Kathleen Kaska poses the question, What If?

What If?

            The Queen had grown tired of her reading material, and summoned Agatha Christie, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Alfred Hitchcock to Buckingham Palace to present them a task. Her majesty wanted a new mystery written, using the first line: “A man walked into a bar.”
            “Did the man have a dog?” Agatha asks. “My dog, Peter, was such a comfort when Archie left me.”
            “No dog,” says the Queen.
            “The man needs a blonde,” Hitch opines as he pulls a notebook from his pocket and begins sketching a storyboard. “She’s wearing a moss green suit, black pumps, her hair in a French twist and she’s . . . ”  Raising his eyes to the ceiling, he snaps his fingers, “. . . she’s handcuffed to him.”
            “And he’s running from the police. We’ve heard this pathetic tale before, Hitch,” Conan Doyle allows.
            “No dog and no woman. Just an ordinary man . . . alone,” the Queen huffs. “No more questions. Get busy. You have an hour to pull your ideas together.” Leaving the room, she wants to smile, but doesn’t.
            Conan Doyle closes his eyes. “I see the man now. It’s obvious he has neither dog nor woman, but he does have a monkey.”         
            “A monkey?” Hitch asks.
            “Yes, a monkey,” Conan Doyle echoes. “There are scratches on his hands that can only be made by a small-sized simian. The golden hair covering his coat is consistent with the hair of the Barbary Macaque monkey found only on Gibraltar. I know this because when he pulled the pound note from his pocket to purchase his pint, a ticket stub from the Gibraltar ferry to Morocco fell out.
            “And where is said monkey now, Sir Conan Doyle?” Agatha asks.
            “The Queen said the man must be alone,” Hitchcock reminds them.
            “Of course he’s alone,” Conan Doyle says. “He was forced to part with the animal. So the story will begin, ‘a man walks into a bar without his beloved monkey.’ ”
            “Whom he’d picked up during his travels, which he had undertaken after the disappearance of Althea, his wife, whom he loved dearly,” Agatha adds. “Consumed with loneliness, he ached for a traveling companion. Knowing no woman could ever replace Althea, he sought the companionship of a pet, hence the monkey.”
            “That he plucked from the streets, much to the monkey’s dismay,” Hitch says. “To keep the animal from escaping, the man was forced to handcuff her to his own wrist.” 
            “They returned to London where the man proceeded to train the monkey to partake in afternoon tea,” Conan Doyle scribbles.
            “Then what happens?” Agatha muses. “How about this? The monkey tried her best to please her master, but reminders of Althea were everywhere.”
            “Of course,” Hitch interrupts. “The wife’s clothes, jewelry, stationery—“
            “The poor thing felt inadequate and she missed her monkey friends,” Agatha says. “She had grown depressed and refused to eat. She longed for her life in Gibraltar, but knew she could never return. You see, although she resented the man, she’d become attached to him. Emotionally torn between her life as a free monkey and the companionship of a lonely man, she felt trapped.”
            “So one day, the man took her to Regent’s Park for some fresh air and sunshine,” Conan Doyle writes. “A sound caught her ear and she bolted from the man toward a familiar cry. And there in the London Zoo, plucking a seed cone from the branches of a yew tree, was her . . .”
            “Long lost mate,” cries Agatha. “When her master caught up to her, she was clinging to the cage, a tear slide down her cheek. The man knew what he must do. Arrangements were made and now the two Barbary Macaques live happily in the zoo.”
            “But what about the man?” Conan Dole asks. “We’ve lost track of this story: ‘A man walks into the bar without his beloved monkey.’”      
            “When the barmaid serves the man his pint,” Agatha says, “he spots a familiar golden wedding ring.” 
               “And, good lord, we can call her Althea,” Conan Doyle says.
            “She sees the handcuffs dangling from his wrist and the golden hair on his coat,” Hitch smiles. “And now the real story begins. Perfect!”
 * * *
Kathleen Kaska is the author the Classic Triviography Mystery Series, which include The Sherlock Holmes Triviography and Quiz Book, The Alfred Hitchcock Triviography and Quiz Book, and The Agatha Christie Triviography and Quiz Book. All three books have been updated and reissued by LL-Publications. She also writes the award-winning Sydney Lockhart mystery series set in the 1950s.
The Alfred Hitchcock Triviography and Quiz Book
A must for any fan of filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock and movie history. The quizzes are fun and challenging – and the surrounding text provides a wealth of information on the life/work of the revered filmmaker. A real treat for pop culture enthusiasts!

                                    James Robert Parish, author of The Hollywood Book of Scandals

As its name indicates, The Sherlock Holmes Triviography and Quiz Book is more than just another quiz book. In addition to 80 memory-straining quizzes and five challenging crossword puzzles, Kathleen Kaska offers us a treasure trove of fascinating facts about the Great Detective and his creator. (But can anything about Sherlock Holmes truly be called trivia?) From Sherlockian newbie to Baker Street Irregular, every fan of Sherlock Holmes is sure to find something of interest in this entertaining tome.  
Dan Andriacco, author of the Sebastian McCabe - Jeff Cody Mysteries and the Baker Street Beat: An Eclectic Collection of Sherlockian Scribblings

Kathleen Kaska covers every aspect of the Queen of Crime's life and career in The Agatha Christie Triviography and Quiz Book. She has packed an astonishing number of quotes, characters, plots, settings, biographical details, and pure fun into these quizzes. As Poirot might say, your "little grey cells will get the exercise!"
This book, fiendishly clever and remarkably researched, is pure gold for fans of Agatha Christie. 

Kate Stine, Mystery Scene Magazine publisher



Kathleen Kaska said…
Thanks for hosting me today, Marilyn.
And I'm thrilled to have you here, Kathleen.
Kaye George said…
What a clever little story. Should I stay tuned for the sequel?
carl brookins said…
fascinating story line development.reveals much about the way the author's mind works.
Kathleen Kaska said…
Thanks Kaye,

I just finished a story where Hitchcock's most neurotic characters are in therapy together. Needless to say, they don't get along very well. Stayed tuned for this one.

Thanks for dropping by.
Kathleen Kaska said…
Hi Carl,

My mind? Maybe I need to get out a little more.
marja said…
What a unique blog! I enjoyed every word of it, and you did a wonderful job representing those authors and their ideas. Thank you!
Jacqueline Vick said…
I loved the story! Brilliant.
jenny milchman said…
A very clever mash-up!!

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