“With regret, my dear Inspector,” said Sherlock Holmes, “I shall decline your invitation to assist in this case.”
“Why?” demanded Inspector Lestrade.
“A cottage catching fire and burning to the ground and causing the death of a young mother may be a terrible tragedy. Such events, sad though they are, have no connection with ingenious or singularly inexplicable crime. I reserve such unique talents as those with which Providence has blessed me to attend to solving events that are irrefutably criminal.”
From his seat on the far side of the breakfast table in 221B Baker Street, Inspector Lestrade glared at Holmes and then smirked. He reached into his suit coat pocket, extracted his wallet and drew out a five pound note. With a hint of a flourish, he laid it on the table and slid it into the middle of the table.
“Fine then, Holmes. Are you feeling man enough for a small wager? Five pounds says that after sparing only a morning of your precious reserved time and coming with me to Sevenoaks, you will agree to take on the case. Better still, you will beseech me to allow you to participate.”
Holmes and I paid a visit to the site of the fire.
Sherlock Holmes lost the bet.
Reader: Should you wish to know what took place both here in England and in New York City several years before, you will have to purchase my account of it. Might I suggest that place your order today. Sincerely – Dr. John. H. Watson.
P.S. Kindly note that pre-orders and purchases made before the end of August will enjoy the singular benefit of three more short stories at no extra cost.