Oleander (Sherlock Holmes)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a short story using the characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It's the first piece of creative writing that I have ever written (Not including school assignments.)It's short but provides a mystery that should entertain you.

Submitted: December 18, 2013

A A A | A A A

Submitted: December 18, 2013





Kevin Albornoz

“Sherlock you’ve been looking at the window for over an hour.” I said to a clearly concentrated person. Something had grabbed his attention and sent him on an intellectual ride to which I wasn’t invited to; otherwise he would have said something. “I have a puzzle of my own apparently. Since you refuse to speak to me I now have to figure out what has caught your attention.” I stared at the window for a frustrated minute arriving to zero conclusions. Looking at Sherlock and back at the window I get nothing in return. I grabbed my jacket and started heading out, “Well if you won’t speak then there’s no point in me being here.”


“That woman.” Sherlock said in a soft voice.


“Which one?” Sherlock pointed at a woman. She appeared to be calm but always looking at our door. She had a couple of pictures with her, my guess is she wants Sherlock to take a look at them.


“For the past hour she has only looked at two things, her tea and the numbers 221B in front of our door. She is in obvious need of a private detective but is hesitant. Most people come in here crying their souls out but she is calm and calculative. She has a puzzle to be solved but something tells me she has some secrets of her own, hence the hesitation.” Sherlock quickly moved away from the window as the woman was making her way here. He sat down and picked up a book wanting to appear like he wasn’t starring at her for an hour. A knock is heard on the door and Mrs. Hudson tends to it. As the woman makes her way up Sherlock takes a quick glance at her before returning to his book. She had the pictures in her hand. They were of an empty study room. It had a desk, bookshelf with many books including dictionaries, some crime novels, and books about Houdini. The room also contained a rug, fireplace, and a glass on the desk whose content I could only imagine to be liquor, the typical objects in a study room but it did have a ball on the ground that struck me as odd.


“Are you Sherlock? I’m told you are good with puzzles.” The woman said as Sherlock gave a smirk. She was clearly wealthy by her expensive dress and ruby covered broach that held a beautiful violet flower but some petals have seemed to come off. “My name is Dory Lensworth and yes before you ask it is the Lensworth from the oil company. I am here…” and before she could finish Sherlock interrupted her.


“You are here because your husband is missing.” Dory looks at him with an open mouth. “And before you ask ‘how did you know?’ let me skip your unneeded part and get straight to the point. Your dress speaks wealth but your jewelry speaks new wealth. They are new and only been polish a couple of times meaning you recently received them and came into wealth. If you were rich as a child you would have old expensive jewelry that were giving to you when you were young, instead the only old thing you are wearing is a very cheap necklace, probably giving to you by your mother. Which means you married into the name Lensworth otherwise you would have grown up with money. Thus making the person you are talking about your husband. There’s a reason you told me the origin of your last name because you thought it would be relevant meaning it’s someone in the family and the only person you care that much about is your husband. If it was someone else in the family Mr. Lensworth himself would be here. Now as to the nature of the case, you have pictures of an empty room, most likely his study room. Those pictures must be relevant, the last place he was seen, and if it was a murder investigation there would be a dead body in the middle of the room.” Dory watched him as he was another puzzle.


“You are right in all accounts, except one. This is a murder investigation and the body you are looking for is my dead’s husband body. I found him on the floor and felt his wrist for a beat. There was none. I ran for help and when I came back the body wasn’t there.” Dory looked down with a quizzical look that I have seen Sherlock do when figuring out a mystery. “He died so fast, too fast.” She said with a softer voice almost as it was a thought only to herself. Sherlock put the book down and looked at Dory.


“I’m guessing the police have already been assigned to this case, meaning there was evidence gathered.” Dory nodded yes and Sherlock turned his head to the very noisy Mrs. Hudson who was peeking through the crack on the door. “Mrs. Hudson! I want you to run down to the police station and ask for the evidence for the Lensworth missing case, tell them if they don’t handover the evidence the Lensworth themselves will be very unhappy. In the evidence there will be a small rubber ball, bring that and that only. That ball is the key to figuring out this whole mess.” Mrs. Hudson grabbed her jacket and ran out the door. Sherlock has seen the same ball as I in the picture but he has seen something else. Something that I miss and will apparently close this case. “Tell me has anything changed recently? Did your husband meet any new people?”


“The only thing that has changed is we hired a new maid but it didn’t really work out. She quit a week ago.” She said as she was searching her memory to see what has changed.


“This maid, is she a woman?” Sherlock asked as he was studying her. Dory nodded. “Well then the whole thing is obvious isn’t?” Both Dory and I shook our head. “We should wait for Mrs. Hudson to get back so I can properly explain you.” Fifteen minutes have and Mrs. Hudson finally came back with the ball in a bag and gave it to Sherlock. Sherlock looked at the ball for a second and then put it right next to his nose. He took a big sniff and then smiled. “The final piece of the puzzle. Now the case is closed.”



“Closed? You’re supposed to find my dead husband’s body and you haven’t done it!” Dory said standing up in rage.


“Well it is simply impossible to find because your husband is not dead. He just walked out the door.”


“Impossible. I checked his heartbeat and there wasn’t one.” Dory implied, insisting her husband was indeed dead.


“I’m afraid you’re attempt to kill him was unfruitful.” Dory took a step back in shock as I did too. “You see this whole time I was thinking about your hesitation and why it took you so long to come up here. Waiting to seek help was not a decision made by one of a grieving widow but of a careful killer. You sat there with no tears in your eyes staring at the picture where your husband once laid. If you cared about him you would be destroyed right now and producing a new tear every other word. Instead you are just sitting here with a cold stare. Let me elaborate for you Watson and your dumbfounded look. I know she attempted to kill him because she is certain her husband is dead. Wouldn’t you think any grieving widow would take any chance to hope her husband is still alive? You obviously didn’t care about him otherwise you would be, what’s the thing you people do to show sadness…cry. You also want to find the body for some reason. Finding it won’t bring him back but it will get you a lot of money.”


“Money?” I asked as I was trying to comprehend what Sherlock was saying.


“Indeed. The second most common motive, right after love but we’ll get to that later. You see a will doesn’t take into place until a body has been found. With all that money they want to be careful and make sure they don’t just give it away. You clearly enjoy money and don’t want to go back to being poor.”


“How does that make me a killer? A killer of someone who apparently is not dead?” Dory said in panic.


“Well the motive itself doesn’t make you a killer but your brooch does.” I look at the brooch contemplating how it connects to all of this. “You see your brooch is of an innocent beautiful violet flower. Beautiful indeed but far from innocent. The flower is called Oleander and it happens to be the most deadly poisonous flower ever found. Now why would someone have such a deadly flower with them? The better question is, why are there some petals missing? You used some of the pedals and put it in his drink which is resting on the desk. You assume he is dead because you assume you killed him but he never took the drink. I deduced that because when I was interrogating you said, ’He died so fast, too fast.’ Leading me to the conclusion, you were expecting him to die slower. Funny coincidence Oleander takes 24 hours to kill someone. You were expecting him to die in a day not in minutes. You wanted the money but didn’t love him. So you took the next logical step and attempted to kill him. He in the other hand didn’t love you and his action was to run away with the maid. Explaining the reason why a maid in a terrible economy and limited job options would decide to quit. In conclusion your motive was money, his was love. That’s not the only difference, he was successful you weren’t.” Sherlock sat back down and continued to read his book. “Case close and the mysteries it holds.”


“You forgot about one thing, Mr. Holmes.” Dory said in a defeating voice.


“Oh? What might that be?” Sherlock asked like he knew what the answer was.


“He didn’t have a pulse.”


“Oh right, one small detail. Well it was quite obvious but could only be confirmed with the ball. You see in the picture there is a bookshelf with many books but only one has the spine folded. Almost like it’s been opened multiple times and read.” I take a look at the picture and notice the overused book.


“Houdini and His Tricks Explained.”  I read aloud to both Dory and Sherlock.


“It’s a book I have myself and read. One of those tricks explains how he is able to stop his heartbeat. He places a small rubber ball under his armpit and squeezes it thus enabling him to stops the flow of blood to his arm. This will provided the sense that they are dead but in reality they just don’t have a pulse. This was confirmed when I smelled the ball. Smells like sweat and man’s body odor. Meaning it has been somewhere it produces sweat and smell, like his armpit. When you left he stood up and the ball must have fallen of his sleeve as he walked away through the doors. I can’t tell you exactly where your husband is but I can assure you he is enjoying his wealth and happiness with your ex-maid. You in the other hand are broke but it’s ok. I hear the Lensworth need a new maid.” Dory walks away in shame finding no words or come back statements.


“Are we just going to let her go? We should bring her down to the police station.” I pleaded with Sherlock.


“For what? Being an idiot. If it were a crime all of England would be locked up.” Sherlock return to staring at the window.


© Copyright 2018 Kevin Albornoz. All rights reserved.

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