The CaseBook of Doakes and Haig
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by Patrick Welch
Description: Tales of the fascinating adventures of an unlikely pair of detectives who reside and practice in an alternate universe, an England which remains a colonial power.
eBook Publisher: Twilight Times Books, 2001 TTB
eBookwise Release Date: November 2003
22 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [286 KB]
Reading time: 182-255 min.
"Writer Welch has produced a marvelous group of entertaining anecdotes in his The CaseBook of Doakes and Haig. Welch and his penchant for tongue-in-cheek has created a delightful group of characters in his fast paced narratives. This is a fun read for a lazy afternoon. I look forward to reading more of Doakes and Haig soon. Highly recommended."--Molly Martin, Word Weaving.com
"Welch has his tongue planted firmly in cheek while writing these. He also has his story telling and settings down pat. These are very interesting stories and we learn more about leprechauns and their many secrets and powers than from anywhere else. The characters are well drawn and before the end of the book, become old friends to the reader. I sat down and read this straight through on the day I received it. It's a fun read and one that should add a lot of new readers to the ranks of those who want more from Pat Welch. Recommended highly."--Barry Hunter, Baryon
Mystery and fantasy may appear to be unlikely bedfellows. A typical mystery, after all, relies on logic and analysis to establish and maintain the story line. Fantasy requires imagination and suspension of disbelief if it is to hold the reader's interest.
Yet there are precedents for "fantasy detectives" if you will (ignoring the obvious that Sherlock Holmes and other fictional characters are in a very real sense always "fantasy"). If you wish, you can go as far back as Poe's "Murders on the Rue Morgue" to cite a "fantastic" mystery. I prefer to go no further than Randall Garrett's series with Lord Darcy and Master Sean. These characters and their alternative universe are direct inspirations for Mssrs. Doakes and Haig, who reside and practice in a universe of their own, an England which remains a colonial power around the world.
Investigating and expanding their particular reality has been a delight for me. It has also been a continuing matter of discovery as I have chronicled their adventures over the five stories and one novelette in this collection. Four of their cases--A Small Matter of Murder, Savage Customs, Murderous Obligations and Cat's Moon Rising--have appeared in Alternate Realities. In completing this anthology, I have slightly revised the earlier episodes to correspond to what has developed later in the backgrounds of the characters, specifically Mr. Haig.
Sharp-eyed readers of those stories might catch these minor revisions. For me, revising is a never-ending process in any event. I doubt there is one piece of writing I have ever published that, when I read it in print or on the 'net or wherever, I didn't want to go back and tweak this or that. And I suspect most writers are the same way.
Anyway, you're probably eager to get into the actual caseBook of Doakes and Haig.A SMALL MATTER OF MURDER
The tinkle of the bell roused me from my crossword puzzle. I glanced at the clock as I made my way from the back room to the front of my store. Only two hours had passed since my last customer ...this was turning into a good day after all. I paused at the curtain to straighten my coat and don my friendliest smile, then parted it to greet my visitor.
My smile widened when I saw Mrs. McLeary. As regular as clockwork she was, once a month making her painful way from the upper West End to my little shop. "And how are we this lovely day?" I asked as I reached for a jar of Doakes and Haig Recipe Sweetener.
"It's this hip," she patted her left side. "The rheumatism does rage like the wind on damp days like this."
I carefully wrapped the jar of condiment in newspaper before setting it in a box. "If you wish we could post your order each month. Save you the trip and all."
"I don't mind. A body does need to get out on occasion." She reached forward and pinched my cheek. "So like your father you are, bless his soul." She carefully set seven pence on the counter. "He would be proud he would. Children these days, so eager to fly out on their own. Never mind the family or tradition. Shame it is."
"Indeed." I maintained my smile until the door closed softly but surely behind her. Mrs. McLeary, bless the dear old lady, had yet to realize after all these years prices for everything had inevitably and inexorably risen. I didn't have the heart to ask for more, being as she was on a fixed income and all, but I knew I would hear about it anyway.
I set the seven pence in the cash register where they could safely enjoy their near solitude, then studied my reflection in the polished silver of the old machine. Children indeed. Thirty-five I was now, looking every day of it and more. Just so I could carry on the "family tradition." I glanced at the clock once more. Just past two. I could be confident I would see no more customers for at least another hour. Preparing myself for what was to come, I want to the back to talk with Haig.
As per usual, he was hard at work in the kitchen. On the stove a huge kettle boiled merrily away, reducing a leg of lamb to bits of meat and suet. Sprigs of fresh wintergreen, clover, thistle leaves and lavender were piled high on the table waiting to be blended with the fat. Several boxes of clear glass bottles--which cost me nearly six pence each--rested safely on the floor. At his bench, glasses perched high on his head, feet dangling several meters from the ground, Haig was busy pouring a fresh batch of Doakes and Haig Recipe Sweetener into a pint container. "How much did you sell?" he asked, not looking up.
"Just one container. Mrs. McLeary."
"So the old cow is still alive! And what did you charge her this time?"
"The usual." Here it comes.
The leprechaun turned and glared at me over his glasses. He looked so ludicrous; not a hand high, dressed in wool waistcoat and trousers, the tools he worked with as large or larger than he. How he did it I knew not and he refused to say, in fact refused to allow me to watch him at work. Somehow he managed. "How many times have I told you, boyo? Money. We need money!" and he rubbed his fingers together.
He was right about that. "Yes, so you have."
"Never do, never do," he turned his back to concentrate on his work. "Your father and grandfather, they understood. You, you have no more sense than the poorest inmate in Debtor's Prison."
"Better a little than none at all."
"Bah! If your father could see what you're doing to his business, he would turn over in his grave yes he would!" He continued muttering as he forced the stopper into the full bottle, then made a gesture. And another bottle of Doakes and Haig Recipe Sweetener was ready for market. If there was one.
"People's tastes have changed. They eat healthier meals ..."
"Healthier? Hah!" He jumped up on his chair and stretched to his full height. "Rabbits they be if rabbits they eat like. Look at me! I eat Doakes and Haig everyday! I'm as healthy as a horse!" He pounded his chest for emphasis.
"You're a leprechaun."
"What of it?"
I shook my head. We had had this discussion before. Years gone by, our concoction of lamb fat, some herbs and a touch of Haig's magic graced the tables of the rich and noble throughout the land. Now we would probably never get to market if Doakes and Haig Recipe Sweetener wasn't already recognized and honored as a purveyor to the crown. If the Health Office ever bothered to check ... "I'm sure we have enough," I said as I pointed to the shelves along the back. They were sagging from unsold bottles of our single product. "You can relax if you wish."
"That's the trouble with you, you are always ready to 'relax.'" But he did pause long enough to fill and light his pipe. Another health code violation to be sure. "When I agreed to work with your father, I could have never imagined the future would look like this."
I suppressed a smile at his choice of words. The story of how my great-great-great-and so on grandfather had captured the creature had been passed down and embellished by my family for generations. We had been dirt poor, so the latest version went, and forced to live in a cave while greatXgrandfather went out hunting and stealing and poaching. Luck of the Irish indeed when he stumbled upon Haig drunk and asleep on the moors. But not so lucky, either; for a leprechaun, Haig had a remarkably small pot of gold. Instead of wealth, then, it was work that Haig offered for his eventual freedom.
I admit he earned it. He had turned an old family recipe (and how we had first stumbled across it I'll never know) into something that was actually edible. My greatXgrandfather had first sold it to several pubs in the area, then to establishments in the nearby cities. It was happenstance and luck that grand-ancestor Doakes crossed paths with one of the King Georges during a periodic spot of bother. As a reward for his assistance, the King named Doakes and Haig a Supplier to the Crown ...and the family fortune was established.
Yet Haig stayed on, passed on from one generation to the next like a family heirloom. Which, in a sense, he was. "You are free to leave at any time." It was an offer I had made more than once, especially as the "family fortune" was dissipating rapidly.
"I live up to my obligations," he sent an angry puff of smoke toward the ceiling. "Best you do the same."
"Indeed." The bell from the front precluded further discussion. Instead I pointed to our inventory. "Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves. We don't want to be disposing of unsold stock that has spoiled."
"Doakes and Haig never spoils." I did notice with some satisfaction that he had put his feet up on the table as I went to service our customer. It would probably be our last of the day.
The distressing news came the next morning. We were in our apartment above the store. Once we had shared six rooms; now I rented out four to cover expenses. But it wasn't enough. I was morosely going over the accounts trying to decide how to juggle the bills this month when a snort from Haig interrupted me. He was standing on the kitchen table, the newspaper spread below him. He was walking atop one article. "A shame, a most grievous shame," he said when he realized he had my attention.
"Mrs. McLeary is no longer with us."
"What?" I grabbed for the paper and nearly knocked him to the floor.
"Relax, boyo," he said as he regained his balance, then adjusted his waistcoat. "Says right here," he pointed with a foot.
He was right. The article described a break-in that had occurred early evening last. A Mrs. Liam McLeary was found dead in her apartment, all valuables missing. The bobbies had no leads. A wake would be held within two days. "Who would do such a thing?" I said after I regained a semblance of composure.
"A hooligan from the Colonies most likely. Uncivilized they are; we should never allow them to return. They left once, be done with them." Haig stomped his foot for emphasis.
That was Haig's explanation for every spot of trouble, from scuffles with Spain to wars with Argentina and Sweden: somehow, some way, the American colonists were to blame. "I'll have to go."
He frowned. "To the Colonies?"
"To the wake." I read the article once more. "We'll have to close for a few hours; the wake is in the afternoon." I was surprised when he offered no protest. Although he did make a surprising request.
So two days later I knocked on the door of the late Mrs. McLeary. It opened slowly and two eyes peered out. "Who are you?" the woman asked.
I removed my hat and bowed. "Sean Doakes. I was a friend of Mrs. McLeary. I just wanted to visit for a moment and pay my respects."
"Sean Doakes?" The half-hidden face considered. "I don't know ...of course!" and the door flew open, revealing a very attractive woman of about 25. "Mr. Doakes, please do come in," and she grabbed my hand and pulled me into the room. "My grandmother used to talk about you all the time! I'm Colleen Wickes."
"A pleasure, Mrs. Wickes."
"Miss. Please, just call me Colleen."
"May I take your coat?" I handed it to her gratefully. "You can put your satchel by the wall if you wish."
"No, thank you." I slung it over my shoulder. "I prefer to keep it with me. Force of habit." Inside was Haig; it was the way we traveled when he had a mind to "stretch his legs." He never complained about the accommodations so I didn't, either.
"If you wish. Let me introduce you to the family." I was treated to a whirlwind of grieving names and faces, mostly family and neighbors. The men were drinking, the women weeping; I participated in a few toasts and sobs, then made a break for the kitchen and a spot of tea.
I broke in on a conversation between Colleen and a very well-dressed gentleman. He frowned when he saw me. I apologized immediately.
Colleen was clearly relieved at my intrusion. "Sean, Mr. Doakes, please meet Barrister Weems."
Reluctantly we approached and shook hands. With one glance at my worn trousers and frayed collar he dismissed me as someone worth forgetting immediately. "You have my offer," he returned his attention to Colleen. "It is more than fair. Considering the circumstances, I'm not sure how long my client will maintain his interest." With that he nodded to us both and left the room.
I apologized again. "I was just looking for a spot of tea."
"Delighted." She managed a smile but I could see the tension in her lips. "I think she keeps her supplies here." She opened a cupboard door, but instead of tea there was jar after jar of Doakes and Haig Recipe Sweetener. At least three years' worth. I let out a low whistle; Colleen looked at me, then the jars, then smiled. "She did love your product so, poor dear. But the last few years, her health. The doctors insisted she watch her diet. Let's try another cabinet, shall we?"
While she continued opening doors I stared at the larder. Every month she had made that long, painful carriage ride to my store. Just to buy something she couldn't enjoy, couldn't really afford. I wiped a tear from my eye; it took Colleen three tries before she got my attention. "Cream? Sugar?"
"Yes. Both." The hot tea brought my ruminations back to the here and now. "What was that all about? If I may be so bold?"
"Barrister Weems represents Malcolm Crosley. He has been trying to buy my grandmother's property for the past year or so. There was no reason to sell before. Now?" She shrugged. "I suppose there's no reason not to."
"Yes." We finished our drinks in silence. The distress I had felt over the news of her death was now trebled by my discovery in dear Mrs. McLeary's kitchen. And, not being family, I did not want to wear out my welcome. So less than ten minutes later I was returning home in a carriage.
I was lost in reminiscing when I felt a kick. Haig was demanding my attention so I unclasped my satchel and looked inside. "What is it? Can't we wait until we get back?"
"I like this naught," he said, then climbed out and sat on my knee.
"Like what? The satchel? There was really no need ..."
"Not that. That Weems fellow. Something is not right here. This smells like Liverpool on a hot summer's day."
He had heard everything, which didn't surprise me since leprechauns have extraordinary hearing. He was right; something didn't smell right to me, either. And it was much stronger than rotting fish. "So what do we do about it?"
He told me. That afternoon I made an appointment to meet with Barrister Weems.
The barrister didn't recognize my name, but when I told him I had some property to sell he reluctantly agreed. Promptly at 10 the next morning I was sitting in his well-appointed office. In the satchel next to me were the deed to my property, relevant tax and income information ...and Haig.
Weems greeted me perfunctorily when I was admitted to his inner chamber and gave no indication he remembered me from the McLeary wake. "You say you have some property you might be interested in disposing of, Mr.," he glanced down at the calendar on his desk, "Doakes?"
"Yes." I casually reached into my satchel and pulled out some papers. I also made sure to knock it over on its side. "Been in the family for generations. But my business is not what it used to be. I am considering relocating to the Colonies."
He accepted the paperwork and glanced at it quickly. "Doakes and Haig. I believe I have heard of the name."
"Our product has been enjoyed by royalty for generations."
"Indeed. I may have a client who would be interested," he offered after five minutes of silence. "But I will have to contact him."
"Of course." I rose and offered my hand. "I will leave the papers with you. Will a day be sufficient? I would hate to have them out of my possession any longer."
"A bit rushed, perhaps, but we can make a preliminary estimate of property value at least. Tomorrow at 10 then?"
"Yes. And thank you." I was whistling as I left. Haig had had ample time to escape and hide; tomorrow morning I would retrieve him.
Which I did, but not before enduring a sales lecture from Weems. "Your business is failing rapidly," he explained the obvious. "You have a mortgage on your property and it is not in the best condition. Only the location makes it of any interest to my client." He handed me a slip of paper. "This is his one and only offer."
I looked at the figure, let out a low whistle, then stuck it in my pocket. "I was hoping for much more than that."
"It is more than fair considering."
"I respectfully decline. If you would." I held out my hand and he returned my deed and other papers. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Haig dart back inside my satchel. I placed my documents carefully around him and closed my case. "Thank you for your time and expert opinion."
"If you change your mind the offer will remain open for one week. Oh, and I will post my consulting fee on the morrow. Good day, Mr. Doakes." I winced as I made my way outside. I had not expected a fee. It would be dear, I knew.
"Weems is as low as a mine rat!"
We were now safely in my apartment, ensconced over dinner, the day's work done. Haig had steadfastly refused to discuss any of what he had learned while we were open for business, afraid perhaps I would use it as an excuse to do no work. Now he was nearly bursting to tell me.
"Aren't most barristers?"
"Let us not profane an entire profession from one poor example."
"Sorry. Go on."
"I spent the entire night going through his files. Weems is indeed representing Crosley. They are attempting to purchase that entire block of buildings, including Mrs. McLeary's, for some new venture Crosley is planning. Much of it they already own. But the others ..." He stopped to refill his pipe. He had become so animated he was nearly hidden by the tobacco cloud.
"Yes. They've been filing lawsuits and liens against anyone refusing to sell. Tie them up in court on false charges. Force them to expend precious funds on legal fees. Eventually, force them to sell. They had done the same to Mrs. McLeary, nearly exhausted all of her savings they did. But," he smirked, "she won in the courts."
But lost outside them. "So now what do we do?"
"Take them to the bobbers! To justice." He stamped his foot on the table and threatened to overturn my teacup. "This is not right!"
"We can't take Crosley to court. Or Weems for that matter. We have no evidence. And Crosley ..." I knew of Crosley. Everyone did. A high financier with friends in very high places. In the papers frequently as philanthropist and speculator. Beyond reproach he was. But then the tabloids like nothing better than a scandal.
"We have to do something! That dear Mrs. McLeary. And the lass Colleen. A sweet thing she is. You could not do better than with her, getting along as you are."
I winced at his reference to my bachelorhood. It had become an increasingly frequent subject of our conversations. I had been engaged. Once. But the turmoil of my increasingly failing business had driven her to the arms of a more successful man. After three years I was still licking my wounds. "He will come after her, won't he?"
"I saw the paperwork ready to be filed. Another will. Fraudulent I am sure, but sufficient to cause legal difficulties."
I stirred my tea thoughtfully. "I don't suppose you found any records of Weems hiring ...help?"
"Come now, laddie, do you think he would be as foolish as to keep a written receipt or such if he was using hooligans?"
"Never hurts to ask." After a pause I set down my glass. "I guess we'll have to do it ourselves, then."
"Find the men who murdered poor Mrs. McLeary. But we'll need bait."
He knocked out the ashes from his pipe on a saucer, then studied me. "And what would that be?"
O'Toole's Barking Dog was the seventh unsavory establishment I had entered this evening. I had decided that the murderers were probably thugs from the vicinity of dear Mrs. McLeary's residence as they would be more familiar with the neighborhood, less likely to be overly conspicuous, make a mistake and enter the wrong residence and so forth. I had left Haig at home, much to his dismay. "You are a city boy; you have no idea how to deal with ruffians," he had pointed out angrily.
"And how can you help? I think I need to travel light tonight."
He had no rejoinder for that, so after doing the dinner dishes I took a carriage and made my way to Mrs. McLeary's neighborhood. My approach was the same at every establishment; enter as a loudmouth drunken lout (an act which became increasingly easier as the hours wore on), sit at the bar and rail on to one and all about the injustices of the world and most especially the fate of the late Mrs. McLeary.
Now I was seated in the Barking Dog and repeating my performance. "I know who did it, sure as the sun rises and the Queen rules the world," I slurred to those around me. "Hired thugs of that thieving Crosley they be. Cowards one and all." This last statement had never failed to earn nods of agreement and a toast condemning the evil rich. This time, however, I noticed several unwholesome characters at a table immediately break into a heated conversation punctuated by occasional glances at me. I quickly ordered another pint and prattled on. "Kind woman she was. Such a pleasant soul, no bad word for anybody. I would love to get these two hands around the throats of the hooligans who did her in."
"She was a saint, that one," a mate several faces down joined it. "When my missus was troubled with the gout, she helped clean our rooms and cook our dinners until the wife was better." Another added a tale of her love for animals, and soon everyone at the bar was weeping joyfully and toasting to the spirit of the dear departed, even though some, I was sure, had never heard of Mrs. McLeary in their lives.
I was feeling warm and smug and was well into my third pint when I felt someone crash heavily into me, followed immediately by curses. "Watch it, laddie. You trying to trip me, play some foolish game now?"
I found myself looking up at one of the rough-looking strangers who had been eyeing me. "I'm sorry," I gurgled.
"Sorry, he says. Tries to knock me off my wickets and says he's sorry?" A large fist suddenly appeared below my nose. "I'll teach you some manners, that I will."
"None of that, now," the barkeep appeared immediately. "I'm sure this gentleman did not mean any harm."
"Any harm?" The man grinned at me while his companion walked to the other side, surrounding me. "He could have broke my leg, that he could. Some loudmouth little yip that can't keep his mouth shut and opinions to himself, that's what he be. Insulting the gentry as he has. Speaking things he knows nothing of. Manners is what he needs."
I felt something sharp press against my side, from where his partner was standing. A knife I was sure. Would they do me in right here? "Again I apologize," I blubbered. "I did not see you. The passing of my friend has been most troubling." I wiped away a tear.
The man was unmoved. "You best stop spreading lies about your betters. If you know what is good for you." Then he nodded to his companion and they stomped out of the pub.
My hand was trembling when I reached for my pint. My plan had succeeded much better and much more rapidly than I had expected. To be honest I hadn't decided what I would do when those I had upset finally came calling. I had never thought they would visit that evening.
But being right was one thing; proving it to those who mattered was something else again. Those around me soon lost interest and I was able to leisurely finish my pint in peace. When I made my way to the loo I was relieved to find a back door. I used it, just in case my assailants were waiting for me.
They were waiting for me anyway. The silent man grabbed me as soon as I stumbled out into the gas-lit alley and threw me against the wall. He let out a harsh whistle while I tried to catch my breath, then brought a knife up to my throat. "Not a word," he whispered and poked me lightly for emphasis. When he withdrew his blade, a drop of blood was on the tip. Within seconds I heard approaching footsteps, then a grunt of satisfaction as the other hooligan stepped out of the shadows.
"So the mouthy one was trying to leave us," he nodded smugly. "You were so willing to talk back in the pub, now talk to us. What do you know about Mrs. McLeary's death?"
"I don't," I shook my head. "I don't know anything."
He reached forward and patted me on the cheek while his friend held the knife fast near my throat. "That is not what you said inside. And you mentioned our friend Mr. Crosley. Most distressing that is." Suddenly he punched me in the stomach; his companion barely jerked the knife away in time, otherwise I would have slit my own throat when I doubled over. My interrogator grabbed me by the hair and pulled me erect. "Now tell me, what do you know?"
"We know that Crosley hired you to kill the lady so he could purchase her property," a familiar voice called from behind them.
My assailants turned just in time to see a figure burst amongst us. It was about the only time they had. I've never seen anyone move so fast; I was still catching my breath when the carnage was over and both men were lying unconscious. Leaving a smiling Haig to help me to my feet.
"But you're, but you're ..." I stared up at him, still in shock from the attack, still reeling from Haig's sudden appearance. "But you're tall!"
"That I am, laddie," he wrapped one arm around me. "We leprechauns can assume your size any time we choose. We're amongst you all the time even though you'd never know. Can you walk? We have to call the bobbies before they come to."
Which we did. They were skeptical of my report, but there were enough witnesses from the pub to convince them to hold my assailants. They became even more curious when a barrister arrived the next day to post bail. The barrister was Weems.
The next two months held a dizzying parade of events. The tabloids began to run stories, first little bits of gossip, then full-fledged articles as both the Crown and public became interested in Mrs. McLeary's murder. The legal actions carried on by Weems and Crosley were matters of public record and soon their targets began telling their stories to all who would listen. And the tabloids made sure many were. My assailants had notorious records of their own, and under severe pressure from prosecutors came forward and admitted to their involvement with Crosley and Weems ...and dear Mrs. McLeary.
I had little time to notice; the publicity had generated intense interest in myself and my Recipe Sweetener, so much so that when Weems made an attempt to foreclose on my mortgage I had sufficient funds to meet my back obligations. Colleen had even visited to thank me. One thing led to another and we found time to enjoy a dinner date, where I learned she was engaged.
But several questions remained and it was only after the dust had settled that I was able to ask them. "You followed me that night," I said as Haig and I were enjoying dessert one evening.
He nodded. He was back to his regular size; except for that single instance, he had remained as how I had always known him. "You have no talent for fisticuffs, Sean. I thought it best."
"I thank you for your help. But why?"
He frowned. "Why what?"
Since learning of his real abilities, I had wanted desperately to ask so many things. Now was the time. "Why are you still here? You could have left anytime. Especially since you can ...be like us."
"Ah, laddie, you think you know what you know not." He emptied his pipe, then sat back and rested his feet on the ashtray. "When your grandfather found me, t'was nothing like you have been told. I met him at a pub and I was pretending to be human. A most delightful companion he was, a witty man, heart of a poet. Many a pint of the brewer's art we put away that night! We were both singing to the angels when we started back across the moors. Which is where I lost control and became ...me.
"Now any other man would have taken advantage, would have seized me and robbed me of my fortune. But your grandfather, ah, he cared not a whit for money. Instead he took me to his home to hide and protect me until I could regain my senses, protect myself. For that kind deed I owed him deeply. In fact, I still do."
I felt a surge of pride at my ancestor's largesse. "Any debt you may have owed has long been paid in full."
"Sean, me boy, please understand. We leprechauns are normally solitary creatures. But I don't like solitude. Your family had taken me in, made me one of their own. I am a Doakes as well as a Haig. As long as I am welcome," he finished softly.
"You're always welcome, Haig," I smiled.
With a cloud of smoke he abruptly changed the subject. "You know, I enjoyed our adventure with Crosley and his gang immensely. We should do that again."
"What? Get attacked in an alley?"
"No, no. I take it you haven't read the mail." I shook my head. "This came by post." He shoved a letter to me with his foot. I skimmed it. It was from someone I didn't know asking if we could investigate a matter of "grave importance."
Which is how Doakes and Haig, Criminal Consultants, was born.* * *
I believe there are two ways you can use mythology in writing fantasy. One is to accept the premises which have been long established and use them as the bedrock for your story.
The other is to change that mythology to suit your needs and interests. A "mythology" after all is chiefly a fantasy invention that has been around for centuries (more or less). Leprechauns are known for their pot of gold (and that will become an important plot element in a later Doakes/Haig investigation), but they are not reputed to be able to change into human form. But then this is my universe and my leprechaun so basically I can bend the rules to how I see fit. Besides, for me it's more fun. What is the point of writing fantasy if you can't invent something?
Some "purist" readers might object to that, but anyone who has read my other work knows I am far from a purist. I did find it interesting that the editor who accepted "A Small Matter of Murder" confessed in a column that she had vowed never to accept a leprechaun story because she didn't think anything new could be done with the concept. I like to think that I have (but friends say I am delusional in many ways). I trust you will as well.