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Watson Cam
Dr Watson reviews his tab at the Hound and Ferret

Dr Watson reviews his tab at the Hound and Ferret

Dr Watson’s Criminal A-Z: “L” (continued)

Lewisham Four, The

There were actually five of them but there had already been a Lewisham Five a decade earlier so it was agreed that the smallest member, Titchy Baker, shouldn’t be counted. They were captured in 1892 and placed in cells alongside the aforementioned Lewisham Five to form the Lewisham Nine.  Following creative differences. this soon became the Lewisham Three and the Lewisham Six, before finally settling on the Lewisham One and the Lewisham Eight.

Fisby Clarke -  left the Lewisham Four to form the Lewisham Two.  Specialised in burglary, weak on numeracy.

Fisbo Clarke – left the Lewisham Four to form the Lewisham Two. Specialist in burglary, weak on numeracy.

Lispy Jones

Murderer, armed robber and criminal kingpin. He reformed in prison and now only works part-time as a kingpin due to family commitments.

 

Lakeside Junior Players

This sorry bunch of ne’er-do-wells are included here because they were responsible for the most criminal performance of The Merchant of Venice that Holmes and I had ever seen.  Holmes’ own notes are sketchy on their history Рthey were either hanged at Newgate or became farmers in Glossop.  Either way, London is a safer place without them.

Doom Merchants - A scene from Lakeside Players' Merchant of Venice.

Doom Merchants – A scene from Lakeside Players’ Merchant of Venice.

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An A-Z of the Criminal Underworld: “L”

Since Holmes departed and left me on my tod in these miserable rooms [Charming – Mrs H], I‚Äôve often whiled away an afternoon by compiling an A-Z of some of the most notorious criminals I‚Äôve ever had the misfortune to meet. ¬†In honour of Holmes‚Äô objection to conformity I‚Äôm starting this week with the letter ‚ÄėL‚Äô – which is also convenient as I left the notes for ‚ÄėA‚Äô inside the arm-cast of a patient I saw last Wednesday. C‚Äôest la vie as the Italians say.

 

Lolloping Beggar, The

A devious confidence trickster who would extort huge sums of money from wealthy women. Once the crime was discovered he evaded capture by alternately skipping, shuffling and shambling in such a way that it rendered any assailant powerless as they were too busy rolling on the ground crying ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs so funny it hurts‚ÄĚ. Luckily for Londoners his career came to a timely end when he lolloped into a dyke and was never seen again.

 

Lionel the Staffordshire Bull terrier

While not strictly a criminal, Lionel deserves his place here due to a penchant for shredding and eating vital evidence during his brief stay with us in early 1900.  He was also responsible for the defacement of our original rug and one of my moccasins.  Finally we dispatched the shaggy brute to a kindly old lady in Kensal Green. Why we sent her a soiled moccasin and not the dog is still a mystery.

Lionel and friends in happier times

Lionel the Staffordshire Bull Terrier – loved life, and moccasins.

 

Lance Corporal Edgar Davids

A dashing young officer who became a double-agent during the First Boer War.  First he took the side of the Boers, then came over to our side, joined the French who weren’t even involved, came back to our side again, had another stint with the Boers and finally decided he’d always rather liked the Portuguese.  He was allegedly killed in a parade ground accident in early 1898 but Holmes always felt he shared a striking similarity to the Dutch long-jump champion, Erik Van Schlupp.

Double-agent and all-round git

Lance Corporal Edgar Davids shortly before his accident. Although an experienced campaigner and double-agent he never mastered the correct way to hold his rifle.

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Still Life – A Novel in One Position

I’ve been considering embarking on a novel based on a peculiar incident in the Affair of the Crimson Goop (not to be confused with the Adventure of the Puce Vomit). ¬†It happened in Covent Garden market where I was chasing the man believed to be behind the whole scandal – the Russian chemist, Dmitri Olevchenko. ¬†It was all such a blur. ¬†I thought I had him when I cornered him next to a fowl stall presided over by¬†a small woman. (Or possibly a small stall presided over by a foul woman, the details are hazy). It was then that he produced a syringe from his jerkin and plunged it into my left buttock. ¬†There was an immediate¬†sense of acute numbness and I was instantly frozen in place, my legs still in a running position and my face cast in a mixture of pain and pleasant surprise.

It was then that he produced a syringe from his jerkin and plunged it into my left buttock.

The effect lasted for what I thought was just a few seconds but in reality turned out to be three days. ¬†A large crowd had gathered and applauded as I finally collapsed on the ground. ¬†Oh, the indignity! However¬†my ego was soothed somewhat by the sheer number of coins being placed into my hat as a sign of appreciation.¬†Such bizarre entertainment – thankfully I don’t think it will ever catch on.

enigmatic, mysterious, unknown man

A rare picture of chemist and villain, Dmitri Olevchenko – this turned out to be a pseudonym but his real name remains a mystery. Oh wait..

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Stage Fright or Why I’m Barred from Live Events

I once caused a concert to be abandoned following a huge fracas at St. James’ Hall. ¬†I had hurled myself on top of musical maestro Dr Otto Neitzel after I’d heard a man at the interval saying that he “wanted to murder the pianist”. I went back the following night to offer a formal apology in front of the audience. ¬†It was very humbling but also an incredible thrill as I had always wanted to appear on the London stage.

I’d heard a man at the interval saying that he “wanted to murder the pianist”

However I have a suspicion that they were less keen on me taking the opportunity to play Little Pig Went to Market¬†on the spoons and I was disappointed not to receive an encore – or even get my coat and hat back. Nonetheless it hasn’t diminished my love of live music and I am still allowed to sample the array of exciting talent on display at St James’ even if this involves standing on Mrs Hudson’s shoulders¬†to peer in through the windows.

Show Off

Following a night out at Tchaikovsky’s new opera Queen of Spades it was back to Baker Street for drinks and my rendition of The Boy I Love is Up in the Gallery

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A Patient Audience

Upon the special request of Inspector Lestrade I went undercover as a surgeon¬†at Charing Cross Hospital in what later became known as the Mystery of the Diffident Nurse. ¬†So successful was my deception that one day¬†while searching for the gentleman’s toilet (undercover work always goes straight to my bladder) I opened a door and found myself¬†¬†in front of a large gallery of medical students who applauded most generously.

Upon the special request of Inspector Lestrade I took the identity of a surgeon at Charing Cross Hospital in what later became known as the Mystery of the Diffident Nurse.

I was most taken aback but not as much as when I was asked to perform an appendectomy on a man who was suddenly wheeled before me.  My General Practice had not prepared me for this moment Рmy only previous surgical experience being the removal of small moles.

Nonetheless I couldn’t disappoint my audience and dived in enthusiastically, confident I would pick it up as I went along. At the end of the case we all had a jolly good laugh about it and fifteen years on¬†I still occasionally lunch with my unwitting patient, although this is sometimes a bit strained since¬†he is now strictly limited to non-solids and can only lie out flat.

Skeleton Staff

Doctors from Charing Cross Hospital describe what will happen to me if they ever see me again

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Awkward Moments No.1

During a stake out at St. Saviour’s Church I was forced to hide in the confessional for two whole days. Unfortunately I was soon discovered as the boredom had led to me smoking my way through my entire cigarette case¬†leading to¬†a constant plume of smoke billowing through the grille. ¬†Worse was to come as I was unable to extricate myself from the booth¬†due to the huge pile of stubs¬†jamming the door.

During a stake out at St. Saviour’s Church I was forced to hide in the confessional for two whole days.

In the end the stubs had to be removed using a large farm wagon while several of the altar boys sang blessings and prodded me with votive candles. On top of this indignity my prey had flown and I was unable to assist Holmes to solve the case.  Not all was lost however.  My time in the confessional taught me a lot about my greengrocer Mr Benslade РI now shop elsewhere for my carrots.

 

Professional Confessional

 

St Saviour’s Church 1889. As a footnote this particular wing of the church was subsequently fumigated. ¬†And then demolished. And then fumigated again.

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The Hound of the Baskervilles – the Cleft Tor Tour

This week I’ve been re-enacting one of Holmes’ most famous cases – The Hound of the Baskervilles – with my friends from Titchfield Festival Theatre.¬†The production¬†answers many of the questions you’ve all been asking such as:

Who is the mysterious Cecile Stapleton and why does she have a beard?

What is the difference between mist, fog and pipe smoke?

What causes a man to have beef cheeks?

and…

What the hell is a cleft Tor?

Hound of the Baskervilles

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My Great Railway Journeys No.3

1 – Stolen Moments – During the hot Summer of 1888 I fell asleep on the mainline route to Sussex and when I awoke I discovered my wife’s wedding ring had been stolen. ¬†I accused everyone on the train of the theft and made all passengers¬†turn ¬†out their pockets and lift their hats. ¬†It was then that I realised I wasn’t even travelling with my wife and indeed hadn’t been married to her for over five years, while the wedding ring was last seen floating down the Thames towards Staines. Everyone took the news very well, showing remarkable sympathy for my situation, and I have to say that the fifty mile walk back via the Sussex Downs really made me appreciate the beauty of nature – and the virtues of staying awake.

2 –¬†Fond Goodbyes –¬†I once waved off a client on the 5.15 from Paddington and was taken aback by their enthusiasm to keep on waving for the first half-mile of the journey, causing me to trot alongside and return the favour for fear of appearing rude. ¬†Unbeknown to me however the poor girl was actually being strangled by one of Moriarty’s men and she was never seen again. The whole¬†sorry affair¬†taught me an important lesson that day – I now send our clients to the train station in a cab.

 

The Staines Swimming Club formed this day in 1897 in an attempt to salvage my wife's wedding ring from the Thames.  The club is still going strong, unlike Mrs Watson number 3.

The Staines Swimming Club formed this day in 1883 in an attempt to salvage my wife’s wedding ring from the Thames. The club is still going strong and always on the lookout for strapping young men –¬†¬†much like Mrs Watson number 3.

 

 

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My Great Railway Journeys No.2

1 – Double¬†Jeopardy –¬†¬†I once endured two high-speed pursuits through a twelve-carriage train on the same day. The first one involved Holmes and myself, accompanied by a band of hardy police officers, chasing down the man believed to be the notorious Farnham Fingersmith.¬† However, after capturing the criminal, Holmes refused to answer any questions about the investigation unless he could do so in Latin – whereupon the two of us were chased back through the train by the band of officers angered further by Holmes repeating the phrase ‚ÄúI know a secret you don‚Äôt know.‚ÄĚ

2 – Death on the Line –¬†I once had the misfortune of sharing a compartment with a murder victim for the entire length of the Great Western Railway. ¬†This wasn’t quite as grisly as you might imagine as I only realised he was¬†dead after serveral hours. ¬†Up to that point¬†he¬†had been¬†the model travel companion and¬†was the most¬†attentive¬†audience for my anecdote about the giant rat of Sumatra.

3 –¬†Points of Interest – The trip to Bucharest was one of highs and lows. ¬†On the downside, a dozen people were injured in a derailment at Innsbruck while a further¬†ten¬†passengers were hospitalised after coming under fire from a¬†criminal gang¬†who boarded the train at¬†Verona. ¬†On the plus side, there was plenty of room in the buffet car….

Holmes identified a number of points of interest - this was not one of them.

Holmes identified a number of points of interest – this was not one of them.

 

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My Great Railway Journeys No.1

1-¬†The Bruce Forsyth Plans –¬†Holmes once tasked me with transporting a set of highly-sensitive documents to a secret location which, on inspecting my tickets, turned out to be East Croydon. I took every precaution, travelling under the pseudonym, Barry Peaseman, and keeping my service revolver tucked into my sock. Unfortunately I was so intent on practising the phrase “my name is Barry Peaseman” that I left my doctor’s case containing the plans (and a ham sandwich) on the platform as the train departed. Holmes never again trusted me with such a mission despite the contents of the case being safely recovered with only minor omissions ‚Äď notably the lack of ham in my sandwich.

2 –¬†The Art of Misdirection – Inspired by one of Holmes’ monographs, I used several of his persuasive techniques to travel all the way to Switzerland using just a pair of opera tickets. Sadly, the reverse was not to prove successful and I was forcibly ejected from La Boheme for attempting entry with a single to Southend.

The undercover surveillance of Professor Moriarty is compromised as we are forced to sit next to him on the Rail Replacement Bus Service at Penge.

The undercover surveillance of Professor Moriarty is compromised as we are forced to sit next to him on the Rail Replacement Bus Service at Penge.

 

 

 

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