The results of my little 'experiment' are as follows:
I determined that, on both my XP and 98SE machines, I was starting the game at the HOLMES2 MS.DOS Batch File, by locating that file and clicking on it to open. I was not using the EXE file.
However, I broke one of my cardinal rules - I didn't read the Readme File before starting the game.
I next went to my 98SE machine at the Windows DOS prompt level and installed the game to run in DOS. I opened a saved game and the hat pin worked great - no crash to desk top.
Moral of this story - I should have read the Readme File.