With apologies to Arthur conan Doyle
Sherlock Holmes had been engrossed in another of his Chemistry experiments for only a little short of two hours when he finally acknowledged my presence once more.
He held aloft a small test tube and declared,
‘Here it is Watson, the proof that it was not the Butler that poisoned Lady Brompton-Sycal!’
I was, I admit, surprised by this statement for the Butler had been found with a bottle of poison in his hand and had immediately confessed to the crime. I put this to Holmes.
‘Far too simple,’ my companion declared. ‘My suspicions were initially alerted by the window being slightly open, the bruise on the Butlers nose, the dead budgie in the cage and the large quantity of Marmite in the Larder. It’s clear from my experiments that what killed her ladyship was not the poison the Butler held. The poison used was a rare secretion from a deadly tree frog that must have been ingested some twenty fours hours earlier. Normally the taste would be a giveaway but clearly as her Ladyship regularly ate Marmite she had a very poor sense of taste’..
Before Holmes could furnish me with his exact reasoning as to the bizarre behaviour of the Butler and the true source of the crime there came a knock on the door. A man aged roughly thirty was shown into the room. Holmes bade him to take a seat and observed him closely as he introduced himself as Ian Macdonald.
‘Well Sir,’ remarked Holmes, ‘Please lay your situation before us. Other than the fact that you are an Anglican, you regularly work with young people, you disliked school, and are a keen cyclist, I can draw no other conclusions!’
The young man and indeed I were amazed at such ambitious reasoning based purely on observation. The young man acknowledged that my friend had indeed been correct and wore an expression of keen respect for Holmes’ abilities.
Holmes waved aside all questions of how he had reached these conclusions and asked for the facts of the case to be presented.
Consulting my records I note that Mr Macdonald’s account was as follows.
‘Well Mr Holmes it?s funny that you should have mentioned both the Anglican Church and the fact that I work with young people, for it is these two areas of my life that bring me to your door this evening. I am perplexed by what I see, I only hope that you can make sense of that which seems to me to be without sense.’
At this point Holmes leant forward keenly, ‘Tell all, leave no detail out however trivial it may appear to you!’
‘It cannot have escaped your notice,’ the man continued, ‘that the Church has suffered a severe decline in the attendance of young people. This is an area of huge concern across the Church and although there has been a slight increase recently the situation is still dire.
In this climate one would surely expect the discipling of young people to be the absolute priority, that it would be vital to give young people the opportunity to lead and the support, encouragement and training to do so. A rational Christian, such as myself, can see no other course of action than that I?ve outlined, it is, as I believe you would say, elementary!’
Holmes and I could see the reasoning behind these statements, ‘You are going to suggest,’ said Holmes, ?That this is not the case!?
‘No it quite distinctly isn?t!’ the young man declared thumping the table. ‘Forgive me, I feel strongly about this! I need your help Mr Holmes, I need it badly. There is clearly some mysterious plot afoot, forces are conspiring to ensure that not only do young people not lead but that their vital cultural understanding is kept away from those that shape and inform the Church! Even where there is significant work going on with young people it is usually kept distanced from the main body of the Church. Why? Why? I ask you Mr Holmes, this makes no sense! For the sake of Faith, the Church and for young people I implore to bring your intellectual might to bear on this irrational state of affairs!’
(Might be continued)