Mistress of the Hounds
At the smell of the smoke, they imagine that this is not the attack of an enemy… but that it is a force or a natural catastrophe whereto they do well to submit.
Hurr hurrr Baskerville reference hurr hurr.
It was, I suppose, inevitable that Holmes and I would collaborate eventually on one of his cases.
Inevitable, yes. Good, no.
A neighbour, Mrs Barker, needs them to investigate her husband. For a number of months, her husband has been having recurring bouts of serious illness. When he is ill, it appears to be nothing but an upset stomach but it gradually gets worse until he develops a severe fever which lasts for about a week before it breaks. Doctors can find no physical cause and suggest poison. It sounds like IBS to me. Mrs Barker thinks it isn’t a medical problem, as each time her husband has fallen ill the weather has been exceptionally clear. He has has never fallen ill in rain or fog. Mr Barker works as an advisor for the government – why, they even have a special telephone line so the Prime Minister can reach him at any time, even though a page ago it was suggested he was only an investment banker – and she thinks he might be passing government secrets to the Kaiser; Germany is implied to be his homeland, as Holmes remarks on his ‘distinctly Germanic features in the car’. Two weeks ago, she saw someone signalling with lights from Mr Barker’s sick room. So he’s a secret German spy, dancing about in lederhousen when he’s meant to be sick.
Mary and Holmes travel to the house of the Barkers, where they notice that the house had a curious tower that correlates to a gap in the hills. Wow. Sounds a lot like the plot of Five Go to Smuggler’s Top. When they arrive at the mansion, the two are greeted by a large amount of dogs. Hurr hurr hounds hurr hurr I can make Sherlock Holmes references hurr. Holmes questions the servants, finding that the dogs eat a lot of bones, and while Mary chats to them finds some Clues: a splinter of black wood and half a dozen cigarette ends.
‘May I have a hint, please, Holmes?’
‘Russell, I am most disappointed. It is really quite simple.’
‘Elementary, in fact?’
oh that’s painful.
Anyway, the butler did it. Of course. He’s been sneaking bones to the dogs and tapping the phoneline. Explanations are for pussies. Holmes and Russell sit out all night, to wait for any sign of the servant, and some time after eleven Mary sees him and chases after him, disturbing all he dogs who then chase after her.
Mary, fearing that the miscreant might get away, grabs his leg which makes him fall down a flight of stone steps. She thinks she killed him, but her being arrested for manslaughter would finish the book. The butler is fine, only a few broken bones which counts as GBH and should see her imprisoned, and the day is saved.
It turns out, that while the Barkers were in New Guinea, the butler discovered a poison that never leaves the nervous system. The effect of the poison can only be blocked through the use of an antidote. Mr Barker would not receive his antidote, while his wife continued to be given her dose, and then fall ill so the butler could message Germany.
Doesn’t that mean that now the butler is arrested, the Barkers are just going to fall victim to the poison in their systems?
Mary then yells at all the dogs that they are very rude for treating agents of His Majesty this way, and I think this was a rather boring chapter.