There is no such thing as an ordinary case which involves treacle mines.

Say the word “Treacle Mines” to a person, and you will get a number of possible reactions. From those with historical knowledge you will probably get a lecture on the golden, gloopy mud that made cutting off parts of the New Forest for farming trees so incredibly difficult. From most, however, you will get an image of trying to dig into rocks and get refined sugar. It takes a certian type of mental state to come up with small explosive charges which coat the surrounding area in thick, gloopy, difficult to move though and – take it from me – impossible to clean stuff. The treacle mines came later, though, because we start before I was hired. Before, in fact, I knew I was going back. Before, and this was the annoying bit, I was awake.

I don’t get frosted glass in my door-panel. I didn’t have a 1950’s style fan, bare floorboards, and a single safe in the corner to hold my prized possession: a Colt 45. This was because I couldn’t afford an office, lived in London where the requirement for cooling was generally rare, and the only 45’s I owned were some records in a box on top of the wardrobe. I had a carpet which may once have not been brown, a trenchcoat that had once been brown, a sink that may once have been white, and a detective agency that may once have had clients.

Somewhere in the world there is a detective agency that does well, can afford an office and a secretary they can pay, and generally doesn’t live in squallor. Classically, however, this is not where a case begins and I have ever been a slave to the classics.

Too much of the singular pronoun. I do have a name, in fact I have several. I am known mostly as “Dan”, which is short for something, and took on the surname of “Black” because I found it amusing at a time when I needed a new name. I’m currently asleep in the bed that folds up into a couch that dominates my office. It may once have had springs, it may once have been comfortable. As it is, I sleep lightly, my body honed into a state where I can defend my life at the slightest noise in the appartment, or from a spring making a last bid for freedom via my spine. The latter is more usual, but it was for the former that I was glad this evening, for as I lay sleeping a duo of questionable morals climbed the stairs.