We stood shivering at the foot of a hill in the city's West End. A body, living or dead, we knew not which, lie at the crest. Fog shrouded our view, but the telltale signs were impossible to miss. This was an industrial area, a place long forgotten by respectable members of society, now overrun by the denizens of Providence who were filled with criminal intent. This would not be the first body to be found in this wretched place, nor would it be the last, I am sorry to tell you.
"It appears we have a dead one," said Holmes, closing his cloak around his throat. I shivered and agreed.
"Perhaps he is not as dead as he appears to be," the inspector continued as he scanned the area, looking for clues. "But this is a desolate place, a good place for a murder," said he.
"Or, a good place to dispose of a recently murdered body," I added.
"Elementary, Dr. Watson."
"We need a closer look," said my friend and companion. Sherlock, "but I dare not approach until I'm certain the scene is safe!"
"The city is never completely safe, vagabonds and cretins abound, mischief surrounds us, and dare I say-murderers!
"Look there, Watson, is my mind playing tricks, or did the body just move?"
"Perhaps a trick of light, or a breeze ruffled his clothing," I offered.
"I think not my good friend."
Throwing caution aside we rushed up the hill to get a closer look. The local constables had been notified as well as the fire brigade, their sirens piercing the fog as they drew closer. But alas, not close enough.
"Just as I suspected! said the inspector. "Look here, Doctor, this man has been drinking Karkov Vodka in copious amounts, in the wooded knoll by the creek that runs behind the auto salvage yard. He encountered some persons of dubious intent while drinking, and was robbed, and beaten. He tried to get to his home, which lies yonder," he pointed toward the northwest, "but could go no further, and collapsed where we stand."
"He's alive!" I said, crouching to street level to inspect the body. "But how did you put together the facts and reach such a conclusion?"
"Look closely, my dear Watson! See the mud on his shoes? See the rainbow colors upon the heel? That is oil that comes from only one place in this part of town, the salvage yard! His trousers are wet at the knee, which indicates a fall into a body of water, the only such place in walking distance is the creek that runs behind Allstar Auto Paint. His pockets are turned inside out, indicating a robbery, and the pallor of his skin is caused by no other ingredient on this earth than a Siberian Potato, which the Karkov Vodka Factory uses exclusively in their fermenting process."
I stood there, in the frigid night and gazed upon my longtime friend, simply amazed.
"How then did you surmise that he lives yonder?" I pointed toward the northeast.
"Elementary, said the inspector, filling his pipe with a fine Turkish blend. "The direction of a body acts as a compass needle once intoxicated. You always fall in the direction of home."
The constabulary arrived along with the fire brigade and took the drunken robbery victim away. The aroma from the burning tobacco lingered as we walked away.
"Do you have time to join me in a brandy?" asked the inspector.
"Only if you can assure me there is no potato in the fermentation process."
Holmes smiled then, he seldom laughed, and led the way toward The Yard. More mysteries awaited.