René von Tiger – Consulting Detective
Day 2 – A meeting of masters
In the morning of the next day, a decent breakfast was to bring me to new strength. So I went to Speedy’s Sandwich Bar & Cafe, which had been recommended to me by my London colleague.
I was amazed when I found his name on the menu. He seemed to be a regular guest here, who even had a breakfast named after him. The breakfast was actually a very tasty variation of the Full English Breakfast.
I had sat outside first, because all the tables had been occupied inside. But it was still a little fresh in the cool wind in the early morning despite the renewed sunshine. The head of the house personally made sure that I could move inside, even before my order arrived at the table. That’s what I call service!
Somehow, however, I had the impression that all the people around me were constantly mumbling the name Sherlock. What did that mean? Was he by chance also here for breakfast? Everyone wanted the Sherlock Holmes Breakfast? Was his coming expected? In the end, did anyone know, that I was about to visit him right away? I enjoyed my breakfast, and while my plushy brains nourished, I broke a path for the truth: The people in the café all thought, Sherlock would live here, and that’s just because he likes to come here to dinner. And yet, every little kid knows that Sherlock Holmes home is at 221b Baker Street, and not here, at 187 North Gower Street. Tststs! People.
From the café it was not far to Baker Street. The fastest way to get around London is on the world’s oldest underground railway, the London Underground. So I went over a long escalator, far down in “The Tube”. “The tube” is the way, the people in London call their underground railway, which has got the largest network length in Europe with 402 km of track.. Already on the 10th of January 1863, steam trains passed through the tunnels of the present Metropolitan Line, whose smoke could be removed from the tunnels through the stations open to the upper world. Today you can get on and off at 270 stations.
Only two stops away, the Circle Line’s seemingly endless train rattled through the subterranean tube to take me from Euston Square at the end of North Gower Street to my destination at Baker Street Station. From the station it was only a few steps, until I discovered the house with the number 221b over the entrance door.
Arrived there, I was quite surprised. The London colleague did not seem to care about the discretion that a decent consulting detective should have. Instead, all around number 221b was a right hurly-burly. Among dozens of potential clients queuing up the sidewalks of Baker Street, hundreds of onlookers are eager to catch a glimpse of the famous investigator or to grab a souvenir from him. In order to put this into order, Holmes has even set up a small museum on the ground floor of his house, in which suitable devotional items are offered.
The flow of visitors is so great that a guard from Scotland Yard keeps watch outside his door and regulates the onslaught of people. Fortunately, the uniformed colleague had been informed through Holmes about my visit, so that I was promptly admitted to him.
Over 17 steps, the narrow staircase led to the first floor of the house, and I found Holmes sitting in his chair, lost in thought. Two windows with a good view of the street gave light into the small room, which was overloaded with all sorts of things.
A dining table with a Victorian centerpiece stood in the right corner next to the window. In the left corner was Holme’s desk, where he did a lot of experimenting. His violin leaned against the side of the same desk. Opposite there was the neatly arranged workplace of his friend and colleague Dr. John Watson. On the mantelpiece I noticed the photo of an attractive lady, who was presented to me by Holmes only as “The Woman”.
Sherlock sat in his chair in front of the window and offered me to make myself comfortable. He prefers this seating arrangement, as the daylight falls from the window straight into the face of his interlocutor and he is able to recognize the smallest subtleties in the facial expressions of his counterpart, while he himself is difficult to read in the back light. Of course that does not bother me at all, because a good tiger’s eye looks great even in bad light.
In a long conversation, the famous detective informed me about the facts available to him. Unfortunately, it was not much that he could tell me. Dubious reports had been leaked, telling that London was facing an event of immense size that would move the masses and had something to do with a Chinese Dog. As Holmes had already observed, at that time, an unusual number of Chinese was actually present in London. According to his calculations, there were now as many as in any other city in the world outside of Asia. But he could not connect with any dog so far. Only one we could definitely exclude, namely the dog of Baskerville. Holmes had brought that down a long time ago, and now his head hung as a trophy on a wall on the second floor of his house.
So that was exactly the point where I came into play. Small and inconspicuous as I am, with my beige-brown stripes always well camouflaged, it is easy for me to detect in secret, and my watchful Tiger’s eyes will not let escape even the tinyest clue that opens up the context.
However, as it began to dawn after the exhaustive conference between us two master detectives, I decided to begin my investigation the next morning. For tonight, instead, I sought appropriate strengthening.
With the typical London Taxi I rolled to the pub “The Dog House”. Cleverly camouflaged, with an inconspicuous fez, I had my dinner completely unrecognized by the public. In fact, here just outside the city center, I stayed almost invisible to the eyes of the rest of the pub crowd. Well dressed is just half won.
Having a decent meal in the stomach and having one or two nightcaps, you will sleep well, and sleep is the most important preparation for the day’s success. Aye!
How the investigation continues, I’ll tell you in the third part of my adventure.