In which the game is a foot
It was as the last century was dying down to its embers that I first encoutered Mister Sherlock Holmes. After the army and the first Gulf War I had been fortunate to get a job photographing crime scenes for the Metropolitan Police, following several aimless years during which I confess I had occasionally lapsed into a bleak depression from which I attempted to escape using alcohol and cheap sex.
The course of my work for the met often led me into the orbit of the man who was to become my colleague and flatmate at 221B Baker Street, the man who would have such a great influence on my future life and career.
It was a Sunday, and the weather miserable, and I had returned home on the tube from a brisk walk in Hyde Park that had not been as brisk as I intended it to be when I got the call to go to Soho.
A man found beaten about the head with a blunt instrument and pronounced dead at the scene was nothing out of the ordinary in my experience of Soho in the 1990s. What was uncommon was the scene in the flat, up three flights of stairs off the nearby highstreet, had been found to contain whips, chains, fetish wear and sex aids of every colour, shape and description.
I had no idea then that the lurid PVC tones of those implements would prove not to be nearly as colourful as the self-styled “private detective” in the antiquated coat and hat combination who I found already at the location leering over the shoulder of Inspector Martinez of the Metropolitan Police force, who was already known to me.
“Got a good one for you,” smiled Martinez grimly as he ushered me in.
“Holmes? He’s alright. Got the authority from top brass.”
I was surprised. “That’s irregular – bloody hell.” I had just glimpsed the great collection of sex toys on display in the flat.
“Who’s the victim?”
“Journalist,” said Martinez. “The chief wants us to tread softly on this one. Apparently he was, what you’d call, connected.”
“Well, we’d better have a look at this corpse then.”
“No stiff dick jokes, please,” observed Holmes, icily…