I was alone in my room, lying on the bed, reading Kidnapped, when a quiet cough made me roll over fast. Sherlock Holmes was sitting at my desk, looking weird in modern clothes – blue anorak and trousers.

“A job?” I asked.

In answer, he gave me a thing like a dark grey e-book reader. The screen showed::
Title: Peter Pan
Author: J M Barrie
Edition: 1911
Page: 1.

It was an incorporator. It had two buttons in the end. If I pressed the one at the right, marked Go, it would take me to that place in that story.

Sometimes, troublemakers steal incorporators, and use them to spoil stories. Sherlock Holmes is leader of the Guardians, who try to stop that, and he sometimes asks me to help, especially in children’s stories.

He said, “Someone has visited beginning of Peter Pan without permission. You will investigate.”

I asked, “What’s the story about?”

He frowned. “James, have you never read Peter Pan?”

“No. Since I started helping you, I’ve been reading those books.” I held up Kidnapped. “But I haven’t got round to Peter Pan.”

“I cannot believe such ignorance. But I have no time to tell you the story: you must go immediately. I would order you to use your intelligence, if I had seen evidence that you have any.”


“Why are you delaying? This is urgent!”

“I don’t like it.” But I pressed Go.

Doc Y says: That’s where I must stop. British copyright laws say that you can’t copy a book, or use the places and people in it, for 75 years after the death of the author. That’s why I have to send Jam to old books. J M Barrie, who wrote Peter Pan, died in 1937, but he donated the Peter Pan copyright to Great Ormond Street Hospital for children, in London, and they still have it. I’d forgotten that when I wrote the story

So you’ll never know what happens.