The Game Is Afoot
Preview the First Case for Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective
“Come, Watson, come!” he cried. “The game is afoot. Not a word! Into your clothes and come!”
–Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Abbey Grange
Crime moves through Victorian London like a disease, infecting the masses and dogging the heels of the innocent. Yet the people are not helpless against this sea of anarchy—they have on their side the world’s only consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes! During a game of Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, you become one of the Baker Street Irregulars, Holmes’s agents whom he employs to discover information in search of the truth. With nothing but the facts of the case, a map of Victorian London, the London Directory, the daily issue of The Times, and your own wits, you must follow the clues and crack the case.
Ten devilish cases await your consumption in Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, and each one offers countless hidden clues and false leads to tease you. Today, we’ll give you a taste of what you can expect from these cases by providing an excerpt from the introduction to Case One: The Munitions Magnate!
The Munitions Magnate – March 12th, 1888
Despite the lateness of the winter, March is still roaring like a lion. In fact, just as we alight from our cab in front of 221B Baker Street, a derby hat skitters by, propelled by the fierce wind. In close pursuit is none other than Wiggins, chief of the Baker Street Irregulars, and, after, Dr. Watson, Sherlock Holmes’s most able assistant. Before we can join in the chase, Wiggins manages to halt the flying bit of finery with a deft stroke of his umbrella. Cramming it squarely on his head, he saunters back towards us.
“Hello,” he says cheerily. “It would appear that Mr. Holmes is summoning the troops. Shall we?”
With the point of his umbrella—a very versatile tool, it appears—Wiggins stabs the doorbell. It is several moments before Mrs. Hudson answers. After a brief exchange of greetings, she sends us on our way to Holmes’s apartment.
Above, we find Holmes and Dr. Watson sitting at a table engaged in earnest conversation with a gentleman in his late forties, expensively dressed yet somewhat rumpled in appearance.
“Warm yourselves,” says Holmes, “and I will explain my reasons for calling you out on a such a bitter morning.”
Coats and hats are immediately shed—there is a distinct ‘pop’ as Wiggins removes his derby—and a rush is made for the fireplace. In due course introductions are made, and the gentleman is identified as Mr. Richard Allen, brother of the late Courtney Allen, president of the Grant Arms Company.
“It is the recent death of Mr. Allen’s late brother,” says Holmes, “that occasions his visit to us. Briefly, Courtney Allen was found shot to death in an alley behind his office on the evening off March 9th at approximately 7:00 p.m. by the constable on patrol. Scotland Yard has put the crime down as a simple robbery ‘by person or persons unknown,’ largely due to the fact that the victim’s wallet was found empty near the body and his gold pocket watch was missing. Mr. Allen was just telling us a bit about his brother when you arrived. Please continue, Mr. Allen.”
“Well, Courtney was a dynamic individual. Always busy, forever on the move. Yet he had the unique ability to make a few minutes spent with you seem like an hour, so complete was his attention to you. Of course, his charm worked like a magic potion on the ladies.”
“You said he was married?” asks Watson with a raised eyebrow.
“Oh, yes… poor Beatrice.”
“Was he involved in an, ah, in an affair at the time of his death?” asks Wiggins.
“Yes, I believe he was, but I have no clue as to who the lady might have been. You see, the night before he was killed, I popped ‘round to his office at about half-past five and managed to coax him to supper at Keen’s. We were there but a short while when Courtney begged leave. He indicated that he had an important meeting, said ‘Auf Widersehen’ and winked. That wink meant a woman.”
“Is the company financially sound?” asks Watson.
“Oh, quite. A fine investment for anyone’s portfolio. You see, the company was founded as a small gun shop some seventy-odd years ago by our great-uncle Thaddeus Grant. It catered to a very elite clientele.”
“Most of the chaps in the regiment were equipped with pistols from Grant’s,” nods Watson. “Why, Braxton—you’ve heard me speak of Braxton, Holmes—he had a pair of the finest dueling pistols—“
“Yes, Watson. Pray continue, Mr. Allen.”
“Courtney, always fascinated by firearms, apprenticed himself to Uncle Thaddeus. When Thaddeus dies in 1873, he bequeathed the business to Courtney. While maintaining the original shop and its tradition, Courtney expanded into the international arms trade. With loans and the sale of public stock, he was able to build a plant at 12 Deverell Street for the manufacture of heavy ordnance. Today the firm is debt-free and very profitable. Of course, a drop in the share price occurred with the news of my brother’s death.”
“Who has ascended to the presidency?” asks Watson.
“Courtney’s picked successor, Phillip Marlowe, the 2nd vice-president.”
“And why not the senior vice-president?”
“Young Lord Ragland, who runs the Deverell street plant is a brilliant technician, but a most inept businessman.”
“Who inherits your brother’s stock?”
“His wife, Beatrice.”
“Now, I think we might examine the effects found with your brother.” So saying, Holmes turns his attention to a briefcase and a large brown envelope…
Crack the Case
Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself; but talent instantly recognizes genius.
–Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Valley of Fear
You know the initial facts in the case of The Munitions Magnate. Where will you go from here, and who do you suspect? Was it the culprit Lord Ragland, passed over for promotion, or Beatrice, Courtney Allen’s estranged wife? Will you head to the scene of the crime immediately, or visit Sir Jasper Meeks, the Head Coroner at St. Bartholomew’s hospital? In Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective, you make all the choices and you must use your own wits to solve the case.
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