Sherlock Holmes: The Reddening Sun 3
"This supposed delirium of mine weighs heavy on mind, and I beg you to bring me answers.”
Holmes' eyes lit with the exhilaration of having a captivated mind. All the outward energy spent on his experiments earlier now channeled to his thoughts where very few could recognize it churning away within him. Strangers might observe indolence while I appreciated the processes of a genius.
“Where are Mr. Bradford and your son now?” he asked.
“At my home in Wembley. My staff is looking after Samuel.”
“Where do they believe you are, since I assume you did not come forth with your plans for today?”
“I spoke of a meeting with a banker regarding more documentation left by my uncle. Of course, all of that has already been dealt with but only I am aware of the proceedings, so no one suspected me.”
“This falsity would imply that you have not yet inherited all that you are meant to.”
“I suppose not.”
“When you return today, you must tell them that the business is still unfinished. This gives you the freedom to come to see me whenever you please and it ensures your safety.”
She started up. “Safety? Am I in danger? Do you believe that this ploy has to do with my inheritance?”
“It is too early to tell,” he said with a grave countenance, “but money has always proven a fine motive and I think it best to play to caution until I uncover further information.”
“As you wish, Mr. Holmes.”
With this, an exchange of gratitude and farewells saw Miss Mortimer out of our flat.
“Intriguing, is it not?” Holmes said from his chair, his chin resting against his chest in reflection.
“Quite,” I said, “though I admit I can’t make much of it.”
“I make entirely too much. That is the challenge.”
“Time must be of the essence,” I posed with urgency. “According to your own conjectures, Miss Mortimer may very well be in danger.”
“I believe she is safe for now.”
“Because her household believes that there is more money to come?”
“No, because I am not entirely convinced that her inheritance is the source of this issue.”
“Also the statement ‘his world will be ash.’ If that refers to Mr. Bradford, he could be in peril as well.”
“With that, I agree entirely, though it is hard to say to what man the boy was referring.”
“I am sure you noted this,” I said, “since I noted it myself, that this Mr. Bradford wandered off in a stupor the night Miss Mortimer’s unfortunate uncle passed on. Surely that cannot be coincidence.”
“What are your thoughts on the matter?” he mused.
“As tragic as it might be, it seems to me that Mr. Bradford may have murdered her uncle so that his future bride would be left with wealth.”
He chuckled in amusement. “That is much too simple.”
“Aren’t certain affairs allowed to be simple?”
“Not this one.”
“Why is that?”
‘My dear Watson,” he said, “like so many of my acquaintances at Scotland Yard, you latch on to the facts that fit your theory and ignore all other vital information. It is true that Miss Mortimer was set to inherit a sum and that her fiancee mysteriously disappeared the night before. It is also true that whatever treachery Mr. Bradford planned was premeditated, as the boy had caught wind of it and gave his enigmatic warning. With this in mind, why would someone that had the foresight to preconceive such a deed create any sort of a stir on the night of the crime? Wanting all suspicion cast off himself, he never would have caused a scene. He would likely secure a whereabouts for himself for the sake of an investigation. I concede that there might be a correlation between the two events, but there is no reason to implicate poor Bradford just yet.”
“But what about his desire to flee?” I asked. “Perhaps he worried that his crime would be discovered.”
“If his motive had been to bestow wealth on his fiancee for his own gain, why would he choose to run? With that being the plan, he would wish to settle down in a home with Miss Mortimer and her son, to live out their lives wanting for nothing. He was asking Miss Mortimer to abandon her fortune and come with him. That hardly seems like a man driven by greed.”
“The bags, though. Full of cash? Maybe he managed his own fortune.”
“The bags are an extraordinary clue,” he said in his excitable manner. “Three or four bags slung over the back of a stolen horse.”
“What does it mean?”
“No idea,” he said with a smile, “but a few inquiries will bring me the answers I seek.”
“You will pursue Miss Mortimer’s case, then?” I asked.
“Yes, sadly the case of the delightful vanishing wardrobe will have to be postponed. I do hate to allow a trail time to grow cold, but I fear Miss Mortimer’s predicament may become dire if it proceeds much further. Mr. Farley’s lost possessions will get along fine without me for a few days.”
To be continued in The Reddening Sun 4...
© 2020 by Kelsey Garber