Read The Lost Radio Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Online

Authors: Ken Greenwald

Tags: #detective, #myster, #plays, #Sherlock Holmes, #victoriana, #SSC

The Lost Radio Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (4 page)

BOOK: The Lost Radio Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
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“I take it that
you are going to steal the treasure and pretend that we were responsible.”

“Exactly, Mr.
Holmes. I shall kill you both, secrete what objects appeal to me and when my
master regains consciousness I shall explain that I found three men burgling
the house. That I killed two of them, while the third got away with the loot.
Who will be able to doubt my word? I shall be regarded as a hero. I might even
have my salary raised!”

“Watson, I’m
afraid this is the end, old chap.”

“What a sordid
way to die,” I blurted out, “shot in the back like a coward!” I was beside
myself in rage. If I had at least half a chance I would have tried to disarm
Deevers and thrash him to within an inch of his life! But I was helpless and,
in my worry, found myself concerned more with Holmes’ safety rather than my
own.

“Deevers,” Holmes
asked, “at least do me the courtesy of allowing us to face the firing squad,
will you?”

“Very well,
gentlemen, turn around, but don’t try any tricks!”

“One last
request,” went on Holmes.

“What is it?”

“I’m beaten, and
I admit it. I am getting old, but in my heyday I crossed swords with some of
the greatest criminals in Europe. Attempts on my life have been made many
times, but I’ve always escaped. If this is to be my swan song, at least give me
the privilege of shaking the hand of the man who has, at last, bested me.”

“Well, sir, I
feel that I am stepping a little out of my station, but I suppose the situation
is unusual. I hope you don’t object to the left hand, sir. I’ll keep the
revolver in my right.”

“Very well,
Deevers. There you are.”

The two men
stood shaking hands while I watched helplessly.

“Goodbye, Mr.
Sherlock Holmes.”

“Goodbye,
Deevers, and my congratulations.”

My mind was
racing in an attempt to find some way to put an end to this terrible situation,
when suddenly Holmes twisted his body, holding onto Deevers’ arm. In an instant
Holmes applied leverage and Deevers, taken completely by surprise, found
himself flat against the floor, his revolver discharging, its bullet imbedding
itself harmlessly into the nearby wall.

“My
congratulations for being a fool!” Holmes yelled in triumph.

“Well done,
Holmes,” I said in much-needed relief.

“I may be
getting old, but I’ve not lost my skill at Baritsu. Deveers struck the desk as
he fell. Better see to him, Watson.”

“He’s gashed his
head, but it’s not serious. He’ll be unconscious for a while.”

“Good. I think
we’ll take the precaution of closing this desk drawer. I don’t want him to be
exposed to further temptation when he comes to.”

“Shouldn’t we
get in touch with the police, Holmes?”

“Police? Great
Scott, no, old fellow! After all we’re burglars, and we’re in disguise. Two
facts that would be hard to explain satisfactorily. No, Watson, we must get
back to the bee farm as soon as possible, call Miss Norton, and inform her of
our success!”

After Holmes and
I arrived at his farm, we took off our disguises and, contacting Miss Norton,
awaited her arrival. In due time a hansom deposited her at Holmes’ doorstep and
she was soon sitting before us.

“Mr. Holmes, Dr.
Watson, I am so glad to see you back again!” exclaimed Miss Norton excitedly. “Did
you get the filigree box?”

“Yes, Miss
Norton. And here it is!”

“Holmes, I didn’t
know you took the box when we—”

“Quiet, Watson.
Why not open it, Miss Norton,” he said, holding the box out to her.

“Open it, my
dear,” he continued, “there may not be love letters inside it, but there is a
note.”

Miss Norton
opened the box and pulled out the note, quite puzzled, as was I, by Holmes’
actions.

“Please read it
to us, my dear,” he said, a smile crossing his lips. Miss Norton carefully
unfolded the note and read:

“LET THIS BE A
WARNING, MISS NORTON. CRIME DOES NOT PAY. IF YOU DON’T BELIEVE ME, ASK YOUR
MOTHER. SINCERELY, SHERLOCK HOLMES.”

“Mr. Holmes, you
knew my secret all the time!”

“Not all the
time, but I realized it as soon as I opened the filigree box.”

“What on earth
are you talking about, Holmes?” I asked in a state of total confusion.

“Miss Norton was
under the impression that she could use me as a cat’s paw, as a dupe to commit
a burglary for her.”

“I still don’t
understand, Holmes,” I exclaimed.

“You will
remember she asked us to ‘promise not to open the box.’ ”

“Yes, but you
did open it just before that fellow held us up with a revolver. What was
inside?”

“An impressive
green stone which I knew to be the Kitmanjar Emerald!”

“But where is
the emerald now?” asked Miss Norton.

“Without Watson
realizing it at the time, I slipped it back into Mr. Litton-Stanley’s desk and
locked it. I brought the box here because I wanted to see your expression, Miss
Norton, as you opened it.”

“Great Scott!
And I thought you were a poor little thing in trouble,” I said, dismayed by the
realization of Miss Norton’s true nature.

Holmes’ tall,
gaunt figure overshadowed Miss Norton as he gazed directly into her eyes.

“What do you
have to say for yourself, young lady?”

“I’m terribly sorry,
Mr. Holmes, terribly sorry. It seemed like a wildly exciting idea, but I really
didn’t mean to steal it.”

“Oh, of course
not, no, no,” Holmes said cynically, “Of course you didn’t. You meant
me
to steal it for you! Miss Norton, I’m
convinced you know that your mother once outwitted me, and you presumed to
think that you could do the same. I should turn you over to the police.”

“Please don’t,
Mr. Holmes, you can’t do that!”

“I certainly
could!” Holmes exclaimed angrily, “but I’m not going to, for two reasons:
First, you are young and impressionable and this may teach you a lesson. And,
in the second place, I have a . . . well, a great admiration for your mother.
But I warn you, Miss Norton, you have had a narrow escape—a very narrow escape!”

Miss Norton was
as white as a sheet. Tensely, she rose from the chair she had occupied, drew a
handkerchief from her sleeve, and pressed it against her cheek. She took a deep
breath and looked at Holmes with the slightest of tears in her eyes.

“Mr. Holmes,
before I go, there is one favor I’d like to ask you.”

“Really, What is
it?”

“Could I keep
this filigree box with your note inside it? It would be a reminder all my life
of how we met.”

Holmes turned to
me, smiling.

“Well, what do
you say, Watson?”

“It isn’t your
box to give, Holmes.”

“True, old
fellow, quite true. But I fail to see how we can return it now without
disclosing our share in the attempted robbery. In any case, I don’t like Mr.
Litton-Stanley. I think we might indulge in a little petty larceny without feeling
too guilty. Very well, Miss Norton, you may keep the box.”

“I shall always
treasure it. Thank you. Goodbye, Dr Watson. Don’t think too badly of me. Good
night, Mr. Holmes.”

Before I
realized it, Miss Norton was gone, leaving Holmes and I to reflect upon the
days events. I am sure that Holmes was deeply affected by this young lady, for,
as the daughter of “THE WOMAN,” Miss Norton had brought back to my dear friend
many thoughts and emotions that would remain his, and his alone, in this quiet
moment after her departure. Holmes turned slowly, seated himself comfortably in
his favorite chair, lit his pipe, then leaned his head back, eyes closed, deep
in thought. I sat across from him, myself in thought; but I wanted to ask him
some questions about these recent events. I waited for a moment longer, then
interrupted his reverie.

“Holmes, forgive
me for disturbing your thoughts, but I found you surprisingly lenient with that
girl. Do you suppose her mother put her up to the whole thing?”

“That
possibility had occurred to me,” he said, opening his eyes. “Yet I have a
feeling that—”

Holmes was cut
short by a knocking on the front door.

“Come in!” he
yelled in irritation. “The door is open!”

“Were you
expecting anyone, Holmes?”

“No.”

There was no
mistaking the man in the doorway. It was Litton-Stanley.

“Good evening,
sir,” Holmes said, “This is an unexpected honor.”

“Sherlock Holmes,”
he blustered, “we haven’t been the best of friends, I know, but you’ve got to
help me now. I’m in serious trouble!”

“Oh, indeed? Won’t
you sit down? This is my friend, Dr. Watson. And now, sir, what is your
trouble?”

“I’ve been
robbed, Holmes!”

“Robbed?” Holmes
said in mock surprise. “What was stolen?”

“Well, my
greatest treasure. The Kitmanjar Emerald was removed from its case, and then
mysteriously returned, loose, in my desk afterwards. But there’s a priceless
Cellini missing.”

“Have you any
idea who the burglars might be?”

“It was a gang,
I’m sure of that! A couple disguised as a clergyman and a doctor came into the
house on the pretext of raising money for some hospital. They overpowered me
with chloroform.”

“Dear me, dear
me, how very unpleasant for you,” said a chagrined Holmes.

“When I came to,
I found my butler, Deevers, lying beside me in a pool of blood. The brave
fellow must have wrestled with the thieves, but they got away. He’s in hospital
now. Holmes, you’ve got to help me.”

“The Kitmanjar
Emerald was returned, you say, but a Cellini is missing?”

“Yes, it’s an
exquisite filigree box, in which I kept the emerald.”

“A filigree box!”
Holmes exclaimed, standing up suddenly in total surprise.

“Yes, it’s a
genuine Cellini. It’s worth several thousand pounds. Holmes, you must help me
solve this business!”

Holmes sat down,
laughing under his breath.

“I’m sorry, Mr.
Litton-Stanley, but I’m afraid I can’t help you. I’ve retired. Yes, and I
intend to remain in retirement. Good night, sir.”

“But Mr. Holmes,
I’ll pay you any fee within reason!”

“My decision is
final, sir.” Holmes insisted, returning to his pipe. “Good night.”

“I might have
known I wouldn’t get any help from you,” he said in scoffing tones, then,
turning his great hulk away, slammed the door behind him. I looked at Holmes
who sat there laughing, his head bent back in glee.

“Holmes, she
fooled you again!”

“Yes, the little
devil! She knew that box was a Cellini all the time!”

“Confound you,
Holmes, you don’t seem in the least bit angry at her!”

“I know I should
be, but I’m not, Watson. What splendid audacity! What superb nerve the child
has.”

“Holmes, you
MUST get that box back from her!”

“And I shall,
Watson. Or rather, I shall persuade Deevers to do it for me, for the price of
our silence.”

“But,” I asked
in complete confusion, “how can Deevers get it back for you?”

“Remember that
Deevers walks out with Miss Norton’s maid. I am certain that when he explains
his predicament, he can prevail upon her to steal the box from her mistress so
that he can then return it to its rightful owner.”

“Ingenious. I
would never have thought of that,” I added, now relaxing back into my chair. “By
George, Holmes, Miss Norton, when you think about it, is a chip off the old
block, all right.”

“She is, Watson.
And it makes me wonder . . .” he said, his voice trailing off into thought.

“What about?”

“I wonder, my
dear chap, how long I can remain in retirement. With such a worthy antagonist
at large, it’s a challenge. I tell you, Watson, it’s an irresistible challenge!”

“You’re right,
Holmes,” I said, buoyed by the idea of his returning to practice, “and I have a
few words I wish to say to you along those same lines!”

Holmes rose,
glancing at his pocket watch.

“Come, Watson.
It is time for supper. Let us eat and you can tell me all you’ve been about and
how things are doing in London.”

Not only was the
dinner served by Holmes’ manservant one of the most pleasant I have ever had,
but the entire fortnight was of such renewing value to me that I came away with
greater peace of mind than I have had in years.

I had, in those
two weeks of rest, come to know Holmes in a more complete way, understanding
his need to depart from the complex nature of his fellow man to the natural
surroundings of the Sussex downs and their calming effect on this most
brilliant and moody friend.

In my own case,
its salutary effect was such that it has given me new energy, enabled me to
confront my grievous losses, and spurred me into renewed excitement over
collecting together my many notes and unfinished stories, that I may once again
tell of the astonishing adventures of that most famous of consulting
detectives, Sherlock Holmes.

BOOK: The Lost Radio Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
8.41Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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