The Murderous Miracle
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Style
I awakened from my morning slumber and groggily entered the foyer
to find Holmes sitting in his chair in a speculative pose while
thoughtfully smoking on one of his many pipes.
“Good Morning Holmes!, ” I said in one of my Cheeriest tones, which
wasn’t very impressive, due to the fact I am not a morning person “And what
wakes you up so early this fine morning?”
“Early?” Holmes replied “Why it’s nearly noontime, it’s you who have
been sleeping in! And making an awful racket with that dreadful snoring of
I was struck by a paroxysm of coughing as Holmes’ smoke entered my
lungs, “Noontime? Nonsense, That pipe must be doing more damage than I
thought! It is a tad early for that kind of thing anyway!” said I, a bit
less cheerier than before due to Holmes’ mindless banter.
He only smiled and said “See for yourself,my good man, look through
the window onto the common, and tell me what you see…”
I did as he told, clearing my eyes, and to my shock I saw the
townspeople all about in their daily hustle and bustle which was common to
northern London preceding teatime.
“Well, it appears you are right! People are at work, conducting their
business and the like. I’m awfully sorry, I’m just rather irritable in the
“Quite alright my friend, it’s understandable, tell me, what else do
you see at the window?” Holmes calmly stated.
“Well, Nothing out of the ordinary, as I said before, just..wait!
There is a crowd of people around a car right next to our doorstep!” I
” Is the man a shady character with a dark beard and an umbrella on
his shoulder?” Holmes asked.
“Why Yes! That describes him perfectly! Who is he and how do you know
him?” I asked.
“Well,that happens to be Sir Reginald Chaucer of Pottingshire, and
also one of the most wealthy men in all of England.” said he.
“So? What importance is he to us? And why does he happen to be on our
doorstep?” I voiced.
“He happens to be suspected of the murder of one Friedrich Nietzche
because of financial reasons, and is presumably our newest client.”
Sir Chaucer was a very strange man, very eccentric, those were the
first two thoughts to enter my mind, even as he was climbing the stairs to
the designated “meeting room”. I thought this, not because he was rich, for
I do not like to stereotype a man that way, but as he progressed up the
stairs occasionally he would pause, mutter something to himself, and go on.
Those were not the doings of a sane man. But for every bit that he was
strange, I was ten times more intrigued by this man, and in wondering why
he was here had piqued my curiosity to the highest mark. But as he came
through the door I tried my best to disguise the inquisitive look upon my
countenance and took a seat.
“Welcome!” my friend called “I assume that you are Sir Reginald
Chaucer of Pottingshire?”
“Of course I am! Who else would I be? I do hope I haven’t come to a
drunken sod and not an private detective. At any rate, I don’t want to
speak here at all, it’s too much peasantry for my taste, and I fear I could
not stay here long without quickly becoming nauseous.”
Sir Reginald, who obviously had no need for formal introductions,
replied. “Therefore,” he continued, cutting off a reply from Holmes “you
will come with me to my estate in Pottingshire whether or whether not it
pleases you to do so.”
“But, kind Sir,” I interjected “Most of our best work is conceived
right here, and you might be interrupting the detective process!”
“I did not pay you for your own comfort, but for mine! And if you are
the sort of detectives who rely on a certain room for your brain power, I
think I’ll be looking somewhere else!” Sir Reginald complained.
“Don’t worry good man,” my friend said “It’s just that Dr. Watson here
is a bit bold for his own good, and I can assure you that such extensive
methods need not be taken,” And as he saw the look of astonishment on my
face he cast a discreet wink my way. “If only,” Holmes continued “You would
give my friend a few moments to freshen up and get into some proper
“Of course!”, Sir Reginald continued, “Do you think I would lower my
reputation by riding around with a ruffian? But I’ll be waiting in the car,
I can’t stand to be in this smokepit that you call a home any longer.”
And with that, our strange client abruptly turned and made his way
down the stairs, pausing only to look in the air and mutter something about
the condition of his lungs, and wondering aloud which was worse, the smog
outside or inside.
“Holmes, My good friend!” I stated as soon as I was sure our client was
gone, “Where did you find such an impossibly rude, obnoxious,
insufferable,and unbearable patron? I mean seriously ol’ chap? Can an
individual possibly be more intolerable than that?” I asked.
“I’m not quite sure my friend Watson” Holmes said “But I fear we’ll
find out if we aren’t dashing to his car in the wink of an eye!” He added
with a smile.
Sir Reginald’s house was more grand than anything I’d ever imagined,
but it did not have a comfortable, lived-in environment. It was as if no
one had ever lived there and never should, it was a cold, barren place, and
seemed more a museum than a place where human beings lived.
We were quickly hushed into the main living where both Holmes and I
took a seat and Reginald began his tale..
“There is no archaic background, and no asinine fairy-tale to go along
with this incident gentlemen. One of my more prestigious competitors who
would never enter my house had it not been for the extensive work he has
done on my brother, has been murdered, and there is no trace of the
murderer elsewhere, so he must be in this house!!” said the aggravated
“Well,” Holmes asked “If the culprit is indeed stalking among the
corridors of this very house why have you not called the police?”
“I did you dolt! And they came,and they took the body, but could find
no sign of the murderer and are searching elsewhere, but I know myself that
the culprit could not have left!” Reginald screeched irately.
“Well, How can you be so sure? Could you tell us more about this
terrible incident? Please try to be as specific as possible.” Holmes calmly
stated, not deterred in the slightest by the old man’s insolence.
“Well, it’s a very simple and rudimentary story my friend, My rival
Doctor Fredrich Nietzche ,now deceased, was headed up towards the library
to investigate some latin history or some such nonsense, then I heard only
a blood curdling wail and made my way with all haste to the library!” Our
client said gruffly.
Inwardly I smiled as I imagined the patriarchal man running up the
stairs, but stopped my train of thought as I realized I was reaping
enjoyment from another man’s demise.
“Ah, I see,” Holmes said “Well who else was here besides yourself?
Could the culprit be one of your staff perhaps?”
“Impossible, the Staff was gone for the day, and the only other people
here were my brother Douglas Arganth Chaucer, and myself.” he said.
“Well, if it wasn’t you, and no one else was here, it had to be your
brother Douglas!” I concluded, inwardly gratified at my own simple
“Yes, but you forget a simple fact you thick-headed simpleton! My
brother is also crippled and incapable of crawling, much less dashing up
the stairs, And has been that way since he was 9 and stricken with complete
paralyzation, it is a wonder that he wasn’t bed-ridden for the rest of his
life! Furthermore, he owed his ability to operate the upper-half of his
body solely to Doctor Nietzche! For it was he who helped him through
rehabilitation! I reached the bottom of the stairs before the murderer
could have possibly come down, and there is no other exit from the
library.” he continued.
“Alas, we are truly sorry for your brothers condition,” Holmes added,
“But since we can easily dismiss him from being the culprit, we should
continue on a different note, may we see the crime area?”
“Be my guests, the police have searched it several times already
though.” Reginald said, and led us into the library.
In the library was stacked wall to wall and ceiling to ceiling with
books of all kinds, literature, history, philosophy, anything the mind
could think of. My stomach slightly turned as I saw bloodstains in the
carpet, but no other sign of the murder was visible.
“This,” Reginald Said “Is where the murder took place, I have some
other business in town to attend to, so you may search to your hearts
delight and perhaps make some sense of this inanity! And don’t touch
anything valuable! ” with that he turned and left downstairs to attend to
whatever mindless business he had.
“So what do you think Dr. Watson? Do I perhaps see a smile on your
face because you have already discovered the culprit of this crime?” Holmes
“Well, if what he says is true to some extent. The murderer never
left, or it’s Sir Reginald eliminating one of his competitors, I truly
cannot see his crippled brother pulling himself up the stairs and killing
Nietzche and then going back down before Sir Reginald reached here!” I
inferred. I turned,expecting to see the shock on Holmes’ face at my own
ability of decoding the mystery.
But instead, I saw his smile, and knew at once that my answer was
“I’m sorry, my good friend, but you are wrong, I investigated the
blood stains, and it appears that written in his own blood was a latin
symbol ‘?’, so I don’t believe it is that simple, I am hoping that in your
work in the medical profession that you have come across the meaning of
that particular symbol?” Holmes asked
“Of course! It is a Latin word meaning Beta, and isn’t Sir Reginalds
company called Beta-Investments? I’ll go talk to Douglas,about Sir
Reginald’s relationship with the Doctor.
“Ah, the Latin word ‘Beta’, how interesting, thank you my dear friend,
as usual, you have proved yourself invaluable to our noble cause. I will
remain here and further investigate the room, to ensure that everything
that could possibly be found was.” Holmes said.
I raced downstairs, thinking to be on the right track with Reginald, but
Douglas’ room was unoccupied, And there was hardly a sign of the man ever
being there. As I turned to tell return to the library and tell Holmes of
my discovery, I was knocked unconcious from behind.
I awakened in a small cellar with a small bruise on my head which would
definitely smart later. As I remembered what had just transpired, I quickly
looked around for a sign of the scoundrel but saw nothing. I needed not to
check the door to know that it was locked. I sat down to contemplate my
current situation but got no further than being utterly helpless before the
doorknob started to turn. I tried to compose myself as best as I could to
attack, but I am not the most belligerent of people. The door slowly
opened, but behind the door, to my surprise, was not a devilous rogue or
some sort of murderous swine, but my good friend Sherlock Holmes!
“It’s good to see that you’re here, I’m sorry that I couldn’t have
helped you earlier, but I only just found out about this luxurious abode of
yours. And then of course I had to help chase Douglas across the lawn.”
Holmes said, without batting an eye.
“What? But Douglas is crippled, Sir Reginald said so himself! And in
fact, I was on my way to go talk to him..” My words trailed off as I
realized what must have happened….
“You are right in one respect, Douglas WAS crippled, but that was
until the recently deceased Doctor Nietzche healed him. It was nothing
short of a miracle, but even miracles have their price. Nietzche was
charging Douglas a small fortune which Douglas could not afford, so Douglas
was forced to plot less than honorable means of gaining the money.” Holmes
“Such as killing his brother! He knew his brother was rich, and that he
would get the money, and no one would ever suspect a crippled man. But,
something doesnt make sense, I mean, after Douglas was cured, how could
Nietzche charge him?”
“Well, there were contracts and such, but I doubt even that would mean
too much to a man who had only recently regained the ability to walk. I
suppose fear of whatever could be done, could be undone was enough
motivation to get Douglas worried.” Holmes concluded.
“Ok, that makes sense I suppose, but how could you possibly know it
was Chaucer? And where he was hiding me?” I asked, still slightly puzzled
by Holmes’ appearance.
“Well, as you were saying, the symbol “?” was a Latin symbol meaning
before, well, Our friend the Doctor was also looking up some Latin history
according to Sir Reginald if you recall. Using those two facts, I simply
searched the library for a Latin book, and found a dictionary, and between
the pages with the definition for beta, was a full diary written by Dr.
The diary Encluding everything from Douglas’ remarkable recovery, to
Douglas’ plot to kill his brother. With that knowledge I was alarmed to
think that I had sent you into a perilous position.
Nietzche had apparently found a diary of Douglas’ which had details of
his plan, and threatened to release them to Sir Reginald Chaucer unless he
was given triple his salary. Douglas had planned to kill his brother and
stow the body in here, hoping that perhaps one of the staff would be
accused of commiting the crime. For it is public knowledge that he was not
fond of his staff. I was only guessing when I supposed he would leave you
here.” Holmes concluded.
“Ah, so it was a plot, within a plot, within a plot!” I stated,
pleased with my witticism.
“Hmm,” Holmes paused thoughtfully “Not really, Not at all, come now,
let us go back to our flat, it appears you need some more sleep if you are
making feeble jokes such as that one.” He laughed, and I laughed along with
him, for we had just solved the case, of the Murderous Miracle.