An extract from the journal of inspector Athelney Jones.
The sign of the four
Before my good fortune of working with Mr Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson I had attended a lecture by the theorist, who it would transpire was very rarely wrong however according to Dr Watson’s writing I am not the only one who owes his career to him.
The journal of Athelney Jones, shall only show one occasion on which I had the good fortune to work with him on the strange case of what Dr Watson has written under the title the Sign of the Four.
It ran like this,
I was on business in Norwoods police station when a Bald man, who’s remaining hair was of a red hue, came into report the death of his brother Bartholomew.
He identified himself as, Thaddeus Schalto late of pondicelli lodge, he informed me that they had found his brother dead upon visiting with Mr Holmes and Dr Watson.
I rode up to Pondicelli lodge and was mistaken in dismissing an apparent dart that Holmes suggested was the weapon that killed Mr Schalto, I was convinced that Thaddeus was guilty as there were plenty of Indian weaponry that anyone may grab.
A chamber in the ceilung of the room we found Bartholomew Schalto inside was open, by Holmes as it transpires, and I disregarded foot prints in the chamber even though Holmes seemed excited by them.
It turned out I did out of my four arrests make one effective one
- Thaddeus Schalto
- The house maid
- Lal Rou
Released no charges
I had to release the first three as investigation of my own would give Thaddeus a water tight alibi and could find no evidence against Mcmurdo or the maid. However Lal Rou was linked to the eventual murderer by, my own work this part, several telegrams were traced to an address to somebody by the name of Small.
I had a telegram a few days later asking me to be at 221b baker street, by the evening I went straight over, but Holmes was not at home and I settled in with Dr Watson, when a strange and utre seaman came stumbling in, after a few minutes it would, to my complete astonishment, turn out to be Sherlock Holmes himself.
He told me to acquire a police steam launch at Westminster which I did, when we arrived he gave orders, via me, to strip the police lamp off, and we set off for a ship yard near the Tower. He related the method of events by which we were on this launches tail and that we were watching for one of his urchins signal, by which we engaged a fast steam launch that I was unconvinced we would catch.
Now for the strangest part, and I suppose the saddest, as we closed on the launch a small pile moved to reveal a tiny black man, who both Watson and Holmes would quickly shoot for putting a straw to his mouth. It transpires that Holmes was right about the darts as one narrowly missed us all.
Small in Custody
Within another few minutes we had one Johnathon Small in custody. The strangest story I will ever read, from the journal of Athelney Jones. That is to say myself. This whole saga was about treasure that it would transpire was at the bottom of the Thames.
We could not hang Small as Holmes would prove that he could not have known that the tiny man. Whose name turned out to be Tonga an aboriginal of the Andaman islands. Was responsible for the death of Schalto without orders as they did not expect him to be home.
Small was sentenced to life However on charges of theft. A charge of escaping military custody was bought by the military police and he was lucky to remain in Dartmoor. Rather than be returned to the Andaman islands. Small was further charged however with the murder of a prison guard of the Andaman islands. Again evidence could not prove his cold blooded assassination. He had been sentenced for his part in the murder of the merchant Ahmed.
Mrs Mary Morstan or is it Watson
Dr Watson’s account contains a more detailed account. They were in from the start, due to Miss Mary Morstan approaching them over her missing father, Captain Artur Morstan. Whom it would transpire was a friend of the Schaltos father Major John Schalto.
Looking back I have a weird sense of sympathy for Small. Who had little choice in matters he could either choose death or riches. I can’t say with all honesty that I would not make the choice he did. His word was solid as he would not sell out his cohorts in the crime. Always remained faithful to his oath if Major Schalto did not.
In summing up this that I read now, from the journal of Athelney Jones. That I wrote so long ago, Sherlock Holmes taught me a lot. But he did not shape my career so much as he did my colleagues Lestrade or Gregson.