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From Watson’s Tin Box – The Norwood Builder

From Watson’s Tin Box – The Norwood Builder

“Somewhere in the vaults of the bank of Cox and Co., at Charing Cross, there is a travel-worn and battered tin dispatch-box with my name, John H. Watson, MD, Late Indian Army, painted upon the lid.”

– The Problem of Thor Bridge (THOR)

Familiar as I was with my friend’s methods, it was not difficult for me to follow his deductions, and to observe the untidiness of attire, the sheaf of legal papers, the watch-charm, and the breathing which had prompted them. Our client, however, stared in amazement. ~ WTB NORW Evidence Box

Watson’s Tin Box, a BSI scion that meets in Columbia, Maryland, shares a few select items from their tin evidence box for The Adventure of the Norwood Builder with us here at The Fourth Garrideb. These evidence boxes were originally created by the late Paul Churchill, BSI, one of the founders of Watson’s Tin Box and contains both genuine artifacts and genuine faux reproductions that he (and others) created. These items create a great deal of discussion at their monthly meetings and we hope it will do the same here. Enjoy!

‘If you had looked at it, sir, you would have seen at a glance what the errand is on which I have come to you this morning. I feel as if my name and my misfortune must be in every man’s mouth.’ He turned it over to expose the central page. ‘Here it is, and with your permission I will read it to you. Listen to this, Mr Holmes. The headlines are: MYSTERIOUS AFFAIR AT LOWER NORWOOD. DISAPPEARANCE OF A WELL-KNOWN BUILDER. SUSPICION OF MURDER AND ARSON. A CLUE TO THE CRIMINAL.~ WTB NORW Evidence Box
He had in his hand several sheets of a note-book, covered with scribbled writing – here they are – and he laid them on my table. ~ WTB NORW Evidence Box
The will was duly finished, signed, and witnessed by my clerk. This is it on the blue paper, and these slips, as I have explained, are the rough draft. ~ WTB NORW Evidence Box

Mr Jonas Oldacre then informed me that there were a number of documents – building leases, title – deeds, mortgages, scrip, and so forth – which it was necessary that I should see and understand. ~ WTB NORW Evidence Box

She rummaged in a bureau, and presently she produced a photograph of a woman, shamefully defaced and mutilated with a knife. “That is my own photograph,” said she. “He sent it to me in that state, with his curse, upon my wedding morning.” ~ WTB NORW Evidence Box
‘This place, Deep Dene House, is a big modern villa of staring brick, standing back in its own grounds, with a laurel-clumped lawn in front of it. To the right and some distance back from the road was the timber-yard which had been the scene of the fire. Here’s a rough plan on a leaf of my note-book. ~ WTB NORW Evidence Box
They were not, so far as I could judge, of any great value, nor did the bankbook show that Mr Oldacre was in such very affluent circumstances. But it seemed to me that all the papers were not there. ~ WTB NORW Evidence Box
An open telegram lay upon the table.
‘What do you think of this, Watson?’ he asked, tossing it across.
It was from Norwood, and ran as follows:
IMPORTANT FRESH EVIDENCE TO HAND. MCFARLANE’S GUILT DEFINITELY ESTABLISHED. ADVISE YOU TO ABANDON CASE. LESTRADE ~ WTB NORW Evidence Box
‘Well, then, will you please compare that print with this wax impression of young McFarlane’s right thumb, taken by my orders this morning?’
As he held the waxen print close to the blood-stain it did not take a magnifying glass to see that the two were undoubtedly from the same thumb. It was evident to me that our unfortunate client was lost. ~ WTB NORW Evidence Box

During the last year or two things have gone against him – secret speculation, I think – and he finds himself in a bad way. He determines to swindle his creditors, and for this purpose he pays large cheques to a certain Mr Cornelius, who is, I imagine, himself under another name. I have not traced these cheques yet, but I have no doubt that they were banked under that name at some provincial town where Oldacre from time to time led a double existence. He intended to change his name altogether, draw this money, and vanish, starting life again elsewhere.’ ~ WTB NORW Evidence Box  

Thanks to the 42nd Garrideb, Denny Dobry, for the scans in this post. Thanks also to Debbie Clark, the 58th Garrideb, the current keeper of the evidence boxes.

Watson’s Tin Box, a BSI scion in Columbia, MD, is one of the most active Sherlockian groups in the Middle Atlantic region, Generally meeting on the last Monday of each month, the meetings feature canonical toasts, good conversations and dining, as well as a discussion of the month’s featured story and an educational presentation. For more information about Watson’s Tin Box, please visit their website HERE.

Data! Data! Data! – The Norwood Builder

Data! Data! Data! – The Norwood Builder

“‘Data! Data! Data!‘ he cried impatiently. ‘I can’t make bricks without clay.’” – The Adventures of The Copper Beeches (COPP) This column is composed of material (Data!) developed for a short course called Appreciating Sherlock Holmes that I taught twice a year in the Community Education Life Enrichment Program for a local community college.  It is composed of… Continue Reading

The Inquisition – The Norwood Builder

The Inquisition – The Norwood Builder

“Now we have the Sherlock Holmes test …” –  A Scandal in Bohemia (SCAN) Sharpen your pencils! How well do you know your Canon and The Adventure of the Norwood Builder.   1. Whose death does Holmes appear to lament in the story’s opening paragraphs? 2. Watson is living with Holmes again. Who bought his Kensington… Continue Reading

The 17 Steps: The Norwood Builder

The 17 Steps: The Norwood Builder

Seventeen thoughts for further ponderance of the case at hand – The Norwood Builder (NORW) LIFE WITHOUT PROFESSOR MORIARTY “The community is certainly the gainer, and no one the loser, save the poor out-of-work specialist, whose occupation has gone. With that man in the field, one’s morning paper presented infinite possibilities. Often it was only the… Continue Reading

The 1995 Sherlock Holmes Philatelic Numismatic Covers

The 1995 Sherlock Holmes Philatelic Numismatic Covers

“Or did it come through the post?” – The Adventure of the Reigate Squire (REIG) In October 1993, the United Kingdom issued five different 24 pence stamps featuring Sherlock Holmes themes. In May 1995, a set of five different Philatelic – Numismatic Combination Covers (envelope with postal cancellation and a numismatic item, usually a coin) or… Continue Reading

Video: Sherlock Holmes & Numismatics – 1991 ANA Convention Presentation

Video: Sherlock Holmes & Numismatics – 1991 ANA Convention Presentation

“… and had delivered his usual brilliant lecture to a crowded class.” – The Adventure of The Creeping Man (CREE) During the American Numismatic Association’s (ANA) 100th Anniversary Convention (aka The World’s Fair of Money, the first ANA convention to use this marketing theme) in August, 1991, the then Vice President of the ANA, Edward C. Rochette,… Continue Reading