Sunday, February 14, 2016
The Blue Carbuncle, by Terence Faherty
This is the sixth appearance in this space by my former fellow-SleuthSayer, Terence Faherty. That puts him ahead of all the other writers in the universe. No doubt he is thrilled.
And this is the third winner in this bizarre series. You see, Faherty claims to have found Dr John Watson's notebooks, containing the original drafts of the Sherlock Holmes stories, explaining what really happened. And they are pretty hilarious.
You may remember that in Doyle's version someone has stolen the precious jewel of the title from the Countess of Morcar. A plumber is arrested but then Peters, a hotel commissionaire, gets involved in a street fight and ends up with a goose which, turns out to contain the precious bauble. Now let's look at a passage from Faherty's tale:
"Until now," Holmes added as he tossed the paper aside. "The question before us is how the stone got out of the jewelry case and into the goose."
"Excuse me for saying so," Peters interrupted, "but who gives a tinker's tintype? We don't need to explain how it got in the goose to collect the reward."
"What was I thinking?" Holmes said. "Right you are. Case closed. Drinks all around."
Which might have been an amusing place to end the story, but Faherty has other, uh, geese to roast. In fact he is about to skewer one of the great mystery tales of all time, and it is not by Doyle. I will stop right here except to say the whole piece is very funny and clever.