Case 1 - The Case of the Smuggler's Wife
A deerstalker hat laid next to a smoking pipe on the shelf. Beside these two items, the room was full of items that were related to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's famous detective. There were the Sherlock Holmes books on the shelf, of course, next to the DVDs, comic books, and even VHS tapes which starred the detective. On the desk was a worn copy of A Study In Scarlet, the first Sherlock Holmes story. Without a doubt, this was the room of an avid fan.
The digital clock flicked its display to read 8:03 AM when the cellphone on the nightstand rang. The girl that was sleeping peacefully in the bed next to it stirred. She slowly opened her eyes, and with a drowsy look on her face, she sat up and reached for her phone.
"221B Baker Detective Agency... This is Sheryl Holmes... How can I help you?" she muttered into the phone.
"Sheryl, it's me, Michael."
Sheryl yawns a little before answering, "So, what does my big brother, the big chief of police want from me this early in the morning?"
"I have a case for you," Michael responded.
"What? Another one?" Sheryl whined and tossed over onto her other side.
"Yes, Sheryl, another one..." Michael's patience was getting strained.
However, Sheryl didn't catch on to that, so she continued to whine, "But this is the fifth one this month..."
"Yes, and this is the fifth case that you've had at all this month," Michael pointed out, his patience wearing thinner by the second.
Sheryl yawned a little again and responded with, "Well, when I get more famous, I'll-"
Michael's patience ran out, and he interrupted his sister, yelling, "No! I don't want you to get more famous. I want you to get a normal job, one that's safe. The only reason why I keep passing you cases is because if I don't, you'll just lounge around the house all day, wasting your time and your talents. Now get up, stop mooching off me, and take this case!"
Sheryl bolted up onto her knees, surprised by her brother's scolding. Getting angry herself, she yelled back at her brother. "Okay, fine! I'll take the case! I'm sorry that I can't get a 'normal' job like you where I just sit around all day telling people what to do!"
And with that, Sheryl hung up the phone. She sat on her bed, her hair a mess, and started to yawn again. With her arms stretched out and her mouth wide opened, she realized that she had forgotten something important. She picked up her phone and called her brother.
After a few rings, Michael's voice came through Sheryl's phone, "Hello?"
Sheepishly, Sheryl said, "Uh..., hi Mike... So, where am I supposed to go?"
Sheryl found herself just outside of an alleyway.
The alleyway was closed off by the usual police setup. Police tape across the openings of the alleyways, the uniformed police guarding the entrances, the police cars parked close to the alleyway, and the like. A sign saying 'The Golden Inn' hung on one of the buildings next to the alleyway.
Sheryl took a piece of candy out of her pocket, unwrapped it, and placed it in her mouth. She walked up to one of the police officers guarding the alleyway, and told him who she was while showing him her identification. After he called in on his radio and received confirmed that Sheryl was allowed to be there, he smiled and lifted the police tape up for her. "Go right on in then, miss."
Sheryl thanked the police officer and walked into the alleyway.
In the middle of the alleyway, a plain-clothes detective and a forensic scientist were examining a body. Sheryl took out some latex gloves and put them on as she walked towards them. She walked up next to the detective and the scientist and crouched down with them.
The victim was a young woman, whose long hair was now covered in the dried blood that had leaked out from the bullet hole in her forehead. Her dying expression seemed to had been one of acceptance, but now all that was left was a vacant stare.
The forensic scientist greeted Sheryl, "Hello Sheryl."
"Holmes, call me Holmes," Sheryl said.
The detective rolled his eyes a little and said, "Hello Sheryl."
Sheryl also rolled her eyes a little in response and greeted the detective, "Hello Dr. Watson."
At the mention of that name, the detective's brow furrowed and he angrily responded. "You know very well that I'm not a doctor, it's Detective Wa-"
Sheryl interrupted Detective Watson, "So, what do we have here boys?"
The forensic scientist stood up. "Victim was killed by a gunshot to the head. No other wounds were found in my quick examination. I'll send you the report of the full examination after I'm done, Detective."
Detective Watson also stood up. He nodded and said, "Thank you."
The forensic scientist walked off to continue with his duties. When he had walked far away enough, Sheryl started doing her own quick examination of the body.
Detective Watson turned around and noticed Sheryl's unauthorized fiddling. Angrily, he told her, "Stop touching the body, Sheryl! According to procedure, I'm supposed to-"
Sheryl brushed the detective off, "Oh, you cops and your procedures. C'mon, trust the detective!"
"... I'm the detective around here," Detective Watson muttered.
Not paying any attention to the detective, Sheryl found the victim's wallet and opened it up. Sighing, Watson bent down to have a look at the wallet with Sheryl.
The first thing that the two saw when Sheryl opened the wallet was a picture of the victim along with a man and boy; the three of them looked close and happy in the picture.
"Ah, so she has a husband and a son, it seems," observed Sheryl.
"Or they could be her brother and nephew," countered Detective Watson.
However, Sheryl pointed out, "... Good point, except that they're wearing matching wedding rings on their ring fingers."
Watson paused for a bit, and decided that Sheryl was right, "Fine."
Sheryl continued flipping through the victim's wallet, eventually pulling out the victim's driver's license. Sheryl looked over the license and said, "Her name was Virginia Summers."
The next item of importance that Sheryl found was a business card, which read, 'Marlowe's Private Investigations'. There was a silence as the both of them stared at the business card with a sense of foreboding.
Finally, Sheryl put the wallet down, and they both got up. Watson motioned to another officer that they were done with the body, and both he and Sheryl walked towards to the end of the alleyway.
"Well, looks like we're going to see Marlowe," said Sheryl.
Detective Watson furrowed his brows again, "That card could mean anything, Sheryl."
"Considering Marlowe's reputation, I'd say that it's worth at least a visit," Sheryl replied.
Watson looked back into the alleyway, sighed a little, and said, "Alright then, I'll report this and send some of my men over to-"
Watson turned back around and noticed that Sheryl had already walked off without him. Catching up to Sheryl, he grabs her by the shoulder, "Hey! You can't go by yourself! This is still a police investigation."
"Oh c'mon, Watson, lay off the procedures a little. Besides, I want to go see Marlowe again, he makes good coffee." Reaching into her pocket, she took out two pieces of candy. Unwrapping one and eating it, she offers Watson the other one, "Candy?"
Watson dismissed the candy and sighed, "I can't believe that I have to work with you again!"
"Oh c'mon, Watson, you know you like working with a Holmes," said Sheryl.
Frustrated, Watson said, "This isn't one of your Sherlock Holmes stories, Sheryl! First of all, I'm in charge here. Second of all, working with you is like babysitting. And last of all, you're nothing like Sherlock Holmes."
Upon hearing that, Sheryl got angry herself and leaned in closer to yell at Watson, "Yes, I know that you're in charge here, 'Detective Watson'. You know, you used to like being with me when we were in high school and we were..."
Sheryl's voice trailed off, their faces were close enough now that their lips were almost touching. Their lips lingered in that position for a moment, then Sheryl leaned back.
Her voice softer now, Sheryl continued, "But then again, maybe you didn't like being with me, since you..."
Sheryl's voice trailed off again, and Watson looked away in guilt.
"Look Sheryl, I-" Watson began as he looked back up, only to find that Sheryl was once again walking away.
"C'mon Detective," said Sheryl, "we're wasting time."
Inside Marlowe's office, the vacuum coffee maker finished its duty. Marlowe poured himself a cup of coffee and leaned his back on the counter. He slowly enjoyed his coffee as soft jazz music played in the background. The serenity, however, did not last, as the voices of Sheryl Holmes and Detective Watson grew louder from other side of the door to the office.
Outside Marlowe's office, Sheryl and Watson were arguing as they approached the door.
"Look, Sheryl. I'm just saying that Marlowe might not even have anything to do with this. We should have sent some men over here to make sure that there is a connection first before wasting our time," said Watson.
"So, what you're saying is that your time is soooo much more precious than your men's time, right?" asked Sheryl.
"... No! I'm just saying that there are better things to do than picking out one random business card from the victim's wallet and following it!" said Watson.
"Look, Watson, we both know that Marlowe is well-known for handling cases that have some sort of underground connection. Don't you think it's best to get this out of the way first?" asked Sheryl.
"And we could have sent my men to do that! Besides, it's 9 in the morning, he's probably not even up yet!" argued Watson.
"Actually, considering what we know about him, I'd say that he probably didn't even sleep," Sheryl pointed out.
The two of them reached the door to Marlowe's office and Sheryl was about to open it, but the door opened first from the other side.
On the other side of the door was Marlowe, who greeted the two, "Good morning, Holmes. Good morning, Watson."
"Good morning, Marlowe," Watson greeted back.
"Marlowe!" Sheryl greeted Marlowe, and then she took out a piece of candy, "Candy?"
Marlowe stared at the piece of candy, and decided that it was too early in the morning, "No, thank you."
Sheryl shrugged and ate the piece of candy herself, then the three headed into Marlowe's office.
Inside Marlowe's office, Sheryl dropped onto the couch while Watson gently sat down.
Meanwhile, Marlowe walked over to the coffee maker and asked the two if they'd like some, "Coffee?"
"Yes!" Sheryl replied enthusiastically.
Meanwhile, Watson replied politely with, "Yes, thank you, Marlowe."
Marlowe brought three coffees and placed them onto the coffee table. He then sat down onto the sofa across from Sheryl and Watson. The three each take a sip from their coffee, and Sheryl let out a satisfied sigh.
"Didn't sleep again, Marlowe?" inquired Sheryl.
"Yeah, I was on a case."
"Would be it be a case that involved someone named Virginia Summers?" asked Watson.
Marlowe was about to take another sip of his coffee, but upon hearing the name, he stopped and asked, "Yes, did something happen to her?"
Sheryl and Watson paused for a moment before Watson replied, "She's dead. We found her body this morning, in the back alley of The Golden Inn."
"The Golden Inn..., that's where I left her last night," Marlowe replied heavily.
"When did you last see her?" asked Watson.
Marlowe replied, "It was a bit before 2 in the morning."
Watson stood up, and said, "Then that makes you a suspect, please come back with us to the sta-"
Once again though, Watson was interrupted by Sheryl, "Hold up there, Watson. Let's hear his whole story before we do anything rash."
Sheryl ate another piece of candy as Watson stood there in disbelief. She then took out another piece of candy and offered it to Watson, "Candy?"
Watson dismissed the candy again, "No! I don't want your candy! We have a job to do, stop eating candy like an addict!"
"But Holmes was an addict too..." Sheryl muttered.
"To cocaine!" yelled Watson.
There was a pause in the air as Marlowe sipped his coffee. Calmly, Marlowe said, "It's just candy, Watson."
There was another pause before Watson yelled, "That's not the point! The point is that-"
Sheryl interrupted again, "So Marlowe, tell us about this case that you were working on."
Watson sighed in frustration and sat back onto the couch as Marlowe began his flashback.
"A few days ago," Marlowe began, "Ms. Summers came to me and confided in me that her husband, Brett Summers, was part of a weapons smuggling ring. Ms. Summers had grown tired of being a part of all that, and came to me to ask me to help to convince her husband to turn himself in and to testify against his boss. However, she also asked me to collect evidence of her husband's wrongdoings, as a last resort bargaining chip. You see, she has a son to protect too."
"I followed Brett Summers for a few days," Marlowe continued, "And last night, I was able to follow him to his warehouse, where I was able to sneak in and take some pictures of him and his crew doing business for evidence. Then, I followed Mr. Summers to a bar, where I approached him and tried to convince him to turn himself in."
"Were you able to convince him?" asked Sheryl.
"I think so, he didn't give me a concrete answer when I left," replied Marlowe. "A few hours later, I met up with Ms. Summers in the alleyway of the Golden Inn, where I gave her a memory card with the evidence on it, just in case she still needed a bargaining chip. That was the last I had seen either of the two."
"Did you back the photos up?" asked Sheryl.
"What? Why?!" asked Watson.
Marlowe explained, "It was a job for my client, what she does with it is her choice. And I trusted that she would make the right choice... However, it seems like she wasn't given the chance to do that."
With that, Marlowe put his coffee down, stood up, and started to put on his sports jacket. Seeing this, Watson got up as well, "Where do you think you're going, Marlowe?"
With a bit of anger in his voice, Marlowe replied, "My client is dead, Watson. I'm going to find out why."
Watson began, "No, Marlowe, you're com-"
"Alright then, Marlowe, let's go to the Summers' house!" Sheryl got up as well and walked towards the door with Marlowe.
Watson stood there, shocked at the complete dismissal of his police authority.
"But- I- ... Wait up!" Watson gave up and followed them.
The three walked up to the Summers' house.
Watson walked up to the door and knocked on it three times, "Brett Summers, this is the police, open up."
The three stood there for a little bit before Watson knocked on the door three times again, "If anyone is in there, this is the police, please open up."
The three stood there for a little bit again, but there was no answer. Watson concluded that, "Well, looks like no one's home."
Taking some tools out of a pocket that didn't have candy in it, Sheryl knelt down in front of the lock to the door, "Well, looks like a perfect chance to go in then."
Angered by yet another blatant breaking of the rules, Watson protested against this, "What?! You can't do that, Sheryl, we don't have a search warrant! And what good will it do us anyways? We need Brett Summers here to question him!"
Marlowe agreed," Agreed, we need to question him."
Watson caught onto Marlowe's hidden meaning, "No, Marlowe, I do not mean your special brand of questioning."
The door clicked, and Sheryl opened the door. Before going in, she said, "Look, boys, I'm going to go in and take a look around. This will help us understand the Summerses a bit better. You two can stay here if you want."
With that, Sheryl went in.
"... I guess you're right," Marlowe shrugged and went into the house too.
Watson watched as the two disappear into the house, calling after them, "This isn't procedure! This is completely- ... You guys aren't even listening anymore, are you?"
Not getting a response, the poor detective put his hands into his pockets and stood beside the door, "Right, I'll just wait here then..."
While Watson waited outside, Marlowe and Sheryl looked around inside the Summers residence.
Sheryl commented, "Very normal for a weapons smuggler's home."
"They're normal human beings too, Holmes," said Marlowe.
Sheryl walked over to a table with a computer on it, and spotted a postcard with a picture of the Eiffel Tower. She picked it up and flipped it over, reading the message that was on it:
Hi Brett and family,
Wish you guys could see the Eiffel Tower too!
Putting the postcard back down, Sheryl looked at the computer screen.
"I think Brett is at your office, Marlowe," said Sheryl.
"Why's that, Holmes?" asked Marlowe, who turned around to see what Sheryl was looking at.
Sheryl then gestured to the computer screen, which was displaying a map with directions from their location to Marlowe's office.
Watson parked his car in front of Marlowe's office and, sure enough, the three found a man waiting for them in front of Marlowe's Private Investigations.
Sheryl, Watson, and Marlowe got out of the car and walked up to the man. The man spotted them and walked up to Marlowe, "So you're Mr. Marlowe?"
Marlowe replied, "Marlowe is my given name actually, but yes, I am Marlowe. Good to see you again, Brett."
Marlowe and Brett shook hands. Brett then gestured with his left hand (on which Sheryl caught a glimpse of a wedding ring) towards the door and asked, "Can we talk alone?"
"Sure, let's go in-" Marlowe began.
This time, it was Watson's turn to interrupt someone. Frustrated by yet another flagrant breach of procedures, he took out his police badge. "Alright, that's enough! You're coming with me, Mr. Summers. We have reason to believe that-"
In response to that, Brett Summers ran.
Frustrated by Watson, Sheryl asked with a glare, "You just had to do that, didn't you, Watson?"
The three detectives ran after their suspect, with Watson yelling, "Freeze!"
Sheryl, Watson, and Marlowe chased Brett Summers into an alleyway. At the sight of the oncoming dead end, Brett took out his gun and turned around. Seeing this, Marlowe pushed Sheryl behind the cover of the left wall and Watson dove behind the right wall, just as Brett Summers fired a shot.
Marlowe and Watson took out their own guns and started firing back at Brett Summers, who dove behind a dumpster for cover. It was in the middle of this gunfight that Sheryl started tugging on Marlowe's jacket to get his attention.
"What is it, Holmes? I'm trying to protect us here."
Marlowe paused for a second at the strange request. "What?"
"I want to try talking to him." With that, Sheryl pulled Marlowe back and started walking out into the open to talk to Brett, "Mr. Summers, I-"
Marlowe quickly pulled Sheryl back into cover just as a bullet from Brett's gun narrowly missed her.
"Okay, listen Holmes!" Marlowe's face could barely contain the mix of anger and worry that he was feeling at that moment. "If you want to talk to him, at least do it from behind cover, okay? I'll stop firing."
"Thank you, Marlowe."
"Watson!" Marlowe yelled at the police detective to try to get his attention.
"What?!" Watson yelled back as he fired off another shot.
"Stop firing, Sheryl wants to talk to the guy!"
Upon hearing this, there was a puzzled expression on Watson's face, but being used to Sheryl's plans, he stopped firing.
Behind the safety of the dumpster, Brett also stopped firing, confused about why nobody was shooting at him anymore.
Sheryl, behind the safety of cover this time, yelled, "Brett? Listen to me, my name is Sheryl Holmes, but you can call me Holmes."
From behind the dumpster, Brett yelled back, "What do you want, Sheryl?"
Sheryl sighed at yet another person refusing to call her by her surname. She recomposed herself and yelled across the alleyway again, "Look, Brett, we're sorry that my friend overreacted, but we want to help you."
"And why would you want to do that?"
"I know you still love you wife, Brett. You're still wearing your wedding ring, that's proof of that," yelled Sheryl. "I don't know how your wife got killed, but if you tell us the truth, I'm sure that we can help you."
Marlowe joined in, yelling, "She's right, Brett. Virginia was my client. It's my duty now to find out what happened to her. Let us help you."
There was a pause as Brett considered their words.
Finally, he stood up and walked out into the open with his hands up, "Alright, I'll tell you the truth."
Sheryl and Watson sat on one of the couches across from Brett as Marlowe poured two glasses of scotch. One for himself and one for Brett, the other two didn't want any. Marlowe walked over to the smaller couch that was at one of the short ends of the coffee table. He placed Brett's scotch on the coffee table. He then sat down on the couch and took a sip of scotch from his own glass.
Brett grabbed the glass and took a long sip of his own. When he was done, he let out a long and tired sigh. Then he muttered, "Virginia..."
"When I last saw Virginia," said Marlowe, "I handed to her the evidence that I had collected of your... activities. She said to me that she hoped that she wouldn't have to use it. She said that she'd try to convince you to turn yourself in, so that your family would have a happy ending. So tell us, Brett, what happened?"
Brett stared at his scotch for a little bit. Then he drank all of it in one gulp and put the glass down onto the coffee table. He stared at the melting ice for a moment before saying, "I killed Virginia."
Watson started to get up, but Sheryl pulled him back down, stopping him from interrupting Brett's confession. Marlowe, on the other hand, seemed to have an angry expression on his face after confirmation that the killer of his client was sitting on his couch.
Brett continued, "Last night, after Marlowe and I talked in the bar, I followed him. I saw him talk with Virginia, and then when he left..."
Brett paused for a moment, remembering what he did, "I shot her."
Marlowe was outright angry now, and he was about to get up, but Sheryl stopped him, "Brett... I know you still care for her, why did you kill her?"
"I didn't want to! She was going to turn me over to the cops! The woman that I loved was going to betray me, so I..." Brett was breathing hard now after that outburst.
Watson got up and took out a pair of handcuffs. "Alright, Mr. Summers, you're under arrest, anyth-"
"Hold on, Watson," interrupted Sheryl.
"What is it now, Sheryl?!"
Sheryl looked at the murder suspect in front of them and ask him, "Where is your son, Brett?"
There was a pause as Brett looked up, shocked. He stuttered, "He- he- I dropped him off at my mother's."
"That's impossible, Brett, your mother is in Paris," said Sheryl as she recalled the postcard in the Summers residence with the Eiffel Tower on it.
"I- I-" Brett tried to think of something to say, but he couldn't.
Suddenly, Marlowe got up and punched Brett in the face, surprising Sheryl and Watson enough to make them spring off the couch.
Watson yelled, "What are you doing, Marlowe?!"
Ignoring the policeman, Marlowe punched Brett again, and this time Brett fell onto the floor. Standing over the his client's husband, Marlowe said, "My client... Your wife! Your wife is dead! All your wife wanted to do was protect you and your son. If your son is in danger, then you need to tell us, right now! Tell us the truth so that the police can help. There is no guarantee that your son will be safe even if you take the fall! So tell us the truth!"
The three detectives waited as Brett picked himself up. He looked at them, and started to tell them the truth.
"After Marlowe left the bar last night," Brett recalled, "the boss called me. He told me that he had Scotty."
"Why did he take your son?" asked Sheryl.
"He found out what Virginia was doing. He said that the only way for Scotty to be safe was for me to kill Virginia, recover the evidence, and then take the fall for him."
Marlowe grimaced at the fact that his involvement had gotten an innocent child kidnapped.
Brett continued, "So I rushed home to find the babysitter tied up, and of course, Scotty was nowhere to be seen."
"As far as the babysitter knows, the whole thing was just a robbery, she never saw them take Scotty. I convinced her that Scotty was sleeping upstairs and that I would call the police, so she left. I then used my phone to track Virginia's phone, we have this GPS app."
Brett paused to catch his breath as he was about to tell the climax of his story, "I found her in that alleyway, talking to Marlowe. So I waited until you left, and then I went up to her..."
Brett paused again, as he recalled the last words that he said to his wife as he pointed his gun at her forehead: "I'm sorry, Virginia..., it's for Scotty."
He closed his eyes, painfully remembering what happened that night, and told the detectives the foregone conclusion to his story, "And I shot her."
There was a silence in the air as Brett finished his story.
Detective Watson did the only thing that he could do. He walked over to Brett Summers and arrested him. "Brett Summers, you're under arrest. We'll send men to rescue your son as soon as you tell us where your boss is keeping him."
Watson cuffed Brett's hands. He then gave Marlowe a glare. "I should arrest you too, Marlowe."
Marlowe glared back with his fists clenched, "If you had let him talk to me alone in the first place, this wouldn't have happened, 'Detective'."
The two men glared at each other for what seemed like ages. Finally, Watson walked towards the door with Brett Summers in tow. "Are you coming, Sheryl?"
Sheryl shook her head, "No, I'll stay here. My role in this case is over."
"Alright then, thank you for your help on this one, Sheryl... and Marlowe."
And with that, Detective Watson left with Brett Summers.
The night had fallen. It was a few hours after the arrest of Brett Summers.
Marlowe sat on his chair behind his desk, drinking another glass of scotch. Sheryl, on the other hand, had made herself at home on his sofa, where she was eating candy, drinking coffee, and playing on her portable game console.
Sheryl's phone rang, and she answered it with a simple, "Hello?"
She listened for a little bit before responding, "Yes, I'm still in his office. I'll tell him, thanks Watson."
Now a bit cheered up from the news that she heard, she put her phone away and announced, "They got Scotty back. They were also able to catch a lot of Brett's accomplices in the smuggling ring, including the boss, and Brett is going to testify."
Not really cheered up, Marlowe stared at his glass of scotch before responding, "Good."
Knowing that it was time to go, Sheryl finished her coffee and packed up her stuff. She was about to unwrap yet another piece of candy when she stopped.
Instead, she walked over to Marlowe's desk and placed the piece of candy in front of him. "I know you're upset about your client, Marlowe. I also know that you know that it wasn't your fault, but yet, you can't help feeling like you're to blame for at least a part of it. However, at least Brett is turning over a new leaf and Scotty is safe."
Marlowe looked up from his glass. They stared at each other for a moment.
Sheryl broke off the stare and walked towards the door, "Good night, Marlowe."
She walked out the door, leaving Marlowe with his drink.
Marlowe stared at his drink again, before drinking the rest of it in one big gulp.
Finished with his drink, he picked up the piece of candy that Sheryl left on his desk. He looked at it for a moment and smiled a little. Then, he unwrapped the piece of candy and ate it.