MARCH breaAK! 2012: A Study in Emerald, Day One, Story and Illustrations

March 12, 2012

Today, we made Shamrock S’mores and Four-Leaf Clover Cards and the kids read and illustrated the first two chapters of the book I wrote for them, The Adventures of Sir Lóchrann Holmes: A Study in Emerald. They use coloured pencils and/or oil pastels for their drawings as well as a black gel pen for captions and detail work. I’ve posted a little gallery below.

So what happened in the pages they read today? Here are the summaries:

Summary: A Study in Emerald, Chapter One, Sir Lóchrann Holmes
Seann McUaitson has just returned to Dublin from the traditional Irish grass snake’s “trip abroad.” In England, he studied medicine at the Lower Oxford Serpentine Hosptial. Then, he did his compulsory service for his country: attempting to convince English Grass Snakes to come away with him and experience a life of “relative tranquility” in Ireland. In Ireland, of course, snakes are not thought to exist. Thus, they are not protected by the type of laws which protect native species in England. To compensate, the grass snakes of Ireland have developed a secret underground society and culture which they find quite pleasant. Unfortunately, just before his tour in England ended, McUaitson was taken for a walking stick by an old English gentleman, who used him in a brawl against another old man (wielding an actual oak cudgel). Badly injured, Watson comes home to recuperate at an underground serpent spa hotel in Dublin, with access to the sunny parks above. There, McUaitson meets an old friend, Daniel Duffy, who has news of a serpent, who, like McUaitson, is looking for a flat and a flat-mate. Duffy and McUaitson travel by underground “illuminated cab” to the chemical laboratory in which Sir Lóchrann Holmes has been performing experiments with foreign snake venom. Duffy seems to hedge a little in the cab, “washing his tail” of any responsibility should McUaitson not end up getting along with Holmes. Upon introduction, Sir Lóchrann Holmes surprises McUaitson by observing that McUaitson has just returned from Ripon. How did he know that? McUaitson wonders. The two snakes discuss their potential short-comings before agreeing to meet the following afternoon in order to inspect the rooms at 221 B (for below) Barrow Street, Dublin.

Summary: A Study in Emerald, Chapter Two, The Science of Deduction
Holmes and McUaitson meet to have a look at the top-floor apartment at 221 B Barrow Street. They admire the city sunlight let in through the apartment’s skylights and the brand new heat lamps in both the “coiling room” and the two “nests.” In fact, they like it so much, they sign a Lease with Mrs. Houghston on the spot, and they move their things in the following day. Since McUaitson spends so much time at home, recovering from his injuries, he admits that he’s become kind of obsessed with trying to find out what Holmes does for a living. He complains that Holmes sometimes sends him out of the coling room when one of his strange assortment of friends visits. Although Holmes does at least apologize each time, explaining that his job requires privacy. McUaitson is still too nervous around him, though, to ask what Holmes acutally does for a living. All is revealed, however, on the morning of March 12, when McUaitson, questioning Holmes about an article he has found in the coiling room, (an article in a human magazine entitled Scientific Irishman, and which Holmes himself has written) finally gets Holmes to spill the beans. Holmes reveals that he is the world’s only “consulting serpent detective,” explaining his mastery of the history of crime (although he admits that there’s not much violence among snakes in Ireland these days to worry about anyway). He also discusses hi reliance upon “deduction” as a way of way of figuring out what people do and feel and think. McUaitson doesn’t really buy into this “deduction science” right away. However, when a skateboarding snake messenger arrives to deliver Holmes an urgent appeal from the serpent police, Holmes accurately describes that messenger snake’s former life as a Marine, and McUaitson begins to see the light.

But what does that urgent message say? Stay tuned to find out….

Today’s Illustrations:

“Breakfast at 221B Barrow Street”- Bea

“The Laboratory of Sir L. Holmes” – Bea

“Sir Lochrann Holmes and McUaitso-“-Tobes

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