[Narration by Mr. Brian Lingard, Esquire]
They say a policeman's lot is not a happy one, but they should try being a servant. Working for Mr. Andrew Farintosh, now serving time at Her Majesty's Pleasure, was bad enough but then the blackguard then blackmailed me into helping him steal his wife's opal tiara so that he could claim in the insurance. And with my less than stellar track record I had no choice.
I was dead lucky that Mr. Sherlock Holmes not only took an interest in the theft and solved it, but even persuaded Mrs. Farintosh (who was not such a bad stick at the end of the day) to give me a reference with which I got a new post at the Stafford Club in London. Mundane like any work in service but it pays and they seem pleased enough with me so far, plus some of the gentlemen tip quite generously. I know some people will say I don't deserve it but temptation comes to all of us one time, and that bastard Mr. Farintosh had enough connections to dismiss me and make sure I never worked again. I owe it to both myself and Mr. Holmes to keep my nose clean from now on.
I have to go as Lord Petersham is complaining that there are no cocktail-sticks again. Four times he's been shown the new dispensers and every damn time he's gone and forgotten. Away with the fairies again!
God frowned as He studied the picture before Him. It looked fair enough but He was always suspicious of coincidences. As a Supreme Being He knew that they happened a lot less than people thought.
“What is wrong, dearest?” Mrs. God asked materializing behind Him. He sighed when He saw the sheer number of shopping bags that She was carrying.
“Paris again?” He asked.
“Such wonderful shops”, She said. “Although it is not what it once was. I can see why someone once questioned that you made such a wonderful country and then filled it with the French of all people!”
He tutted at Her and turned back to His screen.
“A lady has been murdered”, He said. “The lady who in our redrawn timeline helped Lady Holmes through a certain event in 1854.”
She saw his point at once, if not sooner.
“You think that someone is trying to meddle with the timeline?” She asked. “They are not threatening my sweet little cutesy-wootsy, are they?”
God had to make an effort not to roll His eyes.
“I do not think so”, He said. “There was motive for the killing and the killer did not know of the victim's ties to the Holmes family. But I do not like it.”
“And the killer?” She asked. He smiled sourly.
“One of those High Church types who thinks that a little church-going will secure them a place in Heaven”, He said. “When Pete pulls that lever and they disappear through the trapdoor they will realize just how wrong they were! Which reminds me; I must remember to get him to record it.”
[Narration by Sergeant Victor Henriksen]
A policeman's lot, so the saying goes, is not often a happy one. And when you are attempting to climb the greasy pole of promotion within the Metropolitan Police Service, having dark skin does not do you any favours. Fortunately I had help.
I suppose I was lucky at least in my boss Inspector Fraser MacDonald, a man who was not so much colour-blind when it came to my skin tone but merely possessed of a hatred for all of humanity regardless of whatever wrapping it came in (although I did happen to know the reason for that attitude). I knew that he would never discriminate against me as did everyone else who worked underneath him. He was terrifying but fair, and there were far worse bosses out there.
I was doubly fortunate in that my longer-lasting acquaintanceship with Mr. Sherlock Holmes folded into my work and that he twice assisted my superior with difficult matters as well as occasionally offering me advice on my own cases that.....
The wife is tutting at me.
All right, he was a great help. And it was an added bonus that his past and present landladies could bake the most wonderful cakes and pastries that I may have occasionally sampled on the odd occasion that my calling on him just happened to have coincided with.....
Now I am getting a look!
My better half (who can stop smiling like that!) only rarely met 'the boys' as she called Mr. Holmes and his friend Doctor Watson but she quickly assured me that 'there was something there', unfortunately with the sort of dewy-eyed look that makes any right-thinking man wish he could zap himself to the nearest pub pronto. It probably does not speak well of my abilities as a detective that it took me rather longer just to work out what that 'something' was. And to then fervently hope that they did not want to provide any details especially when I was on a full stomach. But there was always room for cake.
I am being looked at again! Harrumph!