Sherlock’s Solution to July's Mystery

Dear detectives,

Thank you for helping us solve July’s Sherlockian mystery. If you’d like to know how Holmes solved “The Case of the New Haven Night Stalker”, a letter from him is presented below. Stay tuned later this week to see who this month’s featured detective is, and be sure to submit your solution to the next mystery, so you can be next.

All the best,

The Dear Holmes Team


Consulting Detective,

221B Baker Street,

London, England

August 3, 1899


Dear Mr. Worthington,

You may put your mind at ease in all matters that you contacted me about in your recent letter. I am pleased to inform you, everything has been successfully resolved.

William's illness and the mysterious tea purchase letter were indeed connected. Both were perpetrated by the same party, your son's wife's former guardian. I assure you, your son's new bride is not a vampire and was not at all responsible for any of the nefarious goings on. While her appearance may be somewhat unusual, in some ways, she was also a victim of this villainous scheme, and her life was in danger as well. In fact, all of your lives were in very grave danger.

My analysis of the handwriting on the rather poorly written tea purchase letter, which you sent me via courier after passing along the transcript via letter, and the note that accompanied the trees proved they were both written by the very same person, her shadowy guardian, a Mr. Vlad Florescu. Using my wide-ranging and considerable network, I was able to procure a document he had previously written, and compare it with the writing from the purchase letter and tree note. They were a perfect match.

Taking advantage of her unusual, yet captivating appearance, he came up with the idea of marrying her to an unsuspecting, well-to-do young man, and then eliminating her husband, so she would inherit his estate. Then, if she were to die suddenly, as her only living relative, the entire fortune would be his. Of course, there could be no other heirs to you and your wife, so he came up with the plan of using the poisonous flowers to kill Jamie's younger brother. By focusing the delivery on the trees, he was easily able to plant the flowers with no one giving them a second thought. Wolfsbane is a very deadly plant, especially for a young child. Had my associate Dr. Watson, not treated him, your younger son would not have survived.

The plan was to eliminate William, the second heir to your estate, and then lure you and your wife to a meeting on board the buyer's steam yacht, The Balaur. Incidentally, the Romanian word Balaur, translates to "dragon." An unfortunate explosion on board the vessel was planned to eliminate you and your wife, leaving Jamie and his new bride to inherit everything. I assure you, they would not have lived very long, had we not foiled his plan.

While his scheme was reasonably well-conceived, he was rather ineffectual in his execution of the purchase letter.  His poor English grammar can be excused, but simply spelling his name backwards did nothing to hide his identity. And the name of the supposed tea company was worse than inept. Taking the name of one of England's most famous tea companies, Fortnum & Mason, and just switching the first letters of the two words screamed incompetence. 

Mr. Florescu and his Romanian accomplice were not expecting myself and Dr. Watson, in place of a distraught tea merchant, and his defenseless wife. The good Doctor and I were easily able to overwhelm the villains when they attempted to spring their trap. Once they were subdued, we conveyed them to the authorities. From your first letter, I had deduced his plan, and when I related it to him, he confessed to everything. They are now behind bars and no longer a threat to your family.

There is one more item of interest that I should explain. You mentioned seeing someone, whom you suspected to be your son's wife, wandering about the grounds in the middle of the night, and William having nightmares of a lady in white hovering over him. This can be explained by her medical condition, somnambulism, more commonly known as sleepwalking. People who are afflicted can walk considerable distances while sleeping, with no recollection of where they have been or what they may have done. She undoubtedly wandered into Jamie's room, as well as out onto the grounds of your property and would never have known a thing. She then returned to her bed and woke up in the morning none the wiser. You mentioned that she is taking paraldehyde, which was my clue. It is quite often used to treat that condition. I would suggest, that her door be locked at night, for her own safety.

As I have always said, one does not need to seek supernatural explanations, for what can easily be explained by clear and rational observation. I wish you well.


Michael Sitver