Sherlock Holmes Revisited

Click here for Biography of King Ludwig II

The Case of the Drowned Monarch

by Tony Kendall

Mr. Sherlock Holmes and I had very many interesting cases during our mutual lodging at 221B Baker street. The keen mind of Holmes solved many cases during the years but perhaps the most distressing of all for an Englishman, the death of a monarch could not be solved. The June day in 86 is clear in my mind for it was one of those beautiful summer days that came only once in the proverbial blue moon. The Thames was full of merry boaters with their gentlewomen gaily decked in the latest Paris fashions and protected by the friendly welcome of the sun with colorful parasols.

I had not seen Holmes for a fortnight since I attended a particularly stimulating lecture on anesthesiology at Edinburgh University. I spent additional days visiting my old chaps from the venerable Stoneyhurst. Ahhhhh, but back to the chase as Mr. Holmes might say. Expecting Mr. Holmes not home on such a lovely day, Mrs. Hudson met me at the door with the news that Holmes was in chambers.

"Good Afternoon, Dr. Watson."

"Good afternoon, Mrs. Hudson. It is good to be back to London on such a summer day!"

"Yes, Doctor, tis a lovely day, but excuse me to say, that Mr. Holmes is in such a dreadful state. He paced the floor all morning and refused tea. When he wasn't pacing he was playing music from that dreadful Mendelssohn fellow on his violin."

After Mrs. Hudson's discourse on why all music should be English, I rushed upstairs concerned that Holmes' unexpected melancholy would lead him once again to cocaine and the drowsiness of the drug. Holmes was lounging upon the sofa in a purple dressing-gown, a pipe-rack within his reach upon the right, and a pile of crumpled morning papers, evidently newly studied, near at hand.

"Holmes, what in heaven's name is wrong? Mrs. Hudson is ever so worried with your melancholy and playing Mendelssohn."

Ignoring my question, Mr. Holmes jumped up with such excitement, "My dear Watson, it is so good to see you! God must be an Englishman, but God's conductor must be German. You have been my good friend long enough to know that Mendelssohn is my favorite composer, his music soothes me, and yet I morn for the patron saint of Wagner, although Wagner was not always to my liking."

With my experience gained from being Mr. Holmes friend and fellow investigator, I now realized the meaning of the crumpled newspapers. "Ahhh, Holmes I am so sorry, I forgot that the newspapers reported the death of King Ludwig of Bavaria."

Holmes turned to me with such sadness in his eyes, and grasped my shoulders firmly. "Yes my dear friend, 'tis true. For an Englishman, any death of a monarch is distressing, but I was rather fond of King Ludwig ever since my meeting with him in Munich to solve that delicate situation with the Russian princess. He was a dreamer....and Wagner! But, Germany will not see the likes of him again! I don't understand why Ludwig died, I don't understand it at all."

"Holmes! I know your knowledge of politics is practically nil but even you should know that Ludwig was murdered! As you always taught me, when you remove all the untruths you must have the solution. My dear Holmes, I think the Scottish air has given me new powers of deduction. Let me review the facts for I have also read the newspapers:"

"Holmes, it was a political murder pure and simple. The King gets arrested and conveniently drowns days later. Must I tell you bedtime stories of the Tower to remind you of political murder and accidents"?

Holmes did not immediately comment to my unusually vehement exposition but instead reached for his venerable Persian slipper and started another pipe. "Dr. Watson, I am very much impressed with your deduction and conclusion, but you must never underestimate the passion of the human beast...even a monarch at that. Before you called, a telegram arrived from
my good friend Werner Bertram who gave me an alternative theory and asked for my comments (note: MSN readers can read Bertram's book he published 50 years later, "A Royal Recluse: Memories of Ludwig II, of Bavaria", published by Martin Herpich & Son, Munich 50, Pelkoven-Strasse 54.) Here are his points in the matter of the King's death:"

"Does this mean you shall take the case"?

Holmes put down his pipe, and again sadly stared at me with those normally keen eyes of his, "I regret to say that you and I have more important business with the living monarch here at home. Only God can help the Bavarian King now. We must help the living, His Majesty needs our services. The mystery of King Ludwig's death must be solved by others. Perhaps some day a world-wide network of detectives will unravel the mystery."