So the biggest complaint about my Sherlock Holmes story “The Mystery of the Last Line” is that it has an ambiguous ending. I wrote the story in 1999 as part of my application to grad school (and yes, I was accepted). At the time, I sort of meant the reader to infer a lot of things. But I guess perhaps, despite my goal, I was not clear enough. So, with that in mind, I’ve started a direct sequel to “Last Line.” Here’s a wee bit of it:
It was some weeks after our return from exile at Holmesweald before I was able to take steps toward learning more about the various situations that conspired to make Sherlock Holmes the man he would become . . .
After suffering the illness that came with withdrawal from his reliance on cocaine, he rebounded to his energetic self, immersing himself in every little case and crisis that came his way. I only dreaded the idea there might yet come a day without anything to occupy him. Would he relapse into his former habit?
I resolved not to allow it, but in so doing firmly believed I would need to get to the core of things if I was to stop it from happening. While at Holmesweald I had learned more than Holmes himself would have liked me to know, and I had no desire to make him uncomfortable—or angry. But my concern for him ran deeper than my fear of his reaction. He might condemn me for sentimentality, but that was a small enough price for securing his health and preserving that extraordinary mind.
It was this determination on my part that drove me to act in the manner I will now set forth. I only ask that you, dear readers, remember that my intentions were all for the best. My behavior, in retrospect, was unconscionable but prompted entirely by care for my friend.