The Final Page of Baker Street
Holmes persisted. At one point, he let out an “aha!” when he discovered what appeared to be a strand of light-coloured hair. Picking it up with tweezers, he carefully placed his trophy in a small envelope he had produced from his pocket. But since white-haired Terrence Leonard also lived in this house, the alleged prize seemed unimportant to me. At last Holmes rose and observed the scene in its entirety. Then he carefully walked over to the cherry-wood desk and lifted from it a foot-tall metal statue of a woman in some sort of long toga affair. Finally, he closed the heavy drapes that were currently bunched in the spaces between each of the three sets of windows.
    Instantly, the room was completely enveloped in darkness. Actually, it was almost completely enveloped in darkness because, as soon as the curtains had been drawn, three lances of daylight, like the beams from three well-focused bull’s eye lanterns, immediately shot across the room some five feet above the floor, the result of a trio of small horizontal holes inches apart in the white velvet.
    â€œAs I expected,” Holmes murmured cryptically. Reopening the damaged curtain to flood the room with brightness once more, he began inspecting the wall behind the now gathered cloth at the corresponding height of the hole in the velvet. To Billy’s and my great amazement, we watched Holmes discover a tiny cavity in the plaster.
    Taking out a small blade from another of his pockets, Holmes pried out of the hole what looked to be a bullet. Dropping the missile into another envelope, he said enigmatically, “I thought there wasn’t enough blood.”
    Holmes placed the envelope back in his coat and looked round the room once more. Apparently satisfied, he patted his pockets for reassurance. “We can go now,” he said with an air of finality. “There’s nothing here left to be discovered.”
    â€œBut what have you learned, Mr. Holmes?” Billy asked. “What do you know that the police don’t?”
    â€œOther than the fact that Terrence Leonard’s wife was not bludgeoned to death - that, in fact, she was shot in the head and then beaten with a small bronze statue of the Roman figure Pyramus - not much.”
    â€œHolmes!” I ejaculated. “How - ?”
    â€œWatson, you can see the blood stains. Certainly, there is no spatter large enough to suggest the woman had her skull stove in. And what do you make of the spots a few feet distant from the body?”
    I looked round the floor where his spiral crawl had ended, but saw no blood. “There are no blood spots a few feet distant of the body,” I stated.
    â€œPrecisely,” he said. “When someone is bludgeoned to death, the repeated strikes create a cast-off pattern. After the initial blow that causes the victim to bleed, each successive hit will cause the weapon to pick up blood and fling it behind the killer as he prepares to strike again. Since, besides a few random drops, there is no such pattern to speak of, one must conclude that Sylvia Leonard must have been dead before the blows were administered.”
    â€œBrilliant!” Billy said.
    But Holmes wasn’t finished. “I imagined a bullet had done the job; the regularity of the stain at the centre of the carpet suggests she bled while lying on the floor. Because the police found no bullet in the poor lady’s skull, any simpleton could conclude that there must be a bullet hole somewhere else - in the place where the bullet, after passing through her head, eventually ended up - that is, behind the bunched up folds of fabric. Since the authorities never thought to close the curtains - let alone to look for a bullet - the damage made by a single missile passing through the folds and ending up in the wall went undetected.”
    â€œFantastic, Holmes,” I offered.
    â€œBut I don’t follow,” Billy said. “If there was only one bullet, why are there

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