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She ran up the wooden staircase, her hand brushing along the ornate handrail, her long skirt sweeping against the red-carpet flooring

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She ran up the wooden staircase, her hand brushing along the ornate handrail, her long skirt sweeping against the red-carpet flooring. She came to the white door, the mahogany handle shining as she reached out and grasped it. She pulled it open in a sudden movement. The lady was sitting, seemingly asleep, in the cushioned chair by the blazing fire. The girl walked over to her. Then she realised the fact that would change her life. Lady Victoria Peterson was dead. She was dead, and it was all her fault. WATSON'S NARRATIVE A young man opened the door to us. I saw his hands were pale and shaking, shadows under his eyes as though he had been deprived of many hours sleep and a fearful look on his face as though he was scared of Sherlock Holmes in his deerstalker hat and the characteristic pipe poking out of his pocket. "Mr Holmes," he greeted us, "and Dr Watson, I presume? Very good to meet you, very honoured indeed. I've heard so many great tales about you. But my, how inconsiderate of me! Please, do come in and sit by the fire. The maid will be along shortly with the tea." We were led along to a room of medium size on the ground floor of the house. It was furnished exquisitely, yet simply. The large, slightly torn armchair that sat in the corner seemed out of place somehow with the rest of the room, the neat, smaller armchairs and the mahogany table that stood in the middle of the room. "Sit down, please sit down," the man told us. I sat in one of the smaller armchairs, while Holmes went to sit in the largest one, the one that seemed out of place, which was much the same impression I had of Holmes. Neatly dressed in his sharp suit yet somewhat a little too eccentric for this room, he would have stood out in any place, not only because of his fame as an over-competent detective. ...read more.


"Would they normally miss, for example, a stain, when cleaning the carpet?" "Why, no, I believe not. They are well paid, my mother was a generous employer, and they repaid her well in work," Mr Peterson explained. Holmes did not answer. He simply stared at the carpet in front of him. "May Watson and I pay a visit to your mother's room?" he asked politely. After receiving a reply in the affirmative, we headed up the stairs to the quarters of Lady Victoria Peterson. As we walked, Holmes suddenly burst into talking. "Tell me, Watson. Did you see a stain on the floor near where I sat?" "Why no!" I exclaimed. "So that is the reason for all those absurd questions?" "Not absurd, my dear friend. Answer me this. In a house where the servants are notorious for the prompt and effective cleaning, why is it that a stain is left for over 24 hours?" "There was a murder, Holmes! Of course, routine rather goes out the window in a case like this. You cannot expect the house to be perfectly clean," I responded cleverly, satisfied I had found the explanation, only to be met with a deprecating snort from Holmes. "Ah, but that stain, judging by its colour and smell, was spilt twenty four hours ago - before the murder had been discovered, twenty hours ago! This gives four hours for the stain to be cleared, does it not?" I had to, reluctantly, agree, until a sudden brainwave hit me. "Unless the body was actually discovered earlier than the time given by Mr Peterson!" I exclaimed. "He, of course, is our man. It all fits. That awful letter throws suspicion onto the girl, while he did the crime and wrote the letter to discredit her!" Holmes simply laughed. "It is possible, but I do not think it is so. See, Watson here we have another clue. "It is possible, my dear Watson, but I do not think it is so," Holmes said thoughtfully. ...read more.


I know I must be terribly ignorant not to see, but how?" "You see, I know that Lady Peterson spilt the tea. Miss Smith then gave the Lady her mug, which she drank. Lady Peterson later died, and I think I can safely assume it was that mug that was poisoned. We therefore have two options. Either Miss Smith poisoned the tea or the tea was already poisoned when Miss Smith took it!" "You mean, Miss Smith was the intended victim!" "I do indeed," Holmes smiled. "You see, one of the housemaids had entertained a liking for Edward Peterson for many years. She steals photos of him; she spends extra time tidying his quarters, and she is in fact, quite infatuated. So when Miss Smith appears, our admirer is jealous. Later, she hears her love proposing to this girl, and decides something must be done before her love marries this stranger. In the tea, she slips a strychnine tablet into one of the mugs. But then her plan fails. Instead of her hated rival taking the tea, her employer, the kindly woman who has the power to stop this marriage, dies." I sat in stunned silence for a few seconds, unable to speak. "But why then, the flower, the letter?" I asked. "Our murderer has a somewhat romantic mind - jealous women often do. She thinks miss smith is the perfect suspect. Miss smith, who happens to be named Rose. Hence the flower. A silly, girlish touch really. The clue does not point to Rose, but to someone who would be willing to spring the crime on her." "Of course!" I exclaimed. "And the letter?" "Well that was simple, although I must admit I was nearly fooled. Who was the maid girl who served us our tea, Watson?" "Why, err, of course - Ellie, I believe!" "Ellie Pierce, in fact!" the genius pointed out. "Our mystery 'EP'!" "Brilliant, I really don't know how you do it, Holmes. Brilliant!" "Elementary, my dear Watson. Elementary!" ...read more.

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