I feel a mild disclaimer is required for this particular piece of fiction. I hope it’s clear that I’m parodying a particular genre and everything below was written with tongue firmly in cheek. Nonetheless I can’t ignore the fact that this particular genre is quite popular commercially so I reserve the right to adopt ‘Professor Peter Turnbottle’, without even a hint irony, as the hero of a novel that I may write in a shameless attempt to secure an agent and book deal in the future.
Professor Peter Turnbottle examined the letter again. It made no more sense upon the second reading.
“Contained in this note is a warning
That a day full of peril is dawning
I advise you leave now
Or I fail to see how
You won’t draw your last breath this morning.”
“What do you make of it Professor?” asked Jenson.
Turnbottle looked directly into her dark brown eyes.
“It’s clearly a limerick,” he explained to the young detective.
She looked puzzled.
“What’s a limerick Professor?”
The acclaimed literature expert was always pleased to share his knowledge with younger minds.
“Well Rebecca, a limerick is a kind of poem. It’s made up of five lines, with a strict rhyming scheme. The first, second and fifth lines all share a rhyme, and the third and fourth lines share a different rhyme.”
“Fascinating!” exclaimed Jenson, “and I notice also that the third and fourth lines are considerably shorter than the other lines.”
“Another common feature of limericks,” agreed Turnbottle, “clearly our murderer knows his stuff. We’re dealing with a limerick aficionado here.”
“But what is he telling us with this particular limerick?” queried Jenson.
They pondered the mystery together. Then Turnbottle had an idea.
“I may be mistaken,” said the renowned scholar, “but I think he’s telling us to leave the building rather urgently.” He grabbed the young nubile detective’s hand and the two of them ran towards the door.
They exited not a moment too soon, for as they crossed the threshold, there was an enormous explosion behind them. The kind of explosion that would look amazing in a Hollywood blockbuster.
Turnbottle held Jenson in his strong masculine arms.
“Are you ok,” he asked.
“Don’t worry about me Professor,” said the plucky young investigator, “but look! Under that tree!”
“Another envelope!” cried Turnbottle “and look, there’s also a book!”
With his trademark athleticism, Turnbottle sprinted over to the tree and tore open the envelope. He read the contents aloud.
“Delighted you followed my advice
And now for the next roll of the dice
By this tree is a book
And within if you look
Are records that will fetch quite a price”
“Another limerick!” exclaimed Jenson, “but what does it mean Professor?”
Turnbottle stared heroically into the middle-distance.
“It means that this guy his good!” he declared, “This guy is damned good!”