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I Deduce A Deduction

Sherlocks Elementary Observations Vol IIXX

The power of observation should never be underestimated, often vital clues can be found just by watching carefully and following every chain of thought to a conclusion. Training in this field is difficult to obtain so today I am going to test your powers of observation with three scenarios and the deductions that can be drawn from them.

1) You are on a train in a carriage occupied by two other people, one a lady dressed in finery and sat reading a book about flowers the other a stout man with a rather gruff face holding a long piece of rope and staring at the lady with bulging lust filled eyes. The door to the carriage slides open for the tea trolly service, as it departs the train enters a tunnel and the carriage is plunged into darkness. There’s a scream and when the light returns the lady is on the floor dead with a rope tight around her neck. The stout man has gone.

What happened?

2) You attend a dinner party held at a country manor, around the table are six people including yourself. At the head of the table is Sir Reginald Bucket, a retired general, to your left is Miss Ponceby Bonnet, to your right Lady Bucket. Across from you from left to right is Reverend Pickle, Mrs Bessy Spaniels and Lord Farquhar Frufru. Tomato soup is served and seems to spark a disagreement between the servant serving and Sir Reginald. Heated words are exchanged and the servant leaves with a dark look on his face to fetch the wine. When he returns he fills Sir Reginald’s wine to the top.

Dinner is served and Sir Reginald sips his wine, seconds later he is dead, the victim of a fast acting poison.

Who is the killer and how did they do it?

3) Inspector Lestrade walks you through a crime scene. A bedroom, decorated with green wallpaper with a large brass bedstead, it has one entry point and one window, the window is smashed but wide open and looking out you see the glass on the floor outside the window. The room is in disarray with many drawers open and their contents strewn about. On the bed is the body of a young man with twenty six knife wounds and a knife plunged through his heart, a note in his hand reads ‘I will see you tonight and we will sort this matter out once and for all’

The inspector thinks the murderer may be someone the victim knew, the note suggests the possibility and the inspector also points out that the crime has been made to look like a break in followed by a struggle, hence the broken window open but the glass on the outside that would only occur if it was broke from the inside.

Do you agree with the inspector?


1) Start with the stout man, he was a gruff looking fellow fondling a rope, obvious signs he was a sailor who was practicing his knot tying during the journey. His lust filled eyes was down to the fact that he had just completed a French knot which reminded him of a memorable night in Zanzibar involving two camels. The lady was interested in flowers hence the book about flowers, a pursuit that led to her death. For as the lights went out she rose to reach for a second book that I conclude was in the luggage rack just as the stout man had successfully tied a sailors half hitch. In the darkness she stumbled her head falling through half hitch which tightened as she fell. The stout man didn’t notice and dropped the rope, he was preoccupied in following the tea trolley after feeling rather peckish and longing for a cream tea. Of course you would arrest the trolley pusher for placing temptation in the way of the stout man and for causing a tragic accident.

2) Reverend Pickle killed Sir Reginald Bucket. It should have been obvious from the start that the Reverend was the odd one out, the others were all well known strumpets with loose morals deduced from the layout of the table which was positioned to stimulate maximum excitement. Couple this with the aphrodisiac properties of tomato soup and the Reverend was driven into a frenzy of lust that went against all his personal morals and religious guidance. Blaming Sir Reginald for the frisson of excitement the Reverend poisoned his glass using sleight of hand tricks as we all know members of the church are avid amateur magicians.

3) I totally disagree with the Inspector. The clue comes from the green wallpaper, not obvious at first but the green colour is actually created from arsenic. Our victim had been overcome by fumes from the wall paper which had sent him half crazed on a rampage in the room smashing the window to let in fresh air. Unfortunately he had been eating in bed and inavertantly left a knife on the bedclothes. As he leapt back in the knife cut him twenty six times as he bounced up and down on the springs fatally going through his heart to leave the scene we see today.

As you can see not everything is a straightforward as it seems in fact as I write this I am looking in the mirror and seeing an artist that should be painting instead of living in a mildly amusing fantasy world of Sherlock Sidewinders and Wriggling Watsons pursuing Moriarty Marauders throughout history.

Hmm, maybe I should take this wig and skirt off, Mrs Marple day is tomorrow.


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