The Patent Leather Boots

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a Sherlock Holmes piece I did for English, written in the style of Arthur Conan Doyle. Hope you like it!

Submitted: August 03, 2012

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Submitted: August 03, 2012

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The Patent Leather Boots

“Come in Watson. I have a case most troubling to discuss with you,” said Holmes in a manner of deep concentration. I entered via the back door as instructed by Holmes and closed it soundlessly behind me.
“Please tell Holmes. How can this case be so disturbing that you have me enter through the back door?” said I as puzzlement crossed my mind.
“Dear Watson, is it not obvious?” said Holmes as he tried to hide his smile.
“I fear I am missing the obvious; would you care to enlighten me?” said I.
“The streets outside this very room are crowded with journalists awaiting my discovery which, I must say, is one most ingenious.”
“I see. Do go on.”

“A pair of black patent leather boots was found abandoned within a bush outside 14 Banford Street that, it appeared, had been robbed,” he settled down further into the saggy grey armchair on which he was perched. Holmes smirked as he considered the other detectives’ flaw.
“Was it not a mere break in?” said I, sensing that he wished me to ask a question so that he could continue.
“No it was not, my friend,” Holmes said with a roll of his intellectual eyes. “Here are the boots, see for yourself what you can decipher.”

Taking the boots, I scanned them in hope of proving I was not dim witted. On both boots the right hand lace was considerably longer than the left; this particular style of boots (Doc Martins) used to be fashionable but is now behind the times; they were size 9. Looking closer still, I noticed recent scuff marks reaching from the toe to the tongue of the boots; there was a shiny tin tack embedded in the sole of the left shoe; a thick layer of grey dust and fabric fibres were tangled through and behind the laces.

I glanced upwards to look at Holmes' face: he wore the expression he often does when he wishes me to ask a certain question, yet he also looked as though the answers to these mystic clues were laughably simple. I asked the question he was waiting for me to stage,
“I seek the use of your microscope, dear friend. Is my request possible?”
“Why, of course Watson. Please, go ahead.” Holmes virtually shouted those few words and he got a mischievous light in his eye like he does when I am on the right track.

I hooked the boots in the crook of my arm and ambled over to the table that held Holmes' microscope. Focusing the lens, I noticed the unmistakable sight of dried blood. It stained the leather with its red pigment in a long smear that gave the impression that the owner had briskly wiped the sticky liquid off the shiny surface of the boot.

The magnified leather did not look nearly so smooth: creases and cracks provided a complicated lace over the surface of the boots. In a sudden spurt of inspiration I realised that the boots were ill kept and old. With an exasperated sigh I announced,
“I am sorry Holmes; I see the clues you mean for me to see yet I cannot link them to any crime. Please put me out of my misery and explain.” Holmes grinned in a manner least like him.
“No need to apologise Watson, I did tell you it was a most ingenious discovery,” he chuckled.

“To begin with, the man has hit a financial wall, see how the boots used to be of good quality yet ceased to have been replaced. He obviously had the money for such fine footwear several years ago but no longer can spare the shillings-” I raise a hand to stop him mid flow: he grudgingly silenced, his mouth set in a thin line, cross that I had interrupted him.
“Although this information will be of interest when we wish to uncover the motive of this crime, at the moment the police merely want to discover what happened.” I had been gazing down- I knew how much Holmes hated to be paused- so now I decided to face the, no doubt, grump of Mr Sherlock Holmes. However, when I looked upon the features of my friend he simply looked thoughtful.
“Yes, Watson, I see your point. The crime itself was most difficult to decipher, even for one of my intellect.” I felt the urge to roll my eyes but with great difficulty stunted the reflex.

“Well, as you would have observed, there is a tin tack embedded in the sole of the left boot,” said he, pausing just long enough for me nod. “I assume you had noticed that it was new and evidently clean?” I nod once more.
“I may not be as brilliant as the as the legendary Sherlock Holmes, but I am far from dim,” said I, slightly vexed by Holmes' arrogance.
“I believe,” Holmes continued not registering my critical tone, “that the man must have stood upon the pin whilst in the house. Of course as the pin is underfoot it would tap irritably on the floor and, so it must seem, have echoed in the house and woken the owners from their shallow sleep.” Holmes had lent forward as he had become excited by the tale but now he lurched back into his baggy perch.

“And...” prompted I.
“He rather ungracefully leapt out of the window, scuffing both boots on the bottom of the frame in the process. He must have bloodied his shins on the wood too, as the general fashion of the smeared blood suggests that the hem of his trousers was soaked in the dye like substance that then rubbed onto and soaked into the patent leather. He then tore of the boots- yanking the right laces so hard, to undo the bows, that they extended- briskly wiped away the blood to try to hide the crucial forensic evidence and through them into a bush so that the metallic tap didn't ring out along the pavement as he fled. He had been quite careless really, taking everything into consideration.”

I let out a breath as this remarkable theory,
“I believe you could be correct, dear Holmes. Would you care to accompany me to the police station to discuss this idea with the chief officer?” said I with a fleeting smile.
“Why of course, dear Watson, and on the way, I will discuss with you the characteristics of the culprit that I have deducted from these boots,” said he with a gleeful glint in his eye.


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