48 Hours a Day
Chapter 492 - Carpet
Chapter 492 Carpet
That evening, Wiggins returned to report that the Baker Street Irregulars had followed and observed Pearson for half a day, and that nothing worthy of note had been obtained. He had started work at the chemical plant as usual and didn’t act strangely. Holmes wasn’t in a hurry, so he asked the kids to continue to keep their eyes peeled on Pearson. As for Sherlock, he wanted to work on his research paper.
On the second morning, Wiggins arrived, furiously knocking on the door and startling Mrs. Hudson, baking bread in the kitchen at that time. The commotion woke Zhang Heng too, and when he stepped out of his room, he saw Sherlock Holmes laughing loudly as handed seven shillings to Wiggins.
“One for each, two for yourself. Go to Inspector Gregson, and tell him that Holmes wants him to come to 221B Baker Street,” said Sherlock. As he looked up, he saw Zhang Heng coming down the stairs.
“It’s done. The case is finally coming to an end! If Pearson is caught, the main culprit won’t be escaping.”
“Huh?” asked Zhang Heng with raised eyebrows, “you have all the evidence you need?”
“That’s right,” replied Holmes, rubbing his hands together. “Let’s have breakfast while waiting for Gregson. I’ll explain everything later.”
About an hour later, Inspector Gregson reluctantly arrived at 221B Baker Street, murmuring in disgruntlement as he entered through the door. “I said the case is over. Why did you ask me here? The police are very busy. I couldn’t even get a proper night’s sleep.”
“Really? What are you up to? New case? Still waiting for the commissioner’s commendation?” Holmes laughed.
Gregson blushed and lowered his tone by a notch. “I’ve contributed to this city after all. The case has been in the newspapers for the past two days. Nothing surprising that it grabbed the commissioner’s attention.”
“Indeed, but I think it’s still not too late to celebrate after we catch the real murderer,” said Holmes.
“The real murderer?!”
Gregson was taken aback.
“Come with me. It won’t take up much of your time. By the way, bringing your cuffs with you?”
“I have it with me,” replied Gregson impatiently. “I also have my gun with me, and I will not leave this essential piece of equipment behind.”
“Probably, won’t need it. After all, the suspect is not wicked, and besides, we still have a master here,” said Holmes while glancing toward Zhang Heng. Yesterday was still fresh in his mind, and his eyes were still a little swollen.
“Let’s go, gentlemen.”
Instead of directly heading to the chemical plant, they first entered a pawnshop with a carriage.
“Someone came to pawn a carpet earlier. Where is that carpet now?” Holmes asked the owner.
The pawnbroker instantly became nervous when he heard the question.
“I knew it,” he cursed under his breath.
“I’m not talking about you, gentlemen. I’m talking about the kid who came to pawn the carpet earlier. I was suspicious of him, and to be honest, I’ve been in this business for a long time. I have crossed paths with all kinds of people. Judging by his attire, he looked like a poor man. How could he have gotten his hands on such a good carpet? He pawned the carpet right when I opened for business. ‘Could it have been stolen?’ I muttered in my heart.”
“Why did you accept it then?” quizzed Gregson.
At that, the pawnbroker simply sneered.
“How much did you give him?” Holmes asked.
“Two… two pounds,” the owner sheepishly admitted. “I examined the workmanship and materials, and you’ll need to spend at least twenty to thirty pounds for something of that quality.” “So it means you reap ten times the profit if you manage to sell it off? Come on, don’t feel bad about it. The problem is, it is a piece of evidence, and it is related to a murder. Perhaps we will give it back to you after we use it. Now, take us to the carpet!”
The pawnbroker brought the three to a warehouse where pawned items were stored. Holmes squatted down, and he could see bloodstains in the middle of the carpet without even using a magnifying glass. Someone had attempted to clean the spot but apparently didn’t do an outstanding job.
Gregson tried to console himself.
“This doesn’t explain anything,” he said in disbelief, seeming to be a little shaken and a little nervous as well. “Well, the pawnbroker mentioned the carpet’s probably stolen.”
“This is the carpet in John Jones’ office,” interjected Holmes. “To be honest, I didn’t expect the investigation to go so smoothly. I thought he would have used a more secure method to deal with this.”
“Why does that name sound so familiar? Wait… are you talking about John’s textile factory’s current owner?” Gregson finally remembered where the name came from. “He was the one who welcomed us into the factory. Seemed like a nice guy, that bloke.” “The textile factory’s female employees don’t seem to think so. It’s not the first time he’s harassed one of them,” said Holmes. “Although nobody wanted to talk about it, I still discovered that he’d taken over the factory his father about a year ago. Right after that, female employees over there started getting pregnant. Of course, most kept as quiet as they could and left the factory after receiving severance payment.” “It is indeed not something one should be proud of.”
Gregson’s tone had mellowed considerably. He went on, “Well, I admit that I might have missed something. Mr. John is suspicious, but I still insist that the kid named Paul is my number one suspect here. After all, the bloody clothes under his bed can’t be fake.”
“Stop getting nervous, and listen to me first.”
“It was Molly’s turn to clean up the place when the tragedy struck her. She was the last to leave, and at that time, the light in John’s office was also still turned on. In other words, they were the only two people still in the factory at that time. John had all the time in the world to commit the crime. The next day Zhang Heng and I visited the textile factory. The guy at the entrance told us that John was not there. That didn’t sound right to me, especially after someone was murdered in his factory. He should have been at the factory, trying hard to calm his female employees down. When we were there, I sneaked into John’s office and noticed that his carpet had been changed recently. The new carpet was obviously not the right size, probably one that was hastily pulled from home. A faint bloodstain was also on the corner of his majestic desk. Blood seeps into the wood grain, yes, but as you said, it still doesn’t explain why Molly’s clothes were under Paul’s bed.”
There was a reason why Gregson was the best man to hold the police inspector post.
He shook his head. “Is John trying to put the blame on Paul? But Paul works at the chemical plant next to his factory. John might not even know him. Secondly, even if he knows that there is such a person called Paul, it is impossible he knew where he lives. The network of alleyways in the slums would confuse John. If a person like him enters the slums, he would have been instantly noticed.”
“You are right, which is why I believe that there is another conspirator in this case!” proclaimed Holmes.