Shylock Bones is very different to your regular, run of the mill, detective. First and foremost, he has no idea that he died twenty-three years ago; nobody told him, so he didn’t ‘move on’. His very irascible ghost remained tethered to his body, which caused the great detective a number of problems as he could’t leave home.
Luckily for Shylock, his young protégé, Doctor Jan Flotsam, was somewhat of a genius and built him a steam-powered, robotic body around his bones, which allowed him to travel great distances, as long as someone topped up his boiler at regular intervals.
Secondly, Bones suffered from a condition, rare to all but the most diligent of detectives, that Flotsam liked to term ‘Mysteria’. When a case needs cracking and mystery is in the air, Bones will simply not let it go, just like a dog with a… well, you know!
He hadn’t realised he’d died, that is, until that Tuesday morning.
“Flotsam!” Bones’ voice rose to such a shrill whistle that the mirror he found himself in front of, cracked and splintered. He listened to the rapid tip-tap of Flotsam’s heels as she flew down the tiled passageway.
“You called,” she said, her voice a hoarse, breathless wheeze.
“Indeed I did! Flotsam, what is the meaning of… “ he gestured down at the bulky boiler that quite ruined the waistline he was sure he remembered, “this?”
“Oh, dear,” sighed Flotsam, “You finally noticed.”
“Noticed? Of course I’ve noticed. I have a boiler for a belly. I woke up whistling as steam escaped from the most unusual of places.” He grimaced, unsure of how much he should say. He was addressing a lady, even if it was only Flotsam – good, reliable Flotsam. “I am the great detective,” he said, “I was hardly likely not to notice.”
Flotsam raised a very quizzical eyebrow. “Well, it has taken you twenty-three years. We’re not quite sure what happened, though I’m afraid that I installed the boiler to keep you mobile.”
Bones harrumphed. “Well!” said he, “I declare we have a mystery to solve. The game is afoot.”