4th June, No Comments
By John Watson
How this came about remains a matter of some dispute. A certain Aubrey B Watson, LDS, FDS, D.Orth. held a number of documents that came into his possession via his late uncle, Dr John F Watson, whom he says was a Doctor of Philosophy at All Saints College, Oxford. This itself is very puzzling as there is no All Saints College at Oxford although there is an All Souls College.
His uncle, whom I can assure you is in no way related to me, made a study of my life and background because of our similar names, and, his nephew insists, became an authority on me, though I can find no record of this. However, a lady called Adeline MacWhirter, approached the said uncle, saying she was related to me on my mother’s side, though again I cannot confirm this as my mother had passed away in Australia before I returned to England after being invalided out of the Army.
MacWhirter apparently told this other Dr Watson that she had inherited my old battered tin dispatch box, the one I mentioned in The Problem of Thor Bridge, which I had deposited at my bank, Cox and Company at their branch at 16 Charing Cross. I have regretted on many occasions mentioning this fact as too many people have alluded to this treasure chest as the source of their many fanciful stories about Holmes and I. She told this Dr Watson she had inherited the box and believing her to be honest and respectable, he bought the box for an undisclosed but apparently large sum in 1939.
Dr Watson says he made copies of all the originals for safe-keeping and deposited the dispatch box at his own bank. This bank, he says, received a direct hit “in 1942, at the height of the Blitz” and the box’s contents were destroyed. Again, some of these details imply some doubt as to the validity of the claims as the Blitz in the Second World was was from 7 September 1940 to 10 May 1941. Also, it is not clear to which bank he is referring as my dispatch box was safe in the vaults of Cox and Co, which incidentally, merged with Lloyds Bank in 1923, the year after The Problem of Thor Bridge was published in The Strand magazine.
It is from these “copies” that Thomson has published in this latest selection of cases entitled The Secret Archives of Sherlock Holmes.
They include following cases:
- The Conk-Singleton Forgery
- The Stray Chicken
- The One-Eyed Colonel
- The Three-Handed Widow
- The Pentre Mawr Murder
- The Missing Belle Fille, and
- The Watchful Waiter
Those of you who are familiar with my stories will know that the Conk-Singleton forgery case was around the time of the case of The Six Napoleons so I can confirm that some of the details of this case are correct.
Again those of you who are familiar with my stories are aware, I do not as a matter of policy, confirm or deny the validity of any stories purporting to be details of actual cases that Holmes was involved in as that might betray confidences that I have sworn to maintain. All I can say is that if you read the details of these seven cases you will find them as one other reviewer has put it “properly detailed and convincing, the dialogue natural, and the narrative style fluent and immaculate” as if they were, in fact, written by yours truly.
Have a read yourself and see if you agree . . .
The other books produced by June Thomson include the following which are all being produced as new editions this year:
- Holmes and Watson
- The Secret Journals of Sherlock Holmes
- The Secret Documents of Sherlock Holmes
- The Secret Notebooks of Sherlock Holmes