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29th December 2005

The Case of the Missing Magneto - Part 3

John Whapshott and Graham Staples bring you the final part of the Herlock Sholmes adventure. Can they regain the Magneto?

We caught a hansom cab (with a handsome driver) to the darkest part of London where tenements loomed either side of dripping alleys and [You've done this already. Ed.] and made our way to the emporium, where we found Mori writing out fraudulent descriptions of the velocipedes.

'Where do you get this appalling misinformation from?' demanded Sholmes.

'This amusing periodical,' replied Mori, indicating a copy of RealRustbuckets.

'I say!' expostulated Whitworth. 'All the information in there is thoroughly researched and checked by teams of experts working night and day to ensure the highest accuracy.' At this moment, Sholmes experienced a severe coughing fit.

'It is time!' he said after he had recovered.

'Time?' I enquired.

'Behold!' said Sholmes, indicating the emporium's entrance.

A crowd of well-dressed, eager-looking men were making their way into the den of antiquity.

'Mr Sholmes?' one enquired.

'It is indeed I,' he said. 'Seek!'

Without further ado, the crowd surged into a far corner of the emporium. They tugged at a hidden trapdoor in the floor, and descended into a room below, from which came a huge cheer.

'How did you know?' gasped Mori, who had turned as white as Michael Jackson after a police raid.

'Simple,' replied Sholmes. 'These men are magneto restorers. They can sniff out a magneto at a distance of several miles. I merely told them that there was one hidden somewhere on these premises.'

'It is here, Mr Sholmes!' said one of the crowd, who had returned from the depths of the emporium. He held aloft the missing magneto exultantly.

'My magneto!' gasped Whitworth. 'So my idea - '

'You see, gentlemen,' said Sholmes loudly. 'I have located the missing magneto due to my brilliant deductive skills, and my ingenious idea of alerting London's community of magneto restorers.'

'Your idea?' gasped Whitworth. 'But I - '

'And now,' continued Sholmes, 'I shall return the magneto to its rightful owner.' He took the magneto and with a flourish handed it to a speechless Whitworth. 'Five thousand pounds to you,' said Sholmes to Whitworth.

'Five effing grand?' said Whitworth in a high voice. 'But I shall have to sell a velocipede to raise that!'

'Worth every penny!' said Sholmes to the dejected editor.

Mori was arrested by the police, and charged with the theft of a magneto, and holding it to ransom for an unfeasibly large sum of money. However, as the judge remarked, if everyone who did that were to be found guilty, there would be no-one left to restore motorised velocipedes. Mori was instructed by His Honour U Canbribeme to return to conducting Poles, to live a blameless life and, most importantly, not to forget to post the money in the brown envelopes to His Honour every month.

And Whitworth was a happy manAnd Whitworth was a happy man. When Sholmes returned a few weeks later with several copies of RealRustbuckets secreted beneath his coat, there was a picture on the front of a beaming Whitworth seated aboard the Motorised Miracle, and inside was a long article about the machine, with a full description of its wondrous characteristics, and how it felt to push it ten miles home after it had exploded.

Back at Shaker Street, I had one question to ask.

'I have one question to ask,' I said.

'Ask away, my dear doctor,' said Sholmes.

'How did Mori steal the magneto?'

'Simple,' said Sholmes, snorting cocaine. 'You remember that an urchin wheeled the Motorised Miracle to Mr Whitworth's Shed?'

'Indeed I do,' I said, injecting heroin.

'That urchin was in fact Mori in disguise!' said Sholmes, tripping on LSD.

'Sholmes! You are a master of deduction!' I exclaimed, smoking a joint.

'Naturally,' he remarked, sniffing glue.

'One final question, if I may,' I added.

'Of course,' said Sholmes.

'All these recent events have rather addled my brain,' I confessed. 'You see, I have a patient who is having problems with his gastrointestinal tract, and I cannot for the life of me think of its alternative name.'

Sholmes smiled knowingly.

'Alimentary, my dear Jotson!'

'Alimentary, my dear Jotson!'


Our author, John Whapshott, would like to give grateful acknowledgments (or is that apologies?) to Charles Hamilton for his inspiration.

Splendid illustrations especially drawn by Geoff Staples


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