Chapter 61: Further Questions

When I awoke on Monday morning, I found that Holmes had preceded me by at least an hour. His breakfast tray was empty and he had already filled the sitting room with smoke and newspapers.

"Good morning, Watson," he said. "I've been rambling through the files a bit. You've done a wonderful job of keeping them all organized, but I still can't find what I want."

"I'm sure it's quite all right, Holmes," I replied. "They are your files, after all."

"Quite so," he answered. "You won't mind if I ask a few questions while you eat, will you?"

"Not at all," I replied. "You won't mind if I open a few windows?"

Holmes laughed and set his pipe upon the mantle. "Of course, not, Watson," he said. "I can even refrain from smoking until you're prepared to join me."

"Fair enough, Holmes," I agreed. "Ask away."

"Regarding the 'Easter Bombers,'" he said, "I presume you are aware that the words 'tell me about your sweetie' do not appear as such in the email quoted by The Telegraph?"

"Indeed I do," I replied. "The actual words were, 'tell me that how is ur sweety girl friend,' and those were the words on my mind when I fell asleep. But when you told me what I'd been saying, I immediately recognized 'tell me about your sweetie.' That phrase was prominent in my dream, Holmes."

"Can you tell me more about the dream?" he asked.

"Not much," I answered. "It was mostly a dream of words. I fell asleep thinking, 'Tell me that how is ur sweety girl friend,' and woke up thinking, 'Tell me about your sweetie.' That's all I remember."

"It's a good translation, in my opinion," replied the detective. "It carries the same meaning, and it rolls off the tongue much better. I wonder whether there was an incentive for the man on the Pakistani end to appear nearly illiterate. We may find out eventually."

"I wouldn't venture to guess, Holmes," I demurred.

"Rightly so, Watson," he returned. "Tell me what you know and let me worry about the rest."

"What else do to you want?" I asked. Having sat alone and read news clippings for most of the past week, I was only too eager to engage in conversation.

"Last night," my friend continued, "you said the 'Easter Bomber' investigators never found any explosives, nor any items that could be used to make explosives, nor any weapons of any kind. Do you recall what, other than the trail of coded emails, they did find?"

"According to the papers, which have been notoriously inaccurate," I said, "they found an A-to-Z with some streets marked, and photos of the 'Easter Bombers' dressed as commandos. It was also reported that some of the 'Easter Bombers' had been seen taking pictures of public buildings. I remember a quote from a police spokesman, who said, 'these men were no tourists, and taking these pictures was highly suspicious.'"

"No martyrdom videos?" asked Holmes.

"None reported," I replied.

"As I suspected," said my friend.

"Why is that?" I asked.

"You would have mentioned them last night had they been reported," he answered. "I haven't lived with you all these years for nothing!"

"And here I thought it was something brilliant, or difficult," I admitted.

Holmes chuckled. "You should be over that by now, my friend."

I nodded and Holmes continued. "Is there any doubt in your mind that Bob Quick fell on his sword, so to speak, to drive The Guardian's Ian Tomlinson video off the front pages?"

"Do you really think so?" I asked. "I've had my suspicions, but --"

"Seriously, Watson?" Holmes seemed taken aback. "Again you surprise me. There are several hidden entrances to Number 10, and they are all well used. No one uses the front door unless he wishes to be photographed going to see the Prime Minister. And no one carries secret documents past a pack of photographers unless he wishes those documents to be photographed. That much is clear, surely?"

"I'll defer to your wisdom," I said, "but it's not a popular interpretation. You'd be surprised at the number of papers which used words like 'inadvertent' or 'unwitting' to describe Quick's 'blunder,'" I said.

"Oh, no, I wouldn't," replied Holmes, "and neither should you. We've seen that pack of wolves in action for long enough, haven't we?"

I could hardly disagree, and Holmes continued. "The lack of martyrdom videos is a notable feature. In such cases they almost always exist. Without martyrdom videos, the authorities only had emails and photographs. This aspect of the story reminds me of the Michael Reynolds case."

"Who is, or was, Michael Reynolds?" I asked.

"Shame on me for not keeping you up to date on my recent travels," said Holmes. "I shall tell you all about Michael Reynolds, and several other knuckleheads, presently. But at the moment I'm looking for an indication of whether something momentous happened in the United States just prior to the arrests of the 'Liquid Bombers.'"

"Why the United States?" I asked.

"According to the most believable story you found concerning the arrests of the 'Liquid Bombers,'" said Holmes, "their arrests were triggered by action taken by Americans in Pakistan. I was wondering what they needed to drive off the front pages of their papers."

"I can look for that later," I offered. "Tell me about Michael Reynolds."

"Have you finished your breakfast, Watson?" asked my friend, and I nodded.

"Bring your coffee," he said. "Fill a pipe. Sit down and I will tell you some of what I have been learning lately."

I could hardly resist.