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This parody appeared in the Cardiff Western Mail in 1894. As far as I am aware it has not been republished since then.

Image © Local World Limited



Sherlock Holmes Solves a Lincoln Mystery




One night I was returning from a journey to a patient, when my way led me through Baker-street. As I passed the well-remembered door, I was seized with a keen desire to see Holmes again. His rooms were brilliantly lit, and even as I looked up, I saw his tall spare figure pass twice in a dark silhouette against the blind.

He was pacing the room swiftly, eagerly, with his head sunk on his chest, and I knew that something must have disturbed him greatly, for he dearly loved his deep arm chair. It was a “Buoyant” which had caught his eyes when passing CURTIS AND MAWER’S windows in Silver-street some months before and he had bought it on the impulse – and never regretted the purchase.

I entered his study and with hardly a word spoken, but with a kindly eye, he waved me to the chair and passed across a box of cigars.

“Try these,” he said, “SHARMAN AND LONG’S told me they were good and after trying one I think you’ll agree with them – and with me, that never have you smoked a more excellent brand. Or you can try some of HIGGS’ tobacco in your pipe. It is a delightful blend.”

“Well,” I remarked, as I pocketed a cigar and filled my pipe and reclined at ease in the “Buoyant”, “why this agitated consternation?”


“I have broken my high power magnifying glass,” replied Holmes. “and BATTLES closed at seven.”

“Aren’t there any more opticians in the town?” I asked.

“There are – several – but I shall get a new one from BATTLES. I had had that one for years and it was far superior to any I had previously. You remember that little incident which you chronicled as “A Scandal in Bohemia”? I was defeated there by a woman – but I should not have been had I had a good glass to work with. Since buying my glass from BATTLES I have never been defeated in any case.”

There came a sudden ringing of the door bell.

“We have a visitor,” remarked Holmes, and a minute later the door burst open and a man entered. He looked about him anxiously in the glare of the lamp, and I could see that his face was pale and his eyes heavy, like those of a man who is weighed down with some great anxiety.

“Ah, come in,” welcomed Holmes. “Have you been losing some trains or mislaying a station?”

Our visitor started. “How did you know I was connected with the railway?” he asked in amazement.

Holmes laughed. “Merely by the fact that you are wearing a railwayman’s tie of bright red and that in your breast pocket is a handkerchief of vivid green. Apart from that and the facts that you are a Methodist, married, with a small child, and take a great pride in the manner in which you dress, I know nothing at all about you.”

“Marvellous,” exclaimed our visitor, “quite true, but how [….]?”

“Yes, Holmes,” I said, “I know your methods, but I am afraid you beat me this time.”

“Elementary! my dear Watson, elementary. Our visitor has a copy of ‘Joyful News’ sticking out of his coat pocket, traces of toffee apple on his cheek. I cannot think that our man indulges in the eating of toffee apples, ergo, a child is indicated – and I recognize your handsome fur gloves as coming from WINGAD’S and your coat from DIXON AND PARKER’S. By those last two indications I deduce that you take pride in your appearance. I always go to MR J.P. WINGAD in Silver-street for my gloves, and although I only wear an overcoat in the coldest weather, I have always bought them from DIXON AND PARKER’S. And that beautiful silk scarf could have come from nowhere except ARMSTRONG’S in Ballgate, I’ll warrant.

Ah! and I also see that you have been to PENNELL’S for your buttonhole, and I hope you’ll pardon me for saying it, but it is the finest specimen of Dianthus Caryophyllaceae I have seen for some time. I must persuade Mrs. Hudson, my landlady, to procure me some.

Well, well, to return to business, what is troubling you?”


Our visitor looked worried again.

“I fear we have lost our level-crossing gates,” he muttered, and sinking his head into his hands, he wept bitterly.

“Lost your level crossings?” I cried, “however could you lose level crossings?”

“They have been stolen, you mean?” queried my friend.

“Yes,” replied the sad man. “During the night, the gates – all four of them – were removed without a trace being left. Find them and we will give you anything you like – an engine, miles of lines, a signal box, or a case of fog signals – but find them, please. I have worked with them for years and have become quite attached to them.”

Holmes smiled. “If I find your gates for you – and I have no doubt that I shall find them – you can give me a sweet little oak bureau I saw in G.H. SHAW’S windows at 126, High-street. It is quite cheap, but I want it to file the data collected during my investigations in the case chronicled by my friend, Dr Watson, as “The case of the North Hykeham Builder.” Then I need not trouble you for any of your rolling stock or tunnels, but if I am successful, you may purchase for a young nephew of mine, a clockwork train, so long as you buy it at HARTWELL’S.”

“It’s a bargain,” said our visitor.



A pale moon shone down in the High-street and the metals of the railway lines shined silvery in its rays. As we neared the crossing, the figure of a woman approached from the opposite direction. Tall and dark and expensively dressed in a charming green dress under her green coat, with a small but becoming fur around her throat, she glided up to Holmes and whispered something in his ear. I could not catch what she said, but could only guess from my friend’s whistle of astonishment that her words had made an impression.

The woman glided away as silently as she had approached and we were left alone. What a witch! I thought.


My eyes followed her. “What wonderful clothes,” I remarked, “and how well she wears them.”

“True,” replied my friend. “that coat and dress came from C.J. FOX’S, and if ever I marry,  my wife will have all the clothes she wants – so long as she gets them from C.J.’s.”

Sherlock Holmes chuckled to himself as he thought of marriage. He, the greatest detective the world had ever known, married! Ha! ha! He chuckled again and slowly shook his head.

“You saw that fur she was wearing?” he asked me. “That came from HEBDON’S, on Monks-road. A marvelous piece of work – a genuine silver fox.

We proceeded on our way and halted at the level crossing, now looking oddly bare without its familiar gates.

Holmes dropped to his knees and closely examined the ground and the gate posts. Repeatedly he picked up small articles, only to drop them again with a gesture of annoyance. He had crawled halfway across the road when he suddenly [….ed] upon a number of small objects which he placed in an envelope. Then he straightened himself up and smilingly beckoned me to follow him.


We returned to Baker-street and Holmes seated himself in his arm chair, while I threw myself on a settee which Mrs Hilton Cubitt, whom he assisted in the case of the Dancing Men, had given to Holmes. In his own inimitable fashion he had demonstrated to me his proofs that this artistic and comfortable piece of furniture had come from CROSSLEY’S.

Holmes took out the envelope into which he had thrust the articles he had picked up, and tossed them out on to a small table of curious design which I congratulated myself on my powers of observation – I remembered to have seen in BAINBRIDGE’S window a few days previously. What I saw instantly brought to mind the case which I recorded as “The Adventure of the Five Orange Pips.” Here, however, on the table there were six pips.

“Six pips,” mused Holmes, as he sprayed a sweet smelling perfume over himself – He always did this when thinking out a case. Instead of injecting drugs as before. Drug injection was, I had pointed out to him, dangerous, and he had thereafter refrained from indulging in that rather foolish proceeding and had instead purchased from KEMP AND ELMITT’S a regular supply of Yardley’s perfume.

“Six pips,” muttered Holmes, “what do they remind you of, my friend?”

“The case of the Five Orange Pips,” I answered immediately.

“Yes, yes,” said Sherlock Holmes impatiently, “but don’t they call to your mind anything else?”

I thought for some minutes. Six pips? No, they conveyed nothing to me, and I very reluctantly had to confess this to Holmes, who saw in my ignorance some subtle joke, for he chuckled again.

“Enough of work for to-day,” he said. “Let us have some music. ASHLEY’S sent me a supply of new records to-day, and they are pretty good. You really must get one of their ‘Gilbert’ Gramophones, Watson. You know I’ve…”

“I have had one for nearly a month,” I retorted, for Holmes had advised me on several previous occasions to buy one of Ashley’s gramophones.

“Do you like it?” Holmes asked.

“Like it?” I retorted. “it’s ‘on’ whenever I am in the house.”

I put on a record and we spent the rest of the night in harmony, helped along by a box of chocolates which Holmes had had sent him from BEAN’S candy Stores in Sincil-street.



The following night Holmes and I set out on a tour of the city. What we were in search of I did not know, for Sherlock Holmes had not yet taken me into his confidence.

We went down many streets and into many passages and back yards, my friend making great use of a powerful electric torch, which he had that morning purchased from MR C.R. SPOUGE, on the Cornhill. It was an Ever Ready spotlight and cost only 7s, but it threw a brilliant beam of light for nearly a hundred yards. We had visited seven hundred and fifty-six back yards when I heard Holmes give an exclamation of delight and satisfaction.

“at last,” he murmured to himself, “at last. Our quest is ended. Come here, Watson, and listen. We both crept to a window and listened…

”That is the end of the programme of music given by Jack Payne and his B.B.C. dance orchestra. The weather and news will follow in approximately two minutes time.”

We slipped away in the gloom. Holmes whistling a snappy little piece called “Gorgonzola.”


“You see, Watson,” he explained the following night, as we sat over a glass of whisky and soda from WHITTON AND ASHLEY’S. “the whole thing was perfectly clear almost from the first.”

“I must confess I do not yet see a glimmer of light on the problem,” I replied with some natural impatience.

Holmes laughed. “You remember the six orange pips and the lady in green?”

“Yes,” I said, “but I still cannot see the significance of them.”

Sherlock Holmes looked at his watch. “Switch on the wireless,” he said.

“Wireless?” I queried. “I did not know you had a wireless.”

“I hadn’t until to-day,” Holmes remarked with a smile, “but after hearing that one last night, I called in to see MR S. WOODHEAD in the Exchange Arcade, and bought that portable you see there. Switch it on. The tone is marvellous.”

I turned the knob, but there was only silence for a few moments, and then, clearly over the ether cam the sound.

Pip! pip! pip! pip! pip! pip!

Six pips! How dense of me.

“The woman – the Green Witch – gave me the first clue, explained Holmes, “and immediately I saw the six pips I knew we had a wireless fiend to deal with. What should a wireless fiend want with level crossing gates? Obviously he wanted a pole for his aerial, and had taken the gates for that purpose. I must confess the long staves of the gates made an excellent aerial, and they are out of the way in that garden. I think I’ll let them stay there and tell our friend the railwayman that the gates have been collected by an American curio hunter, who has shipped them to the States. It might encourage the railway company to do away with the crossings altogether. I’ll buy the bureau from SHAW’s myself and send Mrs Hudson across to HALLIWELL’S for that clockwork train. I’ll tell her to bring it here so that we can see that it works alright, eh, Watson?”

“Good idea,” I returned, “but one thing is not yet clear, Holmes. What did that woman in green say to you?”

“Oh, she told me that if I wanted one of INKLEY’S pork pies for Christmas I would have to hurry, because there was such a demand for them.

The End

Lincolnshire Echo, 19 Dec 1930

Image reproduced with kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive (

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