Simon FitzKit...In The Field!

The Lights Are On, But Nobody’s Holmes | December 8, 2007

I was at Borders earlier this evening trying to buy my father’s CMas gift (Shh. Spoiler Alert) when I ran across something he might like even more:


The Crimes of Dr. Watson: An Interactive Sherlock Holmes Mystery.

Book Description From amazon.com:
Quirk Books is excited to announce the discovery of a never-before-published adventure from the pen of Dr. John Watson, steadfast companion of the legendary detective Sherlock Holmes. As the tale opens, we discover that Holmes has vanished and Watson has been framed for a grisly murder! Writing from a damp cell in Coldbath Fields penitentiary, the falsely convicted prisoner recounts the events leading to his arrest …and provides twelve removable, facsimile clues that point to the true culprit. Among them are:

An article torn from a newspaper in California
A puzzling manuscript ripped into several pieces
A catalog of Victorian medicines and marital aids
Plus a telegram, an arrest report, an empty matchbook, a train schedule, and much more

It’s up to you to sift through the clues and solve the thrilling whodunit. When you think you’ve identified the culprit, slice open the final signature of the book (sealed at the printer) to read the remainder of the story. With beautiful Victorian-style illustrations and first-rate production values, The Crimes of Dr. Watson will appeal to mystery lovers of all ages.

Wow, I thought, it has the entire story “The Final Problem,” comes with envelopes of letters for clues, and a sealed Answers section at the back? Dad’ll love this!

So I flipped it open to the first envelope. It was empty.

Hmm, I thought, maybe this clue is just the envelope itself.

The next envelope was also empty. In fact, the sentence on the following page made it clear I was supposed to be holding a train ticket of some sort. I wasn’t, so I began to suspect shenanigans.

I flipped to the back cover, thinking that perhaps they’d been worried that the clues would fall out, so they’d decided to put all the enclosures in the back with the sealed Answers section.

The clues were, in fact, with the Answers, but unfortunately, the Answers weren’t with the book. There were overlapping flaps of cardstock inside the back cover, suggesting that Answers should have been contained within their protective embrace, but they were as empty as the rest of the book.

How odd, I thought. Someone’s flipped through this Display Copy and removed all the useful bits.

I grabbed the copy behind it on the shelf. It was empty.

Eight copies of the book –every copy in the store, as it turned out– were all empty. I took the entire collection to the Information Desk and informed them of the problem, then waited a good 5 minutes while they checked my story against the reality of the books.

So bizarre. Those clues were, according to the book’s own blurb, the only things that could free Dr. Watson. Who could have stolen them? The publisher? The manufacturer? Did the author have a change of heart after realizing some of the clues implicated him as one of Watson’s persecutors? Did someone murder everyone in the Korean mystery-envelope-stuffing sweatshop? Or was it a jealous wife? Or an adulterous doctor? No. It was her employer: Ms. Scarlet. …Um… Miss Study In Scarlet?

To make a long story short (Too late!), I bought the book I’d originally planned on buying. Sadly, Dad will have to wait for his Interactive Mystery. …UNLESS I KILL SOMEONE AND SEND HIM THE CLUES!!!

…enh. I’ll probably just buy it for him for Father’s Day.

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2 Comments »

  1. Or you could just order the Dr. Watson mystery online.

    From that link.

    That you posted.

    Comment by Jeffrey — December 8, 2007 @ 3:43 pm

  2. Because this is exactly the kind of product I want to buy sight-unseen.

    Comment by Simon FitzKit — December 8, 2007 @ 5:33 pm


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