In Arthur Conan Doyle's novel The Sign of Four (1890), the great detective Sherlock Holmes and his faithful assistant Dr Watson investigate the murder of Bartholomew Sholto. As the assassins attempt to flee London on the small steamer Aurora, Holmes and Watson follow in hot pursuit...
At that moment, however, as our evil fate would have it, a tug with three barges in tow blundered in between us. It was only by putting out helm hard down that we avoided a collision, and before we could round them and recover our way, the Aurora
At Greenwich we were about three hundred paces behind them. At Blackwall we could not have been more than two hundred and fifty.... never did sport give me such a wild thrill as this mad, flying manhunt down the Thames. Steadily
It was a clear reach of the river, with Barking Level upon one side and the melancholy Plumstead Marshes on the other... It was a wild and desolate place, where the moon glimmered upon a wide expanse of
marshland, with pools of stagnant water and beds of decaying vegetation.