THE ADVENTURE OF THE COUNTERFEIT SQUIRE
(Based on the Grimm Brothers’ Tale of Rumpelstiltskin)
A scream alerted me to the intruder’s presence. I caught up to and passed the swarm of bees heading in the cry’s direction, only to stop when I reached the woman to wave her backwards.
Between pants from the exertion, I shouted at her. “Get behind that rock wall.”
She turned and rushed around to the road side of vine-covered enclosure. The honeysuckle and peppermint covering its stones deterred the insects from crossing over into the lane.
No longer sensing her presence, they returned to the hives I’d been tending and freed me to meet my unexpected visitor at my cottage’s border.
I quickly understood the bees’ interest. Her jasmine scent penetrated my hat’s protective veil, overpowering that of the smoke drifting from the cannister in my left hand. She wore one of those straight, loose garments that had come into fashion with the end of the Great War. Forest green. And a large-brimmed straw hat with a velvet ribbon. She raised her head slightly to peer at me from under its shadow.
“Sorry about that,” I said, lifting my veil to get a better look at her. “I’m—”
“Mr. Sherlock Holmes,” she said, holding out her hand. “Mrs. Heather Miller. I need you to find my husband.”
I studied her for a moment. Her face presented a tension, a marked anxiety telling me this was no ordinary missing person case. All that aside…
“I’m retired,” I said “There were more than one hundred and sixty thousand soldiers missing at the end of the war. The army would be a better place to start.”
“How did you know my husband was in the war?”
“The poppy pin you’re wearing.”
Her lips, painted the same color as the small brooch fixed above her right breast, formed an o. “What if I were to tell you the army won’t help me because they believe he has come home?”
As if having developed a will of their own, my eyebrows rose, then dropped into a v. My interest piqued, I decided no harm existed in hearing her out.
“Why don’t you explain your problem over a cup of tea?”
I gestured to my home, and a smile flitted across those poppy lips. We both knew she’d played out her bait and lured me in.
An Unconventional Holmes: Three Unnatural Cases
by Liese Sherwood-Fabre
Narration Performed by RJ Bayley
Genre: Mystery Short Story Collection
Missing boys, an imposter husband, and a bizarre vampyre murder.
Sherlock Holmes ventures into the realm of the unnatural in these three cases: the disappearance of the Baker Street Irregulars, the true identity of a Great War veteran, and a vampyre’s grisly death. Crossing into the worlds of the Grimm Brothers and Bram Stoker, he seeks the clues needed to unravel the mysteries confronting him. Can Holmes’ conventional methods still function in the unconventional world?”
“[Dr. Sherwood-Fabre] knows her Holmes characterization and her stories do not disappoint.”
Liese Sherwood-Fabre has won awards for her thrillers, romance, and literary short stories, and NYT bestselling author Steve Berry describes her writing as “gimmick-free, old-fashioned storytelling.”
In the second grade, she knew she was destined to write when she got an A+ for her story about Dick, Jane, and Sally’s ruined picnic. After obtaining her PhD from Indiana University, she joined the federal government and had the opportunity to work and live internationally for more than fifteen years. She draws upon these experiences to endow her characters with deep conflicts and emotions.
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