"To his surprise there was one letter - more of a parcel, really - addressed to John Watson, MD. He did get letters from people who had enjoyed his stories - and sometimes otherwise - but they normally came through the publisher of the collections or the editor of the *Strand*. A letter addressed to him at 221b was a rare thing.
It was a monogram, privately published, by the look of it. He checked the back page: 'F. Norman & Sons, Torquay, Publishers and Printers'. Yes, probably a small run with this tiny local press. The title, though, intrigued him. *Alkaloid Poisons and their Detection Post-Mortem*. It was attributed to Mary Westmacott (Miss). He turned to the title page to see if more biographical information was offered on Miss Westmacott by way of her qualifications, but there was none. A few lines on the final page stated that Miss Westmacott had served as nurse and was a qualified dispenser.
As he flicked through, a sheet of paper fell out. It had the publisher's masthead on it, and a single scribbled line. 'I hope you find this of some use, either in fact or fiction."
A present, then, from someone who thought he needed to brush up on his strychnine, morphine and nicotine. "
The Sign of Fear, by Robert Ryan (copyright 2016; quote is from page 268-269 of the Simon & Schuster UK Ltd. trade paperback edition, 2016).