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THE STRANGE CASE OF ELIZA DOLITTLE
Private Investigator Mystery
BY TIMOTHY MILLER
London is in flux. The clop of the hansom cab has given way to the madness of the motorcar. And Sherlock Holmes, safe in the bee-loud glades of the Sussex downs, is lured back to London when a problem is posed to him by Dr. Watson and Watson’s friend, Col. Higgins. Is the transformation of Eliza Doolittle from girl of the streets to duchess more than it seems? Is it really the work of Henry Higgins’s phonetics lessons or has another girl been substituted for her, and why? Has the original girl been murdered? Even Eliza’s father can’t say for sure.
Posing as a rich American gangster, Holmes infiltrates the Higgins household. He meets Freddy, a seemingly ubiquitous suitor, and the mysterious Baron Von Stettin, Bavarian attaché. He brushes up against a doctor whose potions can turn Eliza from a spitfire into a kitten. And he faces a deadly enemy who had been thought dead for twenty years. The world of Sherlock Holmes will never be the same.
Dr. John Watson
1. What is your name? Do you have a nickname?
My name is Dr. John Watson. I do have an old regimental nickname from my days in Afghanistan, but please don’t mention it in front of Holmes. It’s “Wobbly”. He would not be entertained.
2. Who is your best friend? What kinds of things do you do when you’re together?
Holmes. Holmes is my lifelong friend. Oh, he doesn’t like for me to call him Sherlock. And he prefers to call me his associate. He can be a bit aloof, unfeeling, even supercilious at times. But he’s the best of comrades, truly. What do we do? Free the innocent, unmask the guilty, rescue damsels from various fates worse than death, that sort of thing. Or as Holmes likes to phrase it, we engage upon interesting problems.
3. If you have a family, how do you get along with them? If you don’t, are there people in your life that you consider family? How do you get along with them?
I’m an orphan now. And widowed to boot. And since Holmes retired to Sussex…well, there you have it. My father and my elder brother, both passed on when I was at university, taken one after the other by the damned drink, I’m ashamed to say. My mother left my father when I was small, going back to her own people–leaving us quite alone. I didn’t know whether she was alive or dead until she tracked me down when my name became known, due to my burgeoning notoriety due to my recording the details of Holmes’s derring-do. She asked for money. She must have thought I inherited, but my father’s fortune was long since frittered away. I provided for her in secret, for ten years until she died, without ever meeting with her. She would have it so. As for my dear Mary, she died of the cholera only a few years after we were wed. There was never another. How could there be?
4. Do you have a birthmark? Scars? Where are they? How did you get them?
Really, do you often launch yourself upon such personal enquiries? Are you employed by some scandal sheet? Yes, if you must know, I bear a small, jagged scar—I won’t mention where—I suffered during the remarkable case of the Wessex Troll. But that’s a tale better left untold.
5. When you’re angry, what do you do? Where do you go? How do you deal with your anger?
A gentleman does not display anger, nor harbor it for long. When I feel vexed, I throw myself into my work and my patients’ welfare. Their woes are always so much greater than mine that my own seem to wither away.
6. A penguin walks up to you, right now, wearing a sombrero. What does he say to you and why is he here?
It being London, of course, he would first mention the cold. Then he would ask for directions to 221B Baker St., but I would have to inform him that Holmes no longer resides in London, and indeed no longer involves himself in cases. Then I would then invite him to a pub for a brandy, where he would tell me of his impending peril. Almost certainly of his escape from an Argentinian guano farm and the pursuit of bloodthirsty gauchos. It’s an old story. There’s an office in Special Branch now that looks after penguin emigres.
7. What’s the one thing you’re afraid of losing?
My pocket watch. It was my father’s and then my brother’s. It’s all I have left of them. Also, Holmes hates to be late for appointments but refuses to carry a timepiece himself, so he is entirely dependent upon me. Not really necessary now, but I’d feel unmanned without it.
8. What makes you laugh out loud?
You mean a muffled chortle, I assume? I enjoy Punch, especially Partridge. Jolly good stuff.
9. What’s your favorite food?
The roast beef at Simpson’s in the Strand. Holmes likes it bloody, but I am no savage. I insist on a medium temperature. With new potatoes.
10. What’s the one thing you want out of life that you don’t think you can have? Why can’t you have it?
I should like, very much, to solve a case entirely on my own. Silly, isn’t it? I’m sure Holmes has never wished to remove an appendix. Yet I fear that if he had spent as much time in the surgery beside me as I have at his side when solving cases, he could repair a shattered femur with ease. At times I feel obtuse. I have absorbed all of his methods, yet I cannot put them to practice. I admit frankly that at times I find it frustrating.
Timothy Miller is a writer raised in Shreveport, Louisiana. He has produced two screenplays, Scanned (2010) and At War with the Ants (2010). He was featured on a morning news segment at Loyola University in New Orleans. Miller’s love of the Edwardian long summer and golden age developed in grade school when he first read The Wind in the Willows.
Links to Timothy’s website, blog, books, etc.:
Thanks, Timothy, for sharing your story with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!