With the Case of The Seven League Chimney Flue now at our backs, Professor Pi and I turned our pensive steps to home. It had been a demanding case, both as an intellectual puzzle and as an emotional calliope. Lady Lydia Van Lilithann, famed tattooed balloonist and explorer, had once again entered Pi’s life like a tigress. She was the only woman to leave marks on the Great Intellect’s heart and mind, for her breath-taking beauty was only matched by her courage and intellect.
I knew, even as we tread down the mist laden street, his thoughts were turning to her last words before she had allowed herself to be carried by the fierce updraft to a fate unknown,…. “ Remember my dear Professor, when I get low, I get high”.
Pausing before the door of 237 C Dough Maker Street, he gave a rueful smile, “ Even Old Carnacki and Charlie Fort would have found this one a real skull cracker. It is right up there with the Curious Case of The Rower, The Bull and the Missing Man with the Dustbin, don’t you think ? ”
“Only The Uncanny Cane Toad and The Green Monkey’s Kiss comes close to matching it.”
With that we entered our lodgings and base of operations, little knowing what would soon await us ……..
………And so began Shadows’ Speakeasy of Death.
A Note on Processes and inspirations: 1) During a CBC Radio interview ( Listen Here ) of Zach Dundas ( The Great Detective ) about Sherlock Holmes , Dundas comments about the unpublished mysteries that Watson mentioned in the narrative. The strange and suggestive titles of cases not yet ready for the world to know and how they generated or extended the fictional universe.
2) The interview also brought to mind the various interpretations of Holmes and the other fictional characters influenced and connected to him. Steampunk aesthetic owns a great deal of its characteristics to Doyle’s writing. The whole pulp and comic book hero trope/archetype can be seen growing out of much of Holmes persona. There is also the whole Wold Newton shared universe which builds on the idea that Holmes stories are true and that other fictional characters share a familial meta-fictional lineage.
3) In that woolly frame of mind I listened to online music and read a variety of blogs. While reading a couple of very interesting posts on Derrick Knight’s blog , a couple of his intriguing tales brought to mind potential mystery stories and possible titles. Those titles appear in this post and link to his accounts of his life present & past. Do visit and enjoy them.
4) I added some Victorian & Edwardian touches references, the fictional occult detective Carnacki the Ghost Finder and the real journalist & documenter of the odd & strange anomalies Charles Fort are referenced & linked. For the illustrations in this post, I imagined them belonging to The Casebook of Professor Pi . As with real books from the era, they come captioned with lines from various stories collected in that publication. Hopefully this surreal exercise in imaginary fiction brought you a smile and chuckle or two.
He woke up next to an empty teacup. His mouth was as fuzzy as his memory. He looked around at the room, a dog’s breakfast of broken furniture pieces, scattered papers and a flipped battered filing cabinet. Whoever they were, they had been looking for answers. It left a grumbling dread in his stomach to match the taste in his mouth – ashes of kisses and regrets as smokey as a Turkish rug after a fire sale.
He shouldn’t have been surprised. He had been gnawing away at the clues for days, while his gut said it was as simple as a little black dress and red lipstick. Every lead had him running in circles and tailed by shadowy guys trying to collar him with the goods. All he had to show for it was the fading scent of perfume that lingered like midnight moonshine, and an ache in his heart that was a dusty spider web of pain that clung on past yesterday’s bitter black coffee. It was all there in the stark grey light of morning, if he didn’t bring her in and retrieve the jewels today, he would have the biscuit.
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Playing with some random shots of book-case shelves, I blended them with a tropical screen composition. They are aptly called the Paper Jungle pieces.
Note that the title, The Moon Pool, is very visible in the second image. The novel, by Abraham Merritt (1884–1943), is considered a classic example of the early science-fantasy or science-romance genre that laid the foundation of science fiction and would inspire H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos. Remnants of a lost civilization in the Pacific islands guard a terrible metaphysical creature, The Dweller in the Moon Pool.
Merritt’s two short stories “The Moon Pool” (1918) and its sequel, “Conquest of the Moon Pool” (1919) originally appeared in All-Story Weekly .
Merritt then reworked them into a novel released in 1919. The various covers for the book reflect the times and perceived target audience for the novel. Most covers are typically pulpy, suggesting sex (while the narrative actually portrays a very chaste romance), exotic or strange realms and all sorts of adventurous action. Notice both the 70s cover on the left and the 40s on the right feature the beautiful white female in exotic undress and amphibian bipedal figures. The girl from the 40s wears some sort of knitted swim suit and is in need of rescuing by manly men. The lady on the 70s cover is more exotic and seems to be in command , ordering the guard/warrior creature as she surveys the exotic landscape. Different expectations for a different generation of readers.
Interestingly, the cover of the novel (1993) that I have in my possession , appears to better represent another one of Merritt’s works, The Snake Mother (1930).
Besides the above links, which provide more information, you can read the novel online or if you prefer, listen to it from Librivox. Both are free; many of Merritt’s works are available for free online.
Here is the latest model of a Raygun Television done in the retro-classic Raygun Gothic style. Note the blend of metal & wood with the rustic charm of the digital future. This model comes with High definition 4D capabilities for the most rapid online matter transfer shopping. You can have the future today & yesterday all at the same time with multi-channel recording & doppelgänger settings. Schroedinger setting allows you to observe the show when you are not there . Security features ensure that inter-dimensional spam is filtered out and Cthulhu fields are blocked.