A Real Sherlock Holmes (Part 1)


I knew a real-life Sherlock Holmes; my father-in-law. He mirrored the fictional Sherlock to a tee. He was that character we all know and love from the movies; the dapper gentleman from Scotland Yard. You know, the British accent, the pipe smoker (he quit later in his years), and the trench-coat wearer. He was always properly attired frequently donning a business suit with a crisp white shirt and a silk tie. He was a man who had both class in his manner and in his speaking; a gentlemen through and through. To keep his identity private, I will refer to him as Simon Sherlock Holmes.

Separated from his family by War at a very young age, Simon was raised by his aunt. He always remembered the feeling of that frightening night when he heard the sound of boots and his parents’ silhouette fading in the dark while he was whisked away in the opposite direction. He never saw them again.

Simon spent his formative years in England where he went on to study private investigation. England is well known for its detective and spy schools. Even the James Bond movies are thought to emulate the espionage and investigation techniques taught at these schools. After he finished school, Simon, with his suave British accent and debonair manner, set out to work in the world of espionage and intrigue. I can only imagine that he was trained by the best and was equipped with all the magic gadgetry, everything from the sunglasses with cameras to exploding bombs from the touch of a button.

Was he an investigator or a detective? I’m not certain, but I am sure, he did many investigations involving domestic, personal, business and legal matters. I assume he employed an entire range of techniques from surveillance, where he observed and followed people, to preparing court documents and even impersonating to get the information he needed.

Later in his career, Simon’s work focused more in the area of discrete surveillance. His cases ranged from investigating cheating spouses to illegal insurance claims; although he never discussed any of his cases.

In general, Simon excelled at making enquiries, preparing reports and taking statements.

Although Simon never discussed his cases, my mother-in-law, his life partner, revealed some interesting snippets after he passed. You see, she was Simon’s Dr. Watson; a constant companion who helped him with his investigations. She would often accompany him on long trips and be with him while he took pictures for evidence. She actively collaborated in many of Simon Sherlock Holmes’ investigations.

My mother-in-law recalled one story where Simon was following an unfaithful spouse. He had found out where the man was meeting his girlfriend and decided to set up his camera so that he could photograph the man’s indiscretions. In preparation, Simon climbed a ladder to the second story of a building and positioned himself so that he had the perfect view. He watched and snapped as the couple engaged in their romantic tryst. Unfortunately, the gentlemen saw him and before he could think, he had to jump down and run for his life. It was a very close brush my mother-in-law recalled. But Simon got the pictures. A full layout of the man and his girlfriend in the throes of passion!! Caught right in the act; no further proof would be required.

Another recollection, involved the case of a person who had claimed permanent disability for a broken back. Simon was hired by an insurance company to investigate the man as they suspected that he was not disabled as he had claimed. Simon and the missus staked out the man’s residence and sat in their car in hopes of seeing the man. Hours went by and there were no signs of him. There was absolutely not a stir around the house; everything remained calm. After noticing some new tires next to the fence, my mother-in-law came up with a plan to get the man to come outside. They both exited the car, Simon to the bushes and Mrs. to the front door, but not before she let the air out of her front tire. She rang the bell and told him that she had a flat and inquired if the tires that she saw were for sale.

Yes, the man replied.

He motioned that he would join her shortly. Moments later, he walked with my mother-in-law to her car where he bent down easily to examine the tire more closely. He told her that her tire was ruined and showed her one of his by lifting and moving it down the driveway. My mother-in-law thanked him and said she would be back later for the tire. Unbeknownst to the man, Simon was photographing all of his actions from the bushes. Voila ! Once again, Simon got the proof he needed. The false claimer had no idea what had just happened. My in-laws left the car and the street with pictures in hand. One had better be very careful if up to no good, the unsuspecting damsel in distress could be a part of a private eye team deft in catching you in the act!

At one point I had to call for Simon-Sherlock Holmes’ expertise. This is a story of its own to follow.

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See the sequence of this story – ‘Sherlock Holmes (Part 2) – A Call for Help’.

Story by Joanne
Edited by Karen C.

Written by

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