Cold Case

by Briar Pipe, Sherlock Holmes’s pipe

I, the briar pipe of Sherlock Holmes, was made from briarwood

a wood most difficult to burn.  Revealed on all surfaces were the

ornate carvings of a London street scene, Thames Street, to be

exact, on the stem of one side from Blackfriars Theatre, follow-

ing  along brick and mortar,  the London Bridge wrapping around

my bowl, and spanning the length on the other side the

River Thames, with Shakespeare’s Globe a large speck on the


It was difficult to refuse any of Sherlock Holmes’s requests so I

allowed myself to be smoked repeatedly.  On one occasion his

friend Watson could hardly breathe in the room.  Holmes could

smoke all night “lost in tobacco and thought” and frequently

smoke three bowls in a matter of fifty minutes.

From my place between his lips when he stood it was near six

feet in the air.  My close proximity gave witness to sharp

piercing eyes, a prominent chin, curved and hooked nose,

and at times a flush of color on his pale cheeks.  Sometimes his

eyelids drooped as though he were asleep.

When not perched between his lips, my place was in the left

side pocket of his tweed suit coat.  As was the fashion of the day,

both pockets were huge with the right pocket holding

his pistol.  Accompanying me, so as to leave the pistol un-

encumbered, were a tobacco box containing the strongest

black shag tobacco, a book of matches, tape measure and

a large round magnifying glass.  When the matches were not to

be found he would light up using tongs to hold a glowing ember

from the fire, “the blue smoke curling up from him”.

There were incidents where I hardly recognized him at all as he

was a master of disguise and would put aside his overcoat, ear-flapped

cap and riding-crop cane to become a priest, beggar or


Before the year 1900 the smoking stopped.  Some suspected

it was his enemies with whom he met his demise.  The case is still

open.  I like to think he is sitting “silent, motionless, with the

light shining upon his strong aquiline features.”

Cold Case

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