Sherlock Holmes & The Invisible Thing by Greg Freeman


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This Play is the copyright of the Author and must NOT be Performed without the Author's PRIOR consent


Fade up Late 1890's- early afternoon in a Gothic drawing room of a manor house, Kent.

Off There is the sound of a cello being played. It stops abruptly. It is replaced by the sound of an approaching hansom cab.

GRENDLE: (off) Mrs RMrs RSherlock Holmes and Dr Watson, have arrived, please
show them in.

LUCY GRENDLE enters. She is an elegant woman of thirty. She has a bandage on her right wrist (or left wrist if she is left handed). GRENDLE is not overtly drunk, but she has been drinking.

GRENDLE removes the bandage from her wrist and hides it in a drawer; she then pours herself a small amount of water from a clear glass water jug into a glass.

GRENDLE takes a small sip.

MRS ROCHESTER enters; she is a maternal woman, 45+ in age. Her heritage is distinctly not Anglo-Saxon.

She guides SHERLOCK HOLMES and DR. WATSON into the room.

MRS R: (announces) Mr Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson.

GRENDLE: Dr Watson.

WATSON: Miss Grendle, so pleased to make your acquaintance. Holmes has told me
many pleasantries about you.

GRENDLE: I doubt that Dr Watson.

Pause WATSON feels slightly awkward.

MRS R: Am I free to go?

GRENDLE: Yes, thank you Mrs R….(awkwardly) Holmes.

MRS ROCHESTER exits

HOLMES: (with a curt nod) Grendle.

GRENDLE: (awkward) Thank you for coming. I did not think you would respond to
my note.

HOLMES: (curt) Yes, you did.

Awkward pause

GRENDLE: Inspector Peacock insisted I summon you.

HOLMES: He insisted?

GRENDLE: He insisted. He needs your expertise.

WATSON: We understand there's been a baffling murder.

GRENDLE: Yes Dr Watson, a most baffling murder.

WATSON: In your lake.

GRENDLE: Yes.

WATSON: And such a beautiful lake.

GRENDLE: (to HOLMES) I honestly did not think you would respond to my note.

HOLMES: You knew I would come.

GRENDLE: I did not know you would come, please do not presume to know what is
going on inside my head.

HOLMES: But I do know what is going on inside your head and you knew I would come.

GRENDLE: And what am I thinking now?

HOLMES: That you wished you hadn't asked me to come.

Awkward pause

GRENDLE: I apologize Dr Watson, as you will have observed, Sherlock Holmes and I do
not see always see eye to eye. I once employed him to find my father.
HOLMES: Only he wasn't missing.

GRENDLE: He was missing from my life. I hadn't seen him for two years.

HOLMES: You knew he wasn't missing Grendle. You just wanted to embarrass him.

GRENDLE: Well I shall never go looking for him againbecausenot once in his life,
did he ever come looking for me. And now he's deadhe'll never come looking for me.
And now there is another dead man in the lake.

As GRENDLE goes to the water jug to fill her glass, HOLMES snatches it up first. He sniffs the jug then swirls the contents as if checking it's consistency.

HOLMES: You are impossible. You cheat at cards and you drink far too much vodka.
Vodka, may look like water, but it's consistency, is quite different. (HOLMES sniffs the
jug) This is whisky.

GRENDLE: Yes I've gone off vodka.

HOLMES: Transparent whisky?

GRENDLE: I was trying to drink discreetly.

HOLMES: Whisky should be aged in a wooden barrel, until it turns brown, not
consumed as soon as it's been made.

HOLMES empties the contents of the jug onto the plant.

GRENDLE: You really are a nuisance Holmes.

HOLMES observes GRENDLE.

HOLMES: What is wrong with your hand?

GRENDLE: (defensively) Nothing.

HOLMES: You always hold your glass with your right hand, yet you are hiding it behind
your back. You've hurt your wrist, let Watson look at it.

GRENDLE: My wrist is fine thank you.

HOLMES: It's not fine. Approaching the house I could hear you trying to play the cello.

GRENDLE: Perhaps I just need more practise.

HOLMES: I'm sure you do. But you have also hurt your wrist.
GRENDLE: You just have to be right, don't you?

HOLMES: Well I am right.

Awkward pause.

WATSON: If you have hurt your wrist, can I be of some assistance?

GRENDLE shows WATSON her hand. WATSON examines her hand to check she has not broken any bones.

GRENDLE: I'm fine Dr Watson, I have just fallen oversprained my wrist and bruised
my knuckles.

WATSON: (examines her hand) Oh dear, you have been in the wars. (light heartedly) It
looks like you have been in a fight. I don't think you have broken any bones. Can I
prescribe something for the pain?

GRENDLE: Thank you. More whisky would be most agreeable.

HOLMES goes to take her glass, but she evades him.

HOLMES: You are an impossible woman.

GRENDLE: It does not occur to you, that perhaps you are an impossible man?

Awkward silence

WATSON: (trying to lighten mood) Did you know? Wilhelm Röntgen has developed a
machine that can see right through his wife. Right through. With special X rays.
Amazing, what people can build. His machine can now see the bones of her hand. It
makes the skin invisible. Invisible. With a special x ray, we would know conclusively
whether you have broken a finger or not. Unfortunately, the machine is in Germany.

HOLMES: She has not broken a bone.

GRENDLE: You could be wrong.

HOLMES: I could be. But on this occasion I'm not.

GRENDLE: Do you find, being right all the time, gives you a limp?

HOLMES: A limp? Kindly explain your reasoning.

GRENDLE: Balance Holmes. No man should be right, right, right, all the time. He needs
a little wrong, wrong, wrong in his life, or he'll walk with a limp. It is not healthy if you
are never wrong. Andon that night.At the Savoy. You were wrong.

Pause

WATSON: What happened at the Savoy?

GRENDLE: I beat Sherlock Holmes at cards.

HOLMES: That is not the whole story.

GRENDLE: Perhaps that is not the whole story.

WATSON: Is anyone going to tell me the whole story?

Pause

WATSON: No I thought not.

HOLMES: I believe that plant could do with some more water.

GRENDLE cradles her glass even more protectively.

GRENDLE: I have had a very difficult day.

HOLMES: Your father has been dead for over a month. Come on Grendletime to
snap out it.

GRENDLE reluctantly empties the contents of her glass onto the plant.

WATSON: My sincere condolences Miss Grendle, how did your father die?

GRENDLE: Someone ripped his heart out and turned him into stone.

Pause- WATSON is a bit taken aback

WATSON: Well I am so sorry for your loss

GRENDLE: My father always left very early and always came back very late. Or not at
all. I never saw him. I am not sure what I have lost.

WATSON: A busy man.

GRENDLE: Or just an invisible man. He drowned in the lake. Now another man has
drowned. It really is enough to make one want to drown one's sorrows.

GRENDLE looks longingly over at the plant.

GRENDLE: Dr Watson do you ever do something and then immediately regret it.

WATSON: Perhapson occasion.

GRENDLE: (to HOLMES) I regret being persuaded by Inspector Peacock, to invite you
here.

HOLMES: Records state your father's death was an accident.

GRENDLE: A man was murdered this morning. Perhaps my father was murdered.

HOLMES: I sincerely hope you are not making this up.

WATSON: (to HOLMES) I don't think Miss Grendle would make it up.

HOLMES grunts unconvinced.

WATSON: (to GRENDLE) You think the same culprit may have murdered your Father.

GRENDLE: Yes. Yes I do.

HOLMES: Or two accidental deaths, inflated into a major crisis. To place you in the
middle of the maelstrom and have me dance, to your merry tune. Where is Inspector
Peacock?

GRENDLE: With the body. Down at the boathouse.

HOLMES: Who found the body?

GRENDLE: I did. I've had a terrible shock. And I've got a bad hand. I really could do with
a "proper" drink.

HOLMES: In the desert, a desperate man will lick water from the puddles on the sand.

HOLMES indicates to the "water" on the plant.

GRENDLE: It must be a very desperate man that drinks from puddles.

HOLMES: How desperate are you Grendle?

Awkward pause

MRS R enters with INSPECTOR PEACOCK. A wily, middle-aged man.

MRS R: (announces) Inspector Peacock,

GRENDLE: Thank you Mrs R, what time is it?

MRS R: 2.41.

GRENDLE: Could you make me some tea?

MRS R: Yes, Miss Lucy.

PEACOCK: Champion. I'll have mine with three sugars, thank you.

MRS R: Am I free to go?

GRENDLE: Yes. Thank you.

MRS.R exits.

PEACOCK shakes hands with WATSON then HOLMES.

PEACOCK: Peacock.

WATSON: Watson.

PEACOCK: (shakes HOLMES hand) And this must be the famous Sherlock Holmes,
thank you so much for coming.

HOLMES: I understand you are perplexed.

PEACOCK: It's a rum business Holmes. We have a most unusual murder on our hands. Most odd. But the good thing is we do have a witness.

WATSON: You have a witness to the murder?

PEACOCK: A very reliable witness, who saw the victim being drowned.

HOLMES: And have they given you a comprehensive description of the assailant?

PEACOCK: No.

HOLMES: No?

PEACOCK: This is where it becomes baffling Mr Holmes. The witness swears, swears
they saw the victim being pushed into the lake….by unseen hands.

WATSON: Unseen hands? In what way, unseen?

PEACOCK: Unseen. I suppose you would sayinvisible hands.

WATSON: Invisible hands pushed the victim into the lake?

PEACOCK: Correct.

HOLMES: Pushed. Or he did he just jump?

PEACOCK: He didn't jump. The witness is quite adamant.

PEACOCK takes out his notebook and reads statement.

PEACOCK: (reads) I saw the victim being propelled backwards as if pushed. His nose appeared to be ripped from his face. His arms were all akimbo, he was screaming "no, no, who are you, what are you!". He appeared to be pushed three times and then he hit the water, sank and did not re-surface. It was as if he was dragged down… or swallowed up by a water demon.

HOLMES looks over PEACOCK's shoulder at the notebook.

WATSON: A water demon? Good God.

PEACOCK: Most baffling.

HOLMES: He called out, "who are you, what are you"

PEACOCK: Correct.

HOLMES: And he appeared to be propelled backwards?

PEACOCK: Correct.

HOLMES: Did you check the back of his coat for signs of a fishing hook?

PEACOCK: No.

WATSON: Fishing hook attached to the back of his coat! He could have been dragged
into the lake from a fishing boat.

PEACOCK: Is that what you think Mr Holmes?

HOLMES: First collect data. Then the data will lead you to a conclusion.

WATSON: But it must be a possibility

HOLMES: How much does the victim weigh?

PEACOCK: We didn't weigh him. I know it is custom to weigh a fish if you take it out of
the lake, but it is not a Kentish custom to weigh corpses.

WATSON: To propel a man backwards, it would require sturdy fishing line.

HOLMES: Do you know the name of the victim?

PEACOCK: No. He's not local. I don't know him.

HOLMES: Have you tried to identify him?

PEACOCK: Mr Holmes, I cannot carry a dead body around the villages asking, "do you
know this man"? How would I go about trying to identify him? That's why I sent for
you.

GRENDLE: Hear that. He sent for you. Not me.

HOLMES: I would like to speak with the witness.

PEACOCK: I am afraid that is not possible.

HOLMES: Why?

PEACOCK: The witness is scared for their life. They are in hiding and wish to remain
anonymous.

HOLMES: Why are they in hiding?

PEACOCK: There are a lot of people around here in hiding. Folk are very scared. Mr
Alfred Grendle drowned last month, then we have a man today and last weekwe
fished out a dead Nun.

HOLMES: A dead Nun?

PEACOCK: And no, we didn't weigh her either.

WATSON: All drowned. Extraordinary.

PEACOCK: Two unexplained drownings, then we got this murder. Well unless it is a
fishing accident. Maybe they were all fishing accidents.

WATSON: Do Nun's fish?

PEACOCK: I don't know, to be honest I am right out of my depth on this one. I'm so
glad you could come. Now, can I do anything to help you?

HOLMES: Yes, let me speak with the witness.

PEACOCK: No. Anything else I can do to help?

HOLMES: I see, so we have an invisible witness.

WATSON: To an invisible murder.

PEACOCK: The murder was quite visible. It was the perpetrator who was invisible.

HOLMES: Well if anyone has indeed been murdered, I promise you, I will find the culprit.

PEACOCK: Thank you Mr Holmes, I am relying on you to solve it.

GRENDLE: I'll get Mrs Rochester to prepare your rooms.

GRENDLE exits

PEACOCK: I'll just get my tea and then I'll take you down to the boathouse. And please
God, let it all transpire to be innocent explanationsand that we have just wasted your
time.

PEACOCK exits

HOLMES: (to WATSON) "Just wasted my time." Why is it, that no one sees, that
"wasting my time," is in fact a crime in itself? Stealing a man's time is worse than
stealing a man's watch.

WATSON and HOLMES go to follow but then WATSON stops. He looks concerned. He has sensed something.

WATSON: (hushed voice) Is it just me Holmes? But there is a disturbing atmosphere
in this house.

HOLMES: It is an unhappy house Watson. A very unhappy house.

HOLMES and WATSON exit.

[end of extract]




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