The deductive reasoning of Sherlock Holmes was very complex. (As complex as the way he clothed himself: suffice it to say that he put on his trousers over his head, in a display of flexibility that many contortionists only dream of.) I will give just one example:

One day we received a letter addressed to “Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective.” Analyzing that unique line of writing, Sherlock was able to determine a whole range of facts that later, when we opened the letter, proved to be true. Holmes deduced firstly that the author was a top-notch asshole. Secondly, that this was the first letter he sent in his life, and thirdly that the matter that had led him to take such trouble was a stupidity of such caliber that the letter he would get in reply would take away from him the desire to send any other letter anymore. Examining the progressive downward inclination of the line, he guessed in addition that, although the author presumably began to write it while awake, as he wrote it he fell asleep, indicating that he suffered from narcolepsy. And finally he deduced that, in all likelihood, the envelope was empty. And he proved right once again.

Although much has been said about Sherlock Holmes’ reflective tendency, very often my friend had an intuitive way of dealing with problems. For example, I remember one occasion when Holmes realized that we were being followed by a big guy like a closet. He just asked me if I had my gun on me and, when I said no, he didn’t stop for a second to reflect. He just shouted: “Run, Watson, for all our sakes!” And before I knew it, he was way ahead.

This episode happened at the beginning of the case of breadcrumbs, a most infinitely complicated case at the end of which not only did we still not know who the criminal was but we also had no idea who the victim was, let alone the witnesses. We had to randomly interrogate people as they pass by in the hope that by chance someone knew something related to the case. 

The only clue we had was the breadcrumbs we found all over the place. But it was not a very reliable clue since, while we were inspecting the crime scene, Holmes had been gnawing a piece of bread.

It was when we headed toward Baker Street at night when Holmes realized that someone was following us. Maybe instead of running, we should have interrogated that man. Maybe that would have increased our chances of solving the case. But both Holmes and I were able to run at a lightning speed when we sensed the danger, so we quickly got rid of our pursuer and never heard from him again. Holmes was comforted thinking that maybe that man was not even related to the case. But that seemed unlikely given the similarity in the haircut of that guy and the deceased. (Both shaved off a specific area of their head hair thus drawing a kind of alchemical symbol.)

We were so lost with this case, that we did not know where to start investigating and that is why Holmes stayed in bed all day long waiting for some clue to fall from the sky. Once, believing that he was still sleeping, I peered into his bedroom and saw him peeking out the window scrutinizing the sky. In fact, it would not be the first time that a clue fell on us from the sky, literally speaking, although personally I did not keep a good memory of that occasion, because the clue in question (a bloody hammer) hit me right on the crown and for several months I could only walk backwards. On the other hand, Holmes acquired a lot of faith in clues fallen from the sky and that is why he often scrutinized it using his hand as a visor.

This is a non-profit blog whose purpose is to raise funds for children in need. So if you want to make a donation in exchange for this story, click on this link to UNICEF. I really appreciate it!

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