Buy a Clue, Sherlock

Benedict Cumberbatch as BBC Sherlock Holmes in his blue dressing gown looking puzzled

Why does Irene Adler keep sending me copies of the 50 Shades of Gray books with a dinner invitation?


You Should Get Yourself a Hobby

by J.H. Watson
~ 950 words

“Sherlock, you got another package. You know, dear, it’s cheaper if they send everything at once instead of one book at a time.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Hudson.”

Sherlock Holmes didn’t bother to look up from the paper, but simply put out his hand to receive the box. John Watson did look up from his plate and said, “That’s six this month, eighteen in the last two?”

Sherlock continued to avoid the questioning stares of the other two people. “What an amazing memory you have, John. Too bad you couldn’t remember to drop off your laundry before you ran out of socks.”

“How did you know— Never mind. Don’t tell me.”

Mrs. Hudson wandered away to putter in the kitchen, making the occasional “tsk” noise and once gasping after she opened the microwave. John took another three bites of his breakfast before asking, “So what’s in the boxes? Books?”

“Another brilliant deduction given their size, shape, weight and source.” Sherlock rattle the newspaper as he turned a page. He still would not meet John’s gaze.


At this suggestion, Sherlock  did look up from his paper and stared into space. After a few seconds, he said, “I wonder.” He jumped up, grabbed the box and took off for his bedroom.

“Now what was that all about?” Mrs. Hudson asked coming in wiping her hands on a tea towel.

John shook his head and replied, “I have no idea. I just hope it’s not too messy.”

Mrs. Hudson nodded agreement as she picked up Sherlock’s abandoned plate and took it to the sink.

About 30-minutes later Sherlock yelled, “John!” in a tone that had John leap from his chair, letting the book he was reading fall to the floor. John reached the bedroom and flung open the door without bothering to knock. “What is it?”

Sherlock was holding up two shirts, his best suit lying on the bed, his best shoes on the floor in front of it. “I need a tie.”

John wrinkled his brow. “You never wear a tie.”

“That’s why I need to borrow one from you.” Sherlock held up first one shirt and then the other as he stared into his mirror. “And not that striped thing you wore to court. Or that other striped thing you wore to meet Mycroft. Something decent. And silk.”

“Wait. What— Why—”

Sherlock finally decided on the deep purple silk. “Oh, never mind, all your ties are terrible or pedestrian or both. I’ll stop at Dunhill’s or Harrod’s on the way.”

“On the way where? Sherlock, what’s going on? What’s happened?”

“Nothing that concerns you. While I’m in the shower see if you can find my handcuffs.”


Before John could ask anything else, Sherlock slipped past him and took off for the bathroom leaving John to stare at the detritus scattered about Sherlock’s bedroom. The bathroom door opened a crack and Sherlock shouted, “And ask Mrs. Hudson where she put my riding crop!” before he slammed it shut and the muffled sounds of water running could be heard.

It took John thirty minutes to uncover the handcuffs buried in a box marked “Biohazardous Materials” in the pantry next to an very old box of Wheatabix and the riding crop behind the harpoon in the umbrella stand. He found them just in time for Sherlock to come out of the bathroom resplendently shaved and his hair looking as if he’d borrowed everyone of John’s hair products. The odor of expensive men’s cologne hinted it’s presence as he sailed past to collect his coat. After he put it on, he handed John a clothing brush and said, “Brush me.”

John hesitated only a moment before obeying. As Sherlock turned to leave, John asked, “Where are you going?”

“Out. Don’t wait up.”

Sherlock collected the riding crop and dropped the handcuffs into a coat pocket. As he started down the stairs, John called out, “What’s this all about? Sherlock?”

“Research, John, research.”

Five minutes later, as John was putting away the rest of the contents of the box where handcuffs had been, Mycroft Holmes walked in. With no preamble he said, “My brother is buying a tie in Dunhill’s. Why?”

John shrugged. “Because all of mine are terrible and pedestrian?”

“True, but not an explanation for why my brother is buying one for himself.”

“I have no idea. All I know is that he got another one of those mysterious boxes from Amazon, went into his bedroom with it, and an hour later he flew out of here dressed to meet the Queen. Well, actually dressed a lot better than the last time he went to Buckingham Palace. I’m pretty sure he had his pants this time and I know he was wearing his best suit.”

“Where was he going?”

“He wouldn’t say. He just said he was going to do research.”

“Show me his room.”

John led Mycroft into it and stood back. Mycroft glanced briefly around and said, “Look under the bed.”

John frowned but got down on his hands and knees and peered under. Underneath were stacks of books and the box the last one had arrived in. John pulled them all out knowing he’d catch hell when Sherlock got back and noticed.

The books were all paperback copies of the 50 Shades of Gray series. Mycroft pointed to the last one still dropped into the Amazon shipping box. John picked it up, turned it over, flipped the pages and said, “It’s just a book. Oh, hang on, there’s an inscription. It says…” Here John hesitated then looked at Mycroft with a puzzled expression. “It says ‘Let’s have dinner. The Woman.’ But, but she’s dead.”

Mycroft said nothing but contemplated the wall.

“Isn’t she? I mean you said you were thorough this time, right?” John asked.

“Let’s hope so.”

### End ###


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2 thoughts on “Buy a Clue, Sherlock

    1. Watson Post author

      18 boxes in two months. At least 1 per box. Of course, Irene Adler has her own handcuffs. I assume several pair including the “trainers” which are lined with non-chaffing fleece (I had a marketing student who owned a sex store and learned a lot more about the business than I ever wanted to know. The equivalent of the MacDonald’s fry question is “Do you want lube with that?”). She also has her own riding crop. Sherlock needs to take his toys for parity. I’m sure she will introduce him to many more. Just as I’m certain she has some disinfectant for all of those toys because well, we have a pretty good idea where at last some of them will have been. And, of course, Sherlock’s tie really needs to be silk for both comfort and strength. 😉

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