Sherlock stood by the window of his apartment, silently staring out into the rainy streets of London. He held his black clay pipe in one hand and tucked his other hand into the pocket of his neatly pressed trousers. The only sound he made was the gentle inhale and exhale of his steady breathing; the only sign that he was alive. He hadn’t moved or spoken in nearly half an hour, but I assumed he was waiting for our newest client to arrive. What intrigued Sherlock enough for him to wait patiently was a mystery to me, as Sherlock waited for no one but himself.
“Sherlock, who exactly are you waiting for? And what is so interesting about this case, that you insist on watching for their arrival?” I asked, breaking the silence.
“Watson, are you always this dense?” Sherlock sighed, still facing the window.
“Well, I just don’t understand why一” I started.
“Quiet, Watson. He’s here,” Sherlock interrupted, as he leaned closer to the window. I began to rise from my seat, but Sherlock swiftly remarked, “If you choose to watch along with me, promise you won’t fog up the glass with your bacon breath. I had these windows cleaned just yesterday.” I stood up, exasperated, and headed towards where Sherlock was. I peered over his shoulder, enough to glimpse a pudgy, stout man in a expensive-looking suit exit a limousine. Sherlock snorted, “Typical rich men. Always looking to make a grand entrance.” The man appeared to be in his forties, judging by his dark brown hair that was beginning to bald. The man lightly knocked on the door twice and checked his watch. Sherlock placed his pipe down on the table and hurried away from the window to open the door as I took my seat once again. I heard murmurs coming from the foyer of the apartment and assumed they were introducing themselves. Though I was anxious to meet this new client, I stayed patiently in my chair. Soon, Sherlock and the man entered the room. I rose.
“Good morning, sir. My name is John Watson, and I will be helping Sherlock with this case.” The man held out his hand, and I shook his hand.
“Lovely to meet you, Mr. Watson. My name is Alan Moore, and I’ll be presenting the case of father’s murder,” he replied as he took a seat across from me.
Sherlock clasped his hands together, “Now that we have all been acquainted, Mr. Moore, please, tell us about the case.” He swiftly took his seat. Sherlock’s knee gently bounced up and down in excitement.
Mr. Moore cleared his throat, “Well, I suppose I should begin by explaining who my father is. My father is Victor Moore, the owner of Moore Insurance. I’m his eldest son, and I have one younger brother, Abe. To bluntly put it, I believe my father was murdered by my brother, Abe.”
Sherlock leaned back into his chair, “And why would you believe that?”
“I came to you, Sherlock, because I want to know why the murder happened, not who murdered him. You see, there’s security footage一footage from my father’s security camera in his office. In this footage, my brother appears to be covering up the camera一moments before a gunshot is heard. His secretary, Ms. Green, found my father’s dead body early in the morning. My father died of a bullet to the head, with the weapon that killed him missing, and no signs of a suicide,” he said, “and my brother refuses to provide his alibi. He claims he is innocent and he didn’t kill our father, but he can’t possibly expect us to believe him, especially since there is clear evidence to convict him as the killer. So, obviously, the killer is my brother.”
“Oh, stop that,” Sherlock cried, frustrated.
“Stop what?” Mr. Moore and I asked simultaneously.
“From all your actions and appearance, I can see that you’re either lying, or not telling the whole story. See, your right foot is tapping on the floor, and you continue to check your watch. At first, one may assume it’s only because you are anxious to be somewhere after this appointment, but I Googled you beforehand, Alan Moore, and you’re not one to normally have a social life. Clearly, it’s some sort of a nervous tick, which leads me to the obvious deduction that you’re nervous because you’re lying to me, not because you’re intimidated by me,” Sherlock continued, “And while I’m at it, I might as well point out a few obvious things. You’re an alcoholic, you aren’t used to attention一unlike your father, and you have a newborn baby.” I raised my eyebrows in surprise. Though I had accompanied Sherlock in many adventures, his deductions never failed to amaze me.
Mr. Moore sputtered, “B-b-but how?”
“Easy,” Sherlock responded casually, “I can tell you’re an alcoholic by the uncontrollable shaking of your hands,” Mr. Moore glanced at his shaking hands as Sherlock continued, “Your shoes are newly polished, and there isn’t a single scuff on them. Someone who has looked presentable their whole life would have one or two scuffs on their shoes. Also, the price tag on your suit is still attached.” I laughed, but turned my laugh into a cough, due to a glare Sherlock gave me. Sherlock added, “So, you’ve clearly never had a reason to look presentable, hence the inference that you aren’t used to attention. Furthermore, your sunken eyes demonstrate lack of sleep, and your wedding ring confirms you are married, which furthers my point of a newborn because of the small remnants of vomit on your shoulder一disgusting, by the way, and the flecks of baby powder on your suit cuffs. Simple, really.” Mr. Moore gaped at Sherlock in disbelief.
“Impressive, Sherlock,” I praised him.
“Close your mouth, Mr. Moore, you’ll catch flies,” Sherlock commented. Mr. Moore clamped his mouth shut.
“Y-you got all of that, just from my appearance?” Mr. Moore inquired with wide eyes.
“Yes. Is that so hard to believe? Honestly, this was one of the easiest deductions I’ve made in while,” Sherlock had a bored look on his face, “Well, shall we continue the story, this time will all of the facts, Mr. Moore?” Alan sighed.
“Er, yes. What I didn’t tell you is that when the secretary found the body, she was the only one in the office at the time. There was no security at the time, it was 2 am, and my father was never concerned with his security. ‘Bring it on!’ he’d say. Anyways, I didn’t say anything about it because the murderer is obviously my brother, so there really is no need to investigate any other possible suspects,” he declared.
“Rookie mistake. The killer is never someone you expect,” Sherlock murmured. “Well, thank you for this case, Alan Moore. It’s truly perplexing, and I hope the next time we meet, I will have solved the case.”
“Alright, thank you for your help, Sherlock Holmes and John Watson.” We shook hands, and he quickly left. After I heard the soft click of the door closing, Sherlock immediately jumped up from his seat and snatched his peacoat off the coat rack.
“Investigating time!” Sherlock sang.
I stood and grabbed my coat, “Where are we going, Sherlock?”
“You’ll see, Watson.”
The Moore Insurance building was a towering skyscraper. The building was surrounded by caution tape and police officers; but for some strange reason, we were standing outside of Hill Insurance, the office building across the street from Moore Insurance.
“Sherlock, shouldn’t we be across the street at Moore Insurance?” I asked, furrowing my brow in confusion.
“No. This is our first stop: Hill Insurance, rival company of Moore Insurance.” Sherlock sauntered into the building, past the receptionist, and into the elevator.
“Sir, sir, sir,” the receptionist repeated, hurrying after us, “What are you doing here? You need an appointment if you wish to speak to Ms. Hill!” Sherlock pushed the elevator buttons and the doors closed in front of the receptionist. I had a glimpse of her baffled expression before the elevator shut in front of her.
“Sherlock, are you mad? What in the world are you doing?” He’s gone insane!, I thought.
“I’m Sherlock Holmes. I don’t need an appointment,” he answered without a hint of sarcasm in his voice.
I sighed, and said: “Sherlock Holmes: The Most Egotistical Man in the World.”
We exited the elevator at the 18th floor, and Sherlock strolled down the hallway before shoving the doors to someone’s office open.
“Pleasure to meet you, Ms. Sharon Hill. My name is Sherlock Holmes一you may know me, as I am quite famous, and this is my sidekick, John Watson,” he declared to a petite woman sitting in a chair. The woman had light brown hair that was beginning to grey and glasses perched on her nose. Her hands rested on her computer keyboard and her desk had papers strewn about. Her eyes widened一I assume at the sudden sight of two intruders in her office.
“I’m John Watson, and I am not a sidekick. I help Sherlock with his cases,” I retorted as Sherlock rolled his eyes. Ms. Hill had yet to speak.
“Let me get straight to the point. Victor Moore was murdered in his office building two nights ago, and I believe that you are a suspect,” Sherlock finished bluntly.
Ms. Hill spoke (wow, she actually speaks!).
“Thankfully, you’re not some criminal, and you’re only Sherlock Holmes. I’ve heard of you. Nice blog, Watson. Anyway, why am I a suspect? I thought they already knew who killed Mr. Moore? The youngest son, right?”
“Yes, well, I’d like to do some more thorough investigating. So Sharon Hill, in the past, you and Victor Moore co-owned what is now Moore Insurance. You two were business partners until Victor bought you out of the company. Filled with rage, you decided to start up your own insurance company in spite and worked hard to make sure it was as successful, if not more, than Moore Insurance. I have reason to believe that if you killed Victor Moore, the motive is clearly right there,” Sherlock explained. I was completely lost. How had Sherlock have the time to research and know all of this? I had only learned of the case a few hours ago, yet it seemed as if Sherlock had already created his own list of possible suspects and their motives. Ms. Hill crossed her arms and rolled her eyes.
“That was years ago. Look at my company now一it’s done just as well as Moore Insurance, perhaps even better. I realize that if Victor hadn’t forced me to leave the company, I wouldn’t have gained as much as success as I have now. I have full control of a fruitful company, and I’m happier with Hill Insurance.”
“Then, what’s your alibi?” I asked.
She laughed, “Why would I need an alibi? The killer has basically been revealed. Everyone knows it was Abe Moore. If we’re done with the questions, I suggest you two leave my office before I have security escort you out.”
“Sherlock, we still need to一” and again, I was interrupted by Sherlock for the second time, today.
“Good day, Ms. Hill. Thank you for your time,” Sherlock abruptly turned on his heel and exited. I followed him and whispered,
“She hasn’t told us her alibi! She is a suspect, too.”
“I’ve got everything I need.”
Sherlock and I approached the Moore Insurance building with caution, as policemen and reporters swarmed the crime scene. Sherlock pushed through the crowd and ducked under the caution tape. Surprisingly, no one bothered to stop him. I suppose the police department was familiar with Sherlock already, as we had partnered with them several times. Sherlock snaked through policemen with ease and threw the entrance doors open. Dramatic, much? I thought to myself. Sherlock scampered towards the elevator with me following closely behind him and swiftly shut the elevator doors.
“I presume we are here to investigate the crime scene?” I inquired to Sherlock.
“How did you get past the policemen?”
“Without me, the police department would be a joke. They can’t solve anything without the help of Sherlock Holmes.” We took the elevator to the twentieth floor before the elevator doors opened once again and revealed a large office space. The room we stood in had floor-to-ceiling windows with blinds that currently blocked the sunlight and reporters from peering in. A room further down that was separated from the main area of this floor was divided by glass. We glanced into the glass room and spotted a few policemen who were interviewing office workers. The entrance to the glass room read, “Victor Moore”, but his body was not in the room, anymore. I suppose it would be disgusting to leave a dead body out for two days. To our left was a grand oak table where a distressed young woman with a thin face and blonde hair that was messily secured into a bun with a small jade hair pin. On the desk sat a nameplate that read “Lilith Green”一 Mr. Moore’s secretary. “Hello, Ms. Green,” Sherlock greeted loudly. The small woman jumped, startled.
“Er, hello. Who are you two?’ she asked with apprehension.
“Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. We’re here with the police department to further examine the case of Victor Moore, may we take a look around and ask a few questions?”
“Sure. I’ve told the department all I know, but I suppose a little more poking around won’t do any harm,” Ms. Green said, “What would you like to know?”
“This is certainly a fascinating calendar. It features some of Monet’s works, you have good taste,” Sherlock commented, glancing at the calendar that hung behind her. I raised an eyebrow. Sherlock wasn’t one to be distracted easily.
“Er, yes, this is Mr. Moore’s一was Mr. Moore’s calendar. I’m his secretary, so I’m in charge of keeping track of his meetings, his vacations, and so on, so forth.”
Sherlock murmured, “Okay, and was there anyone would you’d think have some sort of grudge against Mr. Victor Moore?”
“Are you looking for more suspects? I was told that they know who the murderer is, already.”
“Yes, but I always like to investigate on my own一with the help of Watson, of course, and see what details the police department missed. It’s entertaining, really, to describe to the policemen exactly what they missed in the case.”
“Alright, then. I guess, obviously his sons. They’re all a bit suspicious. The younger one, Abe, had always wanted the company to himself. The older one, Alan, never trusted anybody and always kept to himself. There’s also Sharon Hill, our rival. Her and Victor were partners once, but they had a falling out. And well,” she paused, “there’s always Jane Robertson.”
“Who’s that?” I inquired, intrigued.
She continued, “Years ago, there was a case. A man died in a fire in his own home, left a wife and a child. The wife was supposed to be given money to cover the damages, since they had insurance, but Moore Insurance never did. At the time, Moore Insurance wasn’t doing too well, so I guess she was just never paid. The wife was Jane Robertson, and she’s definitely another suspect.”
“Would you be so kind to find her address? I’d like to speak with her,” Sherlock remarked.
“Let me find her file for you,” Ms. Green turned around and shuffled through her desk drawer and pulled a yellow folder out, “Here we are: Jane Robertson, 2020 Pine Street.”
“Thank you for your help, Ms. Green,” Sherlock responded as he jogged back to the elevator.
“You’re not even going to bother to check the body?” I asked, confused.
“Again, Watson,” he started.
“I’ve got everything I need,” I said with him.
Sherlock drove us to 2020 Pine Street. We arrived at a small, cottage-like white house surrounded with flowers.
“This is it,” he announced as he exited the car and walked towards the house. We headed towards the door and Sherlock knocked twice on the door. An older woman opened the door slowly and regarded us with a puzzled look on her face.
“Hello, my name is John Watson and this is Sherlock Holmes. We’re here to ask you, Ms. Robertson, a few questions, if you don’t mind. We’re working with the police, ” I introduced ourselves. Ms. Robertson hesitantly opened the door and let us in. We took a seat on her couch, and she sat across from us.
“What would you like to know?”
“Well, Ms. Robertson, we have reason to believe you may have killed Victor Moore,” Sherlock began as Ms. Robertson started to protest, “we aren’t saying you did kill him, but we think you may have. So, Ms. Robertson, we were told that years ago, your husband died in a fire in your home, and though he had life insurance and home insurance, Moore Insurance never covered the damages or costs. Frustrating, right? Frustrating enough to murder someone?” Though Sherlock’s accusations were intense, his tone was still calm.
“Excuse me?” she retorted, with a furrowed brow.
“Interesting choice of painting, by the way. Monet, correct?”
“Er, yes,” her voice raised a pitch at the end of her phrase, as if she was asking a question, “But I swear, I didn’t kill anyone. Sure, at the time, I was angry at Moore Insurance. My husband had just died and I had my child to take care of, alone. They didn’t even bother to compensate for my losses. But, I’ve moved on. I’ve remarried and I’ve come to terms with his death now. I don’t need avenge him, anymore.”
“Do you mind if we take a quick look around?” I asked, politely. She nodded. I glanced around the room. It was a cosy room, and photos were hung on the wall. An award sat on the fireplace that read “Employee of the Month – Jon Robertson”. “Your husband? What award did he win?” I inquired.
“Oh, Employee of the Month. He worked in special effects and specialized in video editing. My husband’s only talent was being able to do special effects,” she answered.
“Interesting,” Sherlock murmured, “Alright, thank you for your time. We’re done here, Watson.” I said goodbye to Jane Robertson and left with Sherlock. Once we were in his car, I asked him,
“So our suspects are maybe the sons of Victor Moore, Sharon Hill, and Jane Robertson. Each of their motives provide good reasons for why they may have killed him. So, Sherlock, who is the killer?”
“I already know. Meet me at my apartment, tonight, at 8 pm. Call the police department and we’ll have a couple of officers to accompany us as we arrest the killer.”
At 8 pm sharp, I arrived at Sherlock’s apartment. I began to knock on the door, but the door swung open abruptly. There stood Sherlock with two policemen. Sherlock had his peacoat on with his pipe tucked away.
“Time to go, Watson.”
“But I just got here!” I protested, but Sherlock strode past me and into the car. The policemen followed in their own police car.
We arrived at an apartment building that was shrouded by tall trees. Sherlock left the car and entered the foyer of the building. Judging by the setting, it definitely wasn’t Ms. Robertson’s house, as we had already visited her, which leaves the sons and Ms. Hill. Sherlock rode the elevator to the fifth floor, with the policemen and I with him, and we came to a stop in front of Apartment 422. Sherlock knocked on the door, and I held my breath, awaiting who the killer really was. The door creaked open, and in front of us stood…
Ms. Lilith Green? I was in disbelief. She hadn’t even been a suspect.
“Lilith Green, you are under arrest for the murder of Victor Moore,” Sherlock declared. Ms. Green’s eyes widened.
“How can that be? I’m innocent! The killer is Abe Moore. The police department already came to a conclusion. I didn’t kill anyone, Abe did!” she shouted, struggling against the grip of the policemen.
“Sherlock, she isn’t even a suspect!” I was confused. I hadn’t even considered her to be a suspect… maybe Sherlock was wrong? No, Sherlock was never wrong. He had never been wrong. I took a deep breath and watched the policemen handcuff Ms. Green patiently.
“Contact the department and have some people search her apartment for the weapon,” Sherlock announced, turned on his heel, and left, “I believe you two policemen can handle the situation from here.” I trailed after him, speechless. As soon as we entered Sherlock’s car, I cried,
“Sherlock! How did you know!”
Sherlock snorted, “It’s elementary, dear Watson. You see, I was looking at the calendar, right? On the calendar, it showed that Victor Moore left for a business trip in China. Did you see what was in Ms. Green’s hair?”
“A hair pin?”
“Yes, a jade hair pin, which was clearly crafted in China, due to the little details that are traditional to China. From that, I deduced some more things. If you take a look at all of Mr. Moore’s ex wives, they are all eerily similar to Ms. Green. I inferred that Mr. Moore and Ms. Green were somehow romantically involved in the past. They had a relationship, but Mr. Moore broke it off. You can tell because a few days ago, on the calendar, Ms. Green’s printing became more messy and aggressive. When the aggressive printing first started, that marks the day Mr. Moore broke things off. Therefore, I concluded that Ms. Green murdered Victor Moore in her rage. She was so angry that he decided to break up with her, that she killed him. Also, don’t you find it suspicious that she was the one to find the body?”
“But what about the footage that shows Abe covering the camera?”
“Easy. Special effects. She probably just googled how to do it. It’s honestly not that hard,” Sherlock finished. I chuckled.
“How is it that you manage to amaze me every time? Never have I met a man like you, Sherlock Holmes. Truly unique!”
“It wasn’t that difficult, either. I suppose your small brain capacity results in your non-existing intelligence,” Sherlock rolled his eyes.
“But what about the alibi of Abe Moore?”
“Doesn’t matter. I knew he wasn’t the killer from the beginning, I just needed some time to figure out who the killer was.” We’d been partners for years, but Sherlock’s abilities impressed me every time, “Honestly, Watson, I expect more from you. Oh well, it doesn’t matter, as I consider myself to be much more intelligent than you in every aspect. Watson, how does it feel to be,” he paused, “normal?” he asked with disgust. I shook my head, amused. His ego also never failed to impress me.