Holmes told Watson since returned to London he had collected
almost every newspaper that reported on the Blackpool trial. "Now
Watson, I am going to pick holes in the way this trial has
been conducted and I wish you can in turn pick holes in my
"I'll do my best to defend the court's position."
So Holmes began. "Let me ask this first: Why Mrs Boswell's
lawyers were not hired by herself or her family but appointed
by the court?"
"That's a good question, Holmes, to be frank, I have
no answer." Dr. Watson found the court's position on
this issue is indefensible.
"Ah, you have no answer, I see" Holmes settled
on a chair. "What is the normal procedure, Watson? The
normal procedure is that only when the defendants cannot
afford legal aid, a free legal service then is provided either
by the Law Society or the court. Clearly, Mrs Boswell's circumstance
did not fall into this category. In this case, her legal
right to hire her own lawyers was unjustifiably taken away.
Do you agree with what I said?"
"I couldn't agree more."
"But why? Why the court took away her right to hire
her own lawyers?" Holmes leaned back in his seat, placed
his finger-tips together and shut his eyes. "I see only
one answer to this question: The court was afraid of the
cross-examination by the independent lawyers, which means
the prosecution's evidence against Mrs. Boswell are unable
to withstand scrutiny."
"You mean the evidence presented at the trial are questionable?"
"That is precisely what I meant: the credibility of
the evidence, Watson," Holmes returned without opening
his eye. "Now please look back at that trial. According
to the prosecution, the homicide nature of the death of the
deceased was revealed by Bristol's police chief, yet this
key witness against Mrs Boswell did not present or testify
at the trial. Why?"
"Yes, why?" Holmes raised a finger pointing at
the ceiling which was all painted in white. "Yet there
was no explanation given by the court, nor did we hear any
challenge raised from the defence lawyers over this massive
legal blunder. And why?"
"Indeed, why?" Dr. Watson was filled with curiosity.
"The prosecution said Mrs. Boswell had successfully
persuaded the family of the deceased to accept the coroner's
conclusion that the cause of the death was cardiac failure.
But how did she manage to do it? By bribing? By threat? Or
through a tearful plea? Again, no details revealed whatsoever.
Do not forget Hidewood is a foreigner and his family is out
of the reach of Boswell's power. Then for what reason his
family should help Mrs Boswell to cover up her crime against
their loved one? And why they were not testified at the trial?" It
was until then Holmes opened his eyes and looked up at the
"Since all these crucial witnesses were unavailable
for cross-examination, it shall be safe to conclude that
whatever the allegations allegedly made by the witnesses
against Mrs Boswell cannot be taken seriously."
It was until then Dr. Watson discovered a hole in Holmes'
argument. "You said well, Holmes, but you don't have
"Correct, I don't have evidence to support my claim,
but my claim is derived from logical deduction; when you've
eliminated all possibilities, what remains must be the truth."
"You have the point, Holmes. But the evidence they
presented at the trial is quite substantial I may say."
"Aha, now we are returning to the evidence again, aren't
Holmes cracked coldly. "Watson, since you are a surgeon,
let me ask you one question related to your profession. Say
you performed an operation on a patient. Is it possible for
me to collect a blood-stained cheesecloth, an empty medicine
bottle or a surgical knife with the patient's blood on the
blade some months later?"
"You must be joking, Holmes, how that could be possible?
After each operation, the table, the instruments and the
garbage bins were all cleaned and sterilized, and none of
the things you mentioned would remain in my clinic."
"I'm glad to hear you say that! Excellent, excellent!"
Holmes sprang to his feet. "You were just performing
operation on your patient, you committed no crime with no
evidence needed to be concealed, yet I would still not be
able to find the tangible trace to prove what you did months
ago on your operation room, right? Then this will be interesting
- how a gifted lawyer would pay no attention to the evidence
she left on the murder scene? And we should remember, it
is a hotel room which is cleaned daily with its occupants
coming and leaving frequently."
"But, what if the police officers secretly collected
the evidence when they first arrived on the scene and handed
them over to authority after Mrs Boswell was investigated?"
"That's possible, yes, possible. But in this case,
the officers should not be prosecuted but awarded, should
they? Sure, you may argue they failed to hand over the evidence
to the authority in the first instance, but even so, you
can only accuse them of neglecting their duty. Yet the fact
is, they are charged with helping Mrs Boswell cover up the
crime. Do you see the contradictory here? Do you?"
"I do, yes," Watson was convinced. "But how
about the phone record of Mrs. Boswell and Hidewood's conversation,
and, that cctv footage in the hotel?"
"Phone record and camera footage, ha!" Holmes
let out a chuckle. "Here we come to the queer part of
the story: One is an experienced lawyer and others are well-trained
professional detectives, if these people worked together
to conceal the evidence, do you think there would be anything
left for others to discover later on? An ordinary thief or
robber would know he should cover his head with a silk stocking,
and throw the blood-smeared tools into water or buried deed
in earth, yet Mrs Boswell seemingly knew nothing of those,
now Watson, are you mocking Boswell's intelligence or sneering
at the professionalism of the police officers?"
"Oh, no, Holmes ... but, yeah, you're right, I do see
your point, entirely."
"That's not the all, Watson. Not at all." Sherlock
Holmes bent over his angular figure towards Dr. Watson resting
in the armchair and his sight looked into his friend's eye,
intensely. "Now think about the relationship between
Mrs Boswell and Hidewood. If it had indeed deteriorated to
the point where Hidewood intended to kill Mrs Boswell's son
and Mrs Boswell had to protect her child by killing the extortionist
first, as it is so claimed by the prosecution, how on earth
Hidewood would travel alone with Mrs Boswell's assistant
from London to Bristol at request of his antagonist? And
checked in a hotel arranged by his foe? And in his room chatted
happily over the tea over the wine with his enemy? And allowed
himself to get drunk and get sick and become defenseless
before his victim and potential killer? If he was really
so foolish, did he deserve Mrs Boswell to risk her husband's
political future to get rid of through murder?" The
detective suddenly straightened his back and rubbed is hands
while walking down and up the room. "Trust me, Watson,
please trust me, I'll find out what's behind the phone record
and cctv footage."
"You've convinced me, totally," said Dr. Watson. "I
just have one last question." The doctor furrowed his
brow in dismay. "As we see, the witnesses and the evidence
are all questionable, then why, Holmes, at the trial Mrs
Boswell plead guilty to murder of Hidewood and apologised
to the victim's family?"
of Sherlock Holmes (1): Mrs Boswell
of Sherlock Holmes (2): The Trial
of Sherlock Holmes (3): The Photos
of Sherlock Holmes (4): The Police
of Sherlock Holmes (5): The Wife
of Sherlock Holmes (6): The Hospital
of Sherlock Holmes (7): The Mug
of Sherlock Holmes (8): The Church
Below is the
second chapter of the story in the original Chinese text
written by Shellstone Homes:
离 奇 命 案