"I'm sorry to have left you so suddenly," he said, "especially for a false alarm."
"What sort of false alarm takes most of the day?" I asked somewhat churlishly, and Holmes chuckled.
"It started out as a false alarm," said he, "but it turned out to be very productive."
"How did that happen?" I inquired.
"It was Mycroft who summoned me this morning," explained Holmes. "He thought he was in the midst of a crisis. But by the time I arrived at his office, the entire matter had been resolved. You may read about it someday, if the Foreign Minister decides to write his memoirs.
"And you know my brother," Holmes continued. "He simply couldn't bring himself to send me back here without offering to compensate me for my trouble."
"What compensation did you request this time?" I asked.
"Since he is so well-connected in government circles," replied my friend, "I asked for his help in locating Dylan Parry, the former friend of Gareth Williams for whom I was looking last week. It didn't take Mycroft long to find him, and I've spent part of the afternoon in conversation with Mr. Parry himself.
"He's a very religious man, Watson," Holmes went on. "As you know, I have no such leanings myself, and I'm sure I would disagree with him about a good many things. But his sincerity is beyond doubt. I have no reason to suspect anything he told me."
"And what did he tell you?" I asked.
"He told a mixed tale," replied the detective. "He described Gareth as witty but socially awkward, brilliant but naive."
"He knew Gareth as a teenager, did he not?" I asked.
"Indeed," replied Holmes. "They rode the train together when Gareth was attending Bangor University part-time. Meanwhile, of course, he was completing his secondary school studies in Bodedern."
"So Gareth was caught between two worlds," I said. "He was 'a child among adults,' as his mother put it. It's no wonder he was socially awkward."
"No, not at all," answered Holmes. "And it's no wonder he seemed naive. Children often do, when they suddenly find themselves in the midst of grownups."
"What else did he say?" I inquired.
"I jotted down a few of his most germane remarks," replied Holmes.
He handed me a sheet of paper bearing these words:
"Gareth was the last person I would have believed would be involved in the murkier elements of life.""What do you think?" asked my friend when I had finished reading.
"He really was about as far from a James Bond figure as it's possible to imagine."
"Gareth was introverted and socially awkward. He wasn't dashing or cavalier or a charmer, although he was extremely nice in a quiet way."
"It would have been very hard to imagine Gareth in a relationship or attracted to the vain things of life."
"There has been a lot of speculation about his sexuality, but he was so introverted as to be asexual."
"Gareth seemed precocious yet naive about the harsher realities of life."
"He wasn't able to form relationships because he was so obsessed with his maths studies."
"He found it difficult to engage with people on a normal level."
"He was so naive, he was someone people could easily take advantage of."
"Gareth was one of the kindest and most decent people I have ever met."
"I wouldn't have thought he was a very good judge of character."
"He was very naive about people."
"It was clear he was going to go far, but we all assumed he would end up in academia."
"Finding out he became a spy was a shock."
"It’s possible he got to know someone who wasn't very safe."
"He was so innocent."
"I think you've found another piece of the puzzle," I replied. "I just wish I knew how all these pieces fit together."