Table of Contents

1. The hand that signed the paper - The Ballad of Lady Smallwood by A.J. Hall

Hardly merciful, Mr Holmes.

Mycroft Holmes was turning aside, his body language closed.

Regrettably, Lady Smallwood, my brother is a murderer.

A murderer? So what did that make her? She’d slept for the first full night in months when told of Magnussen’s death, dreamt of Jim and her on their wedding day, and woken with a smile on her lips.

And now she had to send the man who had given her that release to execution by proxy.

She signed in all the places they asked her; submitted to a retina scan, pressed her thumb onto a pad. She considered asking for a basin to wash her hands, to complete the betrayal, rejected the idea and called for her car instead.

They were heading west, towards the Hammersmith flyover, when her rebellious heart at last took control.

“Stop!” she ordered her chauffeur.

Shades of last year, when Jim had still been alive, before that reptile had spread his foul slime over the most generous man she’d ever known. Remembered words came to her lips. “Turn the car around. We’re going back into town. Turn around.


“If a one-way trip to Serbia’s the best Britain can do to reward the man who rid the world of Charles Augustus Magnussen, then I’m a banana.”