Previously on Sherlock Herms – The Case of Mrs. Shallowford’s Ghost
After the kitty play tunnel-slash-trans-portal energy gate transports Sherlock Herms and Dori, his sasspuss sisfur-slash-assistant, to their own home seventy years in the past, Dori scampers off to chat with Charley, the person who hired them to find missing jewelry, leaving Herman to conduct his investigation alone.
Abruptly in need of a litter box, Herman panics when he is unable to find one, only to be rescued by two expensive Persians who give him permission to widdle in a potted plant instead of a litter box. He finds that odd, but is desperate. Once refreshed, he interviews the Persians, hoping to learn if they know what happened to the jewelry. However, they avoid answering his questions which makes him suspicious.
Then the doorbell rings, causing the Persians to flee, leaving Herman with unanswered questions.
And now…Part 3.
I don’t run when the doorbell rings. At my house in the future the doorbell usually brings someone who is friends with my mom, and who also wants to admire me.
Prepared to be fawned over, I entered the front hall where I saw Loud Lady open the door to a woman with red hair. Or it could have been green. Cats can’t tell the difference between the two colors.
“Darling! You’re answering your own doorbell?” The red/green-haired lady swept into the room, carrying a large purse over her arm. “I thought you hired another housekeeper?”
“I fired her within the first hour,” Loud Lady told her. “She looked suspicious. The agency is sending another one over this afternoon. Where are you going? You look like you walked off the front page of Harper’s.”
“It’s Christian Dior’s New Look,” red/green-haired lady told her. She wiggled her hips around the room to model her outfit. “A cream shantung morning coat with rounded tails and a black pleated skirt that flares out to give a woman’s walk an elegant swing. All complemented by a little black pillar-box hat, gloves, and slender shoes. It cost me a fortune, but I’m worth it.”
I saw Loud Lady roll her eyes while her visitor had her back turned. They aren’t real friends, I thought. They are fake friends.
Hoomons are strange to me. Being a cat, if I don’t like another cat, I hiss and spit. But hoomons will behave as though they like another hoomon, even if they really don’t. Why? Mom told me some hoomons act nice to someone they don’t like because they want something from that someone. Something they couldn’t get if they were honest and told them they didn’t like them.
“Elouise! Are you so envious of my Pierre Balmain that you cannot compliment me?” Loud Lady mimicked the wiggle-walk to show off her floaty pink bell-shaped dress.
“You look nice, Vivian,” said Elouise. “But I told you that two days ago. Honey, are you in such financial despair that you don’t have other clothes to wear?” She turned to enter the living room.
The look on Loud Lady’s face had me backing into a corner, trying to look invisible.
While Loud Lady followed Elouise, I returned to the kitchen to meow with the Persians. I had a feeling they knew something about the missing jewelry, but they were gone. Dori had scampered upstairs to speak with the mysterious Charley. I didn’t like her being away from me in a strange house, even though we would live here in the future. I needed to find her, and also find out who Charley was. Slipping between the stair banister rails, I paused on a step to eavesdrop in on Loud Lady and her fake friend in case they said something suspicious.
I heard Elouise laugh. “Do stop ranting about Bonita stealing your jewelry, Vivian. She was with you for three years. Plus, the Fairbanks recommended her. You know how thorough they are when hiring servants.”
“I don’t care whether Bonita really stole my jewels,” Loud Lady shouted. “She walked out on me. I’m out for blood, Elouise. Her blood.”
“Honestly! Do you ever speak in soft, feminine tones? You could probably keep a man if you didn’t bark like a big dog all the time. I’m sure Maxwell left you because his eardrums were in danger of exploding from your sonic-boom volume.”
I peeked between the rails to see Loud Lady’s eyes widen with shock, and she sputtered like a pot boiling over on the stove. “How— How dare you!”
“I dare because we have been friends far too long to be anything but honest. Take your medication, Viv. It will help you relax. Here, let me make you a nice big French 75 cocktail to chase the pills down.”
I watched Loud Lady throw herself dramatically across a white sofa while her Not-Friend moved to a corner bar to pour liquids into a silver shaker. She shook the shaker and then poured the contents into a big glass. She then crossed the room to hand Loud Lady the cocktail along with a pill bottle.
Watching Loud Lady pop her pills and drink her cocktail, Elouise said, “You claim this house is haunted by that meek little man you frightened into having a heart attack in your pool house. Maybe your ghost stole your baubles. Did you ever think of that?”
“I did,” Loud Lady told her. “But then I thought, what would a ghost want with a diamond necklace, sapphire earrings, and a half dozen cocktail rings?”
“Maybe he has a ghost wife.” Elouise laughed. “Drink up, honey. Then take a nice long nap. I’ll order you a dinner from the Prima Club. You want the Terrace Special? Filet Mignon with baked potato and asparagus? Comes with strawberry shortcake for dessert.”
I watched Elouise tip the bottom of the cocktail glass to make sure Loud Lady finished the drink. “Tha’s fine,” Loud Lady whispered. “Be sure to order well-done. You know I canna eat unner-cooked meat.”
“No thanks necessary,” Elouise told her.
“I dinn’t thaaan you,” Loud Lady slurred.
I watched Elouise grab the glass as it slipped from Loud Lady’s hand. She also took the pill bottle and slipped it into her big purse. Strangely, she also wrapped the big glass with a handkerchief and placed that into her purse as well. With a smile, she then placed a call.
“Moxie’s Diner? I’d like to place a delivery order for the hamburger special with fried potatoes and coleslaw. Make the burger extra rare. Light a match under it.”
Leaving Loud Lady snoring on the sofa, Elouise returned to the front hall and, to my dismay, mounted the staircase. I flipped onto my tail to groom my nether region so she would mistake me for an ordinary housecat and give me no notice. It didn’t work—probably because I’m an incredibly stunning cat, hard to ignore.
See for yourself.
Go ahead. Take your time gazing upon my purrrfection. When you’re done, you may continue reading.
“Hi there, Kitty,” she said to me, and scooped me into her arms. “Let’s go find your brother, Tiger.”
As she carried me upstairs, I hung limp with shock in her hands. She thought I was the white Persian! While flattered to be mistaken for such an elegant breed, I fought to remain calm. What did she want with Kitty and Tiger?
The upstairs was so different from my house in the future with zig-zaggy halls and rooms I didn’t recognize. Elouise took a right, then a left, then another left and entered a room with a small sofa, padded chairs, tables and frilly lamps. I immediately noticed the sofa and chairs were shredded, and the lampshades were tilted. Plus the room smelled.
Actually, the stink punched me in the nose.
“Dear God in Heaven!” Elouise gasped. “Those litter boxes haven’t been cleaned in weeks!” She returned to the hallway to inhale clean air before turning back. “Tiger! Tiger come! Here kitty, kitty, kitty!”
I could have told her Tiger wasn’t in the smelly room. No cat of any breed would enter such a toxic-smelling room. Even if he was responsible for it being toxic in the first place.
“I can’t leave without him,” Elouise muttered to herself. While I continued to lay limp in her hands, she walked in and out of every room along the hallway calling for Tiger, finally ending up in a large room with what my mom called French doors. With a start I realized this room was my mom’s author-office with butter-yellow carpet and sunlight warming her pots of African violets. Except seventy years in the past the room looked like a man’s lounging room. Heavy furniture. Dark carpet. A huge leather sofa that made my paws itch with desire to shred a corner. It also smelled like pipe tobacco.
“There you are!” Elouise exclaimed, seeing both Kitty and Tiger lounging on a leather chair in the corner. “Wait. If you’re Kitty,” she said to the white Persian, “Who are you?” she asked me.
“Meow,” I said, and she dropped me like a hot potato.
“If you’re another one of Vivian’s costly possessions, I pity you,” she said to me.
I watched her scoop Kitty and Tiger into her giant purse. She then opened several drawers in a cabinet and added an assortment of manly items like a gold watch and cufflinks to her bag. She then removed a painting of a spotted horse from the wall.
Behind it was a safe. She worked the dial, opened the safe, and added the contents to the bag on top of the Persians. I saw more jewelry, plus paper money with huge numbers printed on it.
“Sorry, pussycat,” she said to me, “but I’m only supposed to take the Persians, so you’re stuck living here.”
I followed her to the stairs. As she reached the front door, the bell rang. She opened it to a round woman with braided yellow hair. “I am Huldah,” the woman said. “I am here to clean.”
“Wonderful!” Elouise exclaimed. “You can begin upstairs in the cat’s apartment by throwing out the litter boxes. When Mrs. Shallowford wakes up from her drunken stupor, tell her the Persians slipped out the door and ran away.”
As Huldah closed the door behind Elouise, I scampered back up the stairs. The Persians had avoided answering my questions about who might have stolen Loud Lady’s jewelry, which made me suspect they knew more than what they were willing to tell me. But now they were gone. From the way Elouise behaved, taking stuff from the cabinet and safe, I wondered if she had taken Loud Lady’s jewelry, but my superior feline instinct said that wasn’t true.
Elouise had mentioned the house was haunted by a meek man Loud Lady had frightened into having a heart attack in her pool house, and that he might have stolen her jewelry for his ghost wife. I had wanted to bring my CritterZone Air Neutralizer on this case, but Dori had said no, we didn’t need it. At the time I thought that meant the case didn’t involve ghosts. We had used the CritterZone to neutralize the ghosts in The Case of the Dancing Ghosts. But without it, I had no idea how we would get rid of Loud Lady’s ghosts.
I then recalled Jack had added a FroliCat BOLT to my Ride—a Gen7Pets Regal stroller. The BOLT had been reconfigured from a thrilling laser toy into a motion detector to sense unseen forces like ghosts…and demons. Jack also gave me a thermometer that I recognized from when I had to go to the veterinary clinic. He said the thermometer would tell me when there were ghosts around as ghosts usually make the room pretty cold. He assured me I didn’t have to stick it inside anything to make it work. Maybe the BOLT and thermometer would help me get rid of the ghost, though I didn’t think a ghost was responsible for stealing jewelry.
I returned to the cigar-smelly room that would be my mom’s author office in the future. I had no idea where Dori was, but hoped to find her in the attic that would be my office in seventy years. As I approached the French doors, I heard a crash. It came from behind the door that led to the attic. I hurried to investigate. Then gasped. The thick attic door was gone. Instead, I saw a beautiful frosted glass door with gold foil block lettering.
Tune in next Friday for…
To read Part 1, click here.
Hey pals! So what do you think about Loud Lady and her Not-Friend, Elouise? Is it possible Elouise stole the jewelry? Or maybe it was that ghost Loud Lady frightened into having a serious heart attack?
I so appreciate you joining me on another Sherlock Herms adventure. It means a lot to me. See you next Friday.