Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Case of the Crushed Roses: Chapter One

There was one peculiar case which inimitably demonstrated Sherlock Holmes powers that I have come to call The Case of The Crushed Roses. This case stands out to me in part because of the celebrity involved, and also because of how few clues we had to go on. It was one of the only times that Sherlock was misled, and that almost cost us our lives at one point.
The case started, as many do, on Baker Street where Sherlock Holmes and I reside. I was reading the morning paper partly for the news, and partly to see if any cases had cropped up. Sherlock had been without a case for a few days and was starting to become insufferable. Headlined in that morning’s paper was the title: Missing: Chiara Nouveau, Actress and Author.
I skimmed the article, a young actress had disappeared in the middle of the night and the papers suspected foul play, no word of a ransom yet. All in all, a good mornings case for our Sherlock Holmes.
                I flipped the paper across the coffee table to Sherlock. “Look, saw something here that might be up your alley.” I said the words as if the case didn’t matter, as that was when Sherlock is most likely to bite. On this particular morning however, Sherlock flicked his fingers in annoyance and continued typing rapidly on his laptop.
                “Saw it, she’s not really missing. Publicity stunt, really Watson do your homework.” I frowned and pulled the paper back to myself.
                “How can you tell?” My brows furrowed, re-reading over the story. “Looks like she was taken from her flat early this morning…signs point to a break-in…” There was nothing I could see that so obviously screamed publicity stunt to me as it did to Sherlock. It seemed to be a serious case, written in the London Times, and they were known for their attention to detail in breaking news stories. They don’t do things like this for publicity stunts,” I said.
                Sherlock sighed, then spoke rapidly. “Headlines are written the previous day or very late in the evening. The latest that headline could have been written was 11 pm the day before in order to make print time, while the paper indicates she didn’t go missing until between 3 and 4. At 3 o’clock this morning some paperboy was rolling up that paper, for delivery between 6 and 7 this morning.” He resumed typing.
                As was usual when Sherlock released a barrage of information at me, I nodded and filled in the rest to myself out loud as it processed through my mind. “So this paper was written before she was even confirmed missing….” I paused as the information clicked, and then looked up to ask another question. Barely had I started to speak however when Sherlock interrupted.
                “They would have had to inform the whole staff that they were going to lie in the next day’s paper, not something any news source can risk taking a chance on, at least in this scale.” I was secretly pleased as it did seem he had put some thought into this case, perhaps that was why the walls were still in order this morning. Sherlock seemed entranced by his typing still, probably searching out information on online forums for some project or other.
I looked over the case again and something didn’t seem right. Chiara Noveau was a rather good writer and actress, known for keeping a level head and not taking to the celebrity life like some. I tried another tact, hoping to get the information once and for all that would evidence to me why we didn’t need to follow this case. “Shame really, I rather liked her. She had some good films. Didn’t think she’d stoop to such a low-brow stunt.”
                “You’d be surprised John, at what people will do once they’re famous in order to keep the spotlight.” Sherlock was still typing rapidly.
                “Right,” I said. Time to look for something different for a case today. I continued flipping through the paper. “Anything of else interest in here today?”
                Sherlock finished what he was typing on and began rapidly clicking about on the laptop. “Murder, page A5, open and shut domestic case. There are a few robberies, a few blathering news stories about what this world is coming to. There’s a rather promising auction on page G14, that oil baron has gone bankrupt, might be worth looking into.”
                “What for? Paintings from his house?” I hadn’t known Sherlock to keep tabs on auctions or real estate.
                “No John, he was financially stable for the last few years and then his estate abruptly went bankrupt after his sudden death. Obviously there is something wrong with the accounts. I could probably find who was responsible within the day, give the lawyers something to work on for the next decade.” This was spoken without a trace of irony or pride.
                I smiled to himself; that was just like Sherlock. I flipped through the paper for a few more minutes but there was nothing else to catch either mine or Sherlock’s interest. I got up went to the kitchen. As usual, Sherlock deduced that I was about to get a cuppa and before I could ask he put in his order.  
                “Thank you John, two sugars please.” I rolled my eyes and continued on to the kitchen. We had spoken about waiting for the correct social cues as people tended to appreciate a chance for their side of the conversation, but Sherlock often didn’t bother around me. While I was pouring the tea I heard Sherlock’s cellphone ring, which Sherlock immediately picked up and answered with a low “Sherlock Holmes.” I paused, and then set the kettle down before pouring a second cup. Sherlock would probably be off in a heartbeat, forgetting all about the tea if it was anything of importance at all. I kept preparing my own tea while listening in to Sherlock’s side of the conversation.
                “Publicity stunt, not worth my time.”
                “The newspapers knew about the crime before it happened, it’s an open and shut case.”
                “Has a ransom been submitted? Then she’ll turn up in a day or so, claiming it was the worst experience of her life, write two books on the subject and get more money than either of us have ever seen. I’ve got other things to worry about.”
                I peeked in at Sherlock, the faint yelling of a person at the other end of the line was now audible, even from the kitchen. I hoped for Sherlock’s sake Lestrade would drag Sherlock out to the crime scene, he was going to become unbearable without anything to do. If I had known how deadly this case would turn I may have wished for something else, as I was about to get my wish for no boredom for Sherlock.
                “Lestrade, I do not need to see the crime scene, the evidence already at hand points clearly to a publicity stunt.”
                “Maybe the paper was in on in after all.” I chimed in. Sherlock flicked his gaze to me, studied something for a second, and then rose.
                “Fine, I’ll be there in half an hour.” Sherlock snapped the phone shut and quickly moved to his coat. “Lestrade thinks there’s something fishy about the situation, accused me of jumping to conclusions. I’m going to the crime scene to point out exactly how this was a set-up.”
                “Want me to come along?” I set his tea down and followed Sherlock to the hall. This would be a great opportunity to be in Chiara Nouveau’s apartment. Good bragging rights if it turned into an interesting story as well.
                “Of course.” Sherlock said, gathering a few items into his pockets. “Perhaps you could make this into a blog post about the dangers of publicity stunts.”
                I hurried to grab my coat and wallet. “Of course. It’ll be a huge scandal once it gets back to the other papers that they were given false information.”
                Sherlock paused for a moment, murmured the words, “False information,” then hurried out the door. He didn’t speak again until we were all the way to the crime scene. 


  1. It is fun to read, I would think that it would be very difficult to write a story in an attempt to follow another person's style. I think that you did a great job! I really want to read more of your creative writing pieces.

    1. Thanks! I appreciate it! I'll be posting the rest of this story on the blog and hopefully I'll get more stuff up soon!