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THE BLUE CARBUNCLE
re-told in twenty-first century Easy-English by
© 2015 Mark Williams
Second edition © 2016
The Blue Carbuncle 1.
The Blue Carbuncle 2.
The Blue Carbuncle 3.
The Blue Carbuncle 4.
The Blue Carbuncle 5.
The Blue Carbuncle 6.
The Blue Carbuncle 7.
The Blue Carbuncle 8.
The Blue Carbuncle 9.
The Blue Carbuncle 10.
The Blue Carbuncle 11.
The Blue Carbuncle 12.
The Blue Carbuncle 13.
The Blue Carbuncle 14.
The Blue Carbuncle 15.
The Blue Carbuncle 16.
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Also By Mark Williams
London, England. 1889.
It was Boxing Day, the day after Christmas Day, as I made my way carefully through the icy London streets. A cold wind blew light, fluffy snowflakes about and I hoped it wouldn’t snow too heavily that afternoon.
The streets were icy and slippery and I found it easier to walk on the straw strewn across the road than on the pavements. By the time I got to my destination I was absolutely freezing. It was high time I bought myself a new coat and gloves!
I stomped my boots on the first of the stone steps outside 221b Baker Street, so I would not traipse ice and grit into Mrs. Hudson’s hallway. It had been some time since I had lived here, sharing an apartment with my dear friend Mr. Sherlock Holmes, and I still had a key, so I unlocked the door and let myself in.
“Mrs. Hudson!” I shouted through to the kitchen where I knew the lady of the house would be busy. Partly as a courtesy to let her know I was here; more in the hope she would see me shivering and offer a warm pot of tea.
Which of course she did, bless her.
“Merry Christmas, Dr. Watson,” Mrs. Hudson said as she came into the hallway, wiping floury hands on her flowery apron. “My, you look quite frozen. Hurry yourself along up to Mr. Holmes this instant and I shall bring you both a pot of steaming hot tea.”
“That would be most welcome, Mrs. Hudson,” I said.
“And just look at my floury hands,” the landlady went on. “Why, Dr. Watson, you must surely have known I was making your favourite scones today. The first batch will be coming out of the oven in no time.”
“Splendid, Mrs. Hudson,” I said. “Splendid. And with a pat of fresh butter and your wonderful home-made strawberry jam, of course.”
“Of course,” chuckled Mrs. Hudson.
I leaned in to Mrs. Hudson and whispered, “Don’t tell anyone I said so, Mrs. H., but between the two of us you make far better scones than my dear wife, bless her.”
“Oh, get away with you, Dr. Watson,” Mrs. Hudson blushed, and she shuffled back into the kitchen, chuckling to herself.
I made my way up the stairs to the floor occupied by my dear friend, and knocked once.
“Come in, Watson,” Holmes called out.
I pushed open the door and the warmth from the blazing fire met me. I put my hat on the hat-stand just inside the door and began taking off my gloves, scarf and overcoat.
“And just how did you know it was me, Holmes?” I asked. “The way I walked up the stairs, perhaps? Or the way I shuffled along the landing?”
Holmes dismissed my question with a wave of his hand.
“Really, Watson,” he said, “it did not need any special detective skills to know of your arrival. First off, the bell did not ring, so clearly the visitor had a key. The upstairs rooms are empty right now, which means only three people are privileged to have a key to this house. Mrs. Hudson and I, of course, and your good self.”
I glanced across at my friend. “You said, first off, Holmes. So there’s something else, I take it?”
“Secondly,” continued Holmes, “you called out to Mrs. Hudson while in the hallway, in that booming voice of yours. A discussion about scones and strawberry jam, if I am not mistaken.”
I smiled as I put my coat on the peg and walked across to warm my hands in front of the burning coals. It was always so obvious when Holmes explained his logic.
My friend Sherlock Holmes was laid out on the sofa, feet up, wearing his favourite purple dressing gown. As a rule Holmes only got dressed if he was going out or if he was expecting visitors. He had been smoking his pipe, and reading the morning’s newspapers, which were now crumpled on the floor.
But what immediately caught my eye were the magnifying glass and the forceps on a wooden chair stood next to the sofa, and, hanging from the back of the same wooden chair, a battered old hat.
I knew immediately this hat did not belong to Holmes, but the magnifying glass and forceps did, and they told me the hat must be a clue in some new case Holmes was working on.
“I see you are busy, Holmes,” I said, as I made myself comfortable by the fire. “A Christmas mystery to solve?”