Sherlock Holmes The Adventure of the Second Woman Who Wasn’t – A short story

Sherlock Holmes

For a few weeks I have been writing a Sherlock Holmes short story. As an author I write for SciFiEmpire.net kind of like a side-project. Yet I don’t often post the fiction that I write. It is something I intend to correct. In fact, if you follow this link you can read a Star Trek The Next Generation short story I published last month.

Today I finished a draft of a Sherlock Holmes story I had wanted to write for a while. As the original Arthur Conan Doyle estate has no longer the exclusive rights pretty much anyone can use the characters in their story, if they want to.

This short story, The adventure of the Second Woman Who Wasn’t, is actually more Science Fiction than the old Sherlock short stories. Although it does deal with a murder mystery. I hope you enjoy the story and please post a comment below to tell me what you think of it!

 

Sherlock Holmes

The Adventure of the Second Woman Who Wasn’t

Chapter 1

221B Baker Street

Sherlock observed Mary Watson, née Morstan, glide down the staircase. She gently walked over the carpet to the door until her Louboutin’s made the distinctive clacked noise common to women. Mary had visited Watson for conjugal duties. That would put his friend in a good mood. Sherlock glimpsed one last time at Mary and observed she had dutifully tight-laced herself in the bone corset. Sherlock never understood the attraction to the practice, he had tried it himself once but it failed to make lasting impact. The high-heels were another matter, he understood those, but he would not wear them all the same.

Somewhere in a building in modern day London

“You’re trolling me aren’t you?” asked Superintendent Olivia Gibson.

In response Gilbert Subramanian turned from his screen to face her. “It is needed for the simulation. His responses must be real, they must be felt.”

With a skeptical look the Olivia continued questioning the young software engineer. “With references to tight-lacing and wearing high-heels?” She laced the question with as much authority as she could, but she couldn’t help her involuntary action of drawing her bare legs further under her chair.

“We need to see what the Sherlock-sim is thinking. If this sim solves cases I don’t understand why you have difficulty with this. We feed the simulation past cases,” Gilbert tried to convince Olivia “And there was an unexplained death a few years ago at a dominatrix parlor. This Sherlock-sim has seen that case, and the reason for the tight-lacing, the erotic satisfaction it gives, needed to be explained.”

Olivia could not stop herself from being satisfied with the answer. She remembered the case of the Canadian woman found in a brothel in Belgravia. She just couldn’t help shed the feeling Gilbert was enjoying the references to erotica too much. “I am certain women in the 18 fucking 90s didn’t wear Louboutin.”

Gilbert withheld his comment, she would remember herself such details weren’t relevant for letting the Sherlock-sim solve crimes in the present.

221B Baker Street

“It is a miracle I do not use my powers of deduction as a criminal! Watson!” said Sherlock as he pointed the violin bow towards Dr. Watson. He briefly let the instrument aim at Watson’s shoes, indicating their unlaced state before placing the bow gently on the violin. Sherlock reconsidered playing the instrument as he watched Mrs. Morstan walk down the street in the distance.

“You sound like a broken record.” said Watson in a soft and friendly voice. He attempted to hide his doubt whether Sherlock would mention the visit Mary had just given him. He was suddenly skeptical about his light grey tweed suit, it contrasted unfavorably with Sherlock’s dark suit.

“All I do is reminisce on past cases. That case with the missing flintlock rifle!” Sherlock said to Watson.

“Yes I remember, it was only last week.”

“Well, had I been the thief I would simply have shot butler and made my escape. Probably aimed for the frontal lobe and changed the decorating in that awful room.”

Watson sighed, he couldn’t help but feel amused with the way Sherlock recalled how that case had gone down. The butler was indeed the obvious suspect from the start, but to consider it would have been better had his accomplice killed him went too far.

“However, that matter of the missing young girl. It is all weighing on me heavily.” Sherlock said.

Watson couldn’t help but sigh again, involuntary. The newspapers had finally stopped printing updates now that the police had exhausted all leads. It didn’t look too good for the girl, aged 11.

“You shouldn’t dwell too much on that case. The girl practically disappeared without a trace.”

Sherlock turned to face Watson and wanted to chastise him. “There are always witnesses, always a lead to follow. Always a reason somebody does something!” but with those words Sherlock was merely reminded Watson was right. His friend would forgive his outburst.

Sherlock was brought off balance by the case. He couldn’t help but feel that a mastermind was at work. Moriarty was dead, but there were others. And yet. Sherlock felt there was a feminine touch to the case. It wasn’t a fact he could dwell on, just an instinct. Irene Adler. She was the only female master criminal he knew. And Mrs. Elstree from Covent Garden, but that was only infamy as she smothered her own two children. Sherlock needed action, he felt the urge to move forwards and do something, but he was being held back.

At that moment there was a knock on the door. Sherlock knew it was Chief Inspector Lestrade. It was his cane hitting the door, his boots walking on the staircase and it was his Hansom Cab parked outside. Something Sherlock felt the urge to omit because he wanted to be surprised.

The short man with a thin and mouse like facial features entered the room. “Holmes, eeh Watson. You need to come with me to the mortuary. We have found a body.”

Somewhere in a building in modern day London

Superintendent Olivia Gibson couldn’t help feel impressed, but she wasn’t sure why.

“Why have you sent Sherlock to the morgue?” she asked Gilbert who had turned his spectacles towards his monitor.

“I didn’t send him. He is going himself. No doubt to attempt to eliminate suspects. As soon as the details of your case are fed our own suspect list will be affected.”

Olivia stood to get a better look at the screen. “What was all that business of going over past cases?”

“That is the learning phase. The algorithm adjusts its logic nodes based on error. It learns from both failure and success.”

Olivia remembered something about that from the briefing. “Backpropagation.”

“Exactly” said Gilbert as he removed his visor. “The algorithm will take a few minutes to read the data.”

Olivia walked out of the room, but not before Gilbert had glanced at her high heels. ‘Louboutin, at a police station’ he thought to himself before continuing to glance at her calves and pencil skirt.

Chapter 2

Inside Inspector Lestrade’s Hansom cab

“The body is that of a young woman.” Lestrade said to start a conversation while they drove to the mortuary.

“What age?” asked Watson, and not Holmes as Lestrade had hoped.

“Around 25 I would say, no identifying papers on her.” Lestrade replied.

Watson was pleased it was not the body of the young girl gone missing. Lestrade suddenly felt the urge for the cab to arrive at an instant as the three of them were squeezed in a seating meant for two.

At a mortuary in London

The body of the young woman had been laid out on a white ceramic table. For Dr. Watson the scene was all too common. Even before he had become a companion to Holmes death was never far away. Yet each time it was difficult. This mortuary facility was almost new. No longer did the Metropolitan Police use dark and cold cellars to park the deceased: murdered or otherwise. The young woman on the table placed for the scrutiny of her murder investigators had beautiful blonde hair. It was long and thick and had been spread out from her head. A few ends managed to stray over the table. Watson noticed the woman did not look as he expected she would. She was fit, her biceps showed a light bulge that ended into strong shoulders. He also noticed her abdominal muscles. To Watson the scene made no sense. The thought of the young woman having been a prostitute until she met her attacker or was simply walking the streets did not seem right. The bruising of strangulation on her neck felt revolting.

“She met her attacker in a room. She was naked when she was strangled. Was she in a bed?” asked Holmes.

“She was.” replied Lestrade.

Watson tried to deduce what Sherlock had said. “She looks to be strong.”

“Yes, a regimen of both Yoga and cardio fitness I’d imagine.” said Sherlock to no one in particular.

“Was she raped?” asked Watson, glancing over to Inspector Lestrade and dreading the answer.

“We are not sure, tests were inconclusive.” Lestrade replied.

Sherlock did not seem to think so.

“She was found by a woman?” asked Holmes. Lestrade replied with short “Yes”.

“At a hotel, in Soho?”

Again Lestrade replied with an affirmative, but spoke the words under his breath.

“So in all likelihood she was there with another woman?”

“Yes, it’s a hotel that caters to ehhh Lesbians”

At the hotel in Soho

Watson could still make out the exact location the woman had been found on the bed. The crime scene was undisturbed.

“So who was she with?” asked Holmes.

“We haven’t figured that out yet, it happened late last night. The hotel was busy, and the woman at the door only remembers the victim entered alone”

“And the perpetrator left almost no trace evidence?” asked Watson.

“None. We are not sure how they managed it. The room is spotless. No finger prints. No hairs. In fact we are not certain how the body ended up with so little fiber from the sheets”

“That is because the perpetrator took the sheet the body was lying on after she cleaned it and the bed room. She rolled the body from the sheet and took it with her” Holmes replied with absolute certainty in his voice.

To Watson the deductions were fanciful. Wiping down the room was possible, but rarely did a perpetrator manage it properly. But cleaning a body?

Holmes’s mind was instead racing along. Irene Adler, she had the right knowledge of police procedures. It had to have been somebody strong, perhaps even two perpetrators. Holmes thought of Mary, Watson’s wife. The idea either Irene or Mary being involved seemed ludicrous. Was his subconscious telling him to be on the lookout for two women?

“There is a blonde woman we are trying to trace, but beyond hair color we have nothing.” said Lestrade almost as an afterthought.

“How is she involved? Do you consider her a suspect? Asked Watson.

“To early to say. It was busy and this is all we got from the woman at the door.”

Somewhere in a building in modern day London

“I think you are enjoying the Sherlock-sim too much. All walking around in bowler hats and making deductions.” Olivia said to Gilbert after she watched the scene in the hotel bedroom.

“I like Arthur Conan Doyle’s work. But this sim was set up to allow free association from the modern world without being too alien so as to be useless.”

“And Irene Adler, I believe she only appeared in one story. Didn’t she?”

“Yes she did,” Gilbert responded. “I programmed her to be clever, smarter than Sherlock in the hopes he would at least consider the improbable. At this moment the Sherlock-sim is giving it serious thought there may be two perpetrators.”

“I suppose that would be easier to consider than a woman being the sole genius murderer.” Olivia said to the screen hoping her comment was not too judgmental.

“The setting may be 1890s but I assure you the simulator makes no judgment on gender roles.”

“From what I have seen there are more men than women, seems sexist to me.”

“It is a truthful interpretation of our own world.” Gilbert responded sounding apologetically.

Olivia decided to steer the conversation back to the case. “Does your algorithm have to talk so much?”

“That is the scenario talking back at us. It is interpreting the knowledge gained for humans.”

“And you write everything they say down by hand?”

“No, it is automatically fed into the Met search engine. I occasionally tweak the parameters. Currently the simulation is a beta implementation and it does require maintenance.”

Olivia had understood the software was still new, but Gilbert had pointed her to the Artificial Intelligence being the crucial element, it had to learn. Olivia observed what Gilbert was typing. He made slight alterations to a complicated query. He appeared to be narrowing down the suspect list to just women, highly educated, Lesbian. Then followed a series of body parameters: tall, slender but strongly build, blonde. The Sherlock-sim also added parameters, but it appeared as that part of the simulation had runs its course. After Gilbert had adjusted the search parameters further it was fed into the Met search engine. Olivia headed back to her office to consult her colleagues on the results.

Chapter 3

Somewhere in a building in modern day London (Olivia’s office)

As Olivia stared at the results of the query she knew in an instant it had not helped the investigations. There were no precise matches, and the closest resemblances simply were not close enough. She suddenly felt ashamed at having raised her hopes that Gilbert’s simulation of independent learning agents (as he called them) would be able to solve a crime her team had been investigating for months. The murder of Suzanna Hargrave had happened in the autumn, the simulation of her body displayed in the mortuary had opened a flood of bad memories Olivia had repressed from the time she investigated the body and the crime scene in that awful little hotel in Soho. Her six months were almost up, if she did not charge anyone she would be removed from the case as a matter of routine. A precaution to prevent anyone fixating on a crime they did not solve.

221B Baker Street

“I am afraid the descriptions came up trumps.” Lestrade said to Sherlock. Each of them was holding a glass of brandy.

Sherlock was not perturbed by Lestrade’s comment, he responded. “There are plenty of women in this city, plenty that have committed a crime, but few for murder and even fewer that are free.”

Watson tried to joggle the matter open, “Are there none with records for violent crimes?”

“None.” replied Lestrade curtly.

“We will have to consider there were two perpetrators. Perhaps one who strangled the victim and one who cleaned the crime scene” Holmes said.

“Could not a man have entered the hotel?” asked Watson.

“Unlikely,” responded Lestrade. “The bouncer at the door may be a woman, but she is fierce.”

“And if two perpetrators arrived and left at different time it is hard to get a fix.”

“Two murderers, murderesses. It’s hard to believe.” Watson said with a tone incredulous, but he got no nod from Lestrade.

“The woman who cleaned the crime scene…” Sherlock said to neither of his companion in particular. “She must have some background in forensics”

Lestrade responded. “We are already looking into possible suspects.”

Watson asked Lestrade. “You don’t know who the victim was, or how she knew her murderer?”

“No, we are assuming she is from out of town. She left no trace other than her own naked body on the bed. The bouncer and the woman at the desk say she asked for a room for the night. She paid in cash. They confirmed she arrived just after seven in the evening and carried a small bag”.

“Did she ask for a room with a bath?” asked Holmes.

Watson couldn’t remember what the ensuite bathroom looked like.

“Yes she did” said Lestrade to Holmes with a frown. The detective must have believed Holmes was on to something.

“Then she is from out of town, have a look at the train tables.”

“She could have come from any station. Paddington, Victoria, King’s Cross…” Watson trailed, he could not see the sense of this line of inquiry.

“She must have also known her victim, no point looking in the papers for messages about an appointment at that hotel. Did no one see her?” asked Holmes

“No” responded Lestrade.

Somewhere in a building in modern day London

“So far your algorithm is not making any progress” said Olivia to Gilbert. Gilbert was furiously typing queries and adjustments to the algorithm. “And why did he look in the newspaper?”

“Same as for asking if anyone had seen her. In the simulation the newspapers are a simulacrum for modern day social networks. The same goes for when he asked Lestrade of anyone had seen her. That is code for all our surveillance records.”

Gilbert had stopped typing, Olivia could see he had not finished what he had started. Gilbert appeared to have doubts.

“Look Gilbert. I have got some bad news. The Met tried your earlier query and did not find a suitable suspect. They tried broadening the parameters and arrested a woman at a hotel in Bayswater.”

Gilbert looked up from his screen at Olivia. “And?”

“Well, it transpired she was an undercover operative for MI5, investigating some militant leftist group. The arrest team transmitted her name in plain text, now her cover is blown. There is going to be a shitstorm on us from the Home secretary when she finds out”.

Gilbert looked despondent. After 20 seconds he continued to type. Olivia could see he was relaying the disaster to the simulator. He still focused on letting it learn from its mistakes.

221B Baker Street

Watson couldn’t remember how long the room had been silent. It felt like minutes. Then just as Watson wanted to steer the conversation back to the case did Lestrade pre-empt him.

“I am afraid to say this case has made more casualties than the woman in the mortuary. We arrested a, we thought, a Lesbian woman in a hotel in Bayswater. Her match was a long-shot. It transpires she was a confident for a left radicals group and secretly reported to the Home Secretary.”

Sherlock’s eyes closed, for a moment he felt unwell. This case made no sense. His mind was fixated on Irene Adler, was she a police woman? Was Mary Morstan a police woman? Does she know how to clean a crime scene?

Somewhere in a building in modern day London

Olivia had watched the despondent response given by Sherlock to Lestrade’s news. She could see that for a moment the simulator had malfunctioned. Almost the Sherlock-sim had become aware it was being steered. From her understanding of a prior briefing the simulator was an absolute necessity for successful free association.

Olivia wanted to quit the project. She considered it proven that the simulator couldn’t solve crimes this original and rare. Just as she wanted to inform Gilbert did an insight strike her.

“We have been looking for a woman who is an acknowledged Lesbian. I think we should broaden the parameter to match a closeted woman”

“Social media analysis and search engine history means that few people are in the closet, for us”

“Try me!” said Olivia.

Chapter 4

221B Baker Street

Watson watched Sherlock lost in his thoughts. Next to him inspector Lestrade was turning the last of his brandy over in his glass.

“The woman who cleaned the murder scene may not be a Lesbian at all. Or at least is not publicly acknowledged to be one.” Sherlock finally said.

Lestrade responded “Not many who are would publicly acknowledge such a thing.”

Watson finished this trail his thought in the hopes he could understand what the meant. “You mean she is in the closet? Well good luck finding the suspect. You could look pretty much anywhere.”

“I care not to think about such impossibilities.” said Sherlock.

Sherlock’s mind was in turmoil. What did the suspect look like if she was so secretive? Irene has always been secretive, even the flirting could not absolutely confirm her interest in men. She wore male costume on a number of occasions to change character and impinge on an unwitting target from another angle. Female perpetrators of murder were so difficult to catch, if they were not standing next to the body and fully admitted they were the perpetrators. What was going on in the mind of this woman? Was his theory of there being two women still valid? One woman physically strangled the girl to death while the other cleaned the crime scene. It sounded too far-fetched in Sherlock’s mind. If it was true, did the second perpetrator, the one who cleaned the crime interact with the first perpetrator? Or did she follow her around, watching and helping from the shadows?

Somewhere in a building in modern day London

“The parameters have been adjusted. We are now looking for a woman. Aged in her thirties with a history of forensics and who may be a closeted Lesbian.” said Gilbert.

Olivia looked at the query and did not feel hopeful. It appeared too farfetched. “The Sherlock-sim does not interact with many women directly. He speaks of Irene Adler, but I have not seen them together. And he only occasionally observes Mary.”

Gilbert was about to respond to that criticism. But he could not dispel it. “Both were a late addition.”

“Based solely on fictional characters? Sherlock won’t learn much from that.”

“I based Irene Adler on you, even Mary has something of you in her.”

Olivia shifted her weight to her other leg. She looked Gilbert in the eye. “May I ask why?”

“I needed a model for a woman that would challenge the Sherlock-sim. With your background in criminology you fit the bill.”

Olivia reflected on this. She already guessed Gilbert was socially awkward, she must have spotted her participation as a role model sooner. Now that she was personally invested she had to consider if the simulation was flawed to begin with.

“Irene is sometimes considered a quasi-villian. Do you see me as villain?” She asked.

Gilbert responded with a careful tone. “Sherlock perceives Irene as a sometime villain. That is part of the narrative. I hoped it would challenge the Sherlock-sim to make unexpected connections. Mary on the other hand fills a similar need for Doctor Watson, but without the villain role. That way we get the best of both worlds.”

“It also explains why she was wearing Louboutin’s” Olivia responded in a serious, but meant it as a tease.

“Hmm, they are the same model as what you wear.” Gilbert said.

“I am sure they are”. Olivia leaned over besides Gilbert. She wanted to observe Sherlock’s face and try and deduce what is algorithm was thinking. She could feel Gilbert’s eyes glance over her flank and skirt.

“I think we need to error correct an issue.” Olivia finally said as she straightened out. “The fact that Sherlock is not a women will limit his perception of how an intelligent female criminal mind works.”

“The simulation is intended to work on cases from our perspective, not from the mind of the criminal.” Gilbert responded.

“But Sherlock-sim does try to deduce what a criminal thinks does he not?”

“Yes, but only to a limited extent. He produces queries from evidence based on unexpected interaction and learning abilities.”

“We need to adjust the algorithm to account for me being a woman” said Olivia. “I think Sherlock needs to consider her being an ally instead of potential enemy. At this moment the query’s produced are far too vague.”

Gilbert considered this for a moment. He could not deny that parts of the simulation were still work in progress. For as long as he had been working on the simulation Irene Adler and Mary Watson were included, but only recently did he flesh them out. Gilbert started to adjust the parameters of the simulation.

221B Baker Street

Sherlock could the thought processes of his mind changing. Previously hard-learned knowledge was shifting at an instance. Someone was tugging at his mind. A new direction. It did not need to be Irene or Mary.

Somewhere in a building in modern day London

“That nearly did not go right.” Gilbert said to Olivia as he was still typing alterations.

“Was he self-aware? That is amazing.” Olivia said as she watched Gilbert adjust the simulation.

“Self-aware it not a certainty, but we nearly did scramble all the neural links between the learning nodes. That would have corrupted the simulation.”

“I still think Sherlock needs to better intuit what motivates perpetrators. I feel like he is cold and distant, not like Dr. Watson or even Lestrade.”

“They are there to help Sherlock. Their personas are limited in free association and easily replaced. Sherlock makes deduction based on evidence.” but Gilbert was interrupted.

“And complex circumstances. Motivation is complex Gilbert.”

Gilbert had long considered the possibility, but the risk of breaking the simulator had meant he would allow the Sherlock-sim to speculate about motivation for many more months.”

“Adjust the simulator once more, and let him feel what Irene Adler would feel as if she was a part of Sherlock. An alternative inner monologue different from Dr. Watson and Inspector Lestrade.

Gilbert adjusted the simulation.

Chapter 5

221B Baker Street

For Sherlock the situation felt as clear as day. He looked outside of his room at 221B Baker Street and saw that everything should be as it is. The realization came upon in an instant, he could still feel the soreness of the goose bumps. His suspect was familiar with the case. She must work at the Met, or be otherwise closely involved. She was not openly attracted to other women, she would not have obtained her position otherwise. This realization felt liberating. He tried to explain it to Watson, but his friend merely had a worried look on his face. Inspector Lestrade did note down everything he said and seemed to understand the implications that the perpetrator had access to the information of the investigation.

The woman must have read all the correspondence between him and the Met, on this case and all others. She could have wrong-footed him with speculation there were two suspects. Sadly the young woman at the hotel died before he could make this deduction.

Somewhere in a building in modern day London

The query that had been sent to her colleagues felt oddly too specific to Olivia. As the possibility included that the suspect worked for the police all social correspondence would be included in the query. Normally it would require a court order, but those in the Met had to sign a waiver. Olivia feared she might end up knowing the perpetrator. She considered her female colleagues for a moment. There were plenty who were openly Lesbian. They were excluded from the query but might end up in the dragnet afterwards. Olivia herself was not immune to the query either. She could not countenance the possibility some of her female colleagues had reported their one night stands in the past. She would discuss the possibility with her chief superintendent to preempt controversy.

The telephone in Gilbert’s office rang. Gilbert was immediately alarmed by the noise. Olivia suspected he rarely got phone calls. She picked up the phone. It was a member of her team.

“Olivia?”

“Yes.”

“We got’em. We got her.”

“Who was it?” Olivia sounded worried

“It is as Gilbert’s query said it was. One of our own, Detective Heather McMillan. She already told us something about how she did it. We got her stripped and put in plastic right now.”

“Thank you. I will come down now.”

Olivia considered the situation. Her fear had partly subsided. Heather was new to the Met. She worked for another team, but did have access. Two prior passes Olivia had made had not worked. She had worked before in Birmingham and Glasgow. Now those services would also become involved. At least the murder of Suzanna Hargrave had been solved.

221B Baker Street

Watson did not know what to make of this strange case. Yet, Watson could feel a change had occurred in Sherlock, it happened when his friend rambled on about ‘changing the parameters of the suspect’. Both he and Lestrade had looked at each other in worry. Watson wondered if cocaine was at the heart, but Lestrade had responded to the description an hour ago with a message that a woman had been caught. She worked at the Met as a filing clerk and thus had access to all the materials.

“Tell me more about how you will write down this case Watson. I want to know how you will amaze your readers” Sherlock lied, he wanted to know what he had initially missed.

“Truth to be hold I am not certain. A lot of this case deals subjects people don’t discuss, morality and so on. And as for your breakthrough. How do I explain it without making it a Deus Ex Machina. Readers will want to know what changed your mind.”

“I came to the conclusion the perpetrator was intimately familiar with the case. I know we were being observed and as such our observations were flawed. Are you familiar with the Heisenberg principle?”

“Somewhat, proposed by Gustave Heisenberg in 1830 something. The fact that we observe a situation means we are also altering it.”

“Close enough. I think you can still write your story, or at least the morale of it.”

“I shall make something up.” replied Watson and he picked up his evening newspapers to read through the Met announcement with care.

“One small thing bothers me. I thought there should be two suspects. The woman Lestrade caught is a brunette and I can’t be certain she cleaned the crime scene. I thought there would have been a second, a blonde”

Somewhere in a building in modern day London

Olivia felt terrified at the revelation the perpetrator turned out to be a homicide detective working at the Met. The feeling of betrayal, exposure and the idea of the political consequences filled her with dread. The feeling mixed with her desire to celebrate the successful conclusion of the investigation. Suddenly the room in which Gilbert ran his simulations felt cold, and small and cramped. Gilbert also seemed to be in shock.

Olivia felt she was out of her place and out of her depth. She felt cold shivers and goose bumps over her body. The thought of taking a warm bath appealed, her bra, stockings and garter belt suddenly hurt as goose bumps spread.

“I need to get out of here” she said to Gilbert. Gilbert placed his glasses on his desk and started to massage his face. “I know what you mean.”

Olivia considered a good idea she take gilbert with her. They could talk and she could guide her through what had just happened. No doubt he chief superintendent would make his rounds soon enough. It would be better he did not hear how the case was pursued from Gilbert. The software engineer lacked the finer abilities of making politics.

“You should come with,” she said to Gilbert. “I know a place in Belgravia. Good food, cheap drinks, naked sauna.”

Gilbert considered the proposal. It all appealed, apart from the latter, but her flirting had not gone unnoticed. Gilbert accepted Olivia’s proposal.

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