The Canary Maker
Part 1by Daibhid Ceannaideach
You might recall me posting here ages ago, asking if there was
any interest in a fic based on the "classic" pastiche "The Deptford
Horror", written by Conan Doyle's son. Well, it took longer than I
thought, owing to real life stuff getting in the way, but here's Part
The Canary Maker by Daibhid Ceannaideach
Based on "The Adventure of the Deptford Horror" by Adrian Conan
Part One of Five
It was the October of 2105 and Holmes had not had a case for
some time. He had become impatient and irritable, and I was becoming
concerned for him. While the addictions of his previous life no longer
affected him, the personality that viewed them as a viable alternative
to boredom remained. I had no wish to lose my friend to some designer
drug of the 22nd century. With this in mind, I proposed we went out
for the evening.
"Where do you suggest?" asked Holmes, staring out the window.
"Covent Garden has become a shopping mall."
I scanned the entertainment listings. "The Holodeon is showing
'Doc Challenger and the Martian Depths'." I suggested.
Holmes turned to me. "I was never impressed by your literary
agent's adventure stories. I doubt I'd enjoy them any better once
Holowood was finished with them."
"All right." I said, "What about the Holocade? We could brush
up our targeting skills."
"My dear Watson," laughed Holmes, "the difference between
firing an ionizer and one of their blasters is so great that they are
practically different skills altogether. However, I can see you are
determined I enjoy myself, whether I want to or not, so we shall go."
At the Holocade, Holmes chose a simple target-shooting game,
similar to clay-pigeon shooting. While he continued to insist he was
doing this purely for my benefit, his eyes brightened as he picked off
the swooping holo-clays. When a cluster of them exploded into the
letters "V.R.", I knew he was enjoying himself.
As we were leaving we almost bumped into Lestrade. "Good
evening, Inspector," I said, "Not here on business again I trust?"
"Nah." she said, "Just that this place has better facilities
than the Yard firing-range."
Holmes launched into his explanation of the differences between
a blaster and ioniser. Lestrade looked unimpressed.
"A standard blaster, sure. Mine's designed to simulate ioniser
Before Holmes could respond, it occured to me that this chance
meeting might help me occupy his mind. "Have you had any interesting
cases lately, Lestrade?" I asked.
She shook her head. "Nothing to interest Holmes, or I'd have
called you." she said. "At the moment, I'm dealing with a young girl
convinced her house is cursed."
"Really?" said Holmes. "Do tell me more."
"It's nothing. Last year, a woman living in Deptford, one
Honour Wilson, died in her sleep. Nothing odd about it, she had a
genetic heart disorder that gene-therapy couldn't cure, and simply
suffered a cardiac arrest. There was talk of people outside hearing a
scream, but there often is.
"She shared the house with her son and daughter, and her
"Last week her son, Philip, was found dead in a chair. He
inherited his mother's heart problem, and the police medscan showed
he'd also had a heart attack. Now..."
"One moment, Lestrade." Holmes interrupted. "Who discovered
"The daughter, Jen Wilson." Lestrade answered. "She'd just got
back from seeing 'Doc Challenger' at the Holodeon."
"I see." said Holmes. "And why, given the evidence, was a
police medscan deemed necessary?"
"Jen Wilson insisted." said Lestrade. "Her brother had what she
called 'a look of horror' on his face, but that's not unusual."
"Not in cases of cardiac arrest." I confirmed.
"So now, Jen's inherited the house. But she blames it for her
family's deaths, and plans to sell up and move abroad, if not off
"Quite understandable," I said, "but I don't see..."
"Where the Yard comes in? Theo Wilson wants us to convince Jen
she's got nothing to be worried about."
"Understandable," said Holmes. "After all, if she sells the
house, where is he going to live?"
"That did occur to me, but the guy *seems* to be genuinely
concerned about his neice. Mind you, it'd be difficult for him to find
another house with a robotics lab in the cellar."
"Wilson is a roboticist?" I asked. "I don't recognise the
"He wouldn't be on the list of approved compudroid
technicians." Lestrade smiled, "He's invented a speciality of his
"Indeed." said Holmes, shortly, clearly nettled by the fact
Lestrade knew something he didn't, and was keeping it to herself. The
phrase "turnabout is fair play" entered my CPU, but I decided to keep
it to myself.
"So, that's it," Lestrade concluded. "Nothing to it at all."
"I see." said Holmes. "Come on, Watson. We're going to
Lestrade blinked. "Not without me, you're not."
On to Part 2!
Back to the Fanfic index