The Weeping Lady
The Weeping Lady7 mins 232 7 mins 232
The storm descended over the Russel street with all its might. Road was empty except for the parallel rows of trees swinging in fury. A man nicely dressed in a suit staggered around the corner, looking back in fear after each step forward. His one hand was clenched in his lower left abdomen over which blood was flowing . Two steps forward and he fell on his face. The storm hovered over him unnoticed.
. . .
Watson was in his kitchen making the mandatory morning coffee when his phone rang. He picked it up thinking it would be about casualties of storm last night. There was whispered nervous sounds from the other end. Watson hung up saying ,"Be right there"
. . .
The usual hurried walkers of street was disturbed today by three police cars and policemen walking around canvasing the area. Few were taking photographs.
Sherlock bend over the body of a man in his late 40s wearing a clean tux. He had a stab wound in his lower stomach. Sherlock kept looking at his hands and smelled them. "The storm last night washed all the blood and possibly evidence too", sighed one of the policeman.
. . .
In the case room Watson read out the file on the deceased. "Henry Wilson,58years old,worked as curator in the British museum for 10years ,divorced, no kids, brother is living in California ,he has been notified. No criminal past. Time of death 9. 30pm last night. The media is circling this case because of the theft of the artwork famously known as "The weeping lady ". Theft was found at 9. 20pm by the cleaning staff. Wilson was supposed to finish his shift at 9pm and head home. There is evidence of him signing out in 9pm and signing in again at 9. 05pm. "
" The painting is still missing isn't it. Did the police check the victims house. " inquired Sherlock.
"Everywhere they searched. Even the museum. No trace of it. " answered Watson not looking up from the report.
"So there must have been another robber. Either they worked together or Wilson was in wrong place at the wrong time. Did you get the autopsy report yet. Any traces of paint in victims body ?"asked Sherlock
"How did you know the victim have paint. Maybe he wasn't near the painting " asked Watson teasingly. "There was smell of paint in his fingertips genius and slight discoloration on his hands ,like he was struggling with an object. What is interesting is that the paint must have been made between last 5and 10years. Newer paint does not retain that smell after washing away. Older paint whereas is very hard to remove from body. If victim went anywhere near the it he must have had lots more in his body. "said Watson tapping the table with his fingers.
Watson thought to himself he would be needing many cup of coffees before they wind up the case. He said "Autopsy showed victim was stabbed with a sharp edged object causing a v shaped wound. The cause of death was hemorrhage and shock. The paint under the nails is navy blue in colour, cheap paint. It looks like it might have been painted a while ago as it was dried paint. "
"Let's go talk to the brother. " said Sherlock
. . .
"Talking to the brother was waste of time. He does not know anything. He hasn't seen his brother for months and he has a solid alibi. What do we know about the other workers in the museum. "asked Sherlock with the annoyance of losing their suspect.
"They all have solid alibis. Even the guy in the only open store next to the museum has alibi. He has CCTV in his store and it shows him reading a book at the time of the murder. The victims bank account is clean. No major money transaction to show he was working with anyone. " Said Watson sipping another cup of coffee
Sherlock shook his head in disappointment and said," So far, we have no evidence of robbery except the painting disappeared. The CCTV ameras a block away shows no one coming in or going out. It was a violent storm and everyone was already tucked in their homes. "
Watson suddenly got excited and said "what if they planned the robbery that way. The storm was already notified days before. Maybe someone used the situation to get away with theft. "
"If that were so, why not take other paintings too. There are many valuable painting in the museum. This is not even the costlier one. I have the history of the painting somewhere here" Sherlock said ruffling through the papers in the table. "got it. The weeping lady was drawn by Alexander Samuel in 1820. It stayed in his family for 114years till they had to give it away when they got bankrupt. Since then it has been passed by numerous museums but the family hated selling it and have tried to buy it numerous times. They never succeeded because of the legal claims by museum. " He paused for a moment and continued
"There's a chance someone from the original family wanted it back so bad they hired someone to rob it for them or robbed it themselves. Wars have been fought for things less than family heirloom. Ask them to check about the family. "
. . .
"The victims autopsy suggested he died slow. He had enough time to walk 150metres with the blood. Why not get help then" thought Sherlock tapping his hands. .
. . .
"I know who killed Wilson. We are going now . The police will meet us near the museum. " Sherlock said waking Watson up from his bed.
. . .
Sherlock and Watson walked up to the store which was the only one open during the storm. The store had an old look about it . The sign held "Antique and painting". Inside one side of shop antique was kept . Other side the walls filled with duplicate of famous paintings, among one was" The Weeping lady" .
"How much is for the weeping lady "Sherlock asked the shopkeeper. The shopkeeper said it's not for sale due to sentimental reasons.
Sherlock said," Sentimental because it is a family heirloom or because you killed a person for it" . The shopkeeper ran out of the shop where the police was waiting for him.
Sherlock stared at the painting lost in another world . Watson tapped his shoulder and asked ,"how did you know it was the shopkeeper"
Sherlock grinned saying," It struck me unusual how we didn't find the body in front of the only open store . In fact it was exact opposite road that body was found . The victim signed out once and entered again. Maybe he forgot a wallet or phone inside. But since he went outside he sure knew all the stores were closed except this one. He was alive when he walked out of the museum. He could have gone to the store and asked help ,but he didn't. The only reason he wouldn't do that was if he already knew no one would be there because the guy who runs the place just stabbed him. Even if the victim forgot about the store in the state of being stabbed it does not explain the CCTV footage. "
"No CCTV around two blocks showed anyone coming in or getting out. So the person and painting had to be still there. Its not easy to manipulate so many CCTV but one CCTV can be manipulated if you already planned it. The shopkeeper must have exchanged that days CCTV footage for some other day. No one would have noticed. I asked the police to run the guys name and find if he's related to the old family. The man who lost the heirloom to bankruptcy is his grandfather. He and his father has been trying to get it back ever since . They got back the money but the museum wouldn't give the painting. So they resorted to stealing. Wilson was not supposed to be there. They planned to replace painting with fake but when Wilson walked in ,stabbed him with edge of the painting. "
"They went to extreme measures to get the painting back. "said Watson
"Not painting Watson. Pride. The painting represented the family's glorious and rich past. Losing that meant losing pride . "answered Sherlock
"Pride isn't worth killing over" replied Watson
"Nothing is worth killing over, Watson, nothing . "sighed Sherlock as they walked back to their rooms