The Adventure of the Mysterious Benefactor

Part 17

by Stacey (SST205 at aol.com)
As they passed the secretary's desk, Holmes touched his cap and said, "Good day, young lady. I hope you get to the bottom of Mister Fayre's financial problem, soon."
The young woman's eyes flew open and her jaw dropped. Recovering herself, she stammered, "Th-thank you, sir."
When Holmes and Watson were in the elevator again, Watson turned to his companion and asked, What financial problem, Holmes?"
Holmes cast a side glance at his friend. "When Ashton Fayre's secratary dropped the papers and I stooped to pick them up, I noted the content."
"Which was?"
"There were three columns on the paper--one of numbers, one with the letters 'w' and 'd', and one that contained dates."
The elevator reached the bottom floor, the door opened, and the two stepped out.
"The numerical amounts went down after lines that contained a 'w', and up after lines that contained a 'd'. I surmised, then, that the 'd' stood for 'deposit', and the 'w' for 'withdrawal'.
The two walked out of the building, and got into the car.
"So, where is the problem, old chap?" Watson asked, starting the car and turning it toward the gate.
"Behind some of the dates on the paper, a question mark was written in red ink; always in a line that contained a 'w'--for withdrawal. I believe the reason is that somehow money is disappearing from company funds without Ashton Fayre's authorization."
"My word, Holmes! Who could be taking it?"
Holmes was silent a moment, gazing out the window. "I'm not sure, yet. I need more facts."
The next day was Saturday. Holmes called Deidre and Wiggins to Baker Street soon after breakfast.
"What's up, Mister Holmes?" Wiggins asked.
"Yeah, where's Tennyson?" Deidre chimed in, looking around.
"We'll be seeing him, soon." Holmes assured them. "First, I need to inform you about two visits I've made since we last met....."
The two Irregulars listened intently as Holmes described his encounters with both Caroline Fayre and her twin brother Ashton.
"Why, that--"
Deidre clenched her fists after hearing what Mr. Fayre had said about his son. "Freak, indeed! I ought to--"
"Now, Deidre, violence will get us nowhere." Holmes said calmly.
"What about the money?" Wiggins wondered aloud, mainly to get his friend's mind off of her anger. "The money left on Miss Fayre's doorstep, I mean. Who could be leaving it?"
"Mm--yes," said Deidre after a pause, and Wiggins breathed a sigh of relief. "Maybe some other businessperson who feels sorry for Miss Fayre; or at least, someone better off than her."
"But why Caroline Fayre?" Holmes asked, eyeing the two teens with a grin. "There are other poor people in New London to be catered to."
Wiggins frowned. "Maybe it's an old friend."
"Miss Fayre's very nice--maybe it's someone she did a favor for--and they're paying her back." Deidre ventured.
Holmes rested his elbow on his arm, his chin on his fist and eyed them levelly. "Perhaps--but what proof do you have to back your theories up?"
The teens looked at each other sadly.
"Aw, Mister Holmes." Wiggins groaned.
"We'll never be as good as you are at figuring things out." Deidre said ruefully.
"Come now, my dears--never say never." Holmes answered, looking up at the clock. "Ah, it's nearly half past nine. Watson should be back soon."

On to part 18!
Part 1,Part 2,Part 3,Part 4,Part 5,Part 6,Part 7,Part 8,Part 9,Part 10,Part 11,Part 12,Part 13,Part 14,Part 15, andPart 16.
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