Friday, July 13, 2012

The Case of 90 Degrees – Part IV

“It’s the simplest of chess problems. A mate in one move. White advances his pawn and promotes to a knight. Such an under-promotion is so rare that Tennyson’s meaning is clear: He is pointing us towards someone who has been knighted for is otherwise a member of nobility. Of his three visitors yesterday I’m afraid this can only mean Churchill.”

This possibility that perhaps our next Prime Minister had killed our greatest modern poet, depressed us both. Before we had time to drink it all in, Mrs. Hudson brought us a new visitor. He was a sandy-haired youth, well dressed and all of about 18 years old. Having seen him accompany his father many an evening to the St. George’s Chess Club, I immediately recognized him.

“This, Holmes, is Lord Randolph’s boy, Winston,’ I explained. “He carries on the family tradition of plain speaking.”

Young Winston said, “I’m afraid I come on a moment of some urgency. My father is being questioned at Scotland Yard about some murder. The police are not giving any details, not even the victim’s name, but they said you knew all about it. I’ve come to plead your help Mr. Holmes. You probably don’t know this, but my father is not of strong health and he simply could not have committed this crime.”

“That unfortunately, will not satisfy Inspector Lestarde,” Holmes replied. “The police will eventually discover the value of the victim’s missing property, some poems that were taken from the murder scene. They will then conclude that the murderer meant to claim those poems to be his own work. I must be discreet but I can tell you that there are many people would love to claim fine writing…. as their own.”

Later - Part V

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