This is a small story i wrote when i was at school. Its a one on one session in front of an audience between the greatest fictional detective of all time Sherlock Holmes and his friend Dr Watson…
Watson: Ladies and gentlemen it gives me an immense pleasure to introduce to you the greatest and the most complete detective of all time. Holmes, I am very obliged to have you here for an exclusive interview in front of the audience.
Holmes: You know very well Watson that i shun publicity. I should be more obliged to you for publicizing my cases and perhaps thats the reason why we are here today. Anyway, now that I’ve professionally retired I’ll be happy to answer your questions.
Watson: First of all, tell us how and when did your career start as a crime solving expert. Even though you were good at boxing, acting and playing the violin you chose crime solving for your bread and cheese. Why?
Holmes: To tell you what i told you the day i gave you the details of my first case, “The Gloria Scott”, observation and deduction were mere hobbies to me just like boxing or playing the violin. To make a long story short it all started when my friend and college mate Victor Trevor invited me over for a vacation in Norfolk. There I met his father who became very interested in my hobbies and asked me to deduce anything that i could by just observing him. At that point i didn’t realize that this would turn out to be my first case. Well you can imagine Watson,after I had deduced everything i could by observing him and explained my deductions to Victor’s father, he felt more surprised and awestruck that you were when you presented me your brother’s watch and asked me to deduce his character from it. Victor’s father claimed that all detectives would be children as compared to me and from that day till I left Norfolk I saw suspicion and awe in Mr Trevor’s eyes. Anyway, shortly after i returned from my vacation to my rooms in London I received a telegram from Victor asking me to come over immediately to Norfolk since some terrible tragedy had occurred to his family and Victor was convinced i would be able to get to the bottom of the mystery. That eventually turned out to be my first case.
Watson: Although I have had the honor of witnessing your methods and I have tried to apply them on occasions I was not able to succeed. Give us an account of your methods and tell us what it is that is important to a crime student?
Holmes: My dear Watson, I have always believed that the science of observation and deduction should be treated as a separate field. In most of your narrations of my cases you have failed to mention how i actually arrived to a particular conclusion based on the chain of events from cause to effect.
I have trained myself to observe the minutest detail which an ordinary person may neglect. For eg at a glance, on meeting a fellow mortal, I can distinguish the history of that person, the trade of his profession etc. I also possess some outside knowledge which turns out to be vital in many situations. I have written several monographs upon many subjects, one of them about identifying from tobacco ash the brand of tobacco. I can currently identify 140 types of tobacco-ash. So, for a good detective knowledge is very important.
Secondly, he should be possess the power of deduction. He should be able to analyze and reason backwards. In most of my cases Watson, the result is placed right before our eyes and we only need to find out the long chain of consequences by reasoning backwards. One capital mistake commonplace detectives make is they try to twist the facts to match their theories instead of the other way round. It is inarticulate for a reasoner to form any theory before having data. And in situations where there is too much evidence I’ve always applied my rule: “When you remove everything impossible, whatever remains however improbable is the truth”. So in a nutshell what a good detective needs is a trained eye, the power of observation and deduction and knowledge.
Watson: From a personal point of view which was your most satisfying case?
Holmes: Well Watson, you know that I’ve had many cases which involved some of the royal and wealtiest families of Europe and you have also heard me mention that the most interesting and unique cases are found to occur to the common man. Its those cases that are out of the ordinary that have attracted me more than the royal familes of Europe. And, my most satisfying moment was when i eliminated Prof James Moriarty, the backbone of criminals in London.
Watson: Well, now that you have retired what have you intended to do?
Holmes: I think Watson i have told more than once that I’ll be working on a book which will cover most of the details regarding the science of observation and detection and the requisites of an aspiring detective.
Watson: Thank you Holmes for this exclusive interview and for all you have done to the field of crime.
Holmes: Same old Watson……..