Sherlock Holmes had little love of organized sport. So much so that he would have fled London before the start of the long-awaited Olympic games. But his ingenious solution to the mystery of the missing torch had again proved he had lost little of his astonishing powers of detection. So it was, that he had been persuaded to tolerate the celebrations that had overtaken his beloved city, in order to offer help in any emergency
And yet, he had so little patience for waiting. It had been a week since his triumph in the case of the stolen golden torch which he had wrestled from the grasp of a performing juggler who was about to escape into the refuge of the ———-ian Embassy.
A visitor lightens his mood
Since then, he had sunk into one of his moods of melancholia, worsened by the hundred inconveniences inflicted on his lifestyle by the encroaching games. He would likely have remained for some while in that state, were it not for the unannounced arrival of a visitor at his Baker Street consulting rooms.
Unannounced but not unnoticed
Holmes had idly been scanning his newly-installed panoptical closed-circuit system and had already noticed something in the gait of someone in the street below.
“A visitor, Watson. From France, and someone clearly in need of help. He has passed by the once, but he will be back, I wager.”
I knew better than to compete in that particular game.
“If you say so, Holmes” I retorted wearily.
“Indeed, I do,” he replied “and be so good as to find me an account of yesterday’s stage of The Tour de France You will recall something very strange happened.”
It a few moments I found the item to which he referred. The sporting world was agog at the mysterious attempt to sabotage the tour. At that moment further discussion was interrupted by the sound of someone seeking admittance below us.
“Entrez, s’il vous plait” called out Holmes with some enthusiasm, releasing the security catch.
A few moments later a stranger stood at the entrance to the study. He was a young man dressed in sober but elegant casual wear. Holmes waved him in, and he advanced into the room with no little sign of anxiety puckering is fresh features.
“Forgive my little show of vanity, Monsieur. I assume that you are here hot-foot from France for help in the case of sabotage to your beloved Tour de France? I noted of course how your clothing shows the taste of a cultured young Frenchman not unacquainted with shopping in the heart of Paris. Your elegant spectacles are in homage to the post-modern philosophes of which your country is so proud. Your arrival here coincide with the time expected if you had taken the Eurostar.”
The highest peaks of the French establishment
Our new acquaintance confirmed these observations to be correct, showing an adequate level of admiration of Holmes’deductive powers. He introduced imself as a Monsieur St Just. He added that he was representing the Tour de France organization, and with backing from, as he put it, “the highest peaks of the French establishment”.
At this last remark, Sherlock Holmes became yet more animated:
“Do not play games, Monsieur. Yes, I believe that you have come as an emissary from the highest authorities, but do not try to conceal from me the bigger game at play. Now, I beg you, say what is the core of the matter or be kind enough to leave these premises”
To be continued