BOOK REVIEW – STEVE PERRY – THE CASE OF THE WAVY DAGGER 2003 Ballantine Press.
Short horror story in Michael Reaves & John Pelan’s collection Shadows Over Baker Street.
During a visit to New York, Sherlock Holmes laments not being able to take along his favourite tobaccos, but accepts that he Americans have some fine substitute smoking materials for his pipe. While Watson sleeps, Holmes realizes that a young woman is observing him from the shadows in his hotel room. He calls her out to talk with him. She steps forward.
Holmes quickly tells the young attractive lady that she is from Bali, and that she is a priestess of an obscure cult, seeking something lost, and possibly stolen. Far from being impressed by his logic, as most people would be, she casually tells him how he drew such conclusions, notably her accent, and mannerism, and how she presents herself. That she seeks him must be because of something important, and it must involve theft to draw her to America from Bali.
As they play word games, with Holmes clearly enraptured by the young, somewhat dangerous woman, who knows martial arts, and many ways to kill, her story comes out. She bears a rare wavy blade that appears to be one of a pair. She declares that the blades are essential in killing a powerful Cthulhu entity called Black Naga, as one blade must claim each of its two hearts. She now admits that she knows Holmes himself has the second blade. She had traced it to Moriarty, to find that Holmes had claimed many of his archenemy’s artefacts after the death of Moriarty.
Holmes freely gives her the second knife and she leaves. Watson hears her go and Holmes assures him that he must have been dreaming to hear her voice. He decides that this is one story Watson should not share through his reports. (The story is not told through Watson’s eyes as many Holmes stories were told, and the story plays well on that).
The story is a thriller about the missing knife, as the Black Naga is never seen, though Holmes seems to have no doubts as to its reality.
© Copyright. Arthur Chappell
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