Sherlock Holmes and the Golden Watch

               Flakes of snow gently fell on the brim of his fedora, which momentarily fell as he swiftly turned to look to his left. A cool breeze blew by, which quickly died down and the air was calm once again. The heavy build of snow on the trunk of the oak tree of which direction he was facing told him that a strong, south eastern wind had blown, seven, perhaps eight hours ago. Taking another glance at the body which lay in a fixed state of shock, the evenness of snow covering his clothes and face was a dead giveaway the victim had not been killed there, but rather placed there after death.
                For a mere half second, Sherlock Holmes focused his eyes on the man’s watch. His coffee black open coat slowly followed his movements as he lowered to his knees. The golden yellow watch shined of value, too expensive to match the apparel of this particular chap. He carefully removed it from his right arm. Faint marks barely visible to the eye remained on the man’s wrist. Looking back to the watch, it was clear that second hand was no longer moving, the time fixed at 2:37 PM.
               “Well?” inquired Dr. Watson, slightly impatient as he placed his hands towards his mouth in an attempt to warm himself.
               “He wants us to know the time.”
               “What?” Watson replied, a look of confusion forming on his face.
               “Of his death,” replied Holmes, a hint of the snobbish tone Watson clearly recognized.
               “The watch,” said Holmes looking towards Watson as he got back up to his feet. “It wasn’t his.”
               “And you know that, how?” Watson asked, readying himself for an impressive deduction he was no longer surprised by.
               “His wallet and phone, both in his right pocket of his coat, nothing in his left pockets of his coat. Fragments of skin and dirt build up on his left hand, of which he used to defend himself from the attacker and momentarily used to slow his attempts to drag him someplace.  The lack of lacerations from the watch on his right arm, given blood circulation of one’s arm from prolonged use in their life.
               Watson continued staring, waiting for Holmes to continue.
               “As for the time…” Holmes paced a few steps until he was nearly face to face with Watson. “Screws, on the back.” Holmes held up the watch, close enough for Watson to see the back. “Slightly scratched, signs that they had been tampered.” Holmes gave a slight pause. “An improper sized screwdriver, or more likely, a knife.
               “The same one, perhaps as he missing murder weapon!” proclaimed Watson, excitingly.
               “No,” replied Holmes.
               “No?” the smile on Watson’s face slightly faded. “Why’s that?”
               “Elementary. The wounds.”
               Watson looked down at the man. The large, open cuts on the man’s neck, which lay visible from the slight turn of his head, remained bright red and fresh.
               “They’re large,” Watson stared for a few seconds more. “From a larger knife.”
               “Precisely. Now you’re catching on. I’d say the knife used to tamper the watch was perhaps a small swiss army knife. The one used to kill the man, a military grade combat knife.” Holmes began pacing, his steps producing soft groans from the snow “Yes, why should the murderer carelessly use the same knife if it’s clear he was in no rush to plant the watch and body?”
               Holmes stopped and turned around, a few flakes of snow dropping yet again from his hat.
               “This was clearly a well thought out crime. He wants us to follow his trail. He wants us to play.”
               “Hmm… Well, I’d be happy to, as long as it means escaping this bloody cold. What’s next, Sherlock?”
               Holmes glanced down and stared at the man’s fixed watch for a few seconds. “What time is it Watson?” he asked, with a clear sense of curiosity in his voice.
               “Uhh…” Watson looked down at his watch. “A little past one.”
               “Specifics, my dear Watson! Specifics!”
               “Seven past one! What’re you getting at, Sherlock?” Watson quickly asked, shaking his clenched fists towards his mouth as the cold continued to test his patience.
               With only a second delay of thought, Holmes turned to look up at Watson, this time straight into his eyes.
               “In an hour and a half from now, the Royal British Museum of Arts and History will be making its new opening. With the midday day afternoon traffic, I’d say…” Holmes took a deep breath, “Twenty eight minutes, twenty seven seconds; Mortimer Street to Wells Street, two intersections. Wells Street to Alfred Place: twenty one minutes, fourteen seconds; two more interchanging traffic lights – four minutes, seven seconds. Finally, Alfred Place to Bedford Square, eight minutes, fifteen seconds – two minutes, nine seconds longer than average, new coffee shop lunch special. My, I believe that leaves us with precisely two minutes to spare.”
               “What?” Watson looked to the floor and checked his surroundings. “An hour and…” Watson glanced again at the man’s watch, still fixed and now slightly half buried in snow. “Two-thirty seven! Sherlock, are you proposing that we…”
               Watson looked up to face him. To his surprise, Holmes was nowhere to be found. What remained where he was standing was a trail of footprints, leading to a distant man at the street entering a taxi.
               “Sherlock! Wait!” Watson yelled, cursing under his breath as he ran to catch up to the same taxi.


Homage Rationale

               Sherlock Holmes and the Golden Watch is a crime mystery short story centering Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. It takes place on a snowy cold winter afternoon in London.
               Staying true to Doyle’s style of writing, Sherlock Holmes reflects his character at the crime scene by deducing the events taken place before and during the time of the murder based on the environment (the wind direction and the duration of snowfall) and evidence he observes (eg. the fixed watch). It shows in the story that he is able to catch cues which would likely be overlooked by others, such as the personal belongings of the murdered man in his right coat pockets, in which he later reveals as one of the clues proving that the victim was most likely left handed.
               Also staying true to Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes character, the Sherlock in my story also has great knowledge of the human body, in which he is able to observe at first glance that due to the temperature, the lacerations left by the watch looked unnatural, and that the knife wounds on the victim were executed in a certain way due to the angle, width and depth of the cuts. By constructing Doyle’s character in this way, my version of Holmes stays true to his character. He is just as likable in this story due to his retained characteristics.
               However, Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes is not a super hero. He only takes cases that interest him, he abuses drugs, is anti-social (Dr. Watson is pretty much his only friend), and is generally unconcerned of others. In Sherlock Holmes and the Golden Watch my version of Sherlock displays some similar qualities. He enjoys the fact that the murderer has chosen to “play” with him (thus proving it will be an interesting case) and ditches Dr. Watson after he has half told him where the two of them should head to next (the museum).
                As well, Doyle often has Sherlock ask Dr. Watson to deduce certain things on his own, correcting him when makes an error. Dr. Watson does this in the story. In Sherlock Holmes and the Golden Watch, Dr. Watson deducts that because the murderer used a knife to fix the watch, it was likely that it was the same knife that he used to kill the victim. However, Sherlock tells him later it couldn’t have been the same knife due to the evidence of size difference of the two knives. Sherlock’s personality is what makes Doyle’s books interesting. The way he be builds on his character is what makes the books interesting. Sherlock Holmes is a genius, and is much smarter than any average person. Yet, he is believable. His logical abilities exceed what could be expected from the reader, thus they are forced to continue reading in order to know what Sherlock had discovered which they do not know.

               In my story, only a small instance of this occurs as it is only a short story and thus only one scene. In Doyle’s novels, small scenes such as this occur, as well as “an ultimate reveal” at the very end of the story and Holmes’ explanation based on clues gathered throughout the story. This is definitely Doyle’s style of writing and many television shows have paid homage to this, such as House, Law and Order: Criminal Intent, and even kids shows such as Scooby Doo. It strongly urges the “read more to know what’s going on” mentality and thanks to our natural urge of curiosity, it really makes it a “can’t put down” kind of story.

               Henry said he doesn’t like the genre of my story, yet he enjoyed it. He found most parts of the story easy to read, and found most parts of the story easy to read, and found the characters very believable. However, he noticed that one part of the story was really quick. When Sherlock explains the time to get from one street to another, Henry found that Sherlock spoke too fast. However, this war purposely done, as the original Sherlock at times spoke this way. He also had to reread a few parts twice in order to understand the scenes. I didn’t see this as too much of problem. Manal found that story used “a great vocabulary”, and that there was a lot more of “showing” rather than telling in my story.