From Dr Watson to Sherlock Holmes Esq:
In continuation of my previous notes…
Our evening with friend McRae turned into a bit of a drunken brawl when Holmes became embroiled in a ridiculous argument about the various methods by which he managed to evade death at the hands of Moriarty (I am heartily sick of telling him to ignore such jibes and simply rise above it), and the various methods he may, or may not, have utilised instead.
The upshot of the above was that our staunch defender Logan McRae, dragged Holmes and his nemesis (one Angus McShite) outside and gave them both a good talking to, which unfortunately resulted in Logan himself being awarded a rather nasty blow to the head. The following day, therefore, was deemed by all to be cancelled due to poorly heads and upset stomachs and so it was only this morning that we finally packed out bags and hailed a Hackney to take us to the coach station where we boarded the Deeside Wanderer (a notably comfort-free omnibus with an equally unenthusiastic driver).
Some several hours later, we were dumped unceremoniously at the gates of Balmoral where we were greeted by one Abraham Rosenburg, a rather surly member of the King’s household. We were subsequently led through a maze of corridors to an attic room which in earlier times must have been used as a nursery, as the only furniture was a pair of undersized bunk beds and a very small chest of drawers.
At this point, Rosenberg allowed himself a little light entertainment in the form of what I assumed was an ‘in’ joke: he inferred that Holmes and I would be welcome at the back door at any time of night. This was followed by an evil laugh and the man reversed himself out of the room with a final “Heil Hitler”.
Naturally enough, Holmes immediately began to question me on the character of the man and in particular, what I might have deduced from his behaviour etc. I had to admit that I was a little puzzled and after some initial theorising (which Holmes denounced as ‘crap’), I gave up and asked him (in what I admit was a somewhat sardonic tone) for his expert analysis.
“Ah,” said the famous Baker Street detective, with a twinkle in his eye [Holmes insisted I put that bit in], “You clearly did not notice the man’s footwear, for if you had, you might have gained a small insight into his behaviour.” I feigned ignorance and he continued unabated. “Elementary, Watson, you see, the fellow was clearly wearing thigh-length leather boots, which, admittedly were hidden under his over-sized jodhpurs, but any fool could have worked out what they were by the small SS insignia stencilled on the sole of each boot.”
“Oh for God’s sake Holmes,” said I. “How on earth could you see the soles of his boots?”
“Once again, Watson, your talent for non-observation astounds me. If, like me, you had had the foresight to walk in front of the fellow as he led us up the driveway, and had you had occasion, as I did, to turn around on the pretext of questioning him on a paltry matter, you would have noticed the soles of both boots as he goose-stepped along the road.”
I did not venture my own theory that this goose-stepping was in fact some form of traditional Armenian dance, as this would not have gone down well with the aforementioned famous detective. I was beginning to feel somewhat downtrodden when Holmes began to explain about the references to the King in Rosenberg’s last words.
“But Holmes,” said I. “Surely the fellow was referring to the back door of Castle Zenda during our adventure in Bohemia?”
It was with some degree of delight that I watched Holmes’s face fall. “Oh,” he muttered. “My God, Watson, for once you may have hit the nail on the proverbial head…”
To be continued