Story by Bertie.
Read by Richard Scott.
Proofread and Sound edited by Jana Elizabeth.
Astropup and Lady Annabelle's Diamond Dog Collar -
Hello Astropup here!
If you have heard any of the Sherlock Holmes stories, read by the excellent Richard here on Storynory, you will know that Holmes’s best friend, Doctor Watson, wrote down everything the great detective said or did. Well, when I say ‘everything’ I actually mean, ‘almost everything’.
A little while ago, I told you how I travelled back in time with my parrot friend, the ex-president of the world, and my human comrade, Marlow. We met Sherlock Holmes who seemed to think the parrot was a ventriloquist's dummy, and that Marlow had the knack of speaking with his lips closed. Holmes bet the parrot that he could not talk while Marlow was drinking a glass of water. Need I say the parrot won the bet hands down? Marlow downed a whole jug full while our feathered friend nattered on about this and that. We couldn’t shut his beak up. It was Holmes who was lost for words.
When Holmes conceded defeat and slung his money down on the table, the parrot squarked: “Satisfaction!” And Doctor Watson laughed saying: “By George, Holmes, that parrot has got the better of you!”
Holmes pointed his pipe at his friend and said in a most steely voice: “Good Doctor, be sure you never write down a word of this.”
Watson swore to keep mum about the whole episode. You won’t find a peep about the parrot in any of his books. But nobody asked me to make any promises. People seem to forget that we dogs see a lot of things that they would like to keep quiet. Now, thanks to alien translation technology, I can reveal many secrets in English, including The Mystery of Lady Annabelle’s Diamond Dog Collar.
Now, to continue where i left off...
The parrot took advantage of the detective’s temporary dumbfoundedness. He hopped over onto Holme’s desk and opened a notebook with his claw. For some time, he peered at a page with great interest.
Eventually Holmes muttered: “Even a bird of your talents will not understand that note. The symbols are Egyptian Hieroglyphs.”
“On the contrary, my dear Holmes,” replied the parrot. “Egyptology is one of my little hobbies. This note is not especially grammatical but it would seem to mean - ‘Anubis has returned home’.”
“Good Gracious!” declared Holmes. ‘I do believe that bird has eaten the Minoan Black Seed that according to legend expands the brain of any creature that ingests it.”
At which the parrot did a little dance replying: “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them, but so far as I know, no one has ever eaten it.”
“Woof!” I exclaimed because I was just thinking that it was time to eat something. But the parrot ignored my wagging tail.
“I am curious. Tell me more,” said the parrot, looking again at the neat little drawings on the notebook.
“I copied these symbols from a note left at the scene of a crime,” said Holmes.
“Intriguing,” commented the parrot with his head on one side. “What sort of crime?”
“A dog-napping,” declared Holmes.
Now my interest, and my left ear, pricked up.
But the parrot squarked in annoyance.
“Cwaaa! I thought we were dealing with a criminal mastermind. How disappointing! Nobody but a fool would waste their energy on stealing a dog.”
“Hey, steady on,” I woofed.
“Unless,” said Holmes, “the dog was so pampered that he wore a collar studded with precious diamonds.”
“But why take the dog?” asked the parrot. “The stupid creature would bark and wake up the house. Why not just remove the collar?”
“Perhaps the dog defended his collar with his teeth bared?” suggested Watson.
“Perhaps he did, but presumably the thief killed the animal,” said the parrot. “Anubis, the Egyptian dog-god, belongs in the underworld. The note says he has returned home. That means he is dead.”
“Murrrrrrder!” I growled.
“My conclusion exactly,” said Holmes. ‘‘But his owner will not accept my advice. She begs me to find her pet alive and return him to her, with or without collar. In fact, she shows not the slightest concern for her lost diamonds, though their value is upwards of 10,000 pounds.”
“Fantastic!” exclaimed the parrot. “A mystery worthy of my genius. I shall solve this case for you. I don’t mind if you take the credit and the payment. All I wish for is intellectual satisfaction.”
“I assure you, I do not need to steal credit for detective work from anyone,” said Holmes.
He seemed quite angry at the suggestion and was banging his pipe on the arm of his chair.
“Of course,” conceded my feathered friend. I’d never heard him back down so graciously. It was a mark of the parrot’s esteem for Sherlock Holmes. “I should be most interested to hear your thoughts on the note written in Ancient Egyptian. It seems an odd sort of burglar who is a scholar of antiquities.”
“The note was an entirely appropriate touch,” said Holmes. “My client is an expert on all things Egyptian. She has used a good portion of her wealth to acquire artifacts from the tombs of the Pharaohs. Her house is a veritable museum of ancient statues and jewels and figurines.”
“So do you believe that a fellow Egyptologist stole the collar?”
“No,” said Holmes. “I do not believe that, which is why I have booked an interview with the Director of Egyptology at the British Museum. I wish to ask if anyone had visited him, or any of his colleagues, seeking help with writing a note on Hieroglyphics. We are expected in Bloomsbury in half an hour. You may come with us, but I request you to remain quiet.
A conversational bird of your intellect would create a massive amount of interest, and divert us from the case.”
“I can be quiet when it suits me,” claimed the parrot. Well, that was news to me, and I could see from Marlow’s rolling eyes that he did not quite believe it was possible for the parrot to hold his beak.
On the steps of the Museum a man in his peaked hat said: “Sorry sir, dogs and birds are not allowed inside.”
“But we have an appointment with Professor Tolomy,” said Holmes. “And this is a police dog.”
“In that case, i suggest you go in by the side entrance sir,” said the man, which we did.
I sniffed around the professor’s room, trying to seem like I was looking for clues, which is what police dogs generally do. I found a ham sandwich and ate it. The parrot, who was sitting on Doctor Watson’s shoulder, remained remarkably quiet - at first.
“Ah yes, Anubis has gone home, I remember the line well,” said the professor. “About a month ago a gentleman asked me to write out the characters for him.”
“And did he give a reason for his request?” asked Holmes.
“He said it was an inscription for a bracelet that he was giving to his sweetheart.”
The parrot could keep his peace no longer: “How romantic!” he squarked. The professor looked up and smiled: “How apt!” he said.
“How apt?” repeated the parrot, and Marlow and Holmes both glanced anxiously at him. He had puffed out his chest, as if he was about to go off on one if his long speeches, but somehow he managed to get a grip on himself and hold his exposition in.
“Mmm, a great mimic. He should go on the stage,” said the professor.
Holmes nodded. “A rare bird indeed, but to return to our subject, can you describe the visitor who wished to send his sweetheart a bracelet inscribed with a message in ancient Egyptian?”
“Mmm, he was smartly dressed, perhaps, a little over 30 years of age,” said the professor thoughtfully. “He was knowledgeable about Ancient Egypt.”
“Would you say he was a learned man, perhaps belonging to a University?” asked Watson.
“No,” said the Professor. “He would have surely said so. There was something about the way he spoke, perhaps the way he over-emphasised his ‘h’s, as in ‘hi-story’ that suggested a man of self-education.”
“Thank you,” said Holmes. “That is all we need to know. The case is solved.”
As we stepped out into the little streets around the Museum, and Holmes peered into the window of a book shop, Marlow said: “I can’t wait to hear. Who done it Mr Holmes?”
“The case is disappointingly straight-forward,” replied the detective. “It was the butler who did it.”
I’m sorry Astropup, I have to stop you there as it’s time for us to go walkies, but you can come back very soon and continue the story for our eager listeners on Storynory.com.
For now, from Astropup, and me, Richard Scott, Goodbye.