[identity profile] tweedisgood.livejournal.com
[With apologies for the two misfires, for those puzzled]

Herewith the complete summary of who gave what to whom, plus a little bonus ficlet by yours truly. Please do now go and acknowledge comments - and your gift, if you have not done so already. Authors, reader and artists feel free to link, repost and publicise, and add to our collection at A03 HERE if you would like to do so:

Meanwhile, in 1903 at 221b, Baker Street..

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[identity profile] tweedisgood.livejournal.com
*flourish of trumpets*

The Grand Reveal. Please go and acknowledge your compliments in person, cross=post as desired and recipients, if you have not already thanked your giftor, get right on that.

We have an A03 collection at which you are welcome to post/link, HERE

Meanwhile, in the restaurant of the Landsdowne Hotel, Eastbourne, Sussex, some time in 1905:

“Watson, it was not an “adventure”. A puzzle, certainly. A mystery, if you insist. But there is nothing ‘adventurous’ about tiresome conversations with tiresome people and a trip to Cambridgeshire to uncover a mere domestic tragedy"

I was inclined to humour him. It had been a very good dinner, paid for, at my insistence, from my latest royalty cheque, and now we were expansive over a brace of Havanas and a bottle of Armagnac.

“Surely it could be argued that the client had an adventure, albeit an unhappy one.”

“Hmm. Nevertheless, I am bound to say this latest collection shows a sad lack of imaginative variety. The Adventure of…The Adventure of… and so on for the entire book.”

Sherlock Holmes waved his cigarette hand with a flourish and almost set fire to a passing waiter.

“I thought you never read them.”

He laid his unoccupied hand flat on the cloth and examined its pristine fingernails.

“I always take an interest in an Index, dear boy.”

“It is not a simple matter, coming up with a title for a short story. To capture the heart of a case and to present it in a way that people want to read more. Adventure is what people want, and that is what I give them.”

His expression softened, just a fraction. “And what I give you.”

For my part, I was not afraid to smile outright, and to reach for his hand across the table. He allowed me to press it, for a moment.

“Not just the cases, Holmes. You surely know that.”

“I know it.”

As if to break the spell, to show how much he detested sentiment, he went back on the attack, although he chose another target.

"In any case, I know that Doyle has the final say: he has a very well-developed commercial sense.” It was not a compliment. “Say you had entirely free choice: what would we see?”

“Certainly not ‘Treatise on the Deductive and Inductive Methods in Detection, parts one to sixty’,” I dared.

He sighed. “That particular manuscript was clearly not as well hidden as I had thought.”

“It was in the pile of papers covering the acid burnhole in the hearth-rug, which I tripped over last Thursday night. What about ‘Sherlock Holmes Glues his Finger in a Keyhole'? Or ‘Watson is Right After All about Mrs Felton’s Pearls’? Or ‘This Story is A Patchwork of Details from Six Different Cases to Avoid Being Sued for Libel’?"

“’Adventures’ it is, then. How much to replace the rug?”

[p.s. absolutely no disrespect intended to any of you who did choose to name your story an ‘Adventure’ – I just noticed that every single one of 'The Return of Sherlock Holmes' collection is so named, and that with various folk reporting struggling with titles – well, inspiration is not to be brushed off lightly]

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[identity profile] tweedisgood.livejournal.com
"Holmes, look at this! Disaster!"

My friend sat up in his chair by the fire in the cosy sitting room of our cottage with a peculiar clang as his boots hit something on their way from the fender stool to the floor. His straight back and piercing eyes positively forbade me to so much as imagine he might have been asleep in the daytime. He took the copy of the Evening Standard that I thrust into his hands and shook it open with calm deliberation. After a minute or two holding the pages at various distances from his nose he sighed and stretched out his left arm and hand. I dropped his hated, but of late essential, reading-glasses into the waiting palm without comment.

"I presume you refer to this article," he said after a minute or two more. He handled the paper so swiftly that I didn't see how he contrived to bring the stark paragraph to the top and centre of the bundle which he handed back to me so that the headline DIRECT HIT IN CHARING CROSS ROAD:BANK VAULTS BREACHED BY ZEPPELIN RAID made my pulse quicken in alarm all over again.

"My dispatch box, Holmes. The records of all your unpublished cases. They could all be gone, or worse."

"Yes, worse: they could all be safe, and you will try to twist my arm and insist on publishing the story about the time I...you know the one," he finished, darkly.

"You know I gave you my solemn promise about that. I meant to say, suppose the contents of that box are even now blowing up the Strand or floating in the fountains at Trafalgar Square? All the real names and details of your former clients, unedited and unexpurgated. The cormorant, Holmes!"

"Watson, do calm yourself, there's a good fellow." He shifted one leg and reached under his chair, dragging out a familiar, battered tin object. I gasped with joy and relief.

"Brother Mycroft had word that London might see enemy action this week. We took the precaution of removing this for somewhat safer keeping two days ago."

Knees creaking like the worn timepieces they were, I knelt on the rug and worked at the lock with the key hanging from my watch chain. I lifted the lid and yes, everything was there: cabinet ministers and their cormorants, duchesses and their husbands' footmen, actors and their dressers; and Holmes and Watson, of course. The razor-sharp, if unpredictable, detective and his duller, but dependable, companion. All the truth laid bare, with proper names attached...

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