Sherlock’s Solution to February’s Mystery
Thank you for helping us solve February’s Sherlockian mystery. We’ll soon be announcing our first ever “Detective of the Month”. If you’d like to be next month’s “Detective of the Month”, send us a letter or message with your theory on how to solve the case before the final letter goes out. The detective with the most clever or eloquent solution will win the award.
If you’d like to know how Holmes solved February’s mystery, a letter from him is presented below.
All the best,
The Dear Holmes Team
Dear Mr. Richard Brewer:
Let me put your restless thoughts at ease. It matters little how you see me, as long as I can provide the solution to your problem. I have undertaken additional inquiries in recent days, which lead me to believe that I can adequately lay out the steps that have led to Anton’s murder inside your home. My contacts in London have also urged me not to reveal the man’s surname, especially not to a reporter. I will adhere to their wishes. The solution of the case should be enough to clear you from all doubt, and set the police on the right track. I have neither told Anton’s family this conclusion, nor will I notify the police. I will leave it to you to decide your favoured path of action once you have learned the facts and confronted the guilty parties yourself. In short: I am certain as to the identity of the murderer. I don’t believe they had planned to be such a thing, and following I will illuminate how they could have found themselves in such a situation, so that you may form your own opinion of the matter.
Anton had visited the Isle of Wight for Christmas last year, staying roughly a week, until January 3rd. It had indeed been because of a woman, though not one in Ryde, but one in London, who had jilted him. Anton was prone to dramatic outbursts, so his family recommended he take a holiday alone to calm down, especially since his love interest is close to the royal family, and they wanted to avoid an incident. He was only too glad to leave the city. As I understood his destination had been chosen more or less by chance because of the offhand comment of a friend. In Ryde he frequented several pubs, got drunk with the locals, among whom was your son George. They must have found common ground to talk, as George works in Osborne House – which makes him directly associated with the royal household. During this time, George must have told him about the very thing which would later prove Anton’s undoing.
Anton hatched a plan to get revenge on the royal family in a small, but meaningful way. At Osborne House, there had been efforts to breed a very special rose as a present for Queen Victoria for her Diamond Jubilee. It had been selected and bred to look like her favourite orange blossoms. This is information I received directly from Osborne House, upon request. They confirmed my theory of a stolen plant, and provided information when I promised them I could return it in time for the Jubilee celebration. Your description of the plants in your house places the stolen rose in your bedroom, where it has most probably been put by your wife to protect the precious plant until she could return it safely… after the rumours around the house and especially Anton died down. Constance may wish to keep the rose, but I will not claim this without having spoken to her.
As for Anton’s murder, it took place around midnight on the 9th of May. He had most probably roped George into stealing the flower some time before the incident took place and your son had hidden it among the plants that your wife kept in the conservatory, so as to adequately conceal it. It is possible she noticed that an additional flower had appeared, but not told anyone. In fact this is very likely, as according to you, she knows all the plants and their requirements like the back of her hand. She took the rose from the conservatory, as the climate in there is not becoming for a plant of this type, and placed it in the window of her bedroom. It is – as I understand – a very lovely rose, and it stands to reason that she just accepted her good fortune and kept the flower to herself.
George must have traveled to Ryde and let himself into the house without your knowledge, and he did so again on night of the 9th. The murder leads me to believe that he did not do so willingly. Most likely he wanted to back out of the deal to sell the flower, even though £80 would have been a substantial amount of money for a groundsman, such as he. It might have been out of a guilty conscience, it might have been out of a sudden onset of loyalty to the crown, but that is something he can tell you himself. Anton most likely threatened him in one way or another, and forced George to lead him to the rose.
Upon arriving in the conservatory, they found the rose missing and the two had a violent altercation. Constance must have heard them, and after checking on the commotion found her son in a scuffle with Anton. The most likely scenario is that she was frightened to see George being attacked and rushed to help him, which gave your son the opportunity to strike Anton down. There is a small chance that maybe your wife attacked Anton because he turned on her son, but while it is small I cannot rule it out completely without having examined the place of the murder myself or interviewed either of the two. Subsequently Constance and George must have come to some sort of arrangement to hush the matter up. Your son could not get rid of the body, but he could remove the murder weapon. I am willing to bet you will find it among the tools at Osborne House, following his philosophy to hide evidence in clear sight.
These are the facts, as I have determined them. I leave the decision on how to proceed with you. You may burn this letter and never speak of the matter again. You may confront your wife, your son or both. You may choose to give Anton’s family peace by revealing his murderer. Still, no matter what you choose, I urge you to return the rose to Osborne House soon, so that it may be offered as a present to the Queen, even if you do it anonymously. It is a lovely gift, into which a great deal of work has been put. I am told the craftsmanship is something to admire, and I would hate to see it go to waste.
Please don’t feel obliged to pay my fees for this case. The knowledge will rest heavily on your shoulders, which is payment enough for an innocent man, such as yourself – even if it is payment of a different kind.
PS: While it has nothing to do with the murder, you may ask your wife why she is growing a large number of poisonous plants in her conservatory, which she had hidden away in the garden shed before the police arrived.