(///admiral.pram.orchestra – The Sherlock Holmes Museum, London, UK)
“You are here about your recently missing grandfather, Admiral Morton. You rushed to get here before your next teaching assignment, but you were careful to protect your precious violin. And you wish you’d drunk your tea more carefully before leaving home.”
Elizabeth Montgomery paused in the act of lowering herself into a chair. “Mr Holmes,” she gasped. “I have not even sat down. And I have barely spoken. How could you know all of that?”
“It’s perfectly obvious,” Holmes said. “You are flushed, but your natural complexion is not ruddy, so you hurried. You keep glancing at the splashes of tea on your stole, so you drained it on your way out. And you brought a pram, though no baby. I observed from the window that the shape inside resembled a violin case, so I surmised it is a valuable instrument you wanted to keep from view.”
Elizabeth shook her head. “But my grandfather?”
“The cameo brooch with his portrait which you are wearing prominently. It brings you comfort.”
“But how did you know him?”
Holmes’ eyes twinkled. “There I must admit, I had a little prior knowledge. I deciphered a message secreted in yesterday’s Times crossword – the words Admiral, Lime, Grapes and Ransom pointed to someone being held in the Grapes Tavern in Limehouse. My irregulars confirmed suspicious activity and police found your grandfather there, unharmed. As I expected, he was holding a letter addressed to me. It simply said ‘The Game’s Afoot’, and was signed by Moriarty. And so another joust with my old adversary awaits.”
“My word. And where is Grandpop now?”
“My dear,” a voice behind her boomed. Elizabeth almost knocked over her chair as she ran to embrace him.
“Mr Holmes was preparing to escort me home. You could join us.”
Elizabeth turned to face the detective, her face wreathed in smiles. “However can I thank you?” she asked.
“Why don’t you fetch that violin of yours,” Holmes said. “A duet from our own tiny orchestra before you leave.”