ELEMENTARY MY DEAR CONAN
Disclaimer: Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century and Detective Conan (Case Closed) belong to their respective owners so it doesn’t take a super-sleuth to determine that I am only writing this for fun.
< >: Thoughts
East, West and Holmes, the Great Detective Trio
“Well, Watson, what do you think?” Holmes asked as Watson had finished his scan on Conan’s body.
The compu-droid lowered his scanner and nodded for the Little Detective to sit up and get dressed. “I must say, that Young Conan’s condition is astonishing. I didn’t think late 20th to early 21st Century science would be able to produce a cellular reduction drug.”
“Cellular reduction drug?” Dr. Agasa asked.
“Indeed. This is not a case of age-reduction or youth potion, but a form of genetic restriction. Young Conan’s first theory of being ‘shrunk’ is an accurate description of his present state. His personal DNA has not been altered, but it is unable to fully express his physical characteristics, which is why he appears to be a smaller version of his former adolescent self.”
“Very fascinating.” Agasa said as he pondered Watson’s findings. “So I have been looking at his problem all wrong. I always thought that he had somehow been de-aged. I didn’t consider the possibility that he was actually normal, (genetically speaking), only made smaller. Hmmm, perhaps all he needs are growth hormones to return him back to normal...”
“Too dangerous!” Watson said. “The practice of artificially administering growth hormones was banned in 2065 AD, when it was discovered that it had serious side-effects on the recipient’s heart. Utilizing genetic manipulation and amino acid therapy was adopted as a safer method.”
“So why don’t you do the same for me?” Conan asked.
“For two reasons.” Watson explained. “First of all, I lack both the knowledge and skill needed to perform such complex procedures. I have all the data on the functions and structure of the human body, in order to carry out medical treatments and repair. However this type of cellular manipulation is beyond my expertise. Secondly, the technology and materials needed for this process do not yet exist. The earliest forms of this kind of science will not appear until 2087 AD.”
“I am afraid that he is right, Jimmy.” Sherlock said as he knelt down beside his protégé. “If we had the means to return ourselves to our own time and world, we would have taken you with us. I am certain that Sir Evans Hargrave would have been able to reverse your diminutive stature.”
“Who’s he?” Conan inquired.
“He’s the fine scientist who brought me back to the land of the living with his wondrous process of cellular reanimation. (1) I am certain that returning you to your proper body would be within his capabilities. I promise you that when we return to the 22nd Century, if you have not yet been returned to normal, we shall take you to him.”
“Thanks...” The Little Detective bowed down his head sadly.
“Chin up, Young Conan. All is not completely lost.” Watson said. “After analyzing your biological makeup, I believe that it is possible to temporarily offset the chemical imbalance of your cellular structure and return you back to normal.”
Conan‘s head came up. “Really?”
“Mind you, this will only last a short while and I can only estimate the pain you will most likely endure with such a process. I can obtain the necessary chemicals needed, but I must have your full agreement to this experiment. How about it?”
Conan thought for a long while and weighed all of his options. To be normal again, even for a little while, would be a dream come true. However, it was also a tremendous risk. Then an image of Rachael appeared in his mind. He finally tell her how he felt in his real voice. With that, he made his decision.
“Let’s do it.”
A few days later...
“Oh that’s a fine how do you do!” Rachael said on the phone. “You’re gone who-knows-where and for who-knows-how long and the first call you make to me in weeks, you sneeze in my face!”
“Rachael please! I’m really sick!” Conan groaned as he held his bowtie voice-emulator to his mouth and spoke into the phone.
“Oh go soak your head, Jimmy Kudo!”
Conan could only sigh in depression as he hung up the phone and faced Watson and Sherlock. Currently, he was lying on the couch. “Yeesh! She worries her head off when I don’t call her and she BITES off my head when I do! If there’s one mystery I’ll never understand, it’s how women think!”
“On that note, I will concur.” Sherlock said with a smile as he thought about Inspector Lastrade. Female behavior was the one puzzle that no amount of observation and deduction could solve.
The Little Detective sniffled and coughed a bit before addressing Watson. “I guess I can’t blame her for being upset. She’s probably still worrying about her dad not getting any future cases and me not living there any more. Maybe seeing Jimmy Kudo in the flesh for a little while, will get her to smile again. Is that antidote ready Watson?”
The compu-droid nodded as he produced a small vial which contained a transparent, purple liquid. “Here it is. However, I am MOST reluctant to give this to you in your weakened state. Your cold may react with this drug with serious, if not fatal complications. It would be for the best that we wait until your upper respiratory systems recover from the illness.”
“Aw c’mon, Watson! You’re from the 22nd Century! Surely by then, someone MUST have invented a cure for the common cold!”
“If someone had, I would have already given it to you.” Watson pointed out. “Be patient, Young Conan. Just let the virus run its course. The antidote will still be waiting for you, when you are well.”
“Why does everything have to take so long?” Conan groaned as he sneezed again. “I want to be Jimmy Kudo!”
“WHERE ARE YOU JIMMY KUDO?!!”
The sudden shout took the three of them by surprise as two people came up the stairs and office door was flung open.
In strode a confident teen of about seventeen years old. His skin was tanned and he was about the same height as Jimmy Kudo was before his encounter with the men in black. He was wearing casual street clothes and a baseball cap on his head. Slung over his right shoulder was a travel bag. Behind him was Rachael Moore, who was looking somewhat forlorn.
Sherlock hid his irritation over this interloper who wasn’t even showing the slightest in proper manners. If there was one thing that could get even the slightest rise in his hackles, it was out-and-out rudeness.
Watson stepped forward. “Now see here, young man! What business do you have in barging into a person’s abode, without even giving the slightest courtesy in knocking? Were you raised by wolves?”
The young man chuckled a bit as he looked Watson over, then turned to Sherlock. He chuckled again as he took in the appearance of the legendary detective and finally spoke. “I got to admit. You’ve got this Sherlock Holmes and Watson bit down pat. The clothes, the manners, the overblown pomposity of the sidekick. You must have read all of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books inside and out to be this accurate.”
“Hmmm. And just who do you think you are, young man?” Sherlock asked nonchalantly as he looked over his unexpected visitor.
“You’re the one who thinks he’s Sherlock Holmes. Why don’t you tell me?” The teen challenged with a slight sneer.
Sherlock gave the arrogant adolescent a stern look, which caused the teenager’s confident expression to balk slightly. “Very well then. You hail from the western coast, from Osaka, if I am not mistaken. You practice Kendo on a regular basis. You came off the 3:15 train at the Juuban Station and had visited Titan High, then Richard Moore. On your way here, you had a hot dog with mustard, and sauerkraut. And finally, you have a bottle of liquor in your bag.”
Sherlock casual response to his challenge made the young man’s arrogant air waver a bit. He soon collected himself and said, “Lucky guess!”
Sherlock wagged a finger at him. “I do not guess. I deduce. Your tan indicates that you come from a hotter climate and you possess the slight, though unmistakable accent of an Osaka resident. Furthermore, your Jersey is that of a high school in Osaka.”
The young man looked down at himself, then back at Sherlock, while reluctantly admitting. “Okay, I’ll give you that, but how did you know that I did Kendo?”
“Simple enough.” Holmes replied as he took hold of one of the stranger’s hands and opened the palm. “These calluses on your hands indicate frequent gripping, and their location around the finger joints and outer edges of the palm tell me that you’ve been grasping at something cylindrical for long periods of time, such as the hilt of a bokken.”
“I could have gotten them from holding a tennis racket you know.” The stranger pointed out.
“Not likely.” Sherlock pointed out as he took hold of the adolescent’s other hand and held out both arms, making him place his bag on the floor. “The calluses are far too uniform to have been made by the rough surface of a tennis racket handle and the fact that you have an equal proportion of calluses on BOTH hands, means that you have been gripping something with your two hands simultaneously, such as your bokken. Tennis players generally develop calluses on ONE hand. Even players who are able to swing their rackets with either hand will always favor their predominant side slightly more.” He released the teen’s hands, then gestured with his cane toward the visitor’s feet. “Also, take note of the stance you are in. To the untrained eye, it would appear that you are merely standing, but I notice that you are actually in a ready pose with your feet slightly bent outward, a classic Kendo stance. To be able to do so without thought indicates that you are well-practiced in the discipline.”
The newcomer’s eyes began to widen at Sherlock’s display of careful observation and perceptive thought.
Sherlock nodded then continued. He started pointing at certain areas on the teen. He first started with the left pant pocket, which had a piece of paper protruding from it. “Here we have a ticket stub, which clearly states the time and station. You have a small piece of sauerkraut on your shoe and there’s a mustard stain on your left sleeve cuff. As for the liquor, well the tag on the bottle is sticking out through the opening of the top zipper of your bag.”
The stranger couldn’t help but whistle in amazement. A tiny glint of admiration began to show in his eye.
“As for the rest of my deductions, well it is no secret that you’re looking for the absent Jimmy Kudo, the high school detective. In order to find his whereabouts, you would naturally go to the places where has been. Titan High is the closest place near the train station. From there, you would have gotten information about Kudo’s friends, which would have eventually led you to Richard Moore, due to Kudo’s relationship with his daughter Rachael, hence the reason why she is with you. Now you are here because you have heard that I happen to know about Jimmy Kudo. How am I doing so far?”
“Heh, top notch. You really know how to play the part.” The stranger said with some respect. “I’m here to see if Kudo is really as good a detective as people say he is, but it looks like I may have some competition in you, ‘Mr. Holmes.’ This could get interesting.”
“And you fancy yourself to be a detective?”
“Heh, I think I have what it takes. The name’s Harley Hartwell (2) but I’m better known as...”
“... the Great Detective of the West and son of Martin Hartwell, the chief of police of Osaka. Yes, I have heard of you.” Sherlock finished. “Some say that you’re the Kudo of the West.”
“I’m always being compared to him, but I’ll have you know that I’m a far better detective than Kudo.” Harley insisted.
“That remains to be seen.”
Sitting nearby, Conan grinned. Hearing Holmes praise him made him feel like he was floating on a cloud. Or was that the fever?
On hearing him sneeze, Rachael rushed over and knelt down beside him. She placed a hand tenderly on his forehead. “Oh Conan, you poor thing! That sounds like a very nasty cold. Have you been getting enough vitamins?”
“I’ll be... okay... Rachael? Why are you here?”
“I was... worried about you. I missed you. Things haven’t been the same since you left to live with Mr. Holmes and... I also heard that Jimmy might be here. Inspector MacGuire told me that Mr. Holmes knew about Jimmy. Is he all right? I got a call from him today and it sounded like he had a cold like you do. Did he call from here?”
“Well... about Jimmy...” Conan began.
“Oh he’s somewhere around here all right. The facts don’t lie.” Harley announced.
“And what facts might those be?” Sherlock inquired as he developed a slight interest in Harley.
The Detective of the West smirked as it was his turn to show off his abilities. “Rachael told me about the periodic phone calls she receives from Kudo, and I found it odd that they would talk about things like soccer, school and other mundane topics> Not once did he ever ask her as to how she was doing. If he really was gone, and hasn’t seen her in while, then wouldn’t that be the first thing he would ask? If he calls her every now and then, then that means he’s interested in her. Now if he doesn’t ask about her, that can only mean... that he’s watching her from some hidden place. And I have a feeling that you may know where he is. Well, Mr. Sherlock, am I getting warm?”
This time, it was Sherlock who was mildly impressed. <Hmmm, the kid’s not bad.>
At that moment, Rachael came up to Holmes and looked at him with pleading eyes. She clasped her hands together and said, “Please Mr. Holmes. If you know where Jimmy is, then tell me!”
Sherlock sighed as he shook his head. “I am sorry, Ms. Moore, but I cannot say. Jimmy has expressed his desire to remain... out of sight for the time being. However, I can say, with utmost the certainty, that he does hold very special feelings for you. It is up to him, whether or not he wishes to reveal himself to you.”
“Hmmf! Just as I thought! Kudo’s nothing but a coward!” Harley scoffed. “Looks like the only competition around here is you, Mr. Holmes.”
“Now see here, Mr. Hartley!” Watson exclaimed. “We take great offense at your words! I expect an apology to your slander of our friend Jimmy Kudo!”
“Fine! I’ll say sorry to him, face-to-face!”
At that moment, the office door swung open, and everyone looked toward the latest visitor, who happened to be a middle-aged woman.
“Did I catch you at a bad time?” The woman asked.
After being given the lowdown by their newest client, Camiel Tarrington, Sherlock, Watson, and Conan went to accompany her to her home. As they rode in the limo, Sherlock looked over to his diminutive partner.
“Are you certain that you are up to the task, Conan? It’s not too late to take you back home to rest. Watson and I can handle this case by ourselves.”
Conan coughed a bit, then looked out the back window at the taxi that was following them. In it were Harley, Rachael and her father.
“I (cough)... have to be there. I want to see just what this Detective of the West can do. Besides, somebody’s got to watch out (sniff)... for Rachael, especially if her father’s coming along.”
In the cab...
“Dad, you didn’t have to come with us.” Rachael said. She began to wish she hadn’t told him of where she was going when Hartley invited her to come along.
“Nonsense! No mystery is too tough for the Great Richard Moore!” Richard insisted as he saw this case as a grand opportunity to finally get back into the game. It involved a high-level diplomat and solving the case would give him back his reputation as an ace detective. Plus, he had a chance to take Holmes, Conan and this new kid Hartley down a few notches.
Harley could only sigh in disgust. His initial impression of Rachael’s father had been dead on. Richard was an absolute idiot. How this person ever achieved the rank of detective in the Tokyo police force was beyond him. He was a habitual drunk, judging by the amount of beer cans Hartley saw around Moore’s office, an avid fan of Yoko Okino, a teen pop star, and his personality hinted at someone who was quick to make snap judgments and wild accusations.
For some time, Hartwell had suspected that Moore’s recent rise and fall from fame had something to do with Jimmy Kudo’s absence. After all, Moore didn’t start to gain a reputation as an ace detective until AFTER Kudo had disappeared. And his methods of solving crimes had dramatically changed to a style that was similar to those belonging to the Detective of the East. That couldn’t be just mere coincidence. Now with the rumors of Jimmy becoming allied with Sherlock Holmes, Richard Moore’s so-called detective skills had suddenly become nonexistent. Once again, that couldn’t be due to happenstance.
If Hartley was correct, then Kudo must have been hiding nearby and investigating the crimes, then giving Moore the hints so that he could publicly solve the mysteries and take the credit for himself. Now something must have happened to Kudo to have abandoned Moore to his own devices, and join up with this Sherlock Holmes pretender.
The Detective of the West then thought of his first impression of the legendary detective. Like Kudo, Harley was an avid fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s works. However, he was quite skeptical that the fictional main character could possibly be real. This person who was gaining fame as a detective was most likely either an actor or some eccentric detective who used the name of Sherlock as an alias.
Still, he had to admit, Sherlock had the goods as a detective. His observational skills and deductions, along with his mannerisms, made a small part of Harley believe that his idol had come forth from the pages of Doyle’s writings. However, the more practical side of him knew that such a thing was impossible. After all, didn’t Holmes’ motto say that one should eliminate the impossible?
With the absence of his teenage rival, Harley now began to consider Holmes as a challenge and this upcoming case would be the perfect test between his abilities and this pretender to the throne. He’d also show up Jimmy Kudo, wherever he was. Who knows? He just might show up.
Later at the diplomat’s home...
Things had gotten extremely hectic after Mrs. Tarrington unlocked the door to the room her husband was in and found him dead. The portly man keeled over and dropped to the floor after she had tried to rouse him from what appeared to be a deep slumber. Opera music was playing while stacks of books were piled on the desk. In minutes, the police had been called in.
Inspector Moore groaned slightly as he caught sight of Richard Moore. By now, he had little to no respect for the has-been detective, especially after that case that Holmes and Conan had solved with the help of the Junior Detective League. The media had a field day with that one. The Great Richard Moore couldn’t solve a case that was found out by a group of Second Graders. Since he had been a former police detective, that embarrassment made the force look bad.
He perked up slightly as he saw Holmes and Conan already on the case, looking over the body and searching for evidence. He was a bit puzzled at the appearance of the newcomer, who reminded him of Jimmy Kudo. He too was also looking over the body and the surrounding area.
At that point, Moore ran up to him and saluted.
“Don’t worry, Inspector! The Great Ace Detective Richard Moore will solve this case in no time!”
A large sweatdrop appeared behind McGuire’s head as he thought, <Ace? More like the Joker of the deck.> Keeping professional in front of the victim’s family, he cleared his voice and asked, “So Moore, did you find any evidence on Rudy Tarrington’s body which suggested foul play?”
“No sir! No evidence whatsoever!”
“I cannot concur with your statement, Mr. Moore.” Sherlock said as he stood up and directed everyone’s attention to the corpse. “The signs of obvious villainy are all there. This is a murder, in which the weapon of choice was...”
Sherlock was somewhat irritated when Harley interrupted, but decided to let the arrogant youth explain the reasons why Tarrington’s demise was premeditated.
Harley smiled as he pointed to the victim’s head and neck. “Look. The body’s still warm and rigor mortis hasn’t set in yet. He couldn’t have been dead for more than 30 minutes. If you look closely, then you’ll see a puncture wound on the neck near the right ear. A needle was found under the desk. His lips are turning purple as well as his fingertips. I’m willing to bet that his eyes are bloodshot. That’s a sure sign of suffocation, which can only be achieved through drowning, strangulation, violence, trauma, and poison. He most likely instantly from the poison.” He then gave Holmes a taunting expression.
Sherlock didn’t even bat an eye as he turned to Watson. The compu-droid nodded at the silent question. “Mr. Hartwell’s analysis of Mr. Tarrington’s cause of death is accurate.”
Harley chuckled slightly, then he continued. “Furthermore, since Tarrington had been killed very recently, it stands to reason that he had been murdered just moments before we arrived and by someone close by, perhaps someone within this very room.”
This statement caused those gathered in the room to become edgy.
“Who the heck are you?” McGuire asked.
“His name is Harley Hartwell.” Moore supplied.
“Hartwell?! I know you!” McGuire cried out. “You’re the son of Martin Hartwell, the chief of police of Osaka!”
As McGuire and Harley talked, Holmes turned his attention toward his apprentice and nodded as Conan gazed upon the pile of music books on the desk, then toward the stereo.
<Very good, my student. Always look for that which does not fit a pattern. It is always worth investigation.>
At that point, Conan began to watch Rachael, who seemed to be lost in her own thoughts. He could guess as to what, or rather whom she was thinking of. His heart went out to her and he wished he could ease the sadness in her soul.
However, he had to focus on the case at hand and turned his attention back toward McGuire as he began questioning the family members. It was discovered the there had been only two keys to the room and Mrs. Tarrington had one and her husband kept the other in his pants’ pocket. When McGuire checked the pockets of the late Rudy Tarrington, the key fell out from the inner pocket and jingled as they hit the floor. Everyone gasped at the sight, except for Richard Moore...
“What’s the big deal?”
Sherlock let off a sigh of exasperation. How could Moore not get something so obvious? He gave a whole new meaning to the word simpleton. “Mr. Moore, surely you remember that the door was LOCKED when we arrived? Mrs. Tarrington used her key to open the door and we FOUND Mr. Tarrington with the second key.”
Harley also let off a sigh. “Don’t you get it? How could the killer have locked the door behind him, if Tarrington had the only other set of keys?” He then drew himself up to his full height. “What we’re looking at here is an impossible crime!”
When the Detective of the West saw Moore’s puzzled expression become even more lost, he knew that his hypothesis was correct. Moore was nothing but a fake and the real genius behind his fame was somewhere nearby. He smiled as he then turned his attention to Sherlock Holmes. The look of contemplation on Sherlock’s face was genuine and Harley knew that he had some serious competition. Well he’d show everyone who was the real sleuth. Once he cracked this case, people will start calling Jimmy as the Harley of the East.
Conan squinted hard as McGuire questioned each of the family members and their alibis. He became especially interested when McGuire held up a family photo that had been taken 20 years ago. However, as his vision blurred, he began to feel nauseous and his sense of balance was thrown out of whack.
When one of the investigating officers showed the victim’s key to McGuire to display a new development, (which was a piece of tape inside the keychain holder), Conan strained to keep conscious. Watson and Rachael immediately came to his side as he started to topple forward.
The compu-droid caught the boy in his arms as Rachael put her hand on his forehead.
“He’s burning up with fever!”
At that moment, Harley got a flash of inspiration and ran out of the room. Sherlock made no attempt to follow him, and instead walked toward Watson with concern. Conan was cradled gently in the machine man’s arms. His breathing had become a little shallow.
“I fear that my disciple cannot continue with this case, Watson. You will look after him, while I finish with this investigation?”
“But of course, Holmes!” Watson vowed as he began to carry Conan away to a place where he could rest. Rachael followed him as she too was concerned.
Conan reached out toward his idol and said in a weak tone, “Sh-Sherlock... the music... books... key... picture...”
The legendary detective nodded as he whispered to his pupil. “Yes, I came to the same conclusion. Your keen eye for detail has served you well. Superb detective work!”
Rachael placed a cold towel on Conan’s forehead as he lay on a bed in an unused room of the Tarrington home. Behind her, Watson stood by and watched for any change in the boy’s condition. Currently, it looked as if he had fallen asleep.
“Will he be all right, Watson?” Moore’s daughter asked.
The compu-droid nodded. “I am certain that he will recover. It’s just bad luck that his cold has reached its worst at this point in time. He may have come down with slight pneumonia, but I assure you, that his condition will improve.” Watson had managed to take a quick scan of his patient when Rachael’s back had been turned.
Rachael became silent for a while, then decided to find out something that had been bothering her. “Watson, tell me the truth. Is Conan a really good detective?”
“I should think so, since he is being tutored by Holmes himself and...”
“No, that’s not what I meant. I mean, did he already have a lot of talent before he met with Sherlock?”
Watson did not like the way this conversation was heading, especially after being told not to reveal anything about Conan’s connection with Jimmy Kudo. However, it was getting hard to keep the secret as it seemed that Rachael was beginning to suspect...
She let off a sad sigh and continued. “It’s... something that I’ve been wondering about since he left to go live with you and Holmes. Dad hasn’t been able to solve any cases since Conan left and I think it’s because... he couldn’t. Not without him. Now that I think about it, Conan was always there when Dad found the answers to all of those mysteries. He’d say or do something that would give Dad the clue he needed. And then there were all those times when my father would go to sleep and still be able to crack the case. It was as if someone else had been talking in his place... then I found this on Conan when I took off his jacket.”
“Oh my.” Watson said as Rachael held up Conan’s bowtie... with the voice-emulator exposed.
“This is one of Dr. Agasa’s inventions, isn’t it? This looks like a speaker. That’s how my Dad seemed to talk, even when he was out of it. Conan used this to imitate my Dad and explain the crimes, didn’t he?” She let the device slip from her hand and drop to the floor. She bowed her head down, and her body shuddered. Tears began to form and her voice started to tremble.
The young girl shook her head and continued. “It’s all true isn’t it? My father’s nothing but a fake! A fraud! He wasn’t the real detective, Conan was! He solved the crimes and my father grabbed all the glory! I wondered what Conan meant when he told my Dad to solve his own cases, and now I understand!”
Rachael then began to sob uncontrollably as she held her face in her hands. Watson could only offer her a shoulder to cry on as he took her into his arms and let her weep into the front of his coat.
“You’re... not going to... deny it?” She asked between sobs.
“I see little point in denying the truth that you have just realized, Ms. Moore.”
“The truth...” Rachael raised her face and smiled slightly, despite her tears. “Jimmy always said that one truth prevails. I understand that now. The truth had been staring into my face for a while, and it’s taken me this long to accept it.” She then buried her face into his chest and began sobbing anew. “I wish Jimmy was here now... (sob)... if he really... (sniff)... cares about me... (sob)... he should be here! Why?! Why won’t he come back!? Is Harley right? Is he just... spying on me?! Making fun of me?!”
“There, there Ms. Moore.” Watson said as he gently patted her back. “I am certain that Mr. Kudo does care very deeply about you and that he will return... when the time is right.”
At that moment, Conan’s eyes opened and saw Rachael in tears. He had heard everything. The sight of her in such a state wrenched at his heart and prompted him to make a decision.
After Rachael had calmed down and left to check up on Holmes and Hartley, Watson was most surprised when Conan sat up and made a request.
“You want me to give it to you now?! Do you have any idea as to what you are asking?!”
The Little Detective nodded as he once again made the request. As Watson balked, Conan reminded the compu-droid that it was his choice and that Sherlock had left the decision up to him.
After a minute of intense debate, Watson could only shake his head in resignation as he reached into his coat pocket and took out a certain vial...
“And voila! The key slips into the victim’s pocket and a tug on the line snaps it free from the tape. All the killer has to do is reel it in and no more evidence.” Harley said with a flourish.
“Well I’ll be darned.” McGuire exclaimed as he and Moore were astounded at Hartley’s explanation of the Sealed Room trick. (3) Everyone else, including Rachael, who had now joined them, were similarly astonished. Standing nearby, with a mild expression of amusement on his face, was Sherlock Holmes.
“I must admit, that is quite a bit of imaginative thinking, Mr. Hartley. Now I suppose that you have also deduced the identity of the murderer?”
Harley snorted as he gave Sherlock an arrogant look. He knew that he had this case in the bag. The great ‘Sherlock’ didn’t even bother to go look for clues in the room where the victim’s father had been in. All he did was stand and watch as the Detective of the West beat both him and that second-rate Jimmy Kudo.
“The murderer can only be... YOU!” Harley said in triumph as he pointed to the victim’s father, Theodore Tarrington. “You were the only one who had enough time to have committed the murder. I found this fishing wire in the trash bin, which fits in with your hobby of fishing. You were sloppy in trying to dispose of the evidence. The game’s over! You might as well admit it!”
The elder Tarrington bowed his head sadly and nodded. “You’ve got me. I murdered my own son...”
“And that‘s all she wrote.” Harley said in triumph.
At that moment, some light applause was heard and everyone looked in Sherlock’s direction. The detective was slowly and deliberately clapping his hands as he casually leaned against a bookcase.
Harley thought that his competitor was being a sore loser and decided to rub it in. “Please, I don’t need any applause for my skills. I know I’m good and I suppose even the great Sherlock Holmes can’t solve every crime.”
Sherlock chuckled as he stood up and faced the arrogant punk. “Oh I’m not applauding your skills, Mr. Hartley. I am applauding the amusement you have provided with your ignorance.”
“What are you talking about...?!”
The Detective of the West was cut off in mid-protest when Holmes stabbed a finger in front of his face and gave him a stern expression. “You showed some considerable promise when we first met, but you had totally forgotten the fundamentals of being a detective during the course of this investigation.”
“What do you mean I forgot something?! What did I forget to do?” Harley demanded.
“Careful observation and deduction my boy. In other words, you didn’t use your eyes and your brains. For example, your explanation of the Sealed Room trick, though well-thought out and nicely demonstrated, is undeniably flawed.”
“Now hold on a minute, Holmes.” McGuire cut in. “Harley’s explanation worked. You take the needle and wire...”
Holmes waved a hand. “Yes, yes, I know the mechanics of the trick. I saw it as well, so there is no need to explain it again. However, as I recall, the key was found in the victim’s inner pocket. Are you so certain that Mr. Harley’s theory is correct?”
“What are you talking about?!” Harley said angrily as he walked over to McGuire and reached for the pocket with the key in it. “See for yourself! Here’s the key, right in the inner...?”
Much to everyone’s surprise, as Harley turned the pocket inside out and the key fell out and landed on the floor. However, it had not been inside the inner pocket but rather the larger pocket.
“No way! I threaded that wire through the inner pocket! I’m sure of it!”
Holmes wagged his index finger at Hartley. “Tsk, tsk, tsk. How very sloppy. If you had truly thought about it, then you would have realized that in a sitting position, the passage toward the inner pocket becomes narrower and bent. It is made even more difficult if the person wearing those pants happen to have, shall we say a generous waistline?”
“I guess that’s a polite way of saying that I need to go on a diet.” McGuire remarked. “Then again, I do remember that Rudy Tarrington’s pants were pretty tight.”
“It might be unlikely, but there’s a chance that it could have worked...” Harley began, then was cut off again by Holmes.
“Do NOT grasp at straws or make excuses for incorrect deductions, Mr. Hartley. That is most unbecoming of a proper detective. And I should remind you not to confuse the impossible for the improbable.”
Harley felt as if he had been slapped. However, there was just something about Holmes that made him so compelling.
Sherlock then continued. “If you had been using your eyes in the beginning, then you would have seen another detail that would have invalidated your Sealed Room trick. Did you not notice how the key were found in the victim’s inner pocket?”
“What difference does it make how they were...?” The young investigator’s voice trailed off as he recalled how the key fell out of Tarrington’s trousers.
The legendary detective nodded as he saw his expression. “Exactly. The key were neatly folded and tucked away in the inner pocket. Your explanation of how to put the key in the pocket would have only had the keychain inside that tiny space, with the key hanging out. The only way the key could have been the way it was found was that the killer had placed it in by hand. Such a simple concept and you missed it completely.”
“Well, what about the fishing wire and needle that I found in the trash where Theodore Tarrrington had been in?”
“Oh come now. Use your BRAINS! Do you actually believe that someone who could think up an elaborate plan as the Sealed Room would so carelessly leave such incriminating evidence where anyone could find it? If an investigator could theorize the Sealed Room method, then wouldn’t he logically look for the type of evidence to confirm it? Obviously, you did so, without considering the questions and details that I have already pointed out. You rushed through the investigation to satisfy your ego and that is nearly as bad as the crime itself. The so-called evidence you had found had merely been bait to place the blame on Mr. Tarrington’s father. How appropriate to have used fishing wire and like a hungry trout, you snapped it up. I would wager that if we were to search the other rooms, then we would also find the same evidence.”
As if on cue, Watson entered the room. In his hand were several lengths of fishing wire. He placed them in Holmes’ hands and turned to face the others.
“The other rooms have been searched and as you had suspected, identical sets of wire and needles were found in the trash receptacles. Obviously, whoever had done this went to great lengths to frame the elder Tarrington, no matter which room he went into.”
“As I thought.” Sherlock said as he placed the materials on the desk. “Though I am glad that you are here, Watson, I am curious. What prompted you to investigate the other rooms? Shouldn’t you be watching over our young detective?”
“In truth, I did not perform the room searches, Holmes. It was our OTHER associate.”
“Other associate? Ah, I see.” Sherlock smiled as he got the hidden meaning, then noticed a shadow at the edge of the door. “Well then, we should let our other associate pick up where I left off.” He called out toward the door. “How about it, Mr. Kudo?”
At that moment, the Detective of the East walked into the room. He was dressed casually in his school uniform with the white shirt un-tucked. He was a bit unsteady and was sweating. He smiled as he said to his mentor...
“It would be my pleasure, Sherlock Holmes.”
To be continued...
Yeah, I’m a bit of a louse for leaving you hanging like this, but it was so long, that I had to cut it off somewhere. In part 2, we conclude with this case and a few twists that you won’t be expecting. See you there!
(1) The first episode of Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century.
(2) Yeah, I know that English name stinks, but it’s easier for me to write.
(3) Fans remember this from No Immunity for the Diplomat Part 1.