Hi, all! This is the beginning of a crossover between The Phantom of the Opera (Leroux's novel, of course!) and Sherlock Holmes. Sorry I don't know how to make the accent marks. I hope you guys like it!
The Affair of the Gold Band
It was a grey day at 221B Baker Street, and Holmes looked about ready to sink into one of his funks. Thankfully, Mrs. Hudson, our landlady, knocked on the door just then. "Someone to see you, Mr. Holmes."
Holmes at once lept up. "Ah, Watson! Perhaps there shall be something to do today after all," he said before opening the door.
"There's a Miss Daae in the parlour, Mr. Holmes. She sounds French," Mrs. Hudson said.
"Well, what are you waiting for? Bring her up," Holmes said a trifle impatiently.
Mrs. Hudson turned and bustled down the stairs.
"That woman can radiate disapproval with her back, Watson. Have you ever noticed?"
"Er -- no. I can't say I have." I turned my attention to the retreating Mrs. Hudson. I saw what Holmes meant.
Mrs. Hudson returned shortly with a young lady.
"Miss Erika Daae," Mrs. Hudson announced. "Would you like me to bring up some tea and cookies?"
"That would be excellent, Mrs. Hudson."
"Mademoiselle de Chagny," he said, bowing over her hand. "I am Sherlock Holmes, and this is Doctor John Watson."
She started. "How did you know my name?"
"Quite simple. The Comtesse de Chagny had a daughter named Erika. And when a young Frenchwoman using the Comtesse's maiden name shows up, the conclusion is obvious."
"For you, perhaps, Monsieur Holmes."
Miss de Chagny turned to me. "Docteur. I have read many of your accounts. I confess that is why I came to Monsieur Holmes," she said in a low voice.
"A pleasure to meet you," I said.
Holmes cleared his throat. "Do come sit down. Mrs. Hudson will be up shortly, I'm sure."
Miss de Chagny sat down. She was wearing a plain black mourning dress. Her perfectly straight black hair was drawn smoothly black into a knot at the nape of her neck, and she wore small wire-rimmed spectacles. I was immediately struck by her eyes, a peculiarly piercing shade of pale blue.
Mrs. Hudson knocked on the door again. "I've brought your tea, Mr. Holmes," she said.
"Come in," Holmes said. "Just set it on the table there and you can go." He smiled at Mrs. Hudson. She left.
Holmes had been observing Miss de Chagny closely. "You have your mother's eyes," he observed.
She started. "You have met my mother?"
"No, but I heard Mademoiselle Daae sing once, at the Opera Populaire in Paris. She was magnificent."
"Do you play the piano, mademoiselle?"
"Yes! How did you know?" She seemed grateful for the distraction.
"Quite simple. Your fingernails are quite short; few ladies keep their nails that short unless they are pianists or gardeners. Yours lack the, er, permanent dirt of a gardener."
She clapped her hands. "Clever, Monsieur Holmes! You are every bit how your friend here describes you. I do believe you can help me, if anyone can."
Holmes merely waited politely.
"As you are probably aware, my mother died a few months ago. You may not be aware that my father died soon after. We have tried to keep it secret until certain -- issues are resolved," Miss de Chagny said gravely. "You see, my mother's death affected my father greatly. My father was the Comte de Chagny, of course--"
Holmes interrupted her at this point. "He was born le Vicomte, though, am I correct?"
"What happened to his brother?"
"Patience, Monsieur Holmes. I am getting to that." She paused and then launched back into her narrative. "My mother was quite famous for a time in her youth, but after I was born she mostly gave up the stage. She did occasionally sing at the Opera Populaire, though, and I believe this is what she and my father were arguing about when she collapsed. She had always been frail, and her health had been bad for a long time. Papa should have known better than to aggravate her condition, but he really hated the idea of her singing there. I think he was almost afraid of it. 'Anywhere but there! Sing even in America if you wish, but not there!' Anyhow, she was ill for a long time before she died, mostly in a coma. There was one moment of lucidity before the end. She asked me to bring her her jewelry box -- not the one Papa gave her, but the secret one. She did something with it and a secret drawer opened. Out of it she took a plain gold ring and told me to be sure she was buried wearing it. She warned me not to let anyone else know. She died the next day. Her last words were, 'Forgive me, mon Ange de Musique, forgive me....'"
Here Holmes interrupted again. "Do you have the box with you?" he asked.
"Oui. Here it is." She took a small wooden box out of her reticule and handed it to Holmes.
"Thank you. Pray continue."
"I naturally obeyed her wishes, but I'm afraid I did tell someone. Shortly before Mama's funeral, I showed it to my friend, Mireille Giry. Her mother came in and her face went dead white with shock. She cried, 'He haunts us still! Where did you find that, Cecy?'"
"Cecy?" Holmes asked, looking puzzled.
"My father always called me that, a sort of pet name. He didn't like my Christian name for some reason. After a while, I gave up trying to explain to people and just went by Cecy."
Holmes nodded. "I see," he said thoughtfully.
"Anyway, I said that Mama had asked to be buried wearing it. Mme. Giry nodded. 'Thank God he is dead after all.' I asked her what she meant, but she said it was nothing to concern myself with. Though I pressed her anyway, she would say nothing, telling me that that was for my father to tell me, if he wished."