Tag-Archive for » Mystery «

New release and New pre-order

The Invisible Amateur is out this Friday! If you haven’t pre-ordered the ebook yet you can do so here and make sure that you get yourself a copy as soon as it’s midnight! Only two and a half days to go.

TheFemaleCharmMediumThe fourth book in the Mycroft Holmes Adventures series is also now available to pre-order here and will be released on February 13th next year. Less than three months away!

Here’s a blurb:

Politics is Mycroft’s focus for the moment, but it calls him to Scotland, somewhere very much outside of London. When Sherlock refuses to help and instead enlists Amelia, Mycroft has to decide if his personal amateur is up to the task.

Despite all the scrapes and bruises, Amelia is still willing to learn from the Holmes brothers, but these latest lessons are on a whole new level. Does she have the skills she needs to survive? And is she really prepared for being in the Holmes world?

I’ve also almost finished the first drafts of 5 and 6 in the series and can confirm both will be out next year. Hopefully around early May and mid July respectively.

NaNoWriMo 2015: Update 1

I know I’m only a few days into NaNoWriMo but here’s an update of where I’m at so far.

Somehow in only two days I’ve managed to get about a third of the way into Mycroft 5. Still not a clue what the title is but I’ll probably figure that out soon.

As often happens my character’s keep surprising me and even themselves. Amelia turned out to be claustraphobic and it turns out Mycroft and Sherlock can sort of work together, but there’s evidently some history there I don’t know about yet. Daniels, the chauffeur, is also even more awesome than even Mycroft realised, and I even discovered that Mycroft does have a sense of humour! Who knew!

Research wise I plotted one heck of a route thanks to google maps. One of the most amazing tools as a quick way to be able to explain places. I honestly don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have access to such a detailed map of pretty much everywhere in the world. Here’s a link for those interested. Yup Russia is involved.

Over the next week I want to get this novella finished so I can take a day off to plot the next one, as I have no idea what happens except for a few series related scenes. It does sorta need its own plot as well. After that we’ll see. I’d like to be about this far into the next one in two weeks time, maybe a little further. It all depends exactly what trouble Amelia gets herself into between now and then!

Two New Pre-orders: Fantasy boxset and Mycroft 3

So today I’ve got some very exciting news because there’s not one, but two more publications up for pre-order.

Legacy promoLegacy is out on Nov 12th as the very pretty picture says! That’s just over two weeks away. Not only is Wandering to Belong one of the favourite fantasy stories I’ve written but it’s also with 9 other great stories and all of them for only 99c/99p! You can pre-order in the US here and in the UK here. There are some really awesome stories in this set, including a full trilogy so don’t miss out on the bargain.

TheInvisibleAmateur_mediumAlso available to pre-order and being released a month today is the third ebook in the Mycroft Holmes Adventures series.

You can pre-order the ebook on Amazon here. If you haven’t yet read the first book in the series, that’s also on offer at the moment and is only 99c/99p! You can pick up a copy of that one here, and the second book is available here.

Finding My World: A Review

This is the second book I’ve read by Chris Ward as is in a very different genre to the first one, The Tube Riders, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.

Finding My WorldI can safely say I adored this story. I was dragged into the characters from the beginning and despite Jack’s very immature and often bafflingly dumb behaviour (I don’t think I’ll ever entirely understand boys) I adored him. The characters were definitely very flawed and I’m not sure I’d have normally read a book with quite so much delinquent behaviour in it but I’m glad I read this one.

The romance was wonderful, none of the falling in love far too fast problems that a lot of romances have. It was a good speed and for good reasons that made the book seem so much more real and believable.

I also really liked the rest of the plot that surrounded the love interests and their lives. They fell in love while they were trying to do life rather than it consuming them in a way that life rarely allows. There was just the right blend of action, romance, and mystery and I hope the author writes more books in this genre.

All in all a great romance and an interesting plot. Another of my recommended reads, although it does contain some lightly described sex scenes and light swearing, so not everyone’s cup of tea.

A Mug’s Game: A Review

I was given a copy of this ebook by the author, C. D. Swanson, in exchange for my review.

A Mug's GameThis book started of very intriguing, and had a very interesting main character. It’s a bit of a mystery/thriller type book and has some elements of science fiction with the references to advanced video gaming. I found the way of building suspense by withholding information rather than letting events build tension to grate on me a little. I’d have kept turing the pages anyway even if I’d known more, but it was only a minor irritation.

Character wise there were some really interesting and diverse characters and I liked the main character and how he wrestled with what was right and necessary. The detectives were a little stereotypical but otherwise fine as well.

I had a few problems with the formating and there were quite a few spelling mistakes still in the text, which was surprising for a book that appears to have a publishing company behind it. The first letter in each chapter was englarged and apart from one chapter the third line didn’t indent to make room for it so it covered up some words. There was also one strange bit in the third or fourth chapter where a sentence was all jumbled, then there was a gap and then the next sentence was in a completely different font.

All in all, not a bad book, although I’m not sure exactly what genre to call it. I’d read the author again but I’m not sure I think much of the publisher.

Sneak Peak: The Unexpected Coincidence

I’ve been working on a bunch of different things lately, trying to get back into the zone of writing and I thought I’d share the first chapter of the 2nd novella in the Mycroft Holmes Adventures series.

Mycroft took another sip of his tea from the delicate china cup Mrs Wintern had provided. It would have tasted perfect if it wasn’t for the lingering smell of formaldehyde. Sherlock’s flat never smelt normal at the best of times but his younger brother had a case and was experimenting on some severed body parts.

“It’s not that bad,” Sherlock said, disturbing him from his thoughts.

“What’s not?”

“Having to look over a crime scene for yourself.”

“Apparently not. You seem to enjoy it,” Mycroft replied, not sure whether to be relieved that his younger brother hadn’t read his current thoughts or annoyed that Sherlock had figured out the real reason he was there.

It had been a week since Mycroft had realised his own people were too incompetent to do what he needed and still he hadn’t gone himself. Coming to see Sherlock was always his last resort. Most of the time his younger brother was only too eager to go take a look at a crime scene or evaluate a suspect but Mycroft had found him in the middle of his own case.

Since Mycroft’s abduction along with Amelia Jones Sherlock had changed his tune a little. His younger brother seemed to think it was good for Mycroft to be in the thick of the action. He, however, felt as he always had, that it was far too much effort when he could get someone else to do it for him.

“You could get Amelia to do it?” Sherlock plonked himself down in the armchair opposite Mycroft. He had a smug grin on his face. He put his cup down on the nearby tray to buy him a few seconds to compose his voice.

“And why would I ask her? She’s hardly suitable for the task.”

“She’d be perfect. I’ve taught her plenty and I’m sure she’d love to help you catch the people who took both you and her. I’m sure the event was more traumatic for her than you, even with your aversion to getting physically involved.”

“Which is exactly why I would never involve her further. The last thing I need is a woman’s emotions clouding a delicate situation. And besides, I’ve not even seen her since. It’s not as if we’re even acquainted.” Mycroft rolled his eyes and hoped his brother would drop the subject. He didn’t want to talk about Amelia. Every time she was brought up he ran the risk of giving something away about their arrangement and it was bad enough that Amelia spoke to Sherlock often.

“Then I can ask her. I’m sure she won’t mind.” Sherlock grinned and got up again to go back to the kitchen table which was covered in laboratory equipment.

“No, she won’t have the time. She starts another book tour tomorrow and they have her signing all over the country. It seems the new book is a big hit.”

“So you’ve been keeping an eye on her then,” Sherlock said as he stared down the microscope lens.

“Of course. She’s an acquaintance of yours. For her safety I thought it best.”

“Perfect,” Sherlock muttered under his breath right before taking the specimen out from under the light. “I’m sure it has nothing to do with the novel, does it brother of mine. The one she re-wrote for you. I suppose you feel she ought to be thanking you considering how well it’s selling.”

“Nothing of the sort. I only know that part because she seems to have charmed Daniels.” Mycroft let out an exasperated sigh. “Every time I come back to the car he’s got one of her books in his hands.”

“Well, she is very charming. But if we’re done here. My case is waiting and I really have a lot to do.” Sherlock put his hand out towards the door and gave his brother another brief smile.

It was fake, and Mycroft knew he’d outstayed his welcome. With another sigh that was a last attempt to sway Sherlock into helping he got up and nodded his parting.

“Have a good day, brother of mine, and try not to cause an international incident,” Sherlock said as Mycroft was part way through the door. He rolled his eyes and ignored the jibe. It was meant to annoy him and he wasn’t going to give his brother the satisfaction of seeing his success. But it wasn’t the only part of their discussion that irked him. Sherlock had focused on Amelia much more than Mycroft was comfortable with and even worse, he was going to have to look over the house himself. He’d gone to Baker Street for nothing.

When he stepped outside the sun was shining and helped to take the chill off the late November air, but he knew the wind had a bite to it that reminded everyone it wouldn’t be long until Christmas. Not wanting to be out in such cold when wearing nothing but his favourite suit, he took several quick steps to the car and the door Daniels already had open for him.

“Back home, sir?” the chauffeur asked once he was back behind the wheel.

“No, Moffat Road in Thornton Heath. Number eighty-nine. And try to avoid traffic. I want this dealt with as swiftly as possible.”

“Of course, sir.”

Mycroft gazed out the window as his driver did his best to wind through the traffic and ensure it didn’t take too long to get to their destination. For a few minutes he let the details he picked up from the passers by go through his mind, noticing a young woman evidently having an affair and two teenagers who were about to try and rob a local shop. He knew they wouldn’t succeed or he might have got out his phone and sent a quick text to the chief of police.

When the people in the streets failed to keep his interest he re-focused his thoughts to business. Since his little adventure with Amelia, where both had been abducted from the Thames barrier in Silvertown, he’d been trying to track down the terrorist group responsible. It didn’t make it easier that the North Koreans and Russians appeared to be working together on this.

Of all the countries causing concern they were two of the worst. Russia was making threatening moves in Eastern Europe and North Korea was adapting to its younger leader. Like all people who were brought up knowing they would run a country the Korean was a spoilt brat used to getting his own way. Despite knowing all this, it didn’t help in finding the terrorists who’d tried to flood the capitol city. There was no guarantee they were acting on orders and not simply some extreme group of mercenaries who happened to have aligned goals. Whoever they were, they had plenty of funding from somewhere.

The yacht they’d held him and Amelia on hadn’t been small and so far they had moved house twice since Mycroft had become aware of them. Each time they’d sent someone into an estate agent with the deposit and several months rent in cash. On top of that, the first house Sherlock had found had been left in such a hurry that there was technology and money left behind. Most of the computers had been wiped clean but Mycroft had found enough information to know it was the right place. The police had completely bungled the attempt at catching everyone, alerting them to the discovery and giving them time to run.

He’d been praised for saving London, despite Amelia being involved, but since then the trail had been difficult to follow. Little head way was gained until his brother helped him track a lead to a second address. The address Mycroft was now being driven to.

Over half an hour after setting off Daniels pulled the car over to the side of Moffat road right in front of the driveway of house number eighty-nine. It looked worse than Sherlock had said. The drive had once been bricked over but areas had sunk while the bricks themselves had worn and crumbled. Weeds grew up in the cracks and a large pile of rubbish filled one corner of the front yard.

As Daniels opened the door he was assaulted by the smell of the rotting refuse. He wrinkled his nose up in disgust and hurried over to the front door. Before he made the six steps to the porch he’d managed to fish his skeleton keys from his pocket. Pretty much every door in London opened to these.

Once inside he paused in the hallway and surveyed the area. It smelt musty but nothing that opening a window wouldn’t fix. There were a few sparse furnishings in the living area and he expected to find the rest of the house in a similar state. A couch with old cushions sat near a coffee table. No television or music player of any kind and no lamp shade.

The curtains were drawn in every room, but all the doors were open everywhere, including up the stairs he could see to his left. Thankfully, the material hanging over the windows was thin so enough light from the shining sun still bled through to the rooms. So he could see the detail he might need, he pulled a small torch from his jacket pocket and shone it at the floor in a path to the sofa.

The carpet was yellowing and threadbare in several places, but traces of dirt from some kind of boot still lingered near the very edge of the sofa. Mycroft pulled an empty envelope and a small spatula from another pocket and scraped up some of the residue before sealing the packet and tucking it safely back. He could have his brother analyse the make up of it and tell him where it had come from.

A glance at the sofa let him know the occupants had put a plastic covering over it. There would be no evidence for him to find. Although he didn’t expect anything in the kitchen to aid his search he put his head through the doorway all the same and looked over the appliances.
A fridge and freezer combo stood on the far wall. He knew it would be empty but he went over to it and checked anyway. On his way back to the living room he opened the oven and the few cupboards but they were unused and dusty from neglect.

He sighed wishing this sort of process was quicker but Mycroft knew he had to be thorough. After decades of sending his little brother he couldn’t do a worse job.

With a sigh Mycroft padded up the carpeted stairs, using his torch to scan important locations as he went, such as the bannister and the walls at ankle height. Not even a scuff mark appeared beneath the bright light.

Each of the three bedrooms contained a single or double bed frame with a clean, barely used mattress. None of them had a single stain or blemish although he noticed the surfaces weren’t perfectly even. They had been slept on, but just like the couch the occupants had protected them from the transference of any dirt, sweat or substance.

He took his time to look over the floor around each one, hoping to find a hair or flake of skin, but he could spot neither. The bathroom was equally as unhelpful. The shower looked like it had been hosed down and the faint smell of bleach lingered in the air. Whoever was in charge of these men, he had them being far more careful than terrorists of their type usually were.

After two hours of combing the house for clues, Mycroft gave up and headed back to his car. Other than the small scraping of dirt he’d found nothing. It made him feel a little better about the competence of his own men as they’d reported a similar story, but it didn’t solve his problem. Somehow the terrorist cell was staying one step ahead of him.

Once he was on the way back to his house, Mycroft thought over everything he knew and had done in response to the recent threat. He had under cover operatives in Ukraine, Russia and South Korea as well as several working on the case in London, but so far none of them had found anything useful. He knew if he sent his brother to one of the countries the information might be found immediately, but the British best weren’t normally so ineffective. He also knew his brother disliked leaving London almost as much as Mycroft disliked being anywhere but the house or club.

He sighed and knew he would have to do some more digging himself. At least until Sherlock snapped out of whatever notion he’d got himself into over Amelia. She wasn’t ready to help with the sort of work he needed, that was something he knew even she would admit.
By the time the car arrived at his house grey clouds had pulled in and covered over the sun sufficiently to bring an early evening. It would rain, something that had happened surprisingly little for November in England.

“Have this taken to my brother,” Mycroft said as he got out the car and gave the envelope to Daniels. “Be careful with the contents.”

Daniels nodded and tucked it into his own pocket, ensuring it remained the same way up. It might take a day or two for Sherlock to get around to the experiment and then another few days for him to bother passing the information on to Mycroft but it was some progress.

Once inside Mycroft went straight to his study. He was late for his afternoon tea, but the usual tray with teapot full of hot water was there. The biscuits weren’t. He clamped his mouth shut over the desire to yell for some, knowing he had told his housekeeper not to bring them for a few weeks. Although his supernatural abilities gave him a younger man’s metabolism, he still had to be careful what he ate. If he wanted to keep to a healthy weight he needed to manage his diet.

When he pulled open the nearest desk drawer he noticed the thud as his spare mobile phone jerked against the edge. The light on the bottom flashed green to let him know it had a message. He frowned.

Only Amelia Jones had the number and it was quite a large coincidence for her to be contacting him today if his brother hadn’t followed through on his threat and told her about his difficulties. As he grabbed the device he started to think of all the ways he would punish Sherlock for the betrayal. When he managed to pull the text up on screen the lines on his forehead deepened even further.

Stage 2?

Her question gave nothing away but impatience and definitely didn’t give him an indication of why she’d decided to message him now.

Is your lack of patience the only reason you messaged? I won’t reward impatience.

Mycroft pressed the send button before he thought that his message sounded angry, but he wouldn’t apologise for it. If she chose to message him because of something Sherlock had said to her it would only fuel the temper that already simmered. It didn’t take long for her to respond. He flicked the screen on again hoping she had a good answer for him.

I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to sound impatient, I just noticed that it has been ten weeks since you last sent me a message. As always, I await your instructions.

He exhaled and considered the reply. If Sherlock had prompted her she’d have said. Lying to him wasn’t something she’d risk when she was so eager to learn from him.

After leaning back in his chair he thought over her request. Ten weeks was a long time to leave her without a lesson of some kind, but he’d had little time to think about it since their last communication. It would take little effort from him to begin the second stage of her teaching and he knew just the person to start her off. He used his main phone to send instructions to one of his agents before typing a one word reply and sending it to Amelia.

Tomorrow.

Gone Girl: A Review

I read this book for my bookclub in November. I must admit we only read it because the trailer for the film made us curious.

Gone GirlThe book has a bit of a slow start and isn’t quite missleading enough for you to not know what’s happened, although it makes a good stab at being unobvious. Then strangely a little after 50% of the way through the book they let you know what happened and give you the whodunnit part of the storyline.

After that the book just gets more and more twisted. I kept reading because I had to know if there was justice and exactly how the author was going to end this crazy crazy idea, but it was with a sort of dread that it was going to end the way I feared. But it didn’t. The ending was worse. I won’t have any spoilers here but suffice to say I think I may well hate a character more than I hate Joffrey from Game of Thrones and that’s saying something.

In terms of writing style, it wasn’t anything exceptional, but I definitely can’t complain either. There are a lot of bestsellers that aren’t written this well.

Character wise all of the main characters and side characters have plenty of depth to them. They have quirks and everything that makes them come alive so a lot of respect to the writer for that. Her characterisation is wonderful.

Do I recommend the book? No, not really. It’s just too twisted and there are just a few too many complete sociopaths in here (one is debatably a psychopath) for me to suggest people should read it. The book is interesting in terms of the psychology of it all but otherwise, steer clear! You won’t be satisfied and you’ll feel totally creeped out.

The Hundred Year Wait Release

It’s here! A few days earlier than planned but that can only be a good thing.

I’m super excited about this one, so would love to hear what you think about it. It’s a little bit of a departure from my normal work which is why it’s under a pen name, but I loved the challenge of writing about Mycroft and his younger brother, Sherlock.

I’ve totalled up some figures for the level of sales I need in the next few months to make it viable to write more of them, so here’s to hoping I hit that goal (of course, you’re more than welcome to help me get there by sharing the book and raving to others about it).

If you missed it on my last blog, here’s the blurb again:

Mycroft’s life is perfect, except for one small coded message he can’t quite crack, but this doesn’t bother him. His brother, Sherlock, has always helped out when tasks require more effort than he’d like. He’d never thought life dull, until he found Amelia.

In this novella, a man of extraordinary intelligence finds himself puzzled by someone he knows is inferior. While preventing a terrorist attack he will need all his experience to keep her alive.

Links to buy the shiny – Amazon.co.uk & Amazon.com

The Hundred Year Wait: Cover Reveal

It’s here! This is the cover for my upcoming release, The Hundred Year Wait.

Synopsis:

Mycroft’s life is perfect, except for one small coded message he can’t quite crack, but this doesn’t bother him. His brother, Sherlock, has always helped out when tasks require more effort than he’d like. He’d never thought life dull, until he found Amelia.

In this novella, a man of extraordinary intelligence finds himself puzzled by someone he knows is inferior.  While preventing a terrorist attack he will need all his experience to keep her alive.

If you want to make sure you hear about this ebook when it comes out (hopefully about two weeks time) just head on over to my mailing list subscription page. I’m super excited about getting this one out so I’ll be putting a lot of effort into finishing it off as soon as I can.

There will also be a chance to win an advance copy of the ebook in my Easter weekend hunt/trail/giveaway/competition/thing so check back tomorrow if you’re really keen (there will also be other prizes).

Mycroft and Sherlock: Chapter 1

So I’ve been writing something I totally didn’t plan to write lately. I got bitten by the Sherlock bug but in a new way, so here’s a chapter from some fan fiction, written from Mycroft’s POV.

The rain pattered on the windows as Mycroft was driven through the dreary streets of London. He frowned at the typical English weather. He’d been in his house, working, for ten straight days and it annoyed him to find it raining the minute he needed to leave and see his brother. On top of splotching his tailored suit it made the traffic worse.

As the car pulled up outside Sherlock’s flat he turned his nose up at the familiar sight. The number on the door was loose and it was almost never straight. No matter how many times he neatened it by his next visit it was crooked again. Today was no different.

His driver rushed around to the side of the door with a large black umbrella and Mycroft stepped out into the cold, narrowly missing the puddle at the side of the road. An almost identical umbrella with a silver plated handle dangled from Mycroft’s left hand and he realised he’d never used it to keep the rain off himself. After raising and lowering his eyebrow he strode through the flat door, knowing it wouldn’t be locked. He paused for the briefest second to shuffle his feet on the doormat while his chauffeur shut the door behind him and went back to the shining black vehicle to wait.

Sherlock’s housekeeper and landlady, the widowed Mrs Wintern, peered around the edge of the living room door. When she noticed it was him she retreated back inside. Knowing she’d be scurrying off to make tea, whether he would be there long enough to drink it or not, he climbed the wooden steps up to the familiar flat. None of them creaked but he’d had plenty of years practice at putting his feet in the right places to ensure his arrival was unnoticed.

Three steps from the top Mycroft paused. Mixed in with the usual scent of dust, damp and body odour was the faint traces of perfume. He knew it could only mean Sherlock had a visitor, probably a client. It only took a few seconds for Mycroft to weigh up his options in light of this discovery. He needed Sherlock to begin investigating at once and couldn’t let a client stop him. As he took the last few steps he searched his memory for the name his brother used now. By the time he rapped his knuckles on the door, Sebastian was floating across the back of his mind. Whoever was with his brother would know him as Sebastian Holmes.

Without waiting for an answer he twisted the door knob and strode into the room. Both occupants turned to face him and he scanned the extra person for information. She wore a black corset, styled to look like a waistcoat from the front but laced down the back, over the top of a deep red blouse. The red skirt almost touched the floor but a slit up one side revealed size seven black boots with a small chain running behind the two inch heels. The corset took her waist in from what would have been twenty five inches to twenty three and her mid-brown hair was up in a netted bun on the back of her head. As she turned he also noticed she deftly held a fountain pen in her right hand. Both hands had fingerless gloves that were made of the same material as a jacket over the arm of a nearby chair.

She smiled and the corners of her eyes wrinkled to match the upturn of her lips. Whoever she was she spent a lot of time writing; there were no ink marks on her despite the style of pen, and she was comfortable and relaxed in the odd mix of old fashioned and modern clothing.

“Myron! To what do I owe this pleasure?” Sherlock said in his usual sarcastic manner, although he knew the woman wouldn’t have picked up on the disdain laced in every word. It took him a fraction of a second longer to respond as he took in the pictures of people and places on the board beside them. She had to be a client with all the information presented, although not directly involved, an observer with a vested interest.

“Let me introduce my guest, Amelia Jones.” Sherlock motioned to her. “She’s a writer. Amelia, this is my brother, Myron Holmes.”

She swapped the pen over to her other hand and took a few steps towards him, her right outstretched to shake his. He glanced at her offering but kept his right hand in his trouser pocket and his left gripping the umbrella. Whoever she was, Sherlock had used her first name, something he’d not done since his days with John Watson. Mycroft frowned and the woman returned to her position by the board, giving no indication that she was bothered by the snub.

“I need to talk to you, brother of mine,” Mycroft said when he realised the case on the board still held both their attention.

“In a moment, you’ll be interested in this. This man is an undercover agent, working a case to find a stolen diamond.” Sherlock pointed to the man’s picture and then to the woman’s, “She’s unmarried, no kids, parents are dead and no one else in her life and we’re trying to figure out how she was blackmailed and how he finds out before he has her arrested.”

Mycroft rolled his eyes but took a look at the information anyway. He wanted to know how this Mrs Jones was involved. If the diamond had been hers it wasn’t something she was attached to, perhaps a family heirloom she didn’t care for.

“How was the diamond taken?” he asked.

“I don’t know, I’ve not written that part yet,” she said, fixing her blue eyes on him. “I was thinking she might seduce the security guard or get him drunk. She’s an amateur under pressure so it can’t be too difficult.”

Mycroft raised his eyebrows before he noticed Sherlock grinning at him. He sneered in response. When Mrs Jones went to continue talking he put his hand up, cutting her off.

“This is a fictional scenario?” he asked, his voice dripping with disdain at the very concept.

“Yes. It’s what I do for a living. Sebastian helps me get all the facts straight.”

“He does, does he?”

She nodded and waited for him to continue but he had no desire to make her feel more comfortable. She glanced at his brother.

“So… Why are you here, brother. You don’t visit unless you need something,” Sherlock said, taking the focus back off his guest.

“I think we ought to discuss that in private.” Mycroft looked pointedly at Sherlock’s client, hoping she’d get the hint and hurry from the building but she didn’t move.

“Nonsense, if it’s a case, Amelia can help. She’s been proving most useful in my own work, and besides, she helped with the last case you gave me.”

“She did?” Mycroft’s annoyance grew. Somehow he’d missed Mrs Jones being a regular in Sherlock’s life and he shouldn’t have done.

“I did?” She raised an eyebrow and her own surprise made him feel a little better. Sherlock laughed and nodded.

“Come on, out with it brother. What do we need to investigate?” While Sherlock spoke Mrs Jones lifted the board from the two hooks it hung on, revealing a second blank white board underneath. Mycroft coughed and then pulled the printout of the intercepted email from his inside jacket pocket.

“I received this coded message from a suspected terrorist account.” Before Mycroft could begin reading it Sherlock took the paper out of his hands and wandered off with it, leaving both him and Mrs Jones standing and waiting as Sherlock read it.

“It’s not a skip code…”

“It’s nothing logical, I assure you,” Mycroft said before Sherlock could list everything he already knew it wasn’t.

“Read it aloud.” Mrs Jones said. Mycroft frowned as Sherlock did just that. He would have done one anyway but now he was sure a background check on her would be needed.

Hiya,

Totally failed today – My ringtone went off at the funeral – I’ve got it set to Staying Alive. :AwkwardFace: I suppose I’d already made it hard on myself, the deceased had bought me one of those ugly Christmas jumpers and I wore it to the funeral. My mother told me to take it off and I don’t think she was very impressed when I told her I’d rather cry in a BMW. Then to top my day off I got rick rolled.

Thankfully my kids were cute when I got home – when I asked the eldest what she wanted for dinner she said, ‘I can has cheeseburger?’ and grinned. Later when I was playing a board game with the twins and I lost they came out with, ‘All your counters are belong to us’, their English is getting better each day. When I was a kid my dad used to swear and say ‘pardon my French – I still remember when my school teacher asked if anyone spoke a foreign language and I put my hand up. :SmileyFace:

It might be a while before I communicate again, I’m staying with relatives and they don’t know their own wi-fi password. FFFFFFFFUUUUUUUU. The kids are excited, they said they can get their pink unicorn back, I didn’t even know they had one.

Geoff

By the time Sherlock had finished, Mrs Jones was curled up on the chair, clutching her sides and crying as she tried to stop her almost silent laughter.

What’s so amusing?” Mycroft demanded when she didn’t stop as soon as the letter was over. She wiped her eyes and sat up straight again.

It’s internet memes. For example, all your counters are belong to us, is a miss-quote of all your base are belong to us from a badly translated game. I can has cheeseburger is a phrase on a lolcat, and I think there was a confession kid in there, as well as the mention of being rick rolled.” She picked up the pen and wrote out the entire letter. Once she’d finished she circled phrases in the text and linked them to the names of the internet memes. Mycroft watched and waited, wanting to see where she was going with it. If it solved the email he could get back to his house and away from her.

She stood back and put both her hands on her hips, staring at the letter now in her neat but ornamented hand-writing.

The punctuation is strange, and not right in the slightest,” she said a moment later, when no one else did anything.

Each full stop marks the end of a coded section, that much is easy to work out,” Mycroft said. His brother nodded and stole the pen from Mrs Jones, their fingers brushing past each other as he did. Mycroft sneered again, although both had their backs to him and wouldn’t have noticed. He almost wished they had.

Sherlock put a line in where each sentence ended to break the message up and then she pulled the pen from his hand and wrote in another meme at the end of the letter. After a minute of browsing something on her phone she wrote in two more, completing the final paragraph with:

First World Problems
Rage comic
Invisible Pink Unicorn

Mycroft saw the message and smiled. It pleasantly surprised him that she was on the right track.

The first letters from the first part of Friday,” he said, knowing his brother wasn’t paying attention and should be. He stepped closer so the whole thing was easier for him to read.

It looks like each paragraph is a word,” she said and smiled at him. He ignored her. She was right but that didn’t mean he had to like her or praise her for it.

The second word has an A and C in the middle and has four letters,” Sherlock said.

Four?” She turned to him, a puzzled look on her face.

Yes, there’s a fourth sentence.” Mycroft pointed to the smiley face reference in between two colons. She shrugged.

That’s an emoticon gone wrong, but I suppose it might be part of the message.” She put the word in brackets in the list in the two places the references appeared and then turned to his brother. “Search for I’d rather cry in a BMW online and see what comes up.”

Immediately Sherlock obeyed and grabbed his laptop. Mycroft found himself sneering again. This woman was telling them what to do when she was evidently of inferior intelligence and even worse, his brother wasn’t even slightly put out. He’d thought Sherlock over this sort of sentimentality after losing Watson, but it appeared he was even softer than ever.

Twenty minutes later they had one more letter and Mycroft continued to stand and do nothing but stare at the letter. The entire time he’d been running through five letter words that fit with the E and N they’d already had for the first word. With the I Mrs Jones now wrote in he knew what it said. BEGIN LACE FRI was the full message, but he wasn’t about to say so and be pressed to explain further. Even if Mrs Jones expressed no further interest, his brother would and with his deductive reasoning might work out more than Mycroft wanted either of them to know.

As he was trying to think of some way to get rid of Mrs Jones she pulled a pocket watch out, checked the time and gasped.

I’ve got to go. I’m meant to be signing books in less than half an hour.” She grabbed her jacket and shrugged into it. “Sorry to run before we’re done, but I hate being late for anything.”

I’m sure we can solve this without you,” Mycroft said and gave her a smile which didn’t reach his eyes.

See you tomorrow, Sebastian, and it was a pleasure to meet you, Mr holmes.” She gave him a half smile, meaning it far more than he would have and hurried from the room. As the sound of her rapid footsteps receded down the stairs Mycroft relaxed.

So, you’ve found a new John Watson.” He looked intently at his brother but Sherlock remained impassive.

She’s brighter than John ever was, but she won’t be around for long. She will go write her next book in a few days. Mostly she’s a recluse, like you, especially when in the middle of a book.”

You’re trying to intrigue me by making me think she’s similar to me, but it won’t work. She’s not as intelligent as you even so I have no interest in her.” Mycroft walked towards the door, now wanting to continue this conversation.

She would have been as clever as me had she grown up with you as an elder brother. She’s keen to learn from us and pleasant enough.”

Mrs Jones won’t live long enough to ever get close.”

Miss Jones,” Sherlock said, looking smug. Mycroft shook his head at what his younger brother had overlooked.

There was a wedding ring.”

Yes, but she’s not married, not anymore anyway.”

Widow,” Mycroft nodded. He should have seen it in her manner with Sherlock. No woman in a relationship would spend time coming to London for book signings and spend so much time alone with another man. He walked out, and called back, “Don’t get involved, brother of mine.”

I’ll let you know when I’ve solved this,” Sherlock yelled after him.

No need!” Mycroft pulled the door shut. Miss Jones perfume lingered in the stairwell even stronger than before and Mycroft found himself thinking that as far as perfumes went it could have been a lot worse. At the least it smelt better than Sherlock’s flat usually did.

As he walked back to his car he messaged his assistant.

Project lace will begin on friday. Deploy operation clean-up. Also find all information on the author Amelia Jones.

As soon as the message was delivered he put his phone back in the inside pocket of his jacket and stepped outside. The rain had stopped and Mycroft smiled as he was driven back to his home, his mind already focused on other matters.