Other Stories in this issue

The Adventure Of The Canny Cabby

by Martin Hill Ortiz

About the Author: Martin Hill Ortiz is a native of Santa Fe, New Mexico and currently lives in Ponce, Puerto Rico, where he teaches Pharmacology to medical students. He has had over thirty stories published in journals, including a dozen in Mystery Magazine. He is the author of three novels. He is an active member of MWA.


Living in the building next door to Sherlock Holmes and being the world's other foremost consulting detective provides for fretful complications, the chief being: how to steal his clients. I am Jules Pfennig, former champion weasel warden. Truth be told, my set of vermin-snaring skills extended to all lengthy rodents be they stoats, ferrets, or martens. When I was at my post, hens in their hutches could slumber in gallinaceous glory.

Ah, but that was in my former, arcadian life. Now, as a detective-for-hire, I was short on clients and long on unpaid notes. I have not been favored with a creature such as that lickspittle Dr. Watson to promote me. What's more, I preferred that know-it-all Holmes stay unawares that I was competing with him. My dilemma could be summarized as requiring the benefits of fame while remaining unnoticed.

I puzzled over this paradox while undertaking a long trek homewards, my feet being wearied by a November evening of revelry at a dance hall by the Thames. My journey meant a three-mile hike in a not-so-greatcoat with pockets near bare of coinage. Maidens cost money. The weather spun a turn for the ill. A particularly irksome hail began pelleting like a scourge of angry hornets. All other pedestrians ducked into doorways or beneath awnings, while I, to continue my passage, signaled a passing hansom.

The cabby, a man of hirsute face and a brow as prominent as a canopy—a veritable wolf in his features—stopped for me. Hail drummed against his top hat and chips collected on the broad shoulders of his cloak.

Story Comments

Add story comment: