Illusory Affairs, or The Secret of Sherlock Holmes' Successes
by P. Lekov
crime....What a problem for the police!"
"I am so
The events of March 19.. had shredded the nerves of my friend Sherlock Holmes. Deeply concerned for his health, I suggested that we celebrate his approaching fortieth birthday with a trip to France, where we both might find some peace after the trials of the Rockborough case. We decided for a departure on the second of April, which would have us clinking our champagne flutes in Paris.
On the fifth of April, we rose
quite late - near noon - to beautiful weather. We breakfasted in
our rooms: Holmes had ham and eggs, I myself jam and honey on toast.
After our cigar, we had a look at the newspapers in the lobby of our apartments.
Two squared-off columns were topped by the headline, "Sherlock Holmes is Forty." Its author, one Hercule Bertillon, greatly esteemed my friend's merits, honoring him with the title of "the world's greatest detective." He wrote that Holmes had virtually perfected the art of investigation. Since every crime has a motive, and every criminal leaves some trace of his action, any case can be solved. Even were the world's most capable criminal to mine his logical and creative arsenal in committing an aesthetically perfect crime, still the world's greatest detective, with access to a similarly perfected investigative art, must needs have it in his power to shed light on the case. The author quoted Poe: "It is hardly possible that the human mind could devise a puzzle which it could not itself solve." The facts, argued Bertillon, seem to bear out this assertion, since Sherlock Holmes, "the greatest living detective," had never failed to bring a criminal into the hands of the law. In closing, the author wished Sherlock Holmes the greatest success in his investigations, and a long and healthy life.
"A lovely piece of writing,
and so logical that you yourself might have written it," I said to
Holmes, handing him back the paper. "But who is this fellow Bertillon?"
Holmes sighed deeply and took a sip to conceal his agitation. In an effort to distract his attention from this matter, I began to read aloud an article from the latest issue of Daily Health. On the front page, between the motto ("Doctors of the World, Unite!") and the column "Professional News," and to the right of the reports on the earthquakes of the previous day, was to be found the following:
Incomprehension at the Museum
Holmes glared at me. "Get to
the point, Watson."
Some three quarters of an hour later, a journalist made several efforts to push his way in, but the throngs swept him back each time. Among them was, for example, an athletic-looking type, who explained his view that 'the significance of the carpet does not justify the presence of the lead sheets' with such vehemence that he knocked several catalogues out of the hands of his stocky companion, and nearly crushed the reporter into the artificial marble wainscotting." "Watson! The telephone! Don't you hear it? The telephone's ringing!" broke in my friend, then added quietly, "If it's a woman, I'm not here. Only if it's Keiko."
"Moshi-moshi," was my first utterance into the telephone, which, as is well known, means "hello" in Japanese. The doorman indicated that a visitor had come for my friend. He was unwilling to disclose his name, but said he must speak with Holmes at once.
Our visitor, a man in his fifties of medium build, immediately began to explain the pith of the matter. Stuttering in his agitation, with his sweeping gestures he nearly toppled a Ming vase; I was able to catch it at the last moment, preventing its demise.
"Offer him something," directed
"This case is getting interesting." Holmes scratched his wrist, and poured more consommé for Senor Sanchez. "Please, have some more, Senor Sanchez, and don't mind me. Do go on."
"The French police are not shy about using any means at their disposal. In the interest of completeness they have bugged the gallery's every room, including the side-galleries. They have analyzed the conversations by computer. Twenty eight prefects, as well as the Minister of the Interior himself, have endorsed the report. All the conversations dealt with the exhibit..."
"There was no talk of private
matters?," asked Holmes, and with slow movements began to fill his pipe
"If I may say so," interrupted
my friend, "Watson here and I are in a better position than yourself to
judge what may or may not be of import in this matter." Every detail,
be it apparently ever so small, may be of moment."
The next day, Holmes made use
of the fact that the museum director was once again late in arriving to
look around the gallery. While I nursed a glass of Chartreuse,
Holmes was assessing the thickness of the plywood, feeling the panelling,
and searching for something in the carpet.
Indeed, no sooner had Holmes
uttered these words than I myself realized the truth: Sugár's exhibit
had been there all the while, and had never disappeared.
(English by Jim Tucker)
this window / csukd be az ablakot