Above its domes the gulfs accumulate.
Far up, the sea-gales blare their bitter screed:
But here the buried waters take no heed—
Deaf, and with welded lips pressed down by weight
Of the upper ocean. Dim, interminate,
In cities over-webbed with somber weed,
Where galleons crumble and the krakens breed,
The slow tide coils through sunken court and gate.
From out the ocean’s phosphor-starry dome,
A ghostly light is dubitably shed
On altars of a goddess garlanded
With blossoms of some weird and hueless vine;
And, wingéd, fleet, through skies beneath the foam,
Like silent birds the sea-things dart and shine.
Atlantis (1912) – Clark Ashton Smith
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interview ( Listen Here ) of Zach Dundas ( The Great Detective ) about Sherlock Holmes , Dundas comments about the unpublished mysteries that Watson mentioned in the narrative.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.