The whole room sat silently, staring at him as he coolly paced back and forth in the sitting room. He eyed them carefully, making sure he’d missed nothing before speaking. The group across from him sat in their chairs and on their couches with expectant eyes. Each wide and curious.
He stepped over to the bar and poured himself a drink. He sipped it patiently in the corner, the group still watching him intently. He counted them, five in all. Everything was in place, all the pieces of the puzzle had come together, all but one, that is.
As if on cue, a short and rather plump man entered the room and sat in an empty space on the sofa. His hair was gray and wiry. He breathed heavily, as if he’d been running, but hadn’t been. That much was apparent by his size and shape.
“Thank you for joining us, Mr. Locke.” The man standing in the corner said, placing his drink down on the bar.
All eyes were on him. Twelve pupils followed him as he slowly made his way back to the center of the room, where he could be easily seen.
“Yes, sorry I’m late, but there was urgent business to take care of. Now, what is this all about Mr. Holmes?” Mr. Locke replied.
“No, Mr. Locke,” Holmes said. “You did not have urgent business to take care of. But we shall get to that in a moment.”
Sherlock Holmes was, at least in his own mind, the greatest detective to ever live. While many would simply say his opinion of himself was merely biased, he would argue that not only were it true but that his track record of solving cases, would stand as evidence. Thirteen cases, now to be fourteen, had all been solved within a modestly short amount of time, and in each case, the culprit had been accurately identified and caught.
“The reason I have called each of you together this evening is to prove that this case is not as simple as many of you would have me, or Mr. and Mrs. Haverford to believe.”
A well-groomed man with bright orange-red hair stood. “What do you mean?” He asked.
“Mr. Haverford, plainly put, the case of your father’s missing urn is not as simple as it appears. You see, while I first suspected the maid, Miss Caitlyn, who had ashes under her fingernails and whom you’d also suspected, is in no way responsible for cleaning your fireplaces, I determined that her alibi was also the reason for the ash I had earlier noticed.
“You have been taking a second job cleaning the fireplaces at the Osterman’s estate, have you not, Miss Caitlyn?”
Sherlock turned toward a young and handsome young woman. Sheepishly she nodded.
“And while this might not be something to hide from anyone else, after all, the Haverfords underpay you by twenty cents per week by my calculations, you hadn’t mentioned this because the only reason you took the offer to work for Mr. Osterman in the first place, was so that you could be nearer to him. You two are lovers are you not?”
This time Sherlock turned to a stocky man dressed in a fine wool suit. He said nothing, but the expression of shock on his face told the detective everything he needed to know.
“Of course I couldn’t be sure of this, but the flower in your lapel, Mr. Osterman, matches that of the flowers in the Haverford’s garden, and that of the flowers which Miss Caitlyn now wears in her hair.”
A woman sitting next to Mr. Osterman stood angrily and silently exited. Osterman followed.
“Why is all of this important? If Miss Caitlyn wasn’t responsible for taking your father’s urn, then it must have been someone else within your house who would have also had access to your study. Which leaves Mr. Locke.”
“Me!?!” The fat man cried. “I would never-
“Of course not, you’re not smart enough to heist such a thing, Mr. Locke. Nor are you athletic enough to get away with it.”
“Well, as rough as your statements are, Mr. Holmes, I must agree. I had nothing to do with taking Mr. Haverford’s belongings.”
Sherlock turned sharply and stepped up to Mr. Locke. He towered over him like a tall thin tree.
“Oh, I didn’t say you had nothing to do with it, Mr. Locke. I only said you are neither smart enough or fit enough to have taken the urn. You are, however, very much involved.
“Mr. Haverford,” Sherlock said turning toward his client. “Would you say that since your father died, you have become more dedicated as an employer?”
The well-groomed man, sitting on a sofa next to his wife nodded his head. “Yes, of course. My father ran the business. Without him, I was needed to ensure things didn’t fall apart. You could say I filled my father’s shoes in that regard.”
Sherlock nodded. “And would you say that you may have filled those shoes too much? So much so that your wife, who has always been able to rely on your presence has now felt neglected?”
“Surely not. I am a good husband!” Haverford turned to his wife. A small, mousy woman with gray blonde hair. “I have been a good husband, haven’t I?”
“Mr. Haverford,” Sherlock interrupted. “You have not been a good husband. You have left your wife feeling not only neglected but in the hands of a man much more interested in her affairs than you have. Isn’t that right? It wasn’t anything so scandalous in the beginning, of course not. But he was there for you when your husband wasn’t. He comforted you, and you loved him for that. Didn’t you Mrs. Haverford?”
Mr. Haverford stood and looked down at his wife. “What is he going on about, Suzan?”
“Mrs. Haverford thought that perhaps you had stopped caring about her altogether. She thought she could vanish from the face of the Earth and you, wrapped up in your business, would be too preoccupied to notice she had even left. She and her new man could simply run away together. They would be together and free to start a new life. But she needed money, isn’t that right? And she couldn’t simply use your money. No, that you would have noticed, had it gone missing. So she sold the next most valuable thing you had. Your father’s silver urn. She packaged it up and asked that your Butler, Mr. Locke mail it to her lover so that it could be sold. The earnings from that would definitely be enough to run away with someone, wouldn’t it?
“Suzan, is this true?”
“Only things didn’t work out the way you’d planned them to, did they Mrs. Haverford? You hadn’t planned on your lover taking the urn for himself and disappearing with the money, had you? You’d never once considered that the man you’d met was a swindler and a thief? All you had seen was a good looking face and a shoulder to cry on. Isn’t that right?”
“Mr. Holmes, please!” Mrs. Haverford said suddenly. “You have made your point!” She turned and looked up at her husband. His face was filled with pain and confusion.
“My love,” She said. “It is true, I have been played a fool. Your urn is gone, and I have nothing but my shame to show for it.”
“Suzan,” Haverford answered, choking back tears. “How could you? How-”
“Not to interrupt your failing marriage finally coming to an end, but with whom do I speak about payment?” Sherlock asked, donning his coat and hat. “Not that I wouldn’t love to stay here and listen to you cry over who betrayed who…actually no, I wouldn’t want to stay here for that. I do however have an appointment to keep in London, and I would very much like to be on time.”