His last bow

“I’m determined to solve this one myself,”  I told Sherlock, as I began to recall the facts of this most curious case. He already had a hypothesis…the look on his face told me so. To me however, it still represented a great mystery, no matter how I perceived it. It must be noted however that I, John Watson, am much slower and much less adept at this when compared to this great man.

I began to recollect the details. Our client, one Mr. Richardson, had come to us complaining of an odour that permeated throughout his house. It was a pleasant sort of aroma he claimed, however not being able to isolate the source, he was naturally suspicious and had approached the police. Scotland Yard’s finest had looked high and low for the source of this mysterious aroma, but to no avail. I made up my mind to solve this mystery on my own and to put this man out of his misery, once and for all.

“We need to go over and investigate, Watson,” Sherlock stated, in a dull voice. I heeded his suggestion, and together we set out to Mr. Richardson’s mansion. On reaching there, I could smell exactly what he described. It was a pleasant sort of aroma, permeating through my nostrils, bringing with it memories of summer and sunshine. There was also a faint hint of sourness in it. We went to the gardens first, to try and figure out our answer.

We decided to interview the gardener, an old Irish man named Willie. Willie had told us that he couldn’t smell anything. “It’s probably because of his age,” I told myself. However, that also came off as slightly suspicious to me. I proceeded to grill him further. “How long have you worked for Mr. Richardson?” I asked. “ ’bout fifteen years now,” he replied. “And how has he been keeping recently?” I inquired. “Not well at all,” replied Willie. “The man’s been worried sick cause of that odour. Pleasant or not, doesn’t really matter. Not knowing where it’s coming from is driving the man insane. I’ve never seen him get worked up this way in the fifteen years I worked for him. In fact, just last night the maids say he was up all night, driven crazy with worry, frantically pacing about the house like a madman. Dunno, what’ll happen to him…”

I had mentally shut Willie out, while Sherlock continued listening to him intently. I had him pegged as the chatty type, who drones on and on, not caring about his audience. True to my assumption, he continued droning on, and had by now switched subjects to his neighbour, who had recently learnt how to grow citrus fruits. I thought really hard, and went over the case as many times as I could, but it was of no avail. I figured that more investigation would be necessary, and I went to ask the maid about our client.

My conversation with her was really brief. When I enquired about her master’s health, she said, “Other than all the undue worry, the man has never been better. He used to vomit regularly due to a complex medical condition, but he hasn’t vomited at all in the last couple of days.” I found this most curious and decided to ask Sherlock his opinion on that.

I saw him out in the garden, chuckling to himself. That expression could only mean one thing: he had cracked the case. I reported the nurse’s statement to Sherlock. “Well, that confirms it!” he exclaimed.

Curiosity got the better of me. “Confirms what, my dear Sherlock? None of this adds up. What could the source of this aroma be?” I asked.

“A lemon tree, my dear Watson.”

– Sai Prashant M



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