Layne: Glad to have you over for a chat. I understand you are the inspiration for Conon Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes.
Xavier: Gads! You understand incorrectly then. I am nothing like Conon Doyle’s character and I wish people would cease spreading this ridiculous rumor about London. I do not play the violin, I am not addicted to cocaine, I do not declare cases solved on the flimiest of evidence. If anyone resembles Holmes, it is Victor, my secretary and investigator in training. Vic has the finest intuitive skills I have ever seen. Better than even the impressive Chief Inspector Stone of Scotland Yard.
Layne: That’s a difference. I believe the inspector in Doyle’s books was a bumbling idiot.
Xavier: The only resemblance between me and this Holmes character Doyle created seven years ago, is that we both solve our cases, albeit in different ways. Now that Victor has joined me, I expect we will solve more cases than ever.
Layne: But you and Holmes both smoke pipes.
Xavier: As does half the men in England, while the other half choose to smoke cigarettes, an inferior, but less costly choice. Smoking is a sign of manliness.
Layne: I understand you did meet Doyle once…
Xavier: Yes, and had I realized he intended to write mystery novels, I would have thrown him out at once, but he claimed to be a doctor, wishing to consult on a client’s mysterious death. It was not until an hour later when I asked for the name of the family involved that he admitted he'd made the situation up, he just wished to understand how one might go about discovering the truth when those connected to the crime would do all they could to obfuscate what happened.
Layne: How did you respond?
Xavier: The moment I realized that he intended to take a turn at writing novels, I threw him out. But only after I gave him a stern warning not to dare make me a character in his book.
Layne: Which he did anyway.
Xavier: Have you not heard a word I have said? He did not put me in his book. His character is nothing like me.
Layne: Clearly, I’ve hit a tender spot. Let us move on and discover more about Liza O’Connor’s Humorous Late Victorian Mystery novel, the first of many, called The Troublesome Apprentice.
The Adventures of
Xavier & Vic
The Troublesome Apprentice
By Liza O’Connor
The Key to Aunt Maddy’s Death
The Missing Husband of Mrs. Wimple
The Disappearing Scarlet Nun
The Clever Butcher’s Wife
The Rescue of Lady Anne
While investigating the death of a friend and client, Maddy Hamilton, Xavier Thorn (reputed to be the greatest sleuth in England) is greatly impressed with Maddy’s nephew, Victor, and offers him a job as his secretary. Aware of Xavier’s history of firing secretaries, Victor garners a promise that for three months he cannot be fired. Vic then proceeds, in Xavier’s view, to be cheeky and impertinent at every turn. Xavier endures the impudent pup because Victor is most skilled in extracting the truth from clients and intuiting facts with little evidence to assist.
As they solve a string of cases, Xavier discovers a few more important details about his troublesome apprentice, such as her true gender, and the realization that she has awakened his long dormant heart.
Mrs. Wimple entered and, before Xavier could ask if she wished tea, Victor, the impertinent pup, asked the question as he showed her to a chair. She requested tea, and Victor promised to bring it shortly.
“He’s new,” Mrs. Wimple said once the scamp had left the room.
“Yes, I recently acquired him. He’s just come down from Oxford.”
“Oxford,” Mrs. Wimple repeated, clearly impressed. “I would not think a young man from Oxford would wish to be a mere secretary.”
“Daresay you are right. Victor is my apprentice. He is learning the craft of investigation.”
“Oh, how very exciting for him.”
“I have strong hopes for the young man. He’s incredibly bright and very insightful. I daresay, within a year, I will be forced to make him my partner or he’ll leave and open his own office.”
“And then we would have two Sherlock Holmes.”
Xavier’s muscles tightened at her words. He had already told the damnable woman during her first visit Sherlock Holmes was a fictitious character who bore no resemblance to him at all. He hated it when clients thought themselves clever. “Yes, and imagine how confusing it would be.” He rapped his pencil on the edge of his desk. What is taking Vic so damn long? Unless he has never made tea and hasn’t a clue, but surely he can figure out something so simple.
Victor returned carrying a silver tray burdened with a large assortment of bowls, cups, and saucers. Where the bloody hell did he find a serving set? In the past, all the secretaries had brought a single cup of tea.
Mrs. Wimple seemed to appreciate all the tomfoolery and complimented Victor on his fine manners.
“Mr. Holmes was telling me you are an Oxford man.”
Vic smiled with amusement at Xavier being called “Mr. Holmes”. “I am indeed, ma’am.” Vic smiled at Xavier. “And you, Mr. Holmes, how do you wish your tea?”
Xavier’s eyes narrowed. “Guess.”
Vic handed him a plain tea, then removed the service tray and returned with pencil and paper to take notes. To her surprise, Xavier waited for her to sit before beginning.
“I’ve decided to place Victor in charge of your case, Mrs. Wimple.”
That made no sense. She’d nearly burnt down his place of business. Hardly a reason to promote her to investigator. Without a doubt he was up to something.
“Since he has not read my notes from the first meeting, we are going to start at the beginning, as if you have never been here before. I would like you to tell him all pertinent facts, but bear in mind, if you lie to him, he cannot help you.”
“Lie? Why would I lie?”
“I sincerely hope you will not, but you lied to me. You wasted my time in our last interview and I’ve no patience left. Therefore, I am going to sit quietly and enjoy my tea while Victor conducts his interview. If he manages to do what I could not, I will allow him to continue to learn this business. However, if he cannot pull the truth from you, I will fire him for incompetence and it will be on your head, Mrs. Wimple.”
“But that’s not fair,” she protested.
Vic couldn’t agree more. True her actions had almost scarred Xavier for life and burnt down his business, but he had given her his word she would not be fired for three months. She was barely into her second day. She studied her cranky employer, trying to make sense of his turnabout. He showed no anger, only annoyance, all aimed at Mrs. Wimple.
Xavier set his cup on his desk and leaned forward. “I’m sorry, but it’s your punishment for wasting my time with lies and half-truths.”
The Troublesome Apprentice
I’m tired of telling my proper bio. So you get the improper bio.
Liza O’Connor was raised by feral cats, which explains a great deal, such as why she has no manners, is always getting in trouble, and doesn’t behave like a proper author and give you a proper bio.
She is highly unpredictable, both in real life and her stories, and presently is writing humorous romances. Please buy these books, because otherwise, she’ll become grumpy and write troubled novels instead. They will likely traumatize you.
Mostly humorous books by Liza:
Saving Casey – Old woman reincarnates into troubled teen’s body. (Half funny/half traumatizing)
Ghost Lover—Two British brothers fall in love with the same young woman. Ancestral ghost is called in to fix the situation. There’s a ghost cat too. (Humorous Contemporary Romance)
A Long Road to Love Series: (Humorous Contemporary odd Romance)
Worst Week Ever — Laugh out loud week of disasters of Epic proportions.
Oh Stupid Heart — The heart wants what it wants, even if it’s impossible.
Coming to Reason — There is a breaking point when even a saint comes to reason.
Climbing out of Hell — The reconstruction of a terrible man into a great one.
Don’t Forget to enter to win one of the two $25 Amazon Gift Cards.
Blog and Website: http://www.LizaOConnor.com
Facebook Profile: http://www.facebook.com/liza.oconnor.90