Chapter 486 Go And Solve The Case
It was already dusk when the carriage arrived at the crime scene.
Gregson had left two men to keep an eye on the corpse. To disparage curious onlookers, they covered the poor child with a blanket they obtained from the boatman. It was the least they could do to show some respect to the unfortunate victim. The three got out of the carriage, and Gregson noticed that a reporter-like guy was already among the crowd, messing around with his giant camera. “These guys are like fleas. No matter what I do, I can never get rid of them,” Gregson muttered. Clearly, he was upset by what he saw. Up until now, authorities failed to find a single clue to crack the case. Perhaps they could employ the powers of the press to seek the victim’s family. Having that thought in mind, he walked over to the reporter.
Holmes, on the other hand, didn’t rush to lift the blanket. He first chatted with the policeman who found the body and then wandered around for a while before slowly and gingerly walking toward it. Zhang Heng covered his nose as he examined the corpse. During that era, the River Thames smelled horrible. Before the turn of the 19th century, the water here was clear, and schools of fish and shrimps thrived in its waters. However, along with the Industrial Revolution came the city’s expansion, and the river saw massive numbers of factories getting erected beside it. Every inch of industrial waste and domestic sewage found its way into the poor river. The once spotless River Thames began to deteriorate drastically. With mountains of trash and excrement choking up the waterway, the river was now a veritable stinking ditch.
The government was aware of this problem, coming up with a system to filter the sewage underground sewage system and sewers connected to the River Thames to transfer as much waste as possible downstream. Admittedly, and thankfully, the method achieved desirable results in the end.
Zhang Heng looked at the corpse for a while, and like Gregson, he saw very little. Holmes was right. He might have exemplary observation skills, but sufficient knowledge would be needed to support his deduction. Besides the fact that Zhang Heng knew very little about England’s criminal cases, he also didn’t know much about the Victorian era. Whatever he knew about the city came from books he read and movies he watched. At most, he watched a BBC documentary or two about this period.
As a bystander, this knowledge might be enough for him to deal with the people around him. However, it was not nearly enough to solve cases. For example, Holmes could judge the brand and origin of cigarettes a person smoked from the soot on the clothes or the ground. Zhang Heng might also notice these little details that ordinary people failed to notice, but he had no idea what cigarette brands existed in this era. If he got stuck at this step, continuing with the next phase of the deduction would almost be impossible.
Zhang Heng soon realized that the primary mission wasn’t going to be easy to compete. He had to compete against Holmes. And clearly, the time and place did not favor him. This round might seem safe compared to all the other games he’d completed so far, but it was also true that this had to be the most difficult round he’d experienced so far.
Fortunately, enough time was given to complete the quest.
Holmes squatted down and examined the corpse closely. He whipped out a magnifying glass to further examine the child’s palms and hair as he went along. He even went as far as scraping the remnants under her fingernails. At this point, he no longer looked like a sloth but more like a well-groomed hunting dog. In the end, he got so close to the corpse he almost laid upon her. He stared intently at her face, and his gaze moved downward slowly. Finally, he paused for a moment when he reached the neck.
Then, he stood up, dusted his coat, and asked Zhang Heng, “What do you see?”
“Well, it should be murder. The victim is a female, 15-16 years old. She seemed to be a little weak. Perhaps an illness of some sort? The cause of death cannot be drowning because she has been hit on the head. Besides…” Zhang Heng paused. “The victim was probably violated before her death.”
“Not bad,” Holmes smiled. “You are not a forensic doctor, but impressive how you pointed out all these details. Take your time.”
Gregson had finally finished dealing with the reporter. He took out a handkerchief, wiped the sweat off his brow, and walked over. “It’s a deal. That man is the reporter for The Echo. Let’s wait for him to take a picture of the victim and put it on tomorrow’s newspaper’s front page. We hope the child’s family can see it. If they notice it, they should come to the police station to look for us. By the way, any progress on your side?” “I don’t know the child’s name yet,” Holmes replied in noncholance.
Gregson’s emotions were a bit complicated. After hearing Holmes’s reply, he was disappointed and but rejoiced a little at the same time. He then “There’s only so much we can do now. In fact, I have done everything I can for now. The victim is unclothed, after all. It’s hard to find any clues on her. It seems we have to wait for the newspaper to help us.”
“That will not be necessary.”
Holmes thought it was funny. He lit his pipe, took a deep breath, and the awful stench of the river was ousted by the smoke.
The sheriff was bewildered by what he heard.
“What do you mean by that?”
“If I were you, I would send someone to investigate the John Textile Factory located one mile upstream. The child worked there. The murderer is male and was someone close to this child. He constantly thought of her in a sexual way. He should around six feet, strong, and has scars on his body, especially on his arms.”
Holmes look returned to boredom as he turned to Zhang Heng. “Let’s go, our work is finished,” he said. “It’s still early. Fancy dinner? Let’s go to Houben Restaurant. They serve my favorite ham over there.”
“We may proceed,” replied Zhang Heng.
“We will get our own carriage. I don’t want to bother you sending us over there, Sergeant.” Holmes then turned to the dumbfounded Gregson. “Inspector, why are you still standing here? You have gotten the clues you wanted. Now hurry up and solve the case.”
Half an hour later, Zhang Heng and Holmes were seated at Houben’s restaurant’s dining table.
For starters, the waiter poured them each a glass of red wine. The soothing music the restaurant played drowned out the tragedy that took place on the River Thames today.
Holmes held the wine glass, staring at Zhang Heng in intrigue as if he had discovered something interesting. “You are really patient,” he said after a while. “I am becoming more and more interested in you. There is still sme time before the dishesareserved.fyu have any questions, do ask, and I will do my best to answer you.” “I shall begin by asking the looming questions in mind. How did you know where the girl worked, and how did you know the profile of the murderer?” Zhang Heng asked.