The Sturdy Beggar Inn? Or Bolt Cottage?

“After a day with Holmes,” Watson writes,”including hours afield and hours, too, amidst the the tumult of his cottage–a return to my whitewashed room at the village inn was welcome. I’d mount the stairway looking forward to my quiet room with the narrow bed of clean linens, a mirror, basin and a simple square window overlooking a pebbled path into a wood.

Photo by Yvonne Lau

Another advantage of this inn was regular sustenance, at least on waking and before bed in the evening. Along with the excellent ale, the inn furnished its tables with fresh bread, cheeses, assorted veg, and and a steaming stew that may have contained squirrel as well as the rabbit advertised.

Photo by Roy Sloan on

Holmes, on the other hand, seemed to thrive on a severe diet of a half-cracker, half-bread substance liberally doused with honey from his own hives alongside a hard cheese. Of course, a supply of his favoured cheap shag was always ready.” *

*from Sherlock Holmes and the Remaining Improbable, soon from Susanne Dutton and Propertius Press.

As World War I ends, British law declares Holmes’ cocaine use illegal and, hoping to end his habit, he fills out entry papers at a psychiatric clinic on the Normandy coast. Confronted by a question asking for his “treatment goals,” he hesitates, suddenly aware that his real goals far exceed the capacity of this or any clinic. The inscrutable words he scribbles, never before encountered by his doctor, churn interlocking mystery and desperate action into the lives of friends and enemies both.


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