Ideal Holmes exhibition

Choice

"Amazing, Holmes! How did you deduce that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle came from Croydon? Let me see: was it a unique type of clay, found only in the peaty bogs of that part of south London, on his shoes? A peculiarity of his accent? Or the whimsical way Doyle wore his moustaches?"

"No, Watson. I simply disguised myself as a common street urchin and made some enquiries at the Croydon Clocktower."

"Is that the same Croydon Clocktower Gallery and Museum which has recently been refurbished at a cost of over four million guineas - the one which the gentlemen of the press are calling one of the country's most exciting new exhibition spaces?"

"The very same, Watson. It appears that Croydon, if you will permit me the analogy, is now the cultural Mecca of the south."

"Good grief, Holmes!"

"Calm down, Watson. The point of my peregrinations was to elicit details of a new exhibition entitled Sherlock Holmes and the Clocktower Mystery. Intrepid visitors thereto will be lured into a recreation of all the smells, sounds, and sights of the underbelly of Victorian England, and urged to solve the mystery of a most foul and unlawful killing."

"A multi-sensory, interactive murder mystery, Holmes?"

"Precisely. Participants will be able to cross-examine two living witnesses at the end of their journey, but must swear never to reveal the name of the villain as long as they live."

"Heavens, Holmes! Is this another cruel machination by Moriarty to sully our relations with Scotland Yard?"

"No, Watson, it is an excellent test of the much underrated mental agility of the general public, meant to foster historical curiosity and rigorous thinking in an atmosphere of thrilling doom. Checkmate, by the way. Oh, don't look so crestfallen, Watson. Here comes Mrs Hudson with our tea and cakes."

STEVEN POOLE

To 10 Mar 1996, Croydon Clocktower, Catherine St, Croydon (0181-253 1030); Mon-Sat 11am-5pm, Sun 12pm-5pm, pounds 3.50/pounds 1.75 concs

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