Sherlock Holmes,
Consulting Diplomat

by Mario Huys,
Master Ænigmatist

The Stirring Case of the Double French

My friend Sherlock Holmes has a talent for deciphering riddles exactly as the creator intended. But sometimes he can be remarkably off the mark. Such was the case when one fine afternoon I entered the premises at Baker Street and was greeted by the rich odor of strong coffee wafting through the entire house. It emanated not from the main living room, but from my old bedroom that Holmes had converted to a laboratory.

When I entered, I saw Holmes standing behind a destillation column, where a transparent liquid ran out into what merely looked like a flower pot made of copper with a long iron handle, coated on the inside with some dark powder. On contact the liquid immediately turned pitch black, after which it started boiling, as the pot was heated on a powerful gas stove.

"Ah, Watson, right on time. Close the door, please, and open a window, or Mrs. Hudson will have a fit."

"Making coffee, are we?" I said jovially. "Or is that some kind of sedating powder you're cooking up?"

"No, it's coffee alright. Or rather kahve, Turkish coffee. This pot here is called a cezve. The powder are the coffee beans ground to dust, so that no filtering is needed. Quite impressive, isn't it? I'm making this for a client who sent me this telegram," he said, taking a piece of paper out of his pocket and handing it over to me. Here's what it said:


I checked the back of the paper, but there was nothing there. "This Sir Tinder is coming on a private business over a cup of coffee. Why then would you serve him Turkish coffee, if he didn't ask for it?"

"Dear Watson, there's more to the telegram than meets the eye. Notice the misspelling of the word 'coffee'. Many foreign languages spell it with an 'a', which makes it plausible that the writer is a foreigner and that he's using a false name. Yet he left us a hint as to his identity."

Can you guess the identity of the visitor? Look closely at the signature.

...and when you have formed yourself a theory, click here....

— Dr John H. Watson
via Mario Huys (

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