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The Problem of the Strange Academic

The December weather had been even colder and wetter than usual. Looking out the window of our Baker Street flat at the thick, yellow London fog I could barely see to the other side of the street.

Suddenly, I espied a strange figure making his way up the street, pausing occasionally to look at the house numbers. In his hands I noticed a strangely tied box.

"That looks an odd bird," I remarked to my old friend and colleague Sherlock Holmes.

"Yes, indeed," Holmes remarked. "Without even seeing him, I can tell he has a shoelace and a wooden spoon in the box. I deduce he's going to commit suicide and try to make it look like murder in order to pin the blame on a rival academic."

"Why, Holmes!" I cried. "That would be just like The Problem of Thor Bridge!"

"Yes, indeed it would be, Watson. It's elementary, my dear Watson. Now, hand me my cocaine spoon and my violin and my meerschaum pipe and my deerstalker and all those other accoutrements, some of which were never mentioned in those stories you wrote but which have become part of my lore, as I read these stories."

From "Hint of murder in suicide of expert on Conan Doyle":

A leading authority on Sherlock Holmes took his own life in a way meant to suggest that a rival had murdered him, it has been claimed.

Richard Lancelyn Green, 50, a prolific author and collector of memorabilia relating to the fictional detective, was found garotted on his bed in March after trying to stop a L2 million ($5 million) auction of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's papers.

Although the coroner returned an open verdict, friends and relatives of Lancelyn Green now claim that the evidence suggests he took his own life in a manner that would implicate an American rival.

In an interview with the magazine The New Yorker, James Gibson, who co-edited the first comprehensive Conan Doyle bibliography with Lancelyn Green in 1983, concludes that his colleague had wanted his death to look like murder, and that he had set up a trail of "false clues".

Police found Lancelyn Green's body in his flat in Kensington, west London, on March 27. He had a shoelace tied round his neck and a wooden spoon, which had been used to tighten the noose, still entangled in the cord...

Earlier report here.

Miscellania · Mon, 12/13/2004 - 16:40 · Importance: 1