We stayed at a comfortable place in Leavenworth yesterday. It’s over a bookstore called A Book For All Seasons at the Innsbrucker Inn. Each room has a unique literary or local theme. Leavenworth is an alpine village with Swiss-inspired architecture, local wineries, chocolatiers and German food. The rooms are dedicated to Chocolate, Wine, The Secret Garden, Shakespeare, Patrick McManus and our room, of course, the Sherlock Holmes room. The log book in the room was filled with stories written by previous guests. Here’s mine, inspired by my missing shampoo.
The Case of the Missing Shampoo
It was a bright early Summer day, Holmes was up and pacing as I arose, late as usual due to my war injuries. “Don’t bother looking,” I heard him say from the other room as I rummaged. “Your shampoo is missing!” I was astonished. Who would have taken it and how would he have known? “Who took my shampoo?” I managed to ask. “We shall soon see,” came a muffled reply. I dressed, combed my dirty hair with my finger tips, and entered our sitting room. It was empty, Holmes had obviously slipped out unseen.
Mrs. Hudson knocked as she entered with a tray of black coffee and toast. “Have you seen Sherlock Holmes?” I asked her. “Why no, but he asked me to remain with you while you breakfast,” she contradicted herself as she sat in the Queen Anne wicker chair. Puzzled at the morning’s mysteries, I lifted the mind-clearing coffee to my lips as there came another knock at the door. The landlady opened it to admit the personage of Sheriff Bo Tully, strangely bundled as if in the Christmas Season. “Come in sir,” I arose.
Dear Reader, you may recall how many times our own Mr. Sherlock Holmes aided Sheriff Tully, who then took all the credit for solving the most dangerous cases threatening the safety of the law-abiding citizens of both continents; a maddening arrangement suitable for Holmes’ purposes. “Good morn’, Sheriff, what brings you here this bright warm day?” “Why, Watson,” came his reply, “He didn’t tell you? He’s invited me to witness the resolution of the Case At Hand and it seems the Game is Afoot. He’s invited all the usual suspects!”
Pondering Games and Feet, I looked out the large south-facing window with a view of the pseudo-Swiss shops and Japanese tourists milling below. There, to my surprise, I spied the famous Willy Wonka with young Charlie Bucket approaching from S’chocolate, cheeks and pockets stuffed with delicious dark sweets. They resembled local chipmunks. They were deftly being shadowed by the young rascal, Wiggins, who picked up their discarded candy wrappers. “Over here, gentlemen,” I shouted as I pointed to the stairs leading up and past the bookstore. Wonka almost floated up, but Charlie paused every second step to bite into a truffle, carelessly litter the wrapper and catch his breath.
As they passed a sign “Eat, Sleep, Read,” a hunch-backed but royally-dressed fellow stepped in behind them muttering “So wise — so young — they say — do never live long.” From inside the door a voice shouted back “The course of true love never did run smooth.”
I gave up on my now-cold toast and arranged chairs for my guests, allowing King Richard III a special seat in the inner chamber. He’d no sooner settle onto the throne when there came a knock-knock on the front door again. “Who’s there?” I asked. Two young girls giggled. “May I help?” I inquired. “You stupid man! Did you forget that MISTER Holmes invited us?” blurted the one named Mary. “Shhh, mind your manners!” said the other. I later learned her name was Martha and although considerably more pleasant, was but the servant girl. “Come in ladies, but remember that there are no secrets in this room,” I waved them to the fold-out love seat.
Mrs. Hudson opened a bottle of vintage Kestrel Malbec and poured a splash into the white wine glasses and coffee mugs and red solo cups, making the best of it. “Mr. Sherlock Holmes asked you all to take a sip of wine before he solves this perplexing case,” she explained. He had her memorize lines which she now recited:
“It ascends me into the brain;
dries me there all the foolish and dull and curdy
vapours which environ it; makes it apprehensive,
quick, forgetive, full of nimble fiery and
delectable shapes, which, delivered o’er to the
voice, the tongue, which is the birth, becomes
Even the children were allowed a drop on their tongues, chocolate-covered, rude and polite alike.
No sooner had we felt the vapours when we heard Holmes’ familiar voice say “Elementary!” from the shelf in the corner of the room. We all turned with a start. What we had assumed to be a large stuffed dog stirred, a mask was removed and Holmes climbed down. “MY GOD MAN,” I exclaimed, that has to be your best disguise yet!
“Sit, good Doctor. I will explain the case of the missing shampoo.” We all sat, slack-jawed in amazement. “I am sure you observed that the towels were folded by a left-handed person. This proclaims the innocence of all but one suspect because the shampoo is HERE.” Holmes reached his right hand with a great dramatic flair into the deep pocket of my brown valise and pulled out both shampoo and my hair brush. “Clearly only a right-handed adult male with a war injury could have placed them in there.” I was overwhelmed by Holmes’ powers of observation and deduction but also overjoyed to see my favorite brush and shampoo. “You put them there yourself, stupid old Dr. Watson,” teased Mary. “There is Magic in everything” said Martha kindly. “Off with his head!” came the order from the bathroom. “Care for a gob-stopper?” asked Willy Wonka as Charlie grabbed the morsel I was offered.
“You mean, my dear Sherlock, that I hid my shampoo from myself?” He grinned as I swallowed the rest of my wine and winked at the Landlady. “Case Closed,” proclaimed Bo Tully. “Perhaps this is one little adventure you don’t need to record for your readers, Watson,” chided the greatest detective of all time.
Perhaps. Perhaps not.