Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Scarlet Blush Conclusion

Part 1 is here.

"A 'newfangled apple' after all, Watson," Holmes said, looking up from the bowl of fruit before him. "With the outlandish name of Zest Star."

"But how did you know to contact Mr. Athay?" I asked, for it was from the grower himself that we learned the name of the cultivar that had borne my mysterious apples.

"That was elementary, Watson," Holmes told me. "Apples are a popular English food, but just two farms at the market grow the early apples. Douglas's only grows Williams' Prides, for which these could scarcely be mistaken, so I sent a message care of Athay's London agent." He sniffed. "I did not expect Mr. Athay to come in person."

Richard Athay had indeed only just left, after offering apologies and a basket of Zest Stars--which he called "Zestars."

"Well, o' course I know what I grow, Mr. Holmes!" the farmer had told us over a dish of tea. "The boy should attend to his work and know 'is apples. I'll learn him summat." He refused payment for the apples or his trouble, telling me as he left, "Tea with Mr. Sherlock Holmes repays all. Not every day do I speak to the greatest bee-man in Christendom."

"Bees, Holmes?" I asked later, as Mrs. Hudson came in with the post. It was my first inkling of the great detective's apiarian accomplishments.

My friend made an indistinct noise as he reached for a letter opener. "I have written several monographs on the subject," he said.

"Still, the man seemed not to know that he was drinking tea with--"

"Watson," Holmes interjected in a low tone, an opened letter clutched in his left hand. "Have you your revolver with you? Is it loaded?"

"Why yes, Holmes, but what--"

"Come then, Watson," he said, rising and reaching for his cape. "There is not a moment to be lost."

Public-domain illustration by Sidney Paget originally published in the Strand Magazine (1893).


  1. I loved your mystery story and would love to try those apples and meet Holmes and Watson!!

  2. Thank you! I am gratified whenever anyone reads this pastiche, which according to my web logs is not often.

    I doubt anyone actively scours the Internet for Holmes stories about apples, so you must have found it by browsing my blog.

    That puts you in the ranks of my most discriminating readers.

  3. I also loved the Holmes story as well as your detailed descriptions of the various apple varieties!

  4. Mary, thank you! I really was in the dark about the true identity of this variety, and it seemed only logical somehow to refer the mystery to a higher authority.

  5. Holmes, you never cease to amaze me!

    1. I'm a big fan of Sherlock Holmes & Apples! Thanks for a great story. I shall have to look in my Big Book of Holmes stories, supposed to be complete. So Many! Thanks for an illuminating tale of the mysterious apple*

    2. Rebecca, this time of year, with so many apples to find in so many orchards, I find myself thinking, "The game is afoot!"

  6. This was truly a beautiful story. (slow clap) Found this blog after looking about grimes golden, which I picked recently from an orchard, and have been rather interested in all of the different types. Also, only like the 2nd time I've heard mention of the Blue Permain

    1. I hope you found my Grimes review. I think it is even better than Golden Delicious, its putative offspring.


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