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Welcome to Monday Murder Mystery where we gather each week to talk about mysteries.  The series is open to discussion of all mysteries, and all genres of mysteries are welcome, be they the coziest of the cozy style or the most cold blooded of the police procedurals.

Diarists are invited to share their thoughts on any book, series, author or mystery genre.  If you would like to contribute, please include your subject and date in the comments, or send a private message to Susan from 29.

Because it is hard to discuss a mystery without revealing the ending, please use the comment section for that discussion, with the word "Spoiler" prominent in the topic line.  Those who don't want to know the ending can set their Comment Preference to SHRINK and individually expand those comments without the warning.

Something different this time.  Susan's letting me step in this week to present an item deep from the catacombs of my files:  a retelling of a classic tale of detection, done in verse.

Not exactly a gigantic hound.  Just a bit of doggerel.

The Hound of the Baskervilles

Sir Charles Baskerville was found
Near footsteps of a giant hound.
Apparently he died of fright
Upon the moor that lonely night.
What hellish fiend would want to kill
The kindly Charles Baskerville?
Did an ancestral demon dog
Pursue Sir Charles through the fog?
The path to truth may seem quite rocky;
But the mystery is most Sherlocky.

* * * * *

Holmes, when the legend he had heard
Did not believe a single word.
"The tale is but a work of fiction
And fiends beyond my jurisdiction;
But if the Devil's work may be
Performed through human agency
I'll trace the plot, unmask the plotter
And Scotland Yard will nail the rotter."

* * * * *

Henry Baskerville has come
Back to his ancestral home.
Tailed by foes; without a clue;
On top of that, he's lost a shoe!
A note does naught to reassure,
And warns of straying on the moor.
Holmes ponders these -- or do you doubt me?
Tells Watson, "You go on without me."

* * * * *

While Holmes stays home with other labors,
Watson checks on Henry's neighbors.
Barrymore's the creepy butler;
His wife's sorrow's something subtler.
Stapelton collects butterflies
And watches sis with jealous eyes.
Beryl fears for Henry's body
(Henry thinks she's quite the hottie)
Skulls are Mortimer's obsession;
Frankland's is legal transgression.
Watson notes each neighbors' quirks,
While on the moor a convict lurks.
This case has meat; at least some gristle;
As Watson notes in each epistle.

* * * * *

Someone signals with a light
In the manor late at night.
With a candle, Barrymore
Sends a message; but what for?
"I can explain," the butler hisses:
"The fugitive's kin of my Missus!
She loves him, tho' he be a felon,
And wants to save him from his cell in
Dartmoor, whence he lately fled."
"Oh, what the hey," Sir Henry said.
He pities wretched Mrs. B;
But can he help her? "Well, we'll see."

* * * * *

Someone's watching from the tor,
The hill that overlooks the moor.
Could there be unholy doin's
In those prehistoric ruins?
Watson, sick of merely loitering
Ventures for some reconnoitering.
He finds a lately lived-in hut
And grimly draws his pistol, but--
He's checked by a familiar cry:
"Come right on in, old friend! 'Tis I!"
Holmes was in the ruins lurking
Instead of back in London working;
Better he could thus observe.
Watson says "You've got some nerve!"
His saintly patience starts to fissure.
"I oughta sock you in the kisser!"

* * * * *

Holmes' reunion is truncated
By a wailing unabated
Of a hellish hound a-baying;
And the man on whom it's preying.
Holmes and Watson give pursuit;
And they find a dead galloot!
"Good Lord!" cries Watson, much appalled;
"Sir Henry Baskerville's been mauled!"
"Chill out," says Holmes, "and cease your racket.
'Tis someone else in Henry's jacket!"
The coat was one Henry did give
To Mrs. B for the fugitive;
An act of kindness gone astray;
The convict Seldon dead doth lay.

* * * * *

Before more danger can befall,
Holmes returns unto the hall.
Tells Watson: "Stapelton's our man!
I've guessed the whole nefarious plan!
Stapelton's a Baskerville
And shall inherit in the will
Should any sad and tragic end
Befall our client and our friend.
He's the sinister galloot
Who stole Sir Henry's missing boot;
The stolen footwear clearly meant
To give the hell-hound Henry's scent.
The sister Henry wants to date
In truth is Stapelton's own mate;
And this most malicious rat is
Lying 'bout her legal status
For to lead our love-sick sap
Into an unromantic trap."
"You've solved the mystery!" Watson cries.
Holmes says: "Alas, 'tis but surmise
On theory based and not on fact;
We have to catch him in the act!"

* * * * *

Holmes says, "We're going back to London"
(A move which leaves poor Henry wond'rin')
He gives Henry a lame excuse;
But tells Watson 'tis but a ruse
To catch the villain off his guard;
"I've summoned friends from Scotland Yard!
I've laid my plans and set my nets;
We'll meet Lestrade as evening sets."

That night, Sir Henry, just for fun,
Has dinner with the Stapletons.
He comes home late, as Holmes was sure,
And walks alone upon the moor.
He hears a growl! A keening wail!
The hellish hound is on his tail!
Holmes emerges from the fog
And shoots the diabolic dog!
"A spawn of hell this puppy ain't!
Just dabbed with phosphorescent paint!"
Stapelton's lost his killer pup
And realizes the jig is up.
He flees into the murky fen
And nevermore is seen again.

The case is solved; Sir Henry saved;
The villain in a boggy grave.
Holmes, to Watson's fascination,
Explains his ratiocination.
A tale the heart with wonder fills:
The Hell-Hound of the Baskervilles.

Poll

Since I've mangled Sherlock Holmes, which is your favorite Holmsian pastiche?

3%1 votes
3%1 votes
16%5 votes
3%1 votes
3%1 votes
9%3 votes
51%16 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
9%3 votes

| 31 votes | Vote | Results

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