Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Murder on Fleet Street - Sherlock and the case of the dead Mr. Newspaper

The scenery is somewhat antiquated, the furniture went out of style dozens of years ago, the lamp still has an old fashioned light bulb and the large desk features a typewriter. Half on the desk, covered with a white sheet, lies a body, slumped forward in his chair. In the background one can heard the fading sound of offset printing machines. Footsteps are approaching outside, two people seem to be arguing.

Watson: "I don't understand it why we are here. The case is already solved!"

Sherlock: "Is it, my dear Watson?"

Two men are entering the room.

Watson: "Of course it is. That young pretty thing, this Ms. Internet, has been caught close to the victim and been found in possession of the readers of the deceased. Surely those readers are the motive."

Sherlock: "An our Ms. Internet took them away by force?"

Watson: "Not really, the victim has accused his future murderer of luring them away by unfair competition. Mr. Newspaper has been preparing legal action against the culprit and was therefor killed before he could bring the charges forward."

Sherlock: "I am impressed, with two sentences we have changed it from a holdup murder to a cover-up crime. If we continue at this speed, we will have cleared the suspect in record time."

Watson: "Who else should have done it? Nobody was that close to the victim that he or she could have done it." 

Sherlock: "Did you have a look at the corpse?"

Watson: "Not yet, but what should it show me?"

Sherlock: "Please do me the favor."

Watson walks over to the chair and lifts the sheet and begins to retch. He turns away, breathing heavily, struggling to regain control. "My god!"

Sherlock: "It's not you who will talk to that particular respondent but him. Now tell me, what did you notice?"

Watson: "He is totally bloated. I knew Mr. Newspaper when i was young. He was always a slim and trim guy, a fine appearance and always clean. He seems to have changed."

Sherlock: "Has changed or been changed?"

Watson: "What?"

Sherlock: "I am disappointed. You should have looked more closely."

Watson controls himself, breathes two or three times and lifts the sheets again. This time he manages to keep himself steady and takes a longer look. Than he raises his eyebrows in surprise. "It is not just Mr. Newspaper here. It is also his pet, i think 'Advertisement' he called it. In fact it seems to be more Advertisement than poor Mr. Newspaper here."

Sherlock: "Very good. You knew them both?"

Watson: "I have never seen Mr. Newspaper without his pet. But it was small, adoring him, chasing after him wherever he went. But this, this is like a strangling vine."

Watson picks his handkerchief and holds it before his nose..

Sherlock: "What are you smelling?"

Watson: "The corpse of course"

Sherlock: "This is why i usually omit your title, since you are disgracing it by forgetting even the most basic facts you learned. He is just one hour dead, the room is rather cool, so how can you smell him yet already?"

Watson, now visibly shaken, this time energetically lifts the sheets and starts sniffing at the corpse. "The foul smell comes from the Advertisement. This is why...."

Sherlock: "Why what?"

Watson: "Some of the former readers i talked to mentioned something i discarded in the past. They mentioned that the pet was starting emitting such smells when Mr. Newspaper was granting them too much attention instead of it."

Sherlock: "Very good, Watson, you are starting to approaching the truth. What was the effect on the readers you talked to?"

Watson (now clearly picking up speed) "They withdrew. They turned in flocks to the new star. They mentioned that Ms. Internet also had pets, but you could always block the away, when or if you wanted her all for yourself."

Sherlock: "So, the readers where turning away in droves. He became more and more alone. What did Mr. Newspaper do?"

Watson: "Of  course, he turned his attention more and more towards his pet which in turn became his pest. I heard this happened to some of his friends as well, they devoted all of their attention to it."

Sherlock: "So?"

Watson: "The Advertisement grew and grew, feeding on him till it strangled him, poor Mr. Newspaper. Thank god it is dead too."

Sherlock sounding dubiously: "Let us hope there are not more of them."

Watson: "I am impressed, in just five minutes you solved another case."

Sherlock: "No, i googled it on the way here with my iPhone."