Engineering and Architecture – or how to create a secret compartment

Diorama of Portia's Apt
Diorama of Portia's Apt

I’ve never been good with spatial reasoning, I really have to see something to understand it, let alone to describe it in prose in a book!

I wanted to include a secret hiding spot where Holmes would have kept his really top-secret stuff, and that Portia could discover and use to her own advantage as well. My idea was that the spot be somewhere behind the fireplace, but in trying to articulate both its discovery and usage, I struggled to explain it clearly.

So I kind of built it, with cardboard, to be able to describe it things that are happening in a scene. Its kind of a little diorama. Hopefully it will be useful in the future when I do other descriptive writing, but at the very least, it will help me be consistent (like when I describe Portia coming out of her bedroom and bumping into her dresser on her right – let’s establish the dresser is on the right!!).

This first pic is of the whole apartment (the bathroom is in the lower right quadrant, the fireplace on the left and Portia’s bed is hidden in the top right quadrant.

This second picture is of the a close up of the fireplace itself.

Diorama image 2: The Fireplace
Diorama image 2: The Fireplace

Note the two white columns on either side and the mantlepiece.

The chairs are the wingbacks Portia usually sits in and in the very left of the image you can barely see the stove. Yes, I know, try not to get distracted by the horrible details, this is NOT my forte.

Now if you look at the third image below of the diorama in close-up you see my clumsy fingers demonstrating how the white columns rotate forward, allowing for limited storage behind them and beside the actual fireplace. I figure with the brick all-round the fireplace area, and the white columns being made out of wood, the hidden contents should be reasonably protected from a fire in the fireplace.

Close up of the fireplace demonstrating the hiding spot...
Close up of the fireplace demonstrating the hiding spot...

What think you?

Advertisements

Adding some locations from Book 6 to the Google Map

Screen cap modification of a Google Map
Portia’s London

I added two more locations to Portia’s London – that of WhiteChapel, where Portia’s newest clients are from and ply their trade, and of Mecklenburgh Park where they meet.
There is a lot of history to the area, and after Portia’s time, quite a few famous authors and literary types called Mecklenburgh home. Read more about it at Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mecklenburgh_Square

UPDATE: The WordPress Daily Challenge for Jan 7, 2013 was called ‘Map it Out‘ so I totally nailed that one friends!

Starting Book 6

Whitechapel prostitutes
White chapel prostitutes

Finally finished transcribing Book5/ Box 850 which means I can start in on Book 6. Actually, I started writing Book 6 before I was finished transcribing, but now I can do it without guilt!

Anyway, right off the bat, I need a clearer picture of the status of prostitutes in Britain in 1931. I think I want to incorporate them into the Baker Street Irregulars. I think they could be a nice evolution. Sherlock Holmes was able to use the street kids of England to get him information he didn’t have access to. I don’t think he ever had prostitutes as his sources of information, but I feel Portia Adams could … but I need to figure out if her upbringing and social status might make her prejudiced towards the profession.

Since Whitechapel is so well-known for housing brothels at this time, it may be a likely spot to place this book’s main events.

As part of that research I came across “Life and Labour of the people in London” by Charles Booth. I would like very much to get a ahold of the whole series, does anyone know if it has been PDFed?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_and_Labour_of_the_People_of_London

 

More research on the Baronet

Coat of arms for the Acland Baronet
Coat of arms for the Acland Baronet

As taken from the Wikipedia article here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_John_Dyke_Acland,_8th_Baronet

Motto Inébranlable (Unshakable)

Sir John Acland, 1st Baronet (d. 1647)
Sir Francis Acland, 2nd Baronet (d. 1649)
Sir John Acland, 3rd Baronet (d. 1655)
Sir Arthur Acland, 4th Baronet (d. 1672)
Sir Hugh Acland, 5th Baronet (d. 1714)
Sir Hugh Acland, 6th Baronet (1696–1728)
Sir Thomas Dyke Acland, 7th Baronet (1722–1785) (who was featured in the painting)
Sir John Dyke Acland, 8th Baronet (1778–1785)
Sir Thomas Dyke Acland, 9th Baronet (1752–1794)
Sir Thomas Dyke Acland, 10th Baronet (1787–1871)
Sir Thomas Dyke Acland, 11th Baronet (1809–1898)
Sir (Charles) Thomas Dyke Acland, 12th Baronet (1842–1912)
Sir Arthur Herbert Dyke Acland, 13th Baronet (1847–1926)
Sir Francis Dyke Acland, 14th Baronet (1874–1939)
Sir Richard Dyke Acland, 15th Baronet (1906–1990)

Sir John Dyke Acland, 16th Baronet (1939–2009)
Sir Dominic Dyke Acland, 17th Baronet (b. 1962)

The heir apparent is the present holder’s oldest son Patrick Acland (b. 1993)
The ancestral family seat is Killerton Hall, near Broadclyst, Devon, which is now owned by the National Trust.

Changing relationships: How did Lestrade really feel about Holmes?

Holmes and Lestrad (from the BBC series)
Lestrade and Holmes (from the BBC series)

Interesting how writing about relationships between characters can feel so personal, and yet at the same time make me feel insecure. I think by Book 5 of course the relationship between Sergeant Michaels and Portia will have had to change. I mean, the girl has solved 3 cases that he has been involved in, and she has to have at least gained his grudging respect if not a tiny amount of admiration, but when can it move into reliance?

That might not even be the right word. What would you call the relationship between Holmes and Lestrade? Inspector Lestrade came to Holmes on cases that he found impossible to solve right? So that is a dependence of some kind. And Holmes relied on Lestrade for some of his more interesting cases, and access to mysteries that he might not otherwise have been allowed access to.

Up till now, the relationship between Portia and Michaels has been one of requirement for Portia and one of annoyance for Michaels. I think for her to truly become a consulting detective, she now has to become sought after by the Yard.

I think the best way to unite these two so Portia can get past her arrogance and Michaels can get past his disdain for someone pursuing a Holmesian-career is to give them a common enemy. Someone like Mycroft perhaps?

Too many mysteries to tie together?

Sigh, Book 4, and I have to tie together clearing Annie’s good name, solving the whole arson thing and dealing with a brand spankin’ new Arch Nemesis. I may have bitten off more than I can chew.

Why did I do this again? Oh yes, character development. Everyone who read books 1-3 tells me they want to know more about Portia, and that is why this book is so bloody complicated.

Ok, so the whole Pigeon thing.. how about if two chefs at the Palace were feuding and one accused the other of using pigeons in the chicken pot pie instead of, well, chicken? Ok, Annie reports this, the accused Chef is summarily dismissed, Annie’s story is retracted because the feud is discovered, and now this disgraced Chef is struggling in the market. Oh, but the crown prince misses his chicken pot pie (which was chicken after all that) so the kitchen staff try and fail to make it to the original Chef’s standard. They are forced to head down to the market and purchase a contract with the original Chef to create his masterpiece once a week for the Prince.

What if the bitter cuisinier decided to really stick it to his former employer and ACTUALLY serve pigeon in his much sought after pot pies? That would work, but wouldn’t he be arrested or at least run out of town for doing that to the Royals? Yeah, that’s where this goes off the rails. Who hires a vindictive Chef who’s been outed for switching pigeons for chickens? Um yes. Problem. Unless the next person who hires him values his culinary skills and has no love for the British Royals…. hmmm..