Summary: A man comes to Sherlock with a series of dancing men (stick figures) that seem to be upsetting his new American wife. These drawings keep appearing, and she doesn’t want him to get involved because it is very dangerous. Sherlock recognizes it as a code, but he needs more samples to work it out. The man sends more, and just as Sherlock works it out, he realizes the man and his wife are in grave danger. But they can’t get there in time, and the man ends up dead, the woman shot and unconscious. Sherlock sets a trap by sending a note in the code to the suspect, posing as the woman. He comes right over–he turns out to be part of the Chicago mob, who the woman had been engaged to for a while before she left for a calmer life. The man had shot the husband at the same time as the husband shot at him, and then the woman tried to kill herself
Sherlock Rating: 4 magnifying glasses. It was exciting, and I loved how Sherlock explained working out the code. It was a little disappointing that Sherlock couldn’t figure it out in time. Sometimes these stories are too realistic.
Mystery Story Convention: Early Law and Order. The end has a little epilogue about how the murderer was condemned to death but then got a reduced sentence. In my head I heard it read as a Law and Order ending, complete with the “dong dong” tone.
Summary: Charles Augustus is a blackmailer and he’s really good at his job. Sherlock’s client wants him to fix her problem, but after a meeting with Augustus, Sherlock is left with no progress. He has a back-up plan, though. He’s been going in disguise to Augustus’s house and has gotten “engaged” to a girl who works there. Now he knows the routine of the house and where everything is, so he decides to break in. After telling him not to do it, Watson insists on going too, so they don their burgling outfits and sneak in. Everything goes according to plan until Augustus walks in, not asleep as they’d thought. They hide, and they witness a woman confront him about ruining her life. Then she shoots him and flees. Watson and Sherlock burn all his incriminating papers and then run as well. They are spotted but not recognized, and the next day the police come to ask Sherlock to help solve the murder. He refuses to punish someone who did the world a favor.
Sherlock Rating: 5 magnifying glasses! Even writing the summary was exciting. We get disguises, break-ins, confrontations, and justice is satisfying at the end.
Mystery Story Convention: It has a lot, but my favorite from this one is the good guys breaking the law. In real life any evidence you get from stealing from the suspect isn’t admissible, but in fiction it is a great way to build the suspense and it feels good to read about Sherlock and Watson doing something so daring. Also, I loved the bad guy confrontation, which, in this story happened with Sherlock at the beginning, and Augustus really showed him up. It’s rare to see Sherlock so frazzled. Then we get another confrontation at the end with A. and they mysterious lady!
Sorry about not getting to my usual Sherlock post on Saturday! I have two read, but I never even got out my computer over the weekend (spring cleaning and lots of other stuff). I’ll see if I can get at least one written up this week. But here are two belated scorecards from Reds games last week. We left both early (weeknight games) but we continued to keep score anyway to have a complete record. We got a loss and pizza at the first one, and a win but no pizza even though we played 14 innings… (11 strikeouts=free small pizza at LaRosas)
So, for my records and for any of you who care, here are the links to the scorecard PDFs:
A quick update on last week’s post. I did some work on the big revision, and I think I only did it because I wrote last week’s post about trying to do something. I didn’t want to wimp out on you guys. And I’m pretty impressed with what I accomplished, even though it wasn’t a whole lot.
I made a new outline of what I wanted to change, and it’s doable. There are even some things I’ll probably get to keep, and I might get to put back in a scene I loved but immediately after writing the first time knew I had to take out! (Chances are I’ll still have to take it out eventually, but I at least have hope now.)
So this week I’ll be back to typing, but at least I have some hope now, and I think my work will be on an upswing (hopefully).
Not a winner this time…
But it was still fun, and my peanut-allergic best friend didn’t die despite going to three Reds games in a row, so it’s kind of like a win!
I am going to a lot of baseball games the next couple weeks (4 this week). The first was last night. My college (Ohio Northern University) sold tickets and got us a party barn (free food and drinks and seats in one of my favorite sections). I didn’t recognize anyone else there, but it was still fun, and after 10 innings we won! (No free pizza this time though, but there are 3 more chances–11 strikeouts by our pitchers = free pizza at LaRosa’s)
Here’s the scorecard more or less accurate:
Summary: Black Peter was a former whaling ship captain who ends up murdered by harpoon. He was a bad man and no one was sad he was dead, still there was a mystery to be solved, and Sherlock was ready to figure it out. He has a police inspector, Stanley Hopkins, who wants to learn his method, but he has a long way to go. He accuses some skinny kid who was trying to break in to get some papers that had belonged to his father, but Sherlock knew better. It turns out to be a former sailor on Black Peter’s boat, who knew he got some money in some underhanded way and wanted his share.
Sherlock Rating: 3 magnifying glasses. I almost gave it a higher rating because there was a real murder and the bad guy got caught in an exciting way, but then I remembered that this murderer just kind of appeared out of nowhere, and I prefer to be able to try to figure it out along with Sherlock, but how can I do that when we don’t get any suspects?
Mystery Story Convention: Stakeout, Disguises–We get a classic stakeout, though this turns up the false bad guy, and we see Sherlock running around as “Captain Basil” (I got a kick out of that because of The Great Mouse Detective where the Sherlock mouse is Basil of Baker St.).