Snarling, Doctor Watson stormed out of the offices of The Strand Magazine, derisive laughter echoing in his ears.
It was outrageous. How dare the man, he fumed; fighting the urge to return and punch the smirking editor’s nose.
The journalist’s words stung like angry bees. “You’ve had a good run,
doc, but we’d look stupid publishing any more of your chronicles. This
bizarre new direction Sherlock’s taken doesn’t exactly grip the
Thrusting the barely read pages back into Watson’s hands, he’d mocked:
“These accounts are too dull for us. Why don’t you try them elsewhere …
like Homes and Gardens!”
During the Hansom ride back to Baker Street, Watson harboured thoughts
that would have broken his Hippocratic oath, if not his knuckles. But as
the cab eventually pulled up outside 221b, he calmed, realising wearily
that the magazine owner was right.
Since taking up his strange new hobby six months earlier, Holmes had
lost interest in the baffling, glamorous, high-profile crimes that had
made his name. And although the eccentric genius was still frantically
busy, his forensic eye more tested and probing than ever, Sherlock’s
exploits could now only in one sense be described as colourful.
There was nothing for it, Watson resolved. If he and Holmes were to
avoid the poor house, the madness had to end. He’d have to demand that
his companion abandon this folly. However, any possible stratagem for
achieving this goal evaporated as a sudden scream shook him from his
The wail of terror emanated from within, and bundling through the door
he found Mrs Hudson, ashen faced and shrieking, pointing with trembling
hands to the staircase carpet. Following her finger he gasped in
A trail of droplets led up the gas-lit stairs, each tread soggy
with an ominous splodge of viscous crimson. It didn’t take much
imagination to grasp its meaning and Watson bolted up the sticky steps
two at a time.
Pulling out his service revolver, he gulped at what horrors he might
encounter. The sight that presented itself made him gag with revulsion.
The apartment was bloody, every inch, every cranny splattered and
And standing in the middle of the mayhem, clutching a dripping vermilion
roller, Sherlock Holmes - once master detective but now self-proclaimed
Greatest Interior Designer In the World - beamed with opium-fuelled
“Behold, behold,” he proclaimed. “No longer an office in off-white, a living room in boring beige, but a study in scarlet.”
For a second Watson considered shooting his crazed friend. He now understood what it meant to see red.
Yet, Holmes appeared oblivious, dropping the roller and snatching up a bright yellow brush.
“There’s just time to give the porch one swift coat of canary before Inspector Lestrade pops round,” he announced breathlessly.
Groaning, the doctor realised he didn’t need to ask what glossy
vandalism Sherlock intended for the hallway. He’d heard it dozens of
“Lemon entry, my dear Watson. Lemon entry!”