“Well,” said Holmes, “I think we can safely assume Miss Claymore is in the employ of Professor Klopp.”
“But why would she go up to the second floor?” I said.
Holmes smiled sardonically. “Elementary, Watson. Claymore probably feared we were getting too close to the truth and wanted to warn Klopp. She took the knife in case you got in the way.”
I shook my head. “That can’t be right, Holmes – I did get in the way and she could very easily have stabbed me as she ran out onto the landing.”
The Great Detective shrugged. “What can I say – women!”
“Now just wait a minute…” Mary butted in.
But Holmes held up a hand. “I shall take great pleasure in arguing the proverbial toss with you my dear when we have the luxury of having Frau Klopp in custody. For the moment, please listen.”
Holmes quickly outlined his idea, then massaging his chin thoughtfully, gazed around the room. “Ah-ha,” he said, “this will do nicely.” He crossed to one of the cabinets that contained serving dishes, plates and crockery and flinging the doors open, began piling teh contents on the floor. I saw his plan immediately and opening the other cabinet, transferred various items of cutlery and silverware into the lower section to make room for the additional items.
“Should be enough space for a small one,” said Holmes, sliding his backside onto the now empty middle shelf. With a little manoeuvring, he was able to fit himself into the cabinet without too much trouble. “Shut the door, Johnny, would you?”
Carefully closing the door, I gave it a gentle shove as the catch slipped into place. Taking my hand away, the door remained firmly shut, giving no clue to the cabinet’s newly-acquired cargo.
“Excellent,” said Holmes, his voice sounding oddly echoey from inside the wooden refuge. “Now, you all know what to do, so get about it.”
I nodded to Mary and Lestrade, who slipped out of the room to fetch the items Holmes had asked for. Meanwhile, I busied myself fastening the false knife onto my chest with the aid of the belt from my trousers, then I moved the little Indian miniatures to the far end of the dining table. A minute later, Mary was back carrying a large bedsheet, followed by Lestrade with a few items from the pantry.
Once I’d prepared myself on the table, my dear wife covered me over with the sheet, the false knife sticking up from my chest.
“That should do it,” she said, fussing over the edges of the sheet. “You’re not quite as tall as Holmes, darling, but I don’t think that German bitch will notice.” She patted my forehead and leaning over me, kissed the part of the sheet that covered my mouth. “Try not to breathe.”
I heard the door open and someone kicked the wooden wedge into place to stop it closing by itself. Two sets of footsteps receded down the corridor, leaving Holmes and I to our fates.
The Diary of Mary Watson (Mrs)
Having left Johnny wrapped up like a corpse on the table, Inspector Lestrade and I went back into the hall where Holmes had been ‘stabbed’. Looking up, I could see Miss Claymore’s hand waving forlornly through the banister rails on the upper landing. She was still whining softly, but from the sound of it, her raging anger had subsided.
“Reckon we’d better do summat about that one,” said Lestrade, tugging at his moustache.
“Let’s get the others together first,” I said. He agreed and we hurried back outside and walked across the lawn to the icehouse where Billy Blah, Dilip Lombardi and General MacArthur hovered near the open doorway. All three looked at Lestrade but made no comment on his sudden appearance, as if they’d expected him to turn up at any moment.
“Bally bad show,” muttered the general as we approached. “Hitting a fellow from behind.”
I looked at Mister Rogers, whose body lay face down just inside the doorway. An ice-pick was lodged in the back of his head, its handle attached to a length of wire which in turn connected to a spring-like mechanism above the doorframe. The contraception reminded me of the old bucket-over-the-open-door trick we used to play on unwary teachers at school. Though of course this version was rather more deadly.
“Anyone see what happened?” said Lestrade.
Lombardi shook his head sadly. “Holmes got here first and called us over.” He looked over Lestrade’s shoulder. “Where is he, by the way? And Doctor Watson, is he..?” He looked pointedly at me, as if I might be hiding something.
I glanced at Lestrade and he gave a small nod.
“Unfortunately,” he began, “Sherlock Holmes has been murdered.”
I watched each of them as they took in this news, but all three reacted as if they were completely innocent, though I knew that such a circumstance was quite impossible.
Lestrade explained how Holmes had been the victim of a knife attack and that Johnny had laid his body out in the dining room.
“And what about Vera?” said Mister Blah. “I mean, Miss Claymore,” he added, with a cough.
“She too has had an accident, though she’s largely unhurt,” I said.
“Ah, well that’s something.”
“So,” I said, rubbing my hands together in a let’s-get-going sort of way, “my husband asked that we should all go to our rooms for now and he will decide what to do shortly.”
“Really?” said Mister Lombardi. “Go to our rooms? Where any or all of us might be murdered at any moment?”
At this, I was sorely tempted to say something else, but I reigned myself in and simply said, “We’re all to go to our rooms and Johnny will gather us all together soon.”
The three of them grumbled for a moment, then began to make their way across to the house.
“Right then, “said Lestrade, his little eyes twinkling. “Which one of ‘em’s going to crack first, eh?”
“I think that rather depends on which one Professor Klopp finds first, don’t you?”