Being named after a famous figure from history was always going to weigh heavily on my shoulders. Sherlock. I mean, who these days calls their kid Sherlock? Well, back in the 1960s. OK, that proves my point.
You see my parents were fans of literature and they had everything that Sir Arthur had written; signed first editions included. I was torn when they died as to what to do with them. The books, that is, not my parents. I had a choice: keep them, let them gather dust, and work full-time or sell them and live comfortably. Yes, you can guess what I did. Besides, with them filling almost every bookcase in the house it meant I wasn’t tripping over stuff. OK, slight exaggeration but I like a lived-in-but-neat-and-tidy existence, plus submitting stories to competitions doesn’t come cheap. Yeah, I’m a literature fan too.
What I hadn’t expected going through it all was finding Sir Arthur’s journals. All handwritten, and signed. Bit egotistical if you ask me – like he knew they’d be worth something one day. Maybe they already were. Who knows? Sir Arthur, I suppose. I must admit that I did get rather excited when I found them, stuffed rather irreverently in an old shoe box. Well, I say ‘old’ not as old as the journals. 1950s judging by the brand, lettering etc. Felt a bit like a detective myself. Figure my namesake would have been proud. Anyway, these journals, were a bit of a shock. Didn’t think my parents had been that wealthy, being one-offs and all that.
Then the biggest shock was when I sat down and read them. Took me a while, a few days actually, and… I still can’t believe it even now.
That Sherlock had a child. With Irene Adler. I did think at the time “why didn’t she tell him?” but then felt stupid because they’re just fictional characters. Then I started putting two and two together, and it made me wonder why Sir Arthur had written it in the journals but then not acted on it. You know, written another story about it. He wasn’t Sherlock’s biggest fan, he’d tried to kill him off, so this bit of unwed scandal would have been easy. Up the ratings as well for sure.
So I did a bit of digging online. The internet in the 90s wasn’t as forthcoming as it would be now, so I didn’t find anything. But then I wouldn’t, would I? They were only in his journals. But I wondered why he’d put anything at all. It wasn’t until I re-read those passages that a pattern started forming, like a coded message. Now I knew Sherlock would have been proud of me. Well, probably not given the circumstances, especially if he didn’t know he was a dad.
But when I’d finally worked it out, there it was in black and white. A name. Sherlock’s love child, I think Sir Arthur’s too… Irene, same name as Miss Adler… same as my grandmother.
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