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The Great Detective & the Missing Footballer

It was a cold, rain-swept, November evening and Holms and I had just finished our dinner in our lodgings in
Baker Street and were looking forward to a quiet night of smoking and reading. The meal had intrigued me
and I turned to Mrs Houston, who stood by the table ready to clear away the crockery, and asked, “That was
interesting, Mrs Houston, what was it?”
“Tandoori lasagne, Dr Wilson,” she answered proudly.
“Not a dish I'm familiar with,” Holms snorted.
“It's fusion cuisine, Mr Holms, a blending of Indian and Italian culinary traditions, creating something suitably
modern for the twenty first century. There’s nothing wrong with being a bit adventurous.
“Adventure is in my blood, Mrs Houston,” Holms answered curtly, “I just don't want it in my stomach.”
Our elderly landlady started lifting the plates, but there was a look of thunder on her countenance.
“Was there something else?” Holms asked.
The old woman lifted her chin proudly, “I hate to bring this up, but you’re two months behind with the rent.”
Holms lifted his napkin to his lips to hide his embarrassment and mumbled, “Ah yes, the rent.”
“I’m an old widow woman, Mr Holms,” and I can't keep two big strapping men in food and lodgings on fresh
air.”
“We've been encountering some difficulties, Mrs Houston,” Holms explained.
“You'll be encountering even more if I put you out on the street,” the indomitable lady replied boldly.
“There's no need for that,” I complained vehemently.
“I'll give you two days,” she threatened in response to my plea, “or you can start packing your magnifying
glasses.”
She took the dishes and departed as Holms and I moved over to the warmth and comfort of our armchairs by
the fireside.
“That woman is a terror, Wilson,” Holms complained, “a positive menace to my digestive system.”
“It was a trifle on the spicy side,” I agreed.
“Spicy? That excuse for a meal could be used to remove paint.”
I ventured to change the subject of the conversation as Holms was a nightmare if allowed to vent on the problems
of his digestion. “What are we going to do about the rent?”
“She has a nerve to ask for rent,” Holms barked, “She should pay us to eat that slop.”
I nodded in agreement but in my heart knew that she had cause for complaint. “This lack of cases is proving
detrimental.”
“Yes, that is a problem,” Holms replied, lighting up his pipe. This modern age is singularly lacking in master
criminals for me to tackle. And the authorities, with their databases of criminals and their DNA profiling
would seem to have an edge on my natural deductive skills, but I have faith, the Lord shall provide.
“Well, if he doesn't,” I jested, “I want first pick of the park benches.”
Holms seemed unamused at my sally but a knock at the door saved me from any witty riposte he could muster.
At his command Mrs Houston entered.
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