it. Clearly someone climbed up and killed poor Falik before making off with the treasure, and I would bet all of my money that the person is Sampson.”
I went and examined the body. “He is still warm. It could not have occurred more than a little while ago, maybe even when we pulled up in the coach.” I said.
“Look, there is someone exiting the garden with a chest, it must be the rogue!” cried Tia.
“Quickly Gentlemen, after him! Miss Harland and Mr. Fernandez, it would be best if you remained while we get the vagabond and return the treasure,” Jones reassured them.
“You have my word as a gentleman and a part-time cobbler,” Homer imputed.
“You have put my mind at ease Detective Homer, please catch the one responsible for the death of my brother.” Mr Fernandez pleaded.

We ran quickly down to the garden and made pursuit but as we reached the end of the boundary we saw the man load the chest into a hansom and set off, we ran back to the coach that had brought us and told the driver to give chase. Back into Dundee we followed him, he gained some distance and reached the river before us yet he was loading a boat when we arrived. I jumped onto the deck and made a swipe at him, but missed grabbing him, so that he had time to jump off the boat and into the next one and set off down the river. “Quickly,” yelled Jones, “we must catch him or else we will look over our shoulders ever more.”
We made off after him but his vessel was faster than ours and slowly he built up a lead. “We must shed some weight or else this chase is done. Quickly Doctor, Homer, throw over some of the cargo that is not needed.”
I quickly picked up some bags and barrels and dumped them into the river, Homer was on the other side of the boat throwing out the contents of some of the boxes. We started to gain speed and soon pulled alongside, Sampson pulled out a pistol and shot at us. Myself and Jones hit the deck but Homer had sprung aboard Sampson’s ship and had tackled him to the ground. The boats slowed and Homer held the criminal down as Jones put handcuffs on him.
“For once, Homer you do deserve some credit, good job. Quickly Sexy, fetch the police, we must get this thief into custody.” Jones said turning to me.
I soon returned with the officers and we were joined by Tia and Malik who had got a cab down to the city. Jones spoke to them first,
“Well Mr Fernandez, Miss Harland, we have apprehended the man who stood between yourselves and the fortune you both deserve, how about we find the chest and finally get your fortune.”
We boarded the boat once again and found the chest stored at the back, Jones stepped forward and opened the chest, and we all gasped for it was empty.
“Where is it?” cried Jones
“Well,” piped up Homer, “you did say to get rid if anything unnecessary, and with the current plight in Africa are diamonds and gold really necessary?”
“You fool!” cried Jones, “the treasure was the whole point of this adventure, you acted like an idiot and you’re not even listening are you.”
And indeed he wasn’t, distracted by a speck of light reflecting off the button of my waistcoat ‘detective’ Homer was lost to the world. Mr Fernandez was sad at the loss of his brother and treasure but was happy to finally be free of his burden of the secret he had concealed for years. With the treasure lost Miss Harland was actually happy for now she would be able to continue to seek the company of a lowly doctor who had nothing to offer apart form a small fortune.

Several weeks later.

I entered the rooms in Perth Road to find Jones slumped in his chair by the fire, I greeted him with a smile, “Tia has agreed to my proposal of marriage.”
Jones looked up gloomily, “Congratulations are in order, but I am sorry I am not happy for I realise that this means you will have to look for a family home and move out of here and without a roommate I shall sadly not be able to keep the rent for this place, to which I have grown fond in the years we have occupied it.”
“Don’t worry,” I said, “I already thought of you my friend and before returning here I posted an advertisement in the paper and it was answered before I had returned, I have got you a lodger, I told him to call this evening in fact if that is the bell it should be him now, please enter sir.” I called out to the man in the hall.
“Who is this man you have got for me” said Jones, rising out of his chair with a smile on his face that fell faster than the Italian economy, as the lodger stood in the door smiling from cheek to cheek.
“Hey roomy, I hope you don’t mind that I keep squirrels in the toaster,” said Homer.

The End

Sunday, 23 January 2011

The Sign of the Pie Part 3

We all waited in anticipation for Mr Fernandez to go on, well Jones, Tia and myself at least, Homer was now in the corner making out with the clock and talking about how he loved a bad girl.

“The truth of where and to what extent our family’s wealth was only came to light 6 years ago, it was a cold stormy night and I was called home to my fathers deathbed with my twin brother Falik. We arrived and were shown to his room where he bade us to enter and lock the door behind.

‘My sons,’ he said, ’10 years ago myself and my close friend Major Jackson Harland were captured in the Indian rebellions. We were held with a group of other British prisoners and we made a small clique with one other prisoner named Martyn Sampson. After a month together he revealed to us he was in possession of a map that would guide us to a grand treasure and he would give us an equal share if we would help him break out of our prison. We eagerly agreed and formed an escape plan, it went off without a hitch. We dug a small tunnel out of the room we three were kept in and out of the grounds of the prison, we drew straws and I went first and was thus entrusted with the map, Jackson followed and Martyn was last but as he was emerging the tunnel collapsed. He cried for help and it alerted the guards. It was at that moment me and Jackson decided that we should flee and now our share of the treasure would grow to a half share each, so shamelessly we abandoned Martyn to his fate.

We made it back to a British encampment and during our leave given for our recovery from our ordeal we followed the map and found a great chest full of diamonds, rubies and gold. We brought it back and hid it within the camp, soon I was able to finish my commission being in the service for a few more years than Jackson. I took the treasure back to Britain and heard little of him for the next few years then 4 years ago he called round saying he had finished his commission and now demanded his half of the treasure, for his family, I was willing to give it to him but when I opened the chest so that we could divide it, at that moment he burst out in anger, claiming I had spent a noticeable amount of it, true I had dived into it a little but not a lot and was going to suggest he take a bigger share of what was in the chest to compensate, but before I could he grasped his chest and fell hitting his head on the table. I rushed to his side but was too late. He had a weak heart and it had failed him, my servant ran in and told me not to worry he had heard the shouting and would help me cover it over, if I could not convince my servant how could I convince others? We dropped the body in the Tay as soon as possible and I hid the treasure, promise me boys that you will do fine by his family, here these pearls by the bedside will do to start and the rest you can give when you retrieve the treasure.’”

Malik took a small breather and a smoke from his pipe before continuing. “It was at that point he told us to come closer and he would reveal the location of the chest, he started by saying it was in the house but before he was able to tell us the location my father rose in his bed, screamed and pointed to the window, there was the face of a man with wild crazy hair. My brother and I ran to the window but the man had fled. By the time we returned to our father he had died, taking the secret with him. We both agreed what to do, each year we would send the young lady a pearl and hope that it would suffice until we could locate the treasure and give her a fair share, and it is my delight to say after years of searching we have found the treasure and we should depart for my brother who is holding it at the family home.”

He ended his story with a smile looking at us, I was holding Tia close as she had started to cry at the point when the fate of her father was revealed. “Well I should hope that Miss Harland will be receiving half of the treasure as was promised to her father.” I posed to Mr Fernandez.

“Of course, of course, if what this chest contains is true then half a share will be enough for me and my brother, she will get half of whatever is in that chest when we open it.” He replied.

I turned to my companion. “Jones, what do you make of this story and of the man in the window?”

“Well,” he said, “The story we have just heard seems very plausible and would account for the events leading up to this meeting, as for the face at the window I have a clear theory for that but I feel we shall know more about that before the night is done.”

“Well put, and what is your opinion Home…. What in the blazes are you doing?!” I yelled. For ‘detective’ Homer was crouched over the clock with his trousers around his ankles, looking very embarrassed indeed.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

The Sign of the 3.141 part 2

It seemed like an age before we arrived at Whitehall playhouse, not a word had been spoken since the revelation that the 4th in our group was to be the ‘detective’ Homer. When we stopped I was the first out of the hansom and proceeded to help Miss Harland out of the carriage, Jones practically fell out with the same look of horror upon his face that had appeared at the emergence of the news regarding Homer. Miss Harland linked her arm through mine and it was at this point that I thought to ask her the question that had been going around my mind, “Miss Harland, may I ask why you thought it good to engage Homer on this assignment,” I said cautiously.
“Please Doctor, I said call me Tia, and despite yours and Mr Jones’ reservations, I sought to enlist the help of the detective after reading through the papers, it was he who solved the mystery on reform street where he worked out that the young man was Eric Hall and it was his employer John Scarlet who had stabbed him in anger. And from the report in the Times about the incident at El Balcone it was clear that it was detective Homer who found the key piece of evidence that proved Captain Mustard was the murderer,” Her talk was interrupted by Jones giving out what can only be described as a cry of anguish, before Tia carried on with her answer to my question, “It was the good detective who recommended me to you two saying that despite Mr Jones’ failure he was a competent detective and that you were a man of impeccable height.”
“Well I thank him for the compliment and for the introduction, but I fear if this mystery is to be solved then it would be best to put our trust in Jones, he will get to the bottom of it, will you not Jones?” I said turning to my companion.
“Hmmm, err yes Watson….I mean Sexy, you can put full trust in me Miss, before tonight is over we will know the truth of what happened ten years ago.”

We arrived at the doors of the playhouse and there waiting for us was the man who had occupied my companions nightmares for these past months: Homer. Today he was dressed as abnormally as before, his trousers were as white as ivory, he wore a shirt that was so small that it was clearly designed for a person of 3 foot in height and over that a cape that he proceeded to use to cover his face and yell “blagh blagh, I vanna suck your blood.” And there it was his trademark Deerstalker hat this time wore inside out, upon his elbow.

“Ah, there you two are, my comrade in detective work Jones and the excellent Doctor Sexy, how are you fine fellows this morn.” He asked.
Jones was first to respond, “If you would use the detective skills that the lady here believes you to have then you can deduce that it is the evening and not the morning.”
Before an argument could break out at least on Jones’ part as Homer was smiling at a pigeon, a man approached our group. “Miss Harland?” he asked, “Yes,” she replied.
“If you would like to follow me into this carriage it will take you to your host, I apologise for the secrecy but my employer needed to make sure you hadn’t brought the police.” We entered the carriage. I sat near Tia, while Jones sat opposite and Homer climbed onto the roof despite our protests, the journey was not long before we stepped out and found ourselves in the Lochee area of Dundee being shown into one of the tenements on the street. The room we entered was full of African design, many pieces of cloth in bright vibrant colours were adorned on the walls and upon a pile of large cushions was a man in his late 20s smoking a hookah pipe. He motioned for us to sit and myself and Tia took a sofa, Jones slumped down onto some cushions while Homer stood near the mantle staring at the clock on it and muttering “I’m not taking my eyes off of you.”

“Let me start by introducing myself, I am Malik Fernandez the son of the late Major Fernandez, a friend of your father Miss Harland, and I have been keeping a terrible secret these past 6 years that shall come out tonight and finally you will get what you fully deserve Miss.” He said looking at Tia the whole time.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

The Sign of the Pi

It had been several months since the incident at El Balcone, Jones had been greatly shaken by the whole event, never before had he failed to complete the task which someone had engaged him for. My companion did not take a case for several weeks and when he finally had to for financial reasons he took only the simplest ones that were presented to him. He was starting to get back into his stride when the case I am about to detail occurred.

It was the first day in many without rain, myself and Jones had just had our tea and I was by the fire reading a recent periodical on foreign medical treatments in the Times while Jones stood close to the window looking out into the street. “AH! We are, if I’m not mistaken, about to receive a visitor.” I got up and looked out of the window, there was a young girl on the other side of the street looking at the numbers on the doors, then catching ours in her sight headed towards the door with a look of determination on her face. Jones then proceeded back to his chair as the bell rang and we heard the maid let the lady in and show her up the stairs to our rooms.

The young girl entered all in a fluster, she was a blooming young girl hardly over her 20th year, she was wearing a dress which was a mixture of ancient and modern fashions, as most suited to set of her charms. She introduced herself as Miss Tiana Harland, “I am terribly sorry for troubling you sirs but I have a problem, it has a little mystery surrounding it and you were recommended to me as being an expert with these types of problems.”
“If you lay out the situation to myself and the good Doctor Sexy, then we will endeavour to help you by any means necessary.” Jones replied, in a calm reassuring way.
“Thank you,” Miss Harland continued, “Let me begin at the very beginning, 10 years ago my father was returning from India after being away for 3 years. I was due to meet him at his hotel as he said he had to discuss my inheritance which in the letter he said was about to increase dramatically. I went to meet him but he was gone, his luggage was still there but he was gone he had no friends in England save the Major Fernandez who knew nothing of his arrival in Britain. I gave up after a few months of searching I went back to my job as a governess, it was 4 years later when upon my birthday I received a parcel saying this was part way towards my payment lost years ago and inside was a most magnificent pearl.” At this moment she took out a little box and opened it to show a set of six beautiful pearls. “As you can see I have received one every birthday after the first one arrived, however when this year’s arrived yesterday it came with a note, here it is, if you wish to look at it.” She passed the note over to Jones, he then passed it to me after a quick glance.

Dear Miss Harland,
If you wish to know the truth about what occurred that night 10 years ago then you will meet me outside the Whitehall playhouse at 8 tomorrow night. If you have any doubt to whether or not to come then you may bring three friends so as to calm any fears you might have.


After I had finished reading I questioned the lady, “I presume from this letter that you wish for us to be the people that go with you to meet this man?”
“Yes,” she answered, “If you two gentlemen would be so kind as to help me in this matter.”
“It would be our pleasure,” Said Jones, “The meeting is in an hour we had better hurry to the playhouse if we are to make it on time, do not fret I’m sure by the end of the night we will have solved the mystery that has surrounded your young life.” And he grabbed up his coat and instructed the maid to call a hansom for us. We plied in when it pulled up and gave our destination to the driver who speedily set off. “By the way,” I said, “The note says you can bring three friends, my ability in maths tells me that with myself and Jones you are only at two was there no one else whom you would ask to come?”
“Well yes there was someone,” She said rather reservedly, “I’m sorry Mr. Jones but I had heard about your failure at El Balcone, I was a little worried about whether you would be up to this so I enlisted the services of another prominent detective in the area.”
Jones sat bolt upright and with a worried expression asked, “Who did you get to come with us?”
“I believe,” Miss Harland replied, “His name is Flowmer.”
“Thank God, I was worried for a second there.” Said Jones relaxing back into his seat.
“Oh no my mistake,” Blurted out Miss Harland, “His name is Homer, Detective Homer.”

To be continued.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

A study in fuschia part 3

"What the devil are you blathering on about?" I blurted out, "My apologies miss for such strong language" I directed my apology at the lady, as I had forgotten her presence in a moment of heat at this bumbling buffoon.

"It was merely an observation of what i thought happened that night," replied Homer.
Then Jones added "Yes but if you remember Miss Scarlett was with Ms Craddock in the latter's room, Mr Smith was killed by possibly strangulation and most definitely the fall down the stairs, not by a Dagger that is merely the lady's last name. You were right about the hall but i think that we can put that down to luck more than deductive reasoning."
We then proceeded to bid goodnight to our host and proceeded to our rooms provided for us.

The next morning i woke later than normal, prepared myself for the day and hurried down to breakfast, I found Jones already up and waiting for me, "Ah, Doctor would you like a piece of ham or I can get the maid to prepare some eggs?"
"Just the ham, please, you're up bright and early what have you been up to then? Its not like you to rise this early unless you're on the hunt and where is our friend the 'detective' Homer."
"Nothing gets passed you Sexy, indeed I'm on the trail I have already spoken to the reverend and Mrs. White this morning, the reverend told me his story and i fully believe his innocence while Mrs. White has some suspicion but after we talk to the Captain it should all be clear. As to our dear 'detective' he said he had a hunch and would follow it up and rushed out, i believe that he is now sat in that bush outside the window talking to a squirrel." Jones said holding back a slight smile.

We ate our breakfast and then went to Captain Mustard's room on the second floor, the captain was in waiting for us, he was impeccably dressed in his full military suit, with his clean shaven face and short cut hair, his face was stern but he greeted us with a smile that didn't quite suit the moment. "Greetings gentlemen, i understand you wish to question me about the events of the other night, well i shall be quick as I'm leaving this afternoon and need to be packing."
"Then i suggest you be clear and precise in your explanation of the other night" Jones said.
"Very well, i am a friend of Dulcie through her father i was invited to her late party by him in hopes we would hit it off, i fear that it will not progress much further after these events, i arrived here the day before the party and it was just me and Dulcie in the house with the servants jack and Mrs White. I spent that night in Dulcie's company before retiring early, the others arrived the next day. I had before the day of the party never met any of the other guests, and was introduced to all of them including Mr Smith, we played croquet on the lawn where me and the reverend lost only a small amount to him, i hold nothing against him you can check my accounts i have little need for the amount lost, the party followed and after that we played a game of whist, and then retired to bed. I fell asleep soon and being a heavy sleeper heard nothing and only woke at Dulcie's scream, arriving at the scene after that, this gentlemen is my story i hope i could be of help, now if you'll excuse m...."
"One thing," Jones interrupted, "May i ask what happened to your right epaulet?"
It was then that i noticed that despite his clean cut appearance upon his right shoulder the epaulet was missing and a few stray threads were left.
"Oh that, it must have come off during the week, it was loose before i arrived, i shall get it replaced when i return home." replied the captain.
"Very well, thank you for your time, if you could spare a little more and meet in the parlour in half an hour with the rest of the guests i would very much appreciate it." Jones added.
"I shall give you that time and no more Mr Jones, good day to you and to you Doctor Sexy." and with that we were dismissed.
Outside the room Jones turned to me "I have got what i need now, the web closes and we shall hopefully solve this soon enough. Until we meet in the parlour I will excuse myself doctor."

In the parlour we had all gathered: Me, Ms Craddock, Miss Scarlett, the Captain and reverend, Mrs White and even 'detective' Homer who was holding a collection of nuts and was whispering to his cuff link. Jones entered through the door and took his place beside the fire place, followed by two of the local constables.

"Mr Homer, i will let you give your explanation first as i believe if you have come to the same conclusion as me then it will be a miracle, and if it is different then it might give us a chuckle in this dark time."
"Thank you Mr Jones," said Homer, "after interviewing the only witness, Ducky the squirrel i have found that Wilbur Smith IV was killed by non other than time itself!" and with that he pounced upon the mantle clock and proceeded to wrestle with it until he was finally pinned by it and ended up curled in a ball in the corner.
Jones started speaking again, "With that out of the way, it is time to put forward the facts i have gathered and point the finger at the culprit, non other than the dear Captain Mustard!"
a gasp went around the room, ms Craddock swooned a little.
"This is outrageous!!" exclaimed the captain, "how dare you try to put blame on me! You have no proof, and i have no motive!"
"No," said Jones, "You have the best motive, Love. The day before you arrived to try and court ms Craddock, but that night you retired early after being rejected by the lady for non other than the late Wilbur Smith IV. It was not a matter of money, which as you said had no impact on your fortune, but you couldn't get the girl so when everyone retired you heard Wilbur in the next room leaving presuming he was going to visit the girl you had sought, with precision you took the cord from around your room's curtains, which i noticed was missing, and following Mr Smith attacked him from behind and in the struggle lost your epaulet, which i found near the bottom of the stairs, with Mr Smith falling down the stairs you panicked and hurried back to your room and then joined up with the party but had little time to search for your lost epaulet." Jones paused for a second, "The only piece of evidence missing is the rope by which the act was committed but with a search I'm sure it will turn up and then fingerprinting will turn up the confirming point we need so that you will face the gallows."
"How could you James, HOW COULD YOU!" Ms Craddock had jumped from her seat and yelled fully at the captain.
"As truthful as Mr Jones believes his Conclusion to be, he cannot without the full evidence perceive it was me, the police have made a full sweep of the property and i have been under surveillance so could not have hidden the rope if i did commit the crime." replied the captain in a calm way as a smile spread across his face.
It was then one of the constables spoke up, "I'm sorry Mr Jones but he is right and without the rope we have no evidence aside from the epaulet which can be easily explained, we cannot hold him."
"I will not sit here and hear accusations upon my person, i bid you all a good day." and with that the captain got up and proceeded to leave the house where a hansom was waiting with his luggage all packed.
Jones, myself and Homer stood upon the porch and watched him go into the distance.
"Damn it all!" exclaimed Jones in an anger i had never yet seen in him. "I know for sure it was him! The motive was there, Mrs. White confirmed it, the means was there and i am sure he took it but all for that damn rope he would not be heading home but would instead be in a cold cell at the local station."
Homer then looked at us both, "this rope everyone goes on about, is it anything like my giant piece of floss?" he then proceeded to pull form his pocket a piece of bloody rope.
"Where did you get that?" I said in disbelief.
"Oh i found it when i first went searching for clues before the police searched the house, i saw it and thought 'what if i become a giant, how will a little piece of floss clean between my teeth, with this i shall be covered' so i took it." He was smiling throughout his ramble, with each syllable i could see the anger rise in Jones.
"You fool, you damn fool, you have let the captain slip through our fingers! Quick doctor, get the constables, if we have time we can catch the rogue."
However it was too late. Captain Mustard had headed straight for the docks and boarded the first boat to the continent, he was outside our reach. And thus brought an end to the first failure i had witnessed of my friend Jones, how different it could have been had one bumbling detective shared what evidence he had in his possession.