Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Holmes and Watson in Africa!
Many Sherlock Holmes tales begin with a person knocking on the door and presenting the dynamic duo a mystery. Such is the case of the Kongo Nkisi Spirit Train – the fifth and last story in the new collection of pastiches entitled: Sherlock Holmes- The Golden Years.
On a lovely summer morning in 1913, Leander Starr Jameson was ushered into the parlour of Watson’s London flat. What brought him there was an African mystery involving the Cape to Cairo Railway project. As Jameson put it:
“The Cape to Cairo Railway has faced, and overcome, many obstacles over the last fifteen years—swamps, impenetrable jungle, the ravages of the white ants and termites, encounters with lions, elephants and other beasts, disease and unfriendly natives, to name a few. All of these have been overcome . . . until now.”
I (Watson) leaned forward in my chair. “What has put a stop to the progress now, Mr. Jameson?”
“The Kongo Nkisi. A native spirit-god.”
That was the start of one of Sherlock Holmes’s greatest adventures – one that took Watson and him into the heart of the Dark Continent, and a confrontation with “the spiritless people.”
Leander Starr Jameson, also call "Doctor Jim” or "Lanner," was a British colonial politician and doctor. He created a successful medical practice in London, but his health broke down. Soon after, Jameson went out to South Africa and settled down in Kimberley. It was there he met Cecil Rhodes who, with some help from Jameson, formed the British South Africa Company, and began the monumental Cape to Cairo Railway project – the goal being to bisect Africa, north to south, with 5,700 miles of rail track.
Jameson returned to London in his later years and became of the most liked and beloved persons in Britain at the time. Indeed, Rudyard Kipling wrote the poem If with Leander Starr Jameson in mind. Jameson’s alluring personality is apparent as he guides Holmes and Watson into the jungle and, unknowingly, into the lair of the Kongo Nkisi spirit.
This tale is a fitting end to the five-part series of stories written in the style and voice of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. If you’re seeking more authentic Sherlock Holmes stories – check out Sherlock Holmes – The Golden Years. You can find it ON AMAZON and all on-line and main-street bookstores.