All Things Mysterious Volume Eighty
Lt. Jones and the Deadly Vegetable--the Exciting Conclusion!
Co-Starring Sherlock Holmes, Dr. Watson, and the Lovely and Inscrutable Filomena!
Filomena was incredulous. ‘Do you mean to say that you paid...men...to have us followed?’
‘In a way, I did.’ replied Holmes. ‘I recruited members of the Vegetarian Society, undercover as it were, and found out some very interesting things!’
‘I say, Holmes, so did I!’ interjected Watson.
‘Just a minute, Doctor. What did you learn, Mr. Holmes?’ asked Filomena.
‘I learned that not only does the Society forswear the consumption of animal flesh, they also abjure the use of any and all kinds of weapons or firearms.’
Filomena stammered, ‘Is--is that so?’
‘Yes it is. Your father was shot! Therefore, no one involved with the Vegetarian Society could have murdered him!’
‘But they must have!’
‘They killed Doctor Goodbright, didn’t they?’
‘They did not.’ Everyone had pretty much forgotten Lieutenant Jones was there.
‘I don’t want to tread on your toes, Mr. Holmes--’
‘Perfectly all right, Lieutenant. In fact, I’m curious as to the substance of your conclusions.’
‘Independently, Doctor Watson and I found out an interesting fact-it seems the Yard was called in upon Doctor Goodbright when a patient of his passed away in an untimely fashion.’
‘Yes, so he informed me. Of course it was an accident--no need for the Yard.’ said Holmes.
‘He was taken into custody much against his wishes, and--’
‘Haw! I daresay anyone would be taken into custody against their wishes!’ blustered Watson.
‘--and was released immediately since there was no evidence that the nut prescription was anything but an honest mistake.’
‘Certainly it was.’ agreed Holmes.
‘Rot and bother!’ yelled Filomena.
‘But the incident seems to have scarred the good doctor. He had been accumulating business interests in the field of meat. Some saw improprieties in advocating a diet from which he may profit, which brought him into conflict with the Vegetarian Society.’
‘Yes, quite so.’
‘This bothered the doctor’s conscience, so he attended some of their meetings and became interested in learning more of vegetarianism. Subsequently he moved away from meat as a panacea and began recommending diets that were high in protein but not reliant on flesh. Hence, the accident with the nuts ingested by the young gentleman.’
‘Accident nothing! It was murder!’ shouted Filomena.
‘Have you any evidence?’
‘You and the Yard need evidence! I don’t! I know what happened!’
Holmes moved closer to the distraught woman. ‘Filomena, you know that I sympathize with your sorrow. But you mustn’t believe that your father deliberately murdered your gentleman.’
‘I know he did!’
Holmes’ voice hardened. ‘How did you know?’
Filomena’s voice quavered as her thoughts drifted back. ‘I had gone to pick up Jack at the doctor’s office. They had just finished the examination and we all decided to lunch at the Bistrot de Cheval.’
‘Yes, I know it. Go on, please.’
‘When we ordered, the doctor suggested aubergine aux noisettes! Jack demurred, and the doctor insisted! I tell you, he knew!’
‘My dear, you may not be aware of it. Nutty eggplant is a misnomer--the dish contains no nuts at all! The doctor hardly could have known about the allergy!’
‘He knew! And now he’s paid! And now you’ll pay!’ Suddenly, she pulled a pistol from her purse and was pointing it straight at the men.
‘Murder! Get hold of yourself, woman!’
‘I shan’t! He deliberately gave Jack those nuts! He knew full well he was allergic and would die!’
Lt. Jones said calmly, ‘You killed Dr. Goodbright. Will you now tell us who killed your father?’
‘One of those cursed vegetarians, I’ll warrant! They didn’t like Father’s endorsement of the meat diet and killed him for it!’
‘The culprit will be brought to justice. Now give me the gun.’
‘I shan’t!’ Just then, a horrifying screech! All turned to the source of the horrible noise, and while her attention was elsewhere, Lt. Jones grabbed the pistol and tripped up Filomena, thus subduing her.
Holmes stood with his violin. ‘I say, twenty years of practice, and at last a solid result!’
Afterward, all were sitting in the parlour enjoying a cup of tea and a slice of cake.
‘I say, Holmes, just how did Dr. Goodbright meet his end?’
‘As the good Lieutenant sussed out, Watson, it was the lovely Filomena. It seems that her fiancee was the victim of the nut allergy and she was driven by revenge, although by every indication it was indeed an accident. En route here to meet us, the good doctor bought some kale. Subsequently I bought samples and, when they proved uncontaminated if unappetizing, I knew the vegetarians were not involved. She had masqueraded as a vendor and gave the doctor a poisoned portion!’
‘Then, a militant vegetarian, not a member of the Society, shot Dr. Finley in another revenge killing over his admittedly wavering support for Goodbright’s meat diet.’
‘Revenge is a dish best eaten cold, my dear Watson. Kale is a dish best not eaten at all!’
And now, more Holmes:
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Holmes by Loren Estleman
Bet you didn't know that Holmes and Watson were involved in the Jekyll and Hyde case, which was so sensational that Robert Louis Stevenson could only tell it as fiction!
Behind the Canonical Screen by Lyndsay Faye and Ashley Polasek
Emphasizing the full range of the numerous examples of Sherlockian cinema, with color photos.
Ok, this isn't a Holmes book, I just wanted to see if you were paying attention:
Questions/Comments/Dietary Restrictions? firstname.lastname@example.org