Chapter 1: A Study in Pink part one
In a bed somewhere in London, John Watson is having a nightmare. In the nightmare, he is reliving his Army days and his team is under fire somewhere abroad. A colleague cries out his name as the gunfire continues.
He suddenly jolts awake, distressed and panic-stricken. He sits up in bed wide-eyed and breathing heavily until he realizes that he is safe and a long way from the war. Flopping back onto his pillow, he tries to calm his breathing as he continues to be haunted by his memories. Eventually, he soon begins to weep and was unable to stop himself from doing so.
Sometime later he has sat up on the side of the bed and switches on the bedside lamp. It’s still dark outside. John sits quietly, wrapped up in his thoughts, and looks across at the metal walking cane leaning against the desk on the other side of the room. He looks at it unhappily, then continues to gaze into the distance. He will not be sleeping again tonight.
In the early hours of the morning, John, now wearing a dressing gown over his nightwear, hobbles across the room leaning heavily on his cane. In his other hand, he has a mug of tea and an apple, both of which he puts down onto the desk. Sitting down, he opens the drawer in the desk to get his laptop. As he lifts the computer out of the drawer, we see that he also has a pistol in there. Putting the laptop onto the desk and opening the lid he looks at the webpage which has automatically loaded. It reads, “The personal blog of Dr. John H. Watson”. The rest of the page is blank.
A few hours later he is at his psychotherapist’s office and he sits in a chair opposite her.
"How’s your blog going?" She asked
"Yeah, good," He clears his throat awkwardly, "Very good," He replied
"You haven’t written a word, have you?"
He points to her notepad on her lap, "You just wrote, 'still has trust issues'."
"And you read my writing upside down. D’you see what I mean?"
John gave no reply only an awkward smile.
"John, you’re a soldier, and it’s gonna take you a while to adjust to civilian life; and writing a blog about everything that happens to you will honestly help you," She stated
John gazes back at her with his face full of despair, " Nothing happens to me."
A well-dressed businessman, Sir Jeffrey Patterson, is talking with his personal assistant on his mobile phone, asking for her help because he has gone to the wrong railway station. She tells him that he has no choice but to catch a cab, something that he is obviously not used to doing. It is also obvious that the two are having an affair. He is seen later on the floor of an office building nervously taking a capsule from a small glass jar and eating it, after which he has a seizure and dies. Later, the dead man's wife is seen giving a press release on how unexplained his suicide was while the PA cries on the background, trying not to be obvious.
Two young men walk in the rain under one umbrella. One, James Phillimore, tries unsuccessfully to hail a cab, then decides to go home to find another umbrella. His friend Gary Jenkins waits for a while and walks back to search for him, but the friend never comes back. James is seen crying in an empty gym while taking a capsule from a jar. A day later, a newspaper headline on the front page, announcing the 18-year-old's suicide.
A wild party is in progress to celebrate the nomination of Beth Davenport, a local MP, to the Ministry of Transport. Two of the MP's assistants meet at the bar. One of them has removed the car keys from Beth's bag, in order to prevent her from driving They both suddenly look around, but their boss is not there anymore. She is seen by her car, looking for her car keys, then looking around. She is then seen in a fenced yard full of rental containers crying, with a jar with capsules by her hand.
Later, the Metropolitan police serve holds a press conference about the MP's death. Detective Inspector Lestrade sits at the table looking uncomfortable while his colleague sitting beside him, on his right was Detective Sergeants Sally Donovan and on his left was Harriett Houdini.
“The body of Beth Davenport, Junior Minister for Transport, was found late last night on a building site in Greater London. Preliminary investigations suggest that this was suicide. We can confirm that this apparent suicide closely resembles those of Sir Jeffrey Patterson and James Phillimore. In the light of this, these incidents are now being treated as linked. The investigation is ongoing but Detective Inspector Lestrade will take questions now,” Donovan announced.
“Detective Inspector, how can suicides be linked?” A reporter asked.
“Well, they all took the same poison; um, they were all found in places they had no reason to be; none of them had shown any prior indication of …” Lestrade answered before being interrupted by the reporter.
“But you can’t have serial suicides.”
“Well, apparently you can .”
“These three people: there’s nothing that links them?” A 2nd reporter asked.
“There’s no link been found yet , but we’re looking for it. There has to be one,” Lestrade answered.
At this moment, every single mobile phone in the room receives a text message. As they look at their phones, each message reads: “WRONG!” Harriett looks at the same message on her own phone.
“If you’ve all got texts, please ignore them,” Harriett told the crowd.
“Just says, ‘Wrong’,” the 1st reporter said.
“Yeah, well, just ignore that. Okay, if there are no more questions for Detective Inspector Lestrade, I’m going to bring this session to an end,” She informed the reporters.
“But if they’re suicides, what are you investigating?” The 2nd reporter questioned.
“As I say, these ... these suicides are clearly linked. Um, it’s an ... it’s an unusual situation. We’ve got our best people investigating …” Lestrade was then cut off by everybody’s phones.
Everybody’s phone trills another text alert and again each message reads: “WRONG!”
“Says, ‘Wrong’ again,” A reporter said.
Lestrade looks despairingly at Donovan.
“One more question,” She told the reporters.
“Is there any chance that these are murders, and if they are, is this the work of a serial killer?” A 3rd reporter asked.
“I ... I know that you like writing about these, but these do appear to be suicides. We know the difference. The, um, the poison was clearly self-administered.”
“Yes, but if they are murders, how do people keep themselves safe?” The reporter questioned him.
“Well, don’t commit suicide.”
The reporter looks at him in shock. Donovan covers her mouth and murmurs a warning.
“‘Daily Mail,’” She said
Lestrade grimaces and looks at the reporters again before saying,” Obviously this is a frightening time for people, but all anyone has to do is exercise reasonable precautions. We are all as safe as we want to be.”
Again the mobiles trill their text alerts, and once more each message reads: “WRONG!” But Lestrade’s and Harriett's phones take a little longer to alert them to a text and when they look at it, the message reads: “You know where to find me. -SH.” Looking exasperated, Lestrade puts the phone into his pocket and looks at the reporters as he stands up.
“Thank you,” He said.
Shortly afterward, Lestrade, Harriett, and Donovan are walking through the offices of New Scotland Yard.
“You’ve got to stop him doing that. He’s making us look like idiots.’ Donovan told Harriett.
“I can't watch over him 24/7, I have a job as a detective,” She explains.
“You volunteered to babysit him, so go find out where he his and tell him to stop,” Lestrade said to her before they continued walking.
John is limping briskly through the Russell square park, leaning heavily on his cane. As he walks past a man sitting on the bench, the man stares after him, clearly recognizing him. He calls out.
“John! John Watson!”
John turns back to the man as he stands up and hurries toward him, smiling.
“Stamford. Mike Stamford. We were at Bart’s together,” Mike tells John.
“Yes, sorry, yes, Mike.” He takes Mike’s offered hand and shakes it, “Hello, hi.”
“Yeah, I know. I got fat!” Mike said as he grinned and gestured to himself.
“No,” John said, trying to sound convincing.
“I heard you were abroad somewhere, getting shot at. What happened?” Mike asked.
“I got shot.” John said awkwardly. They both look embarrassed.
A little later they have bought takeaway coffees and are sitting side by side on a bench in the park. Mike looks at John worriedly. John takes a sip from his coffee then looks across to his old friend.
“Are you still at Bart’s, then?” John asked.
“Teaching now. Bright young things, like we used to be. God, I hate them!” Mike replied, They both laugh.
“What about you? Just staying in town ’til you get yourself sorted?”
“I can’t afford London on an Army pension,” Was John’s reply.
“Ah, and you couldn’t bear to be anywhere else. That’s not the John Watson I know,” Mike said with an optimistic voice.
“Yeah, I’m not the John Watson …” John said uncomfortably before he stops.
Mike awkwardly looks away and drinks his coffee. John switches his own cup to his right hand and looks down at his left hand, clenching it into a fist as he tries to control the tremor that has started. Mike looks at him again.
“Couldn’t Harry help?” He asked.
“Yeah, like that’s gonna happen!” John sarcastically replied.
“I dunno. Get a flatshare or something?” Mike shrugged.
“Come on, who’d want me for a flatmate?” John questioned.
Mike chuckles thoughtfully.
“What?” John asked Mike.
“Well, you’re the second person to say that to me today,” He replied.
“Who was the first?”
In the morgue of St Bartholomew’s hospital, Sherlock Holmes unzips the body bag lying on the table and peers at the corpse inside. He sniffs.
“How fresh?” He asks Molly, a pathologist, as she walks over.
“Just in. Sixty-seven, natural causes. He used to work here. I knew him. He was nice,” She answers.
Zipping the bag up again, Sherlock straightens up, turns to her and smiles falsely.
“Fine. We’ll start with the riding crop,” He said
Shortly afterwards the body has been removed from the bag and is lying on its back on the table. In the observation room next door, Molly watches and flinches while Sherlock flogs the body repeatedly and violently with a riding crop, but her face is also full of admiration. She walks back into the room and as he finishes and straightens up, breathless, she goes over to him.
“So, bad day, was it?” She jokingly asks.
He ignores her banter as he gets out a notebook and starts writing in it. His phone then chimes and he looks to see that it's a text alert, the text reading: U shouldn't have done that -HH.
He then briefly smirks before saying, “I need to know what bruises form in the next twenty minutes. A man’s alibi depends on it. Text me.
“Listen, I was wondering: maybe later, when you’re finished …” She tires to get out.
Sherlock glances across to her as he is writing, then does a double-take and frowns at her.
“Are you wearing lipstick?” He asked,” You weren’t wearing lipstick before.”
“I, er, I refreshed it a bit,” She said nervously. She smiles at him flirtatiously. He gives her a long oblivious look, then goes back to writing in his notebook.
“Sorry, you were saying?” He asked.
She gazes at him intently and said, “ I was wondering if you’d like to have coffee.”
Sherlock puts his notebook away, “Black, two sugars, please. I’ll be upstairs,” He walks away.
“ ... Okay,” Molly said.
In the lab, Sherlock is standing at the far end of the lab using a pipette to squeeze a few drops of liquid onto a Petri dish. Mike knocks on the door and brings John in with him. Sherlock glances across at them briefly before looking at his work again. John limps into the room, looking around at all the equipment.
“Well, bit different from my day.” John commented.
“You’ve no idea!” Mike chuckled
As he sits down Sherlock says, “ Mike, can I borrow your phone? There’s no signal on mine.”
“And what’s wrong with the landline?” He asked.
“I prefer to text.”
“Sorry. It’s in my coat,” Mike said.
John fishes in his back pocket and takes out his phone, “Er, here. Use mine.”
“Oh. Thank you,” Sherlock said before glancing briefly at Mike, he stands up and walks towards John. Mike introduces him.
“It’s an old friend of mine, John Watson.”
Sherlock reaches John and takes his phone from him, Turning partially away from him, he flips open the keypad and starts to type on it.
“Afghanistan or Iraq?” He asked.
John frowns. Nearby, Mike smiles knowingly. John looks at Sherlock as he continues to type an said,“ Sorry?”
“Which was it – Afghanistan or Iraq?” Sherlock asked again.
He briefly raises his eyes to John’s before looking back to the phone. John hesitates, then looks across to Mike, confused. Mike just smiles smugly.
“Afghanistan,” John answered, “Sorry, how did you know ...?”
Sherlock looks up as Molly comes into the room holding a mug of coffee.
“Ah, Molly, coffee. Thank you,” He said as he shuts down John’s phone and hands it back while Molly brings the mug over to him. He takes it and looks closely at her. Her mouth is paler again.
“What happened to the lipstick?”
“It wasn’t working for me,” She answered with an awkward smile.
“Really? I thought it was a big improvement. Your mouth’s too small now.” He said before turning around and walking back to his station, taking a sip from the mug and grimacing at the taste.
“ ... Okay,” Molly said before turning around and heading back to the door.
“How do you feel about the violin?” Sherlock asked John.
John looks round at Molly but she’s on her way out the door. He glances at Mike who is still smiling smugly, and finally realises that Sherlock is talking to him.
“I’m sorry, what?” John asked.
Sherlock types on a laptop keyboard as he said, “I play the violin when I’m thinking. Sometimes I don’t talk for days on end,”He looks at John,” Would that bother you? Potential flatmates should know the worst about each other.”
He then throws a hideously false smile at John, who looks at him blankly for a moment then looks across to Mike.
“Oh, you ... you told him about me?” John asked Mike.
“Not a word,” He answered.
John turned back to Sherlock and asked, “Then who said anything about flatmates?”
As Sherlock picked up his coat and putting it on he said, “I did. Told Mike this morning that I must be a difficult man to find a flatmate for. Now here he is just after lunch with an old friend, clearly just home from military service in Afghanistan. Wasn’t that difficult a leap.”
“How did you know about Afghanistan?” John questioned.
Sherlock ignores the question, wraps his scarf around his neck, then picks up his mobile and checks it.
“Got my eye on a nice little place in central London. Together we ought to be able to afford it,”He walks towards John,” We’ll meet there tomorrow evening; seven o’clock. Sorry – gotta dash. I think I left my riding crop in the mortuary,” Putting his phone into the inside pocket of his coat, he walks past John and heads for the door.
John turns to look at him” Is that it?”
Sherlock turns back from the door and strolls closer to John again, ”Is that what?”
“We’ve only just met and we’re gonna go and look at a flat?”
“Problem?” Sherlock questioned.
John smiles in disbelief, looking across to Mike for help, but his friend just continues to smile as he looks at Sherlock. John then turns back to Sherlock.
“ We don’t know a thing about each other; I don’t know where we’re meeting; I don’t even know your name,” He said,
Sherlock looks closely at him for a moment before speaking, “I know you’re an Army doctor and you’ve been invalided home from Afghanistan. I know you’ve got a brother who’s worried about you but you won’t go to him for help because you don’t approve of him – possibly because he’s an alcoholic; more likely because he recently walked out on his wife. And I know that your therapist thinks your limp’ psychosomatic – quite correctly, I’m afraid.”
John looks down at his leg and cane and shuffles his feet awkwardly.
“That’s enough to be going on with, don’t you think?” Sherlock said smugly.
He turns and walks to the door again, opening it and going through, but then leans back into the room again and said, “ The name’s Sherlock Holmes and the address is two two one B Baker Street. Afternoon.”
Mike raises a finger in farewell as Sherlock disappears from the room. As the door slams shut behind him, John turns and looks at Mike in disbelief. Mike smiles and nods to him.
“Yeah. He’s always like that,” Mike admitted.
Chapter 2: A Study In Pink part two
Later that John returned to his home, as he’s sitting down on the bed, he takes out his mobile phone and flicks through the menu to find Messages Sent. The last message reads: “If brother has green ladder arrest brother.- SH”
John looks puzzled at the message for a long moment, he then looks across to the table where his laptop is lying. He pushes himself to his feet and walks over to the table. Shortly afterward, he has called up a search website called Quest and types “Sherlock Holmes” into the search box.
In an unknown location, a woman wearing a pink overcoat and pink high-heeled shoes slowly reaches down with a trembling hand towards a clear glass bottle which is standing on the bare floorboards and which contains three large capsules. Her fingers close around the bottle and she slowly lifts it off the floor, her hand still shaking.
John limps along the road and reaches the door marked 221B just as a black cab pulls up at the curb behind him. John knocks on the door as Sherlock gets out of the cab.
“Hello,” Sherlock greeted. He reaches in through the window of the cab and hands some money to the driver, “ Thank you.”
John turns towards him as he walks over,” Ah, Mr. Holmes.”
“Sherlock, please,” He insisted, They shake hands.
“Well, this is a prime spot. Must be expensive,” John commented
“Oh, Mrs. Hudson, the landlady, she’s giving me a special deal. Owes me a favour. A few years back, her husband got himself sentenced to death in Florida. I was able to help out,” Sherlock explains.
“Sorry, you stopped her husband being executed? John asks.
“Oh no. I ensured it.”
Sherlock smiles at John as the front door is opened by Mrs. Hudson, who opens her arms to him.
“Sherlock, hello,” She greets.
Sherlock turns and walks into her arms, hugging her briefly, then steps back and presents John to her.
“Mrs. Hudson, Doctor John Watson,” Sherlock introduced.
“Hello,” Mrs. Hudson greeted.
“How do?” John returned.
“Come in,” She gestured John in.
“Thank you,” He said.
“Shall we?” Sherlock asked.
“Yeah,” Mrs. Hudson answered.
The two go inside and Mrs. Hudson closes the door. Sherlock trots up the stairs to the first-floor landing, then pauses and waits for John to hobble upstairs. As John reaches the top of the stairs, Sherlock opens the door ahead of him and walks in, revealing the living room of the flat. John follows him in and looks around the room and at all the possessions and boxes scattered around it.
“Well, this could be very nice. Very nice indeed,” John commented
He looks around the flat happily, “Yes. Yes, I think so. My thoughts precisely. So I went straight ahead and moved in.”
John said simultaneously, “Soon as we get all this rubbish cleaned out ... Oh.” He pauses in embarrassment when he realized what Sherlock said, “So this is all …”
“Well, obviously I can, um, straighten things up a bit.”
Sherlock walks across the room and makes a half-hearted attempt to tidy up a little, throwing a couple of folders into a box and then taking some apparently unopened envelopes across to the fireplace where he puts them onto the mantelpiece and then stabs a multi-tool knife into them. John has noticed something else on the mantelpiece and lifts his cane to point at it.
“That’s a skull.”
“Friend of mine. When I say ‘friend’ …” Sherlock shrugged.
Mrs Hudson followed them into the room, she picks up a cup and saucer while Sherlock takes off his coat and scarf.
“What do you think, then, Doctor Watson?,” Mrs. Hudson asked,” There’s another bedroom upstairs if you’ll be needing two bedrooms.
“Of course we’ll be needing two.”
“Oh, don’t worry; there’s all sorts round here. Mrs. Turner next door’s got married ones,” She whispered the end of the sentence .
John looks across to Sherlock, expecting him to confirm that he and John are not involved in that way but Sherlock appears oblivious to what’s being insinuated. Mrs Hudson walks across to the kitchen, then turns back and frowns at Sherlock.
“Oh, Sherlock. The mess you’ve made.”
She goes into the kitchen and starts tidying up, and John walks over to one of the two armchairs, plumps up a cushion on the chair and then drops heavily down into it. He looks across to Sherlock who is still tidying up a little.
“I looked you up on the internet last night,” John told him.
Sherlock turned around and asked. “Anything interesting?”
“Found your website, The Science of Deduction,” He admits.
Sherlock smiles proudly, “What did you think?”
John scoffs, and Sherlock looks hurt.
“You said you could identify a software designer by his tie and an airline pilot by his left thumb?”
“Yes; and I can read your military career in your face and your leg, and your brother’s drinking habits in your mobile phone,” Sherlock showed off.
“How?” John asked.
Sherlock didn’t answer, he just smiles and turns away. Mrs Hudson comes out of the kitchen reading the newspaper.
“What about these suicides then, Sherlock? I thought that’d be right up your street. Three exactly the same.”
Sherlock walks over to the window of the living room at the sound of a car pulling up outside.
“Four,” He corrected.
He looks down at the car as two people get out of it. The vehicle is a police car with its lights flashing on the roof.
“There’s been a fourth. And there’s something different this time.”
Sherlock turns as D.I. Lestrade and detective Harriett Houdini, who apparently must have picked the lock on the front door, trots up the stairs and comes into the living room.
“Where?” He asks.
“Brixton, Lauriston Gardens,” Lestrade replies.
“What’s new about this one? You wouldn’t have come to get me if there wasn’t something different,” Sherlock reminds him.
“You know how they never leave notes?” Harriett asked. .
“This one did. You coming?
“Who’s on forensics?” Sherlock asked.
“It’s Anderson,” Lestrade and Harriett answered.
“Anderson won’t work with me,” He grimaced.
“Well, he won’t be your assistant,” Lestrade told him.
“I don’t need an assistant. I have Harriett.”
“One: I am not your assistant. And two: are you coming or not?” Harriett asked.
“Not in a police car. I’ll be right behind,” Sherlock replied.
“Thank you,” Lestrade said.
Lestrade looked around at John and Mrs. Hudson for a moment, before he turns and hurries off down the stairs, but Harriett stays in the flat. Sherlock waits until Lestrade has reached the front door, then leaps into the air and clenches his fists triumphantly before twirling around the room happily.
“Brilliant! Yes! Ah, four serial suicides, and now a note! Oh, it’s Christmas!” He exclaimed before picking up his scarf and coat he starts to put them on while heading for the kitchen, “Mrs Hudson, I’ll be late. Might need some food.”
“I’m your landlady, dear, not your housekeeper,” Mrs. Hudson reminded him.
“Something cold will do. John, have a cup of tea, make yourself at home. Don’t wait up! Come along, Harriett!”
Sherlock grabbes a small leather pouch from the kitchen table, he opens the kitchen door and disappears, with Harriett, from view. Mrs Hudson turns back to John.
“Look at him, dashing about! My husband was just the same. But you’re more the sitting-down type, I can tell,” John grimaces at Mrs. Hudson repeated implication that he and Sherlock are an item. Mrs. Hudson turns to the door, “’ll make you that cuppa. You rest your leg.”
“Damn my leg!” John said loud enough to make Mrs. Hudson jump. John immediately becomes apologetic, “Sorry, I’m so sorry. It’s just sometimes this bloody thing ... “He bashes his leg with his cane.
“I understand, dear; I’ve got a hip,” Mrs. Hudson said with sympathy and pats her hips before she turns towards the door again.
“Cup of tea would be lovely, thank you,” John said.
“Just this once, dear. I’m not your housekeeper,” Mrs. Hudson reminds him.
“Couple of biscuits too, if you’ve got ’em,” John calls out as he picked up the newspaper.
Mrs. Hudson sticks her head out and says, “Not your housekeeper!”
John looks at the article reporting Beth Davenport’s apparent suicide. Next to a large photograph of Beth is a smaller one showing the man who just visited the flat and identifying him as D.I. Lestrade.
Sherlock and Harriett had gone back inside the flat and they stand at the living room door watching John read the newspaper,
“You’re a doctor,” John jumps in his seat before turning to see them standing at the doorway, Sherlock continues, “In fact you’re an Army doctor. “
“Yes,” John confirmed as he gets to his feet and turns towards Sherlock as he comes back into the room again.
“Any good?” Sherlock asked.
“Very good,” He confirmed again.
“Seen a lot of injuries, then; violent deaths,” Sherlock said.
“Bit of trouble too, I bet,” He added.
“Of course, yes. Enough for a lifetime. Far too much.”
“Wanna see some more?” Sherlock asked.
“Oh God, yes,” John replied fervently.
“Well, come on boys, let’s go,” Harriett told the two of them.
Sherlock spins on his heel and leads Harriett and John out of the room and down the stairs. John calls out as he follows him down.
“Sorry, Mrs. Hudson, I’ll skip the tea. Off out.”
Mrs. Hudson standing near the bottom of the stairs asking, “All three of you?”
Sherlock has almost reached the front door but now turns and walks back towards her, “Impossible suicides? Four of them? There’s no point sitting at home when there’s finally something fun going on!” He takes her by the shoulders and kisses her noisily on the cheek.
“Look at you, all happy. It’s not decent,” Mrs. Hudson protested half heartily, but couldn’t help but smile, though, as he turns away and heads for the front door again.
“Who cares about decent? The game, Mrs Hudson, is on!” He flings the door open dramatically before he walks out onto the street and hails an approaching black cab, “Taxi!”
The taxi pulls up alongside and he, Harriett, and John get in, then the car drives off again and heads for Brixton. The three sit in silence for a long time while Sherlock sits with his eyes fixed on his smartphone, Harriett staring out the window of the car and John keeps stealing nervous glances at him. Finally Sherlock lowers his phone.
“Okay, you’ve got questions,” He spoke up.
“Yeah, where are we going?” John asked.
“Crime scene. Next?” Sherlock shot back impatiently, annoyed by the simplicity of the question.
“Who are you? What do you do?” He asked.
“What do you think?” Sherlock asked him.
“I’d say private detective …” John began to answer slowly and hesitantly.
“... but the police don’t go to private detectives,” He concluded.
“I’m a consulting detective. Only one in the world. I invented the job,” Sherlock elaborated, his voice filled with pride.
“What does that mean?” John asked.
“It means when the police are out of their depth, which according to him we always are, so we consult him,” Harriett replied.
“The police don’t consult amateurs,”John provoked Sherlock before asking Harriett, “And who are you?”
“I'll tell you later. Sherlock you have the floor,” Harriett said.
“When I met you for the first time yesterday, I said, “Afghanistan or Iraq?” You looked surprised,” Sherlock began.
“Yes, how did you know?” John asked.
“I didn’t know, I saw. Your haircut, the way you hold yourself, says military. But your conversation as you entered the room ... said trained at Bart’s, so Army doctor – obvious. Your face is tanned but no tan above the wrists. You’ve been abroad, but not sunbathing. Your limp’s really bad when you walk but you don’t ask for a chair when you stand, like you’ve forgotten about it, so it’s at least partly psychosomatic. That says the original circumstances of the injury were traumatic. Wounded in action, then. Wounded in action, suntan – Afghanistan or Iraq,” He finished the final word with a click.
“You said I had a therapist.”
“You’ve got a psychosomatic limp – of course you’ve got a therapist. Then there’s your brother.”
Sherlock holds out his hand and John gives him the phone, “Your phone. It’s expensive, e-mail enabled, MP3 player, but you’re looking for a flatshare – you wouldn’t waste money on this. It’s a gift, then. Scratches. Not one, many over time. It’s been in the same pocket as keys and coins. The man sitting next to me wouldn’t treat his one luxury item like this, so it’s had a previous owner. Next bit’s easy. You know it already.”
“The engraving,” John concluded.
On the back of the phone are the engraved words:
“Harry Watson: clearly a family member who’s given you his old phone. Not your father; this is a young man’s gadget. Could be a cousin, but you’re a war hero who can’t find a place to live. Unlikely you’ve got an extended family, certainly not one you’re close to, so brother it is. Now, Clara. Who’s Clara? Three kisses says it’s a romantic attachment. The expense of the phone says wife, not girlfriend. She must have given it to him recently – this model’s only six months old. Marriage in trouble then – six months on he’s just given it away. If she’d left him, he’d have kept it. People do – sentiment. But no, he wanted rid of it. He left her. He gave the phone to you: that says he wants you to stay in touch. You’re looking for cheap accommodation, but you’re not going to your brother for help: that says you’ve got problems with him. Maybe you liked his wife; maybe you don’t like his drinking.”
“How can you possibly know about the drinking?” John blurted in amazement.
Sherlock continued with a smile, “Shot in the dark. Good one, though. Power connection: tiny little scuff marks around the edge of it. Every night he goes to plug it in to charge but his hands are shaking. You never see those marks on a sober man’s phone; never see a drunk’s without them,” He hands the phone back “,There you go, you see – you were right.”
“I was right? Right about what?” John raised an eyebrow.
“The police don’t consult amateurs,” Sherlock and Harriett responded. Sherlock looks out of the side window, biting his lip nervously while he awaits John’s reaction.
“That ... was amazing,” John voiced.
Sherlock looks round, apparently so surprised before asking, “Do you think so?”
“Of course it was. It was extraordinary; it was quite extraordinary,” He said.
Sherlock scoffed with a slight smile, “That’s not what people normally say.”
“What do people normally say?” John asked.
“Mostly the say ‘Piss off’!” Harriett replied as she smiles briefly at John, who grins and turns away to look out of the window as the journey continues.
The cab has arrived at Lauriston Gardens and Sherlock, Harriett and John get out and walk towards the police tape strung across the road.
“Did I get anything wrong?” Sherlock asked.
“Harry and me don’t get on, never have. Clara and Harry split up three months ago and they’re getting a divorce; and Harry is a drinker,” John confirmed.
“Spot on, then. I didn’t expect to be right about everything.”
“And Harry’s short for Harriet,” John continued.
Sherlock stops dead in his tracks, “Harry’s your sister.”
“Look, what exactly am I supposed to be doing here?” John asked as he continued onwards.
“Sister!” Sherlock said furiously, through gritted teeth.
“Yes, Sherlock, his sister. Now, let’s go,” Harriett urged him.
“No, seriously, what am I doing here?” John asked again.
Sherlock exasperated, starting to walk again, “There’s always something.”
“Don’t beat yourself up, Sherlock,” Harriet told him.
They approach the police tape where they are met by Sergeant Donovan.
“Hello, freak. And his babysitter,” Donovan greeted.
“I’m here to see Detective Inspector Lestrade,” Sherlock told her.
“Why?” She asked
“I was invited,” He replied.
“Why?” She repeated the question.
“I think he wants me to take a look,” Sherlock responded sarcastically.
“Well, you know what I think, don’t you?” Donovan said.
“Always, Sally,” He responded as he lifts the tape and both he and Harriett duck underneath it. Sherlock breaths in through his nose,” I even know you didn’t make it home last night.”
“I don’t …” Donovan began before she looks at John, “Er, who’s this?”
“Colleague of mine, Doctor Watson. Doctor Watson, Sergeant Sally Donovan,” He introduces them before his voice drips with sarcasm, “Old friend.”
“A colleague? How do you get a colleague?" She questioned him before turning to John, “What, did he follow you home?”
“Would it be better if I just waited and …” John began.
Sherlock lifts the tape for him and cuts him off, “No.”
As John walks under the tape, Donovan lifts a radio to her mouth.
“Freak and his Babysitter's here. Bringing them in.”
She leads the three towards one of the houses. Sherlock looks all around the area and at the ground as they approach. As they reach the pavement, a man wearing a coverall over his clothes comes out of the house.
“Ah, Anderson. Here we are again,” Sherlock greeted him.
Anderson looks at him with distaste, “It’s a crime scene. I don’t want it contaminated. Are we clear on that?”
“Quite clear. And is your wife away for long?” Sherlock asked as he took in another deep breath through his nose.
“Oh, don’t pretend you worked that out. Somebody told you that,” Anderson said.
“Your deodorant told me that.”
“My deodorant?” Anderson questioned with a confused look on his face.
“It’s for men,” Sherlock said with a quirky expression on his face.
“Well, of course it’s for men! I’m wearing it!” He responded with some annoyance toward Sherlock.
“So is Sergeant Donovan,” Harriett pointed out. Both she and Sherlock smirk as Anderson looks round in shock at Donovan.
Sherlock sniffs pointedly, “Ooh, and I think it just vaporised. May I go in?”
Anderson points at him angrily, “Now look, whatever you’re trying to imply …”
“I’m not implying anything,” He heads past Donovan towards the front door, “I’m sure Sally came round for a nice little chat, and just happened to stay over,” He turns back, “And I assume she scrubbed your floors, going by the state of her knees.
Anderson and Donovan stare at him in horror. He smiles smugly, then turns and goes into the house. John and Harriett walk past Sally, John briefly, but pointedly, looks down to her knees, then follows inside. Sherlock leads him into a room on the ground floor where Lestrade is putting on a coverall. Sherlock points to a pile of similar items.
“You need to wear one of these,” He told John.
“Who’s this?” Lestrade asked.
“He’s with me,” Sherlock replied as he took off his gloves.
“But who is he?”
“I said he’s with me,” Sherlock repeated.
“He's a doctor,” Harriett replied as she puta on a coverall.
John takes off his jacket and picks up a coverall. He looks at Sherlock who has picked up a pair of latex gloves.
“Aren’t you gonna put one on?” John asked, referring to the coverall.
Sherlock just looks at him sternly and John shakes his head.
“So where are we?” Sherlock asked Lestrade.
Lestrade leads the three of them up a circular staircase. He, Harriett, and John are wearing coveralls together with white cotton coverings over their shoes, and latex gloves. Sherlock is putting on latex gloves as they go up the stairs.
“I can give you two minutes,” Lestrade told Sherlock.
“May need longer,” Sherlock said casually.
“Her name’s Jennifer Wilson according to her credit cards. We’re running them now for contact details. Hasn’t been here long. Some kids found her,” Lestrade filled them in.
He leads them into a room two storeys above the ground floor. The room is empty of furniture except for a rocking horse in the far corner. Emergency portable lighting has been set up, presumably by the police. Scaffolding poles hold up part of the ceiling near where a couple of large holes have been knocked through one of the walls. A woman’s body is lying face down on the bare floorboards in the middle of the room. She is wearing a bright pink overcoat and high-heeled pink shoes. Her hands are flat on the floor either side of her head. Sherlock walks a few steps into the room and then stops, holding one hand out in front of himself as he focuses on the corpse. Behind him, John looks at the woman’s body and his face fills with pain and sadness. The four of them stand there silently for several long seconds, then Sherlock looks across to Lestrade.
“Shut up,” Sherlock suddenly commanded, breaking the silence.
“I didn’t say anything,” Lestrade said irritated toward Sherlock.
“You were thinking. It’s annoying,” He replied.
Lestrade, Harriett, and John exchange a surprised look as Sherlock steps slowly forward until he reaches the side of the corpse. His attention is immediately drawn to the fact that scratched into the floorboards near the woman’s left hand is the word “Rache”. His eyes flick to her fingernails where the index and middle nails are broken and ragged at the ends, the pink nail polish chipped in stark comparison to her other nails which are still immaculate. The woman’s index finger rests at the bottom of the ‘e’ as if she was still trying to carve into the floor when she died. He looks back to the word ‘Rache’, german for revenge, carved into the floorboards andInstantly he shakes his head in a tiny dismissive movement. He looks at the carved word again and Harriett could tell that the victim was not finished craving the word as did Sherlock.
He squats down beside the body and runs his gloved hand along the back of her coat, then lifts his hand again to look at his fingers. He reaches into her coat pockets and finds a white folding umbrella in one of them. Running his fingers along the folds of the material, he then inspects his glove again. Putting the umbrella back into her pocket, he moves up to the collar of her coat and runs his fingers underneath it before again looking at his fingers. Reaching into his pocket he takes out a small magnifier, clicks it open and closely inspects the delicate gold bracelet on her left wrist then the gold earring attached to her right ear and then the gold chain around her neck before moving on to look at the rings on her left ring finger. Carefully, Sherlock works the wedding ring off the woman’s finger and holds it up to look at the inside of the ring. As Sherlock lowers the ring and slides it back onto the woman’s finger, he has already reached a conclusion about the ring. Lifting his hands away from the woman, he looks down at her and makes his final deduction about her. He smiles slightly in satisfaction.
“Got anything?” Lestrade asked him.
“Not much,” Sherlock replied nonchalantly. Standing up, he takes off the gloves and then gets his mobile phone from his pocket and begins typing on it.
Anderson is leaning casually against the doorway as he says, “She’s German. ‘Rache’: it’s German for ‘revenge.’ She could be trying to tell us something …”
While he was speaking, Sherlock has walked quickly towards the door and now begins to close it in Anderson’s face.
“Yes, thank you for your input,” Sherlock said sarcastically.
Slamming the door shut, he turns and walks back into the room. On his phone, he has called up a menu for “UK Weather”. The menu offers five options: Maps, Local, Warnings, Next 24 hrs, 7 day forecast. He selects the Maps option.
“So she’s German?” Lestrade asked.
Sherlock still looking at his phone answers, “Of course she’s not. She’s from out of town, though. Intended to stay in London for one night …” he smiles smugly when he apparently finds the information he needed”... before returning home to Cardiff, “He pockets his phone, “So far, so obvious.”
“Sorry – obvious?” John questioned.
“Sorry, Sherlock, but we don’t exactly know what you mean,” Harriett said.
“What about the message, though?” Lestrade asked.
Sherlock ignores him and looks at John, “Doctor Watson, what do you think?”
“Of the message?” John asked.
“Of the body,” Sherlock said, “You’re a medical man.”
“Wait, no, we have a whole team right outside,” Lestrade told Sherlock.
“They won’t work with me,” He respond.
“I’m breaking every rule letting you in here,” Lestrade warned him.
“Yes ... because you need me,” Sherlock reminded him.
Lestrade stares at him for a moment, then lowers his eyes helplessly, “Yes, I do. God help me.”
“God help all of us,” Harriett added.
“Doctor Watson,” Sherlock called.
“Hm?” John looks up from the body to Sherlock and then turns his head towards Lestrade, silently seeking his permission.
“Oh, do as he says. Help yourself,” Lestrade said. He turns and opens the door, going outside,”Anderson, keep everyone out for a couple of minutes.”
Sherlock, Harriet, and John walk over to the body. Sherlock squats down on one side of it and John painfully lowers himself to one knee on the other side, leaning heavily on his cane to support himself.
“Well?” Sherlock asked.
“What am I doing here?” John asked him in a soft tone
“Helping me make a point,” Sherlock replied in the same tone.
“I’m supposed to be helping you pay the rent,” John reminded him.
“Yeah, well, this is more fun.”
“Fun?” John questioned, “There’s a woman lying dead.”
“Perfectly sound analysis, but I was hoping you’d go deeper,” Sherlock said.
“Sherlock, just shut up,” Harreitt told him.
Lestrade comes back into the room and stands just inside the doorway, and John drags his other leg down into a kneeling position and then leans forward to look more closely at the woman’s body. He puts his head close to hers and sniffs, then straightens a little before lifting her right hand and looking at the skin. He kneels up and looks across to Sherlock.
“Yeah ... Asphyxiation, probably. Passed out, choked on her own vomit. Can’t smell any alcohol on her. It could have been a seizure; possibly drugs,” John informed them.
“You know what it was. You’ve read the papers,” Sherlock pointed out.
“What, she’s one of the suicides? The fourth ...?”
“Sherlock – two minutes, I said. I need anything you’ve got,” Lestrade reminded him.
As Sherlock stands up, while John struggles to get to his feet and Harriett helps him, “Victim is in her late thirties. Professional person, going by her clothes; I’m guessing something in the media, going by the frankly alarming shade of pink. Travelled from Cardiff today, intending to stay in London for one night. It’s obvious from the size of her suitcase.”
“Suitcase?” Lestrade and Harriett questioned, as John looked around the room but couldn't see a suitcase anywhere.
“Suitcase, yes. She’s been married at least ten years, but not happily. She’s had a string of lovers but none of them knew she was married,” Sherlock clarified.
“Oh, for God’s sake, if you’re just making this up …” Lestrade complained with annoyance toward Sherlock.
Sherlock points at her hand and says, “Her wedding ring. Ten years old at least. The rest of her jewellery has been regularly cleaned, but not her wedding ring. State of her marriage right there. The inside of the ring is shinier than the outside – that means it’s regularly removed. The only polishing it gets is when she works it off her finger. It’s not for work; look at her nails. She doesn’t work with her hands, so what or rather who does she remove her rings for? Clearly not one lover; she’d never sustain the fiction of being single over that amount of time, so more likely a string of them. Simple.”
“That’s brilliant,” John exclaimed admiringly. Sherlock looks round at him, “Sorry.”
“Cardiff?” Lestrade asked with a raised eyebrow.
“It’s obvious, isn’t it?” Sherlock looked at John, Harriett, and Lestrade.
“It’s not obvious to me,” John said slowly, glancing at Lestrade and Harriett.
“Dear God, what is it like in your funny little brains? It must be so boring,” Sherlock said as he looked at them. Harriett responds by punches him in the arm. He looks at her before he turns back to the body, “Her coat: it’s slightly damp. She’s been in heavy rain in the last few hours. No rain anywhere in London in that time. Under her coat collar is damp, too. She’s turned it up against the wind. She’s got an umbrella in her left-hand pocket but it’s dry and unused: not just wind, strong wind – too strong to use her umbrella. We know from her suitcase that she was intending to stay overnight, so she must have come a decent distance but she can’t have travelled more than two or three hours because her coat still hasn’t dried. So, where has there been heavy rain and strong wind within the radius of that travel time?”
Sherlock gets his phone from his pocket and shows to the other two the webpage he was looking at earlier, displaying today’s weather for the southern part of Britain, “Cardiff.”
“That’s fantastic!” John exclaimed with a smile and shook his head in amazement.
"Do you know you do that out loud?" Sherlock asked as he turned toward him in a slightly lower voice.
"Sorry, I'll shut up," John said, a little embarrassed.
"No, it's...its fine," Sherlock waved him off before putting his phone back in his pocket.
"Why do you keep saying suitcase?" Lestrade asked, frowning deeply.
"Yes, where is it?" Sherlock asked, looking around the room, "She must have had a phone, or an organiser. Find out who Rachel is.”
“She was writing ‘Rachel’?” Lestrade asked.
“No, she was leaving an angry note in German!” He responds with sarcasm, “Of course she was writing Rachel; no other word it can be. Question is: why did she wait until she was dying to write it?”
“How d’you know she had a suitcase?”
Sherlock points down to the body, where her tights have small black splotches on the lower part of her right leg, “Back of the right leg: tiny splash marks on the heel and calf, not present on the left. She was dragging a wheeled suitcase behind her with her right hand. Don’t get that splash pattern any other way. Smallish case, going by the spread. Case that size, woman this clothes-conscious: could only be an overnight bag, so we know she was staying one night, “He squats down by the woman’s body and examines the backs of her legs more closely, “Now, where is it? What have you done with it?”
“There wasn’t a case,” Lestrade told him.
Slowly Sherlock raises his head and frowns up at Lestrade, “Say that again.”
“There wasn’t a case,” Lestrade repeated, “There was never any suitcase.”
Immediately, Sherlock straightens up and heads for the door, calling out to all the police officers in the house as he begins to hurry down the stairs, “Suitcase! Did anyone find a suitcase? Was there a suitcase in this house?”
Lestrade, Harriett, and John follow him out and stop on the landing.
“Sherlock, there was no case!” Harriett called down to him.
Sherlock slowed down, but still making his way down the stairs, “But they take the poison themselves; they chew, swallow the pills themselves. There are clear signs. Even you lot couldn’t miss them.”
“Right, yeah, thanks!” Lestrade yelled with sarcasm filling every word, “And ...?”
“It’s murder, all of them. I don’t know how, but they’re not suicides, they’re killings – serial killings,” Sherlock holds his hands up in front of his face in delight, “We’ve got ourselves a serial killer. I love those. There’s always something to look forward to.”
“Why the hell are you saying that, Sherlock?” Harriett asked him.
Sherlock stops and calls up to the others, “Her case! Come on, where is her case? Did she eat it?! Someone else was here, and they took her case,” He speaks more quietly, as if talking to himself, “So the killer must have driven her here; forgot the case was in the car.”
“She could have checked into a hotel, left her case there,” John guessed.
“No,” Sherlock told him as he looked up the stairs again, “She never got to the hotel. Look at her hair. She colour-coordinates her lipstick and her shoes. She’d never have left any hotel with her hair still looking …”He stops talking as he makes a realisation,” Oh, “His eyes widen and his face lights up. He claps his hands together in delight, “Oh!”
“Sherlock?” John asked.
“Are you alright?” Harriett asked him.
Lestrade leans over the railings, “What is it, what?”
“Serial killers are always hard. You have to wait for them to make a mistake,” Sherlock said as he smiles cheerfully to himself.
“We can’t just wait!” Lestrade yelled.
“Oh, we’re done waiting!” He starts to hurry down the stairs again, “Look at her, really look! Houston, we have a mistake. Get on to Cardiff: find out who Jennifer Wilson’s family and friends were. Find Rachel!”
Sherlock reaches the bottom of the stairs and disappears from view.
“Of course, yeah – but what mistake?!” Lestrade called after him.
Sherlock comes back into view and runs up a couple of stairs so that he can be seen before he stops and yells up to Lestrade, “PINK!”
He hurries off again. Lestrade, baffled, turns and goes back into the room while Anderson and his team, who had been waiting on the next landing down, hurry up the stairs and follow him into the room.
“Let’s get on with it,” Anderson told his team.
Forgotten by everyone else, John hesitates on the landing for a moment and then slowly starts making his way down the stairs. A couple more police officers hurry up and one of them bumps against him, throwing him off-balance and making him lurch heavily against the bannisters. The man hurries on without a word, although his colleague does at least look apologetically at John as he passes. John regains his balance with the help of Harriett and continues down the stairs.
Shortly afterwards, he and Harriet had removed their coverall and John has his jacket back on, and now walk out onto the street. Looking all around, John can see no sign of Sherlock. He walks towards the police tape, still looking around with Harriet following him. Donovan, standing at the tape, sees him.
“He’s gone,” Donovan told him.
“Who? Sherlock Holmes?” John asked.
“Yeah, he just took off. He does that. And it’s her job to keep track of him,” Donovan gestured to Harreitt.
“Is he coming back?” He asked
"I doubt it," Harriett told him.
John looks around the area again thoughtfully, unsure what to do, “Right. Right ... Yes, “He turns to Donovan again, “Sorry, where am I?”
"Brixton," She answered.
“Right. Er, d’you know where I could get a cab? It’s just, er ... well …” John begins before he looks down awkwardly at his walking stick” ... my leg.”
“Er …,” Donovan steps over to the tape and lifts it for him, “... try the main road.”
John ducks under the tape, “Thanks.”
“But you’re not his friend. He doesn’t have friends. So who are you?” She asked.
“I’m ... I’m nobody. I just met him,” John responded.
“Okay, bit of advice then: stay away from that guy.”
“Why?” He asked.
“You know why he’s here? He’s not paid or anything. He likes it. He gets off on it. The weirder the crime, the more he gets off,” Donovan explained, “And you know what? One day just showing up won’t be enough. One day we’ll be standing round a body and Sherlock Holmes’ll be the one that put it there.”
“Why would he do that?”
“Because he’s a psychopath. And psychopaths get bored.”
“He is not a psychopath, Donovan. He’s a high-functioning sociopath,” Harriett corrected her.
Lestrade from the entrance to the house calls, “Donovan! Houdini!”
Donovan turns and calls to him, “Coming,” She turns back towards John as she walks towards the house,”Stay away from Sherlock Holmes.”
“Wait did you just call you-” John began to ask Harriett before she interrupted him.
“Listen John, I have to go back in but I’ll see you back at the flat,” Harriett told him before walking away.