Readers Gazette Short Stories


Short Story The Case of the Missing Mole

The Case of the Missing Mole by John Pirillo Mystery short story

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“A Sherlock Holmes Story”

The moment he went into the garden behind his rather modest home, he knew he was in for a devil of a time. There were holes everywhere about his petunias. He had spent a fortune on planting them and maintaining them in the brisk, cold airs of London. His neighborhood was in the posh area of Upper Northumberland, about six kilometres from downtown London and easily reached by the latest Tesla Cabs, or the newly emerging Tesla Fast Trains, that were extremely quick, but a bit frightening because they travelled at over fifty miles an hour. It always scared him to see the buildings and homes flashing by so quickly.

He put those thoughts aside as he twiddled with his mahogany walking cane, an eye cocked on Doctor John Watson, a friend and acquaintance of his for many years.

“What do you think, John”?

Watson screwed his eyebrows together in thought as he kneeled upon the somewhat wet ground about the nearest of the holes. He placed a hand over its opening, then put an ear to his hand. His eyebrows rose a bit, then he stood up and went to the next hole and repeated the process.

Lord Cambridge itched with anxiousness at the slowness of his friend. Surely, he could come to some kind of prognosis for what was going on. For surely he was part of one of the finest detective and investigatory teams on the planet.

Finally, Watson went to another hole, then repeated the process yet again. He finally stood up, brushed off his hands, and took a hanky from his coat pocket to brush off his pant knees. “I don't think you've got moles at all.”

“What !”

Watson gave Lord Cambridge, a short man with a short disposition and a fat moustache that made his face look like an ostrich face, a scowl. “These holes are manmade.”

“How can you tell?” Lord Cambridge spoke in a conciliatory tone, noting how Watson's irritation was hovering just above normal. No need to anger his friend. Especially not when his precious petunias were at stake.

“Because, dear fellow.” Came Sherlock's voice from the hedge gate to the garden, as he pressed it open and entered. “While you have been outside trying to figure out why your garden has holes, a very clever young man has been gardening your library and absconding with precious books.”

“WHAT!” Lord Cambridge shouted, then rushed for the gate.

Sherlock stopped him.

Inspector Bloodstone came into view, his fingers pinching the ear of a young Irish lad with flaming red hair, whose hands and arms were holding a bundle of books. “I believe young Charlie here has something to say to you, Lord Chamberlain.”

Everyone's eyes turned to the young lad, who couldn't have been more than fifteen, and whose pants and shirt were checkered with patches and holed in places, barely clinging to his body.

“Lord Chamberlain. I am so sorry, I am, but me little sister is dying of consumption and I felt that if I could gain something of value maybe I could hire a doctor to spare her life, or at least make her more comfortable.”

Lord Chamberlain squinted at the boy closely. He had forgotten his glasses inside the library. “I know you?”

“No sir. But my mother yes.”

Sherlock stepped closer. “Mary O'Malley.”

Lord Chamberlain's face flushed. He gave Sherlock a quick glance, then back at Charlie. “Mary O'Malley?”

“That would be her, your lordship.”

Lord Chamberlain turned to Watson. “Can you help the child's sister?”

“I will certainly take a look at her.”

Lord Chamberlain turned to the Inspector. “There will be no further need of your services.”

“Shall I keep him at the constabulary for the night?”

Lord Chamberlain looked at the child, who seemed smaller even than before and on the verge of tears. “I think not. But before you go, please take those valuable books.”

“I'll make sure they're put back in their proper places, Lord Chamberlain.”

“No need.” Lord Chamberlain said with a smile.

Everyone gave him a surprised look.

“Charlie, I want you to keep the books. But on one condition.”

“Yes, sir. Anything, your lordship.”

“Read them! And for God's sakes, come back tomorrow to help me clean up this mess.”

Charlie was about to run off, when Lord Chamberlain grabbed him by the collar. “Haven't you forgotten something?”

He looked over at Watson and he nodded, then put an arm about Charlie's shoulders. “Come, let's see to your sister.” Watson looked back at Holmes. “Please be a good chap and let Mrs. Hudson know I'll be a wee bit late for dinner.”

Sherlock nodded.

Lord Chamberlain watched them go and then he seemed to grow more serious. He turned to the Inspector. “I'd like to speak with Mister Holmes in private, if you please.”

The Inspector nodded, then exited the garden.

Holmes looked at the Lord. “I assume you want my discreteness as well?”

“Yes. But how did you guess I...well, you know?”

“Lord Chamberlain, the books he has kept were not gifts, but a way of removing evidence of your liaison with the chambermaid, whom I assume you once had working for you, but dismissed once you learned of her expectance?”

“Yes.”

“And not wanting the good Queen Mary of Scots to learn of your peccadillo, you buried the relationship and the books in your library, making sure none would know of the breadth of it. The books, I noted, that Charlie carried were not valuable at all. They were your daily journal, a picture book with an unknown woman's face on it, with bright red hair. And a faded picture of a baby.”

Lord Chamberlain sighed. “A folly of my youth. You will keep this to yourself then?”

Sherlock Holmes nodded. “And I expect you to pay him well for his services.”

Sherlock went to the gate to exit, then looked back. “After all. He is your son.”

“Good day, Lord Chamberlain.”

Lord Chamberlain watched Sherlock leave and shivered, even though the day was warmer than most. He looked at the holes, sighed, then headed back into his home to ponder the follies of his youth and pray there were no more that would rebound to him to his disfavor.

To see more of John Pirillo's work, click the link to his website or scroll down to the bottom of the page to view his member details Visit John Pirillo's Website.

Images used for the story are Visit Wikimedia File Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes 1894 Burt-Illustration_4

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The moment he went into the garden behind his rather modest home, he knew he was in for a devil of a time. There were holes everywhere about his petunias. He had spent a fortune on planting them and maintaining them in...

The Baker Street Adventures by John Pirillo

It is Victorian England. Filled with the mists of fog, villagers of a range of emotions and types. This London is not the London we know across the ocean, nor the one that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle so assiduously described, but rather a more advanced one in some ways and a more barbaric one in others.
It is a Baker Street World where all the heroes and villains we've come to know and love in fiction and fact have their existence. It is part of a series of stories and novels I've written that...



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