The Adventuress (Irene Adler and Sherlock Holmes #2) by Carole Douglas

Prelude: Autumn 1888 SEVEN PERCENT IS NO SOLUTION FROM THE DIARIES OF JOHN H. WATSON, M.D. Sherlock Holmes stood by the window staring down at Baker Street, his left shirt cuff undone. In the languid droop of his hand I could read the presence of coc**ne in his veins. To see a figure of such singular energy and dedication, one whom I had often witnessed pursuing an investigation with the eagerness of a hound on the track, to see such a man inducing lethargy into his bloodstream on the sharp silver prick of a needle was more than a friend and medical man could bear in silence. “Holmes! Surely some suitably inspiring case is in the offing.” I lowered my newspaper with a rustle. “Your retreat to a seven-percent solution seems due less to its usual spur—idleness—than to some morose turn of thought.” He turned slowly, his tall, narrow silhouette limned against the window’s fog-filtered daylight. “Is that a deduction, Watson, or an inquiry?” “I would never presume to deduce your feelings, Holmes. The fact remains that despite a plenitude of cases, you cling to the hypodermic.” “Sure
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