Reprinted with permission on the previous pages are the first and second chapter of A Study in Scarlet, as published in the 1887 issue of the Muggle magazine Beeton's Christmas Annual, with two revisions: one, that the date that appears as '4th of March' in A Study in Scarlet here appears as '27th of February,' for indeed that was the day I stumbled upon the article which infuriated me so greatly; and two, that the incident of the retired sergeant of Marines has been eliminated from the end of the second chapter, for that scene was almost pure fabrication on my part. Here, then, is the true story of my first taste of Mr. Sherlock Holmes' profession.
'I wonder what that fellow is looking for?'* I asked, pointing to a peculiarly-dressed man whose sharp eyes seemed to take in our lodgings at a glance even as he turned his steps our way.
'A consulting detective, I shouldn't wonder,' remarked Holmes, though he seemed distracted by some thought.
His observation, not so wonderful when compared to the feats of logic of which he claimed to be capable, proved correct, for a knock sounded at the door and Mrs. Hudson presented a Mr. Percival Dumbledore. This odd individual sketched a neat little bow upon the announcement of his name.
When the door had closed and we were all seated, Mr. Dumbledore said, 'I come to you on a matter of the most pressing importance. You will find the circumstances surrounding it fantastical, but it is a case of simple murder, one which I am at a loss to solve.'
Holmes leaned forward, his hawk-like features intent, and Mr. Percival Dumbledore went on. 'I am a wizard, as was the murdered man. I am breaking a very serious law by telling you this, but I have heard of your very great talents and I am in need of assistance.' Holmes exclaimed at this, but our visitor insisted upon speaking his piece. I do not write his explanation here, simply because it will not seem so outré to the reader as it did to us. He concluded by saying, 'I am an officer of the Magical Law Enforcement Patrol, at the Ministry of Magic. We are accustomed to dealing with murder, of course, but this is beyond us.'
Holmes appeared to consider, though I could not imagine how he could. Magic? The very idea was absurd. To put forth that there was a whole world hidden away from our own, full of wizards, was the height of inanity.
Mr. Dumbledore, seeing only hesitation on Holmes' part, continued, 'Any one who heard you make one of your astounding observations without knowing the reasoning behind it might suppose you to be practising a kind of magic. We have not found the reasoning behind magic yet, nor are we likely to, but it is as practical a skill as your deduction. We have, for example, a much faster and more economical mode of travel than your carriages and trains, which I will demonstrate for you shortly, if you permit.'
'What are the facts of the case?' Holmes said at last.
'Surely you don't believe this man?' I said, aghast.
'It presents an interesting puzzle,' said Holmes, 'and even so fanciful a diversion will do to stave off stagnation.'
'Mr. Octavius Glut, the late head of my department, was found dead in his home a week ago. He was blue in the face, but there were no signs either of strangulation, or of him having been smothered, or of any sort of spell – and no sign at all of a struggle. His successor grows impatient with my lack of progress in this case; Mr. Glut may have had his oddities, but he was a great man. There is so little evidence –'
'You spoke of oddities,' Sherlock Holmes said.
'Yes. He was peculiarly fond of exotic dishes – the more foreign the better – and would often brag of what strange animal he had eaten last.'
'Enquire with whoever supplied his delicacies,' Holmes said. 'Find what "strange animal" he consumed last. That may lead to something fruitful.'
Two days later, Holmes accepted a note from an owl, to our mutual bemusement. Upon opening it, he smiled and read out, as follows:
We have arrested the culprit in the Glut case. The man's cook, it seemed, served him puffer fish, which is poisonous to ingest, under a spurious name. Glut had carried on an affair with the cook, and upon ending it had been too attached to her skills to terminate her employment. I am in your debt for pointing me along the correct path, and I trust you will keep the secret of our world. I remain, Mr. Holmes, gratefully yours,
*quoted from A Study in Scarlet, Chapter Two.
Author's Note: This needed to be much longer to be interesting…This, by the way, is a story published by Dr. John H. Watson in the popular wizarding magazine The Quill by the request of the magazine's editor, a friend of Percival Dumbledore. It was to be the first of many such accounts. This was written a few months ago for a drabble challenge in SBBC on MNFF, but I never posted it anywhere besides there till now oops.