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.
The young man sat opposite him, the blazing fire to his left. “My name,” he said, “is Edward Peterson. I have called you here to investigate a murder. At least, I believe it to be murder. Rose says that I’m crazy, that it must be natural causes, or suicide perhaps, but Mother was only in her fifties, and why would she want to commit suicide? Oh, Rose is probably right, I’m being over-anxious, like always, but I do want you to investigate the case. You are, after all, the best, and I always find the police so, so,” here he paused, as though searching for the right word, “so bumbling!
” he finished with a satisfied glance at Holmes. “Perhaps you would care to explain exactly what you propose we are to investigate? ” Holmes asked in a superior tone. “Of course, of course! ” Mr Peterson nodded his head. “My mother was found dead in the early hours of yesterday evening. Her body has been taken away for a post-mortem, of which we should hear the results soon. The family doctor has suggested flu, but there were no symptoms! How can there be no symptoms! ” “It does sound unlikely,” I agreed. Being a doctor myself, I feel myself to be somewhat of an expert on these matters.
“Who was in the house on the day of her death? ” Holmes asked in a suddenly businesslike manner. “Well,” Mr Peterson pondered. “There was myself, Mother, the servants, that is, the maids, the cook, and the gardener and his boy, but those last two have no call to be entering the house at all. Oh, and Rose was there in the afternoon. ” “Who is Rose,” I asked, a little bemused. “I am Rose,” came a voice from the doorway. There stood a young girl of about twenty years; with long brown hair that fell loose down her back She was wearing a very pretty blouse, the top two buttons carelessly left undone.
She was certainly good-looking, although in a very modern way I don’t much care for. By the look on his face, Mr Peterson very much did. “Hasn’t Eddie told you about me? ” she smiled. “Err, Mr Holmes, Dr Watson, this is Rose Smith. She and I are hoping to get married soon. Of course, Mother’s death throws a whole new light on the matter. ” I looked at Holmes. He was listening intently, watching the two young lovers as they smiled at each other. I wish I could have told what he was thinking, but if I could, then it would be I, Dr John Watson, who was the famous detective and not him.
As it is, I shall have to settle for the role of friend and trusted helper. We were just shaking hands with Miss Smith when a young girl appeared in the doorway. She was about 15 years of age or so she looked. She had a serious air about her, with dark locks scraped back into a neat, careful, demure bun and an apron tied around her thin waist. “Excuse me, but I have you r teas here,” she announced quietly, staring at Miss Smith as though she were alien. “I’m sorry, I didn’t realise there were so many guests, I have only brought three cups. Shall I go – “?