Sherlock Holmes and The Question of Ring’s Wasp

Sherlock Holmes was lamenting the fact that Mrs. Hudson had just removed the remnants of the tea recently consumed by Holmes and his ever present friend and colleague, John H. Watson MD. He left on his plate a small piece of scone which he now regretted not eating. It was enough of a distraction that made him desire that piece of scone even more.

This was the fourth day of heavy rain which limited the outdoor travels of both Holmes and Watson. It was a time for essential travel only, even wearing waxed cotton long coats. Their second floor rooms at 221 B Baker, Marylebone, London, were quite snug enough but Holmes’ long and lanky frame searched for more room to spread out his near lethargic corpse.

Suddenly Holmes bolted upright in his chair; “Watson, have you read the note we received yesterday from that author James Ring? I left it for you on the breakfast table this morning.”

“I did receive it. I have read it. I was just waiting for you to mention it.”

“What do you make of it Watson?” asked Holmes as he reached for the pipe tobacco stored in his old Persian slipper.

“Obviously Ring is challenging you to deduce why he has the image of a beautiful wasp placed on the rear cover of his new book, Necessary Assets.”

“Do you have a theory Watson? Have you read the book?”

“No and Yes,” responded Watson. “I have read the book as it was recommended to me by your brother Mycroft just last week. I have put no thought into Ring’s question to you as that only came to my attention this morning. Have you read the book Holmes?”

“I was given a draft to review by the Home Office before the book was published. They had a few concerns about how far Ring would go in his criticism of their high office.”

“Have you formed an opinion about the presence of the wasp to which Ring now directs our attention? Do you intend to put any effort into what is obviously a marketing ploy?”

“My dear Watson, the joy is in solving the riddle, the origins of which are quite immaterial to me.”

“I see,” said Watson, although he didn’t.

Both men were silent. Watson was watching Holmes’ pipe smoke as it ascended to the ceiling in tight spirals connected twists and turns.

“Of course I have a theory which I am sure is correct. However, I don’t want to tell you just yet. Your brain has become lazy these last few rainy days. Time to wake it up, Watson. I challenge you to come up with you submission for the correct answer to Ring’s question by tomorrow at breakfast. We will submit our answers to Ring and find out that I am, of course, correct in mine.”

Watson was tired of this self promoting and near bullying attitude displayed by Holmes. Who was he to call all the shots? “Tell you what,” replied Watson, “loser has to treat for dinner Saturday evening and furnish two tickets for Puccini’s La Boheme on the bill at Covent Garden.”

“That’s the spirit,” cried Holmes. “A little wager to spice things up is always appreciated. I will enjoy you taking me to dinner and a concert Saturday evening.”

“Your overconfidence will be your down fall Holmes.”

“One more thing Watson, Ring has challenged his readers to see if they can explain the significance of the wasp on the back cover. They are to submit their answers to his website.”

“What prize did he offer?” inquired Watson.

“I don’t know. We will have to ask,” replied Holmes again reaching for the tobacco filled Persian slipper.