Sherlock Holmes was a master of disguise. This was very convenient when he was following a suspect. Particularly if the suspect was also disguised and following him at the same time. It was equally convenient when he purposely followed someone who was not the suspect so that the suspect felt jealous of the false suspect and thus took off his disguise staying in underwear, which directed Holmes’ attention to the true suspect. (On such occasions, it was necessary to prevent the false suspect from disguising himself as the true suspect as a result of feeling excluded from the suspicions, which could tear up the entire operation.)
A case related to disguises was that of the “necklace killer”. In it, the suspect was a barrister of Lincoln’s Inn who used to disguise himself as a Dragoon of the British Army and strutted around the Strand to attract a certain lady who was in love with a Dragoon of the British Army who in turn was posing as a barrister of Lincoln’s Inn. Holmes knew that one of the two was the ‘necklace killer’, but he wasn’t sure which of them. But let us start at the beginning.
The “necklace killer” had been acting for several weeks in Soho. He strangled his victims to steal their wallets or handbags and always left on top of their corpses a valuable pearl necklace. To the murders of this type the police called them “signed murders”. There were murderers who left on the top of their victims a playing card or a carnation or a tea set or a complete tableware. They wanted the police to know that that murder was their work and not that of any other. In the case of this particular killer, his signature was a valuable pearl necklace. When the police found a valuable pearl necklace on top of a corpse, they knew they were before a victim of the necklace killer. There was no risk of being mistaken because those necklaces were of such a great value that were not available to most murderers. In this way the murderer made secure that imitators would not arise.
Well, Sherlock Holmes was determined to catch the necklace killer. The victims had always appeared near the Strand. So he started to roam the Strand at night disguised as a leafy tree. There was a famous jeweller’s on the Strand, and Holmes used to station in front of that shop. In this way he found out that there was a certain Dragoon of the British Army who spent large sums of money on pearl necklaces. However, he also found out that this Dragoon of the British Army had a girlfriend and that the most expensive thing he used to give her were mint candies. So what the hell did he want the pearl necklaces for? Such was the question that arose in my friend’s privileged mind.
The problem was that a meddling barrister of Lincoln’s Inn fell in love with the girlfriend of the Dragoon of the British Army and began strutting before her window disguised as a Dragoon of the British Army. Since the girl had never seen the face of the true Dragoon of the British Army (he always covered his face with one hand so as not to be recognized), she mistook the barrister of Lincoln’s Inn disguised as a Dragoon of the British Army for the true Dragoon of the British Army. Thereby Holmes began to follow the barrister of Lincoln’s Inn disguised as a Dragoon of the British Army while the true Dragoon of the British Army, for his part, decided that it was time to show his face (the hand with which he covered the face began to get cramp) and start looking for a good disguise to hide his true identity. It was then that he saw near his girlfriend’s house a barrister of Lincoln’s Inn staying in underwear and hiding his wig and his court dress in the bushes in order to disguise himself as a Dragoon of the British Army. And that’s how the Dragoon of the British Army got a great disguise: that of a barrister of Lincoln’s Inn.
Well, when Holmes (who had entrusted me to keep under surveillance the house of the girlfriend of the Dragoon of the British Army) discovered that he had been following a barrister of Lincoln’s Inn instead of the Dragoon of the British Army, he deduced that they would have both exchanged their clothes (which happened to be partly true, as we just saw). So when the true Dragoon of the British Army was sent off with a flea in his ear by his girlfriend, who didn’t recognize him in his barrister of Lincoln’s Inn disguise, Holmes began to follow the Dragoon of the British Army disguised as a barrister of Lincoln’s Inn. And that was how, that very night, while Holmes was following the bewildered Dragoon of the British Army disguised as a barrister of Lincoln’s Inn, he saw him take a pearl necklace out of his pocket and pounce on a peddler that sold hats. At that moment, Holmes had the confirmation that he had found the necklace killer. Quickly, he blew a powerful whistle, to whose call came several policemen who arrested the Dragoon of the British Army disguised as a barrister of Lincoln’s Inn, thus saving the life of the peddler, who was wearing fifteen or more hats on his only head and who, by the way, turned out to be a lieutenant of the French Army disguised as a peddler that sold hats.
But that’s another story. And another army.