Following an unexpectedly salubrious evening in the reception rooms of the town's Globe Hotel*, I had awoken to find my companion returning from his toilette. As Holmes rarely emerges from his chambers before mid-morning I was most pleased, for this deviation in routine indicated his full engagement in the planned distraction.
"Shall we?," Holmes said.
Shall we what? I japed.
"Really Watson, do come along."
We have some time yet, Holmes, for we arranged to interview the doctor at nine of the clock and it is not yet gone seven.'
As the appointed hour approached Holmes and I struck out for our target, the town's red-brick hospital sprawled atop a nearby hill. Two long blasts from an arriving train had assaulted our ears as we entered the sanatorium and searched for a member of the hospital staff, eventually locating a most winsome nurse. So immersed in her reading was she that, when I spoke, she jumped. After regaining her composure she guided us to the door of one Dr John William Morton.
The doctor, a medium-sized man with an impressively large office, greeted us effusively.
"Dr Watson, Mr Holmes, so very pleased to meet you. Please come in. And Miss Roberts, tea for our guests? Four cups please."
"Yes, Dr Morton." The young nurse bobbed stiffly and, in a swirl of starched linen, turned to stride down the hall.
The doctor indicated where Holmes and I were to be seated. "You've come to inquire after Billy Lyons, I understand, referred to by the papers as the Lazarus Child?."
Sherlock Holmes: The Australian Casebook, edited by Christopher Sequiera, Echo, $34.99. * The Globe opened in Queanbeyan in 1885 and is still operating, now as Walsh's Hotel.