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юридические услуги Саратов, юристы Саратов написать иск

(Adapted book. Pre-Intermediate level)


‘There seem to be no interesting cases these days, Watson,’ Sherlock Holmes said to me. ‘London isn’t a very interesting place.’

‘I don’t think the people of London will agree with you,’ I answered.

He smiled as he pushed his chair back from the breakfast table. ‘You’re right - I mustn’t be selfish,’ he said. ‘It is better for everybody if detectives like me have little work.’

I smiled too. The world did seem very quiet that morning. Sherlock Holmes sat back in his chair, picked up his newspaper and started reading. Suddenly, there was a loud knock on the front door.

I heard the servant open the door. Then somebody ran into the house and up the stairs. He opened our door and stood in front of us. He looked very frightened.

‘I’m sorry, Mr Holmes,’ he cried. ‘I must talk to you now. I can’t wait. I’m John Hector McFarlane. I’m sure that you know my name.’

‘Sit down, Mr McFarlane,’ said Holmes. ‘No, I don’t know your name. But I can see that you’re an unmarried lawyer.’

The man seemed surprised at this, but it didn’t surprise me. Holmes was a good detective, and even I noticed the mans untidy clothes and the lawyers’ papers in his hand.

‘That’s true, Mr Holmes,’ he replied. ‘And it’s also true that I’m the unhappiest man in London today. Please help me! The police are coming to get me. I’m sure that they followed me here. I’ll go with them if you’ll help me.’

‘The police are coming?’ said Holmes. He looked very happy. I knew that he was hoping for an interesting case. Then he remembered poor Mr McFarlane and said, ‘I’m sorry,

Mr McFarlane. This seems very interesting. Please tell me more. Why are the police looking for you?’

‘They think I killed a man. His name’s Jonas Oldacre.’

The newspaper was still lying on the table, and our visitor picked it up. I noticed that his hands were shaking.

‘Look at your newspaper,’ he said. ‘You’ll see why I’ve come to you, Mr Holmes,’ he said. ‘Look at this.’




I took the newspaper and looked at the report. The police, it said, wanted to find Mr McFarlane.

‘They think I killed Mr Oldacre for his money,’ said the poor man. ‘What will my mother think? What can I do?’

I looked at Mr McFarlane carefully. He was a handsome man with fair hair, and he was probably about twenty-seven years old. His clothes showed that he had plenty of money. Then I looked at Sherlock Holmes. His eyes were closed, so I read him the newspaper report.


Late last night, or early this morning, there was a fire in Sydenham Road in Lower Norwood. The police are worried about Mr Jonas Oldacre, the owner of the house.

Mr Oldacre is well known in the area. He made a lot of money as a builder, but has stopped doing building work. He is sixty-two years old, unmarried and lives at Deep Dene House. He has few friends.

Mr Oldacre still keeps a lot of old wood at the back of his house. When a fire started there last night, at about twelve o’clock, the wood burned fast.

At first, it seemed like an ordinary fire. But then someone noticed that the owner of the house was not there. In one room there were some important papers on the table and signs of a fight. A stick was found on the floor and also some blood.

Mr Oldacre had a visitor last night, a lawyer called John Hector McFarlane. The police think that the stick belongs to him.

There are also signs that something heavy was pulled through the grass, from the house to the fire. Something - an animal or a person - was burned with the old wood. The police think that Mr Oldacre was killed in his house. Then he was taken outside and burned. They are looking for Mr McFarlane. Mr Lestrade, of Scotland Yard, is working on the case.


When I finished reading, Sherlock Holmes opened his eyes. ‘So why, Mr McFarlane, haven’t they found you yet?’ he asked.

‘I live with my mother and father at Torrington Lodge, in Blackheath,’ said Mr McFarlane. ‘But last night I wasn’t at home. I stayed at a hotel in Norwood because my visit to Mr Oldacre finished very late. The police will try to catch me today. I think they’ll come here for me.’

Suddenly there was another knock on the front door, and we heard policemen’s voices. Two men waited outside and one joined us upstairs. It was our friend Lestrade, the detective from Scotland Yard.

Lestrade looked straight at McFarlane and said, ‘John Hector McFarlane, you must come with me. We believe that you killed Jonas Oldacre last night.’

McFarlane stood up. His face was white.

‘Sit down,’ said Holmes. ‘And Mr Lestrade, please sit down too.’

‘But I must take Mr McFarlane away,’ said Lestrade.

‘Half an hour won’t matter to you,’ replied Holmes. ‘And Mr McFarlane wants to tell us what happened last night.’

‘Well, Mr Holmes,’ said Lestrade. ‘Because you’re my good friend, I’ll wait for half an hour - but no more.’

‘Thank you,’ said Holmes. Then he asked Mr McFarlane to tell us his story.

Mr McFarlane began. ‘Yesterday morning I knew nothing about Mr Oldacre except his name. He was a friend of my mother and father a long time ago, but not now. I was very surprised when he came to my office yesterday.

‘I’m a lawyer. Mr Oldacre showed me some papers - his will - which I have here. He asked me to make a good copy of the will. He wanted to wait, so I began the work. I soon saw, to my surprise, that he wanted to give me all his money after his death. I asked him why he wanted to do that. He explained. He had no children, but he knew my father. So he wanted me to have the money.

‘Of course, I thanked him for his great kindness, but I was still very surprised. I made the copy as quickly as possible. Finally, it was finished. He asked me to go to his house that evening to see some more important papers. His last words to me were, “Please don’t tell your mother and father. I want this to be a surprise for them.”

‘Mr Oldacre was being very kind to me. I wanted to do exactly what he said. So I sent a message to my parents. I had important business after work, I said. I told them not to worry if I did not come home.

‘Mr Oldacre asked me to be at his house at nine o’clock, but I couldn’t find it. I didn’t arrive until half past nine. Mr Oldacre -’

‘Stop! ’ said Holmes. ‘Who opened the front door?’

‘An old woman. I think she worked for Mr Oldacre.’

‘And did she know your name?’

‘Yes,’ replied the young lawyer. ‘Then she took me into a room. There was a simple meal waiting for me on the table. I ate some of the food and then Mr Oldacre came and took me to another room. He had a lot of papers in a cupboard there, and we worked on these together for a long time. We didn’t finish until about half past eleven. Mr Oldacre told me to leave quietly by the back door because the old woman was asleep.

‘When I was leaving, I couldn’t find my stick. But Mr Oldacre said, “That doesn’t matter, my boy. You can get it another day. I hope you’re going to visit me very often.”

‘When I left him, the cupboard was open. The papers were still on the table. I couldn’t go back to Blackheath - it was too late. So I stayed at the Anerley Arms in Norwood. I didn’t know about all this until I read the paper this morning.’

Mr McFarlane stopped speaking and Lestrade said, ‘Have you any more questions, Mr Holmes?’

‘No. I want to go to Blackheath first,’ said Holmes.

‘Don’t you mean Norwood?’ asked Lestrade.

‘Perhaps I do,’ replied Holmes, and he smiled at Lestrade.

Holmes often understood things more quickly than Lestrade, and the police detective knew this.

Lestrade turned to Mr McFarlane and said, ‘There are two policemen waiting for you outside. You must go with them now.’ The policemen took Mr McFarlane away. His face was still white and he looked at us sadly, but he said nothing.

*   *   *

Lestrade stayed in the room with us after McFarlane left. Holmes picked up the lawyer's papers and looked at them. Then he passed them to Lestrade.

‘These are very interesting, aren’t they?’ he said.

Lestrade looked at the papers for a minute, then said, ‘I can understand the first few lines perfectly; the writing is good. After that, the writing is very bad and I can’t read it. Later, there are some more good lines, then the writing is bad again.’

‘Why do you think it’s like that?’ asked Holmes.

‘Why do you think it’s like that?’ replied Lestrade.

‘The answer is very simple,’ said Holmes. ‘Mr Oldacre wrote this on the train, on his way to London. The good parts were written at stations. The bad parts were written when the train was moving.’

Lestrade laughed and said, ‘Very good, Mr Holmes. But how does that help us with the case?’

‘Well,’ said Holmes, ‘most people don’t write their wills on trains. It seems that this will wasn’t really very important to Mr Oldacre.’

‘It was very important,’ said Lestrade. ‘His will is the reason that he’s dead now.’

‘Do you think that’s true?’ asked Holmes.

‘Don’t you?’ replied Lestrade.

‘It’s possible, but the case isn’t very clear to me yet.’

‘Not clear?’ said Lestrade. ‘It’s very clear to me. When McFarlane knew about Mr Oldacre’s will, he went to Norwood. He killed Mr Oldacre, and then he burned the dead body. It seems very simple to me.’

‘Too simple,’ said Holmes. 'McFarlane is not stupid. A clever man doesn’t kill a man on the same day that he made his will. And the man’s servant knew that McFarlane was in the house. Does a clever man carefully burn the body, and then carelessly leave his stick in the house?’

‘You know very well, Mr Holmes,’ said Lestrade, ‘that a murderer doesn’t always think very clearly just after his crime. It’s easy to forget something like a stick. Perhaps he was afraid to go back into the house. What other motive is there for Mr Oldacre’s murder?’

‘I can think of many possible motives,’ said Holmes. ‘Here’s an example. A thief was passing the house and saw the two men in a room with the papers. He thought that they had money there. When one of the men left, the thief came in through the window. Then he killed the other man.’

‘Why didn’t he take anything?’ asked Lestrade.

‘Because he found only papers; there was no money in the room,’ said Holmes.

Lestrade did not seem very sure of his ideas now, but he said, ‘Well, you can look for your thief if you want to, Mr Holmes. But I think that McFarlane was Mr Oldacre’s killer. He had a motive. He was also the only person in the world who did not need to take anything from Mr Oldacre’s house. It was already his, in Mr Oldacre’s will.’

‘I didn’t say that you were wrong,’ replied Sherlock Holmes. ‘I only wanted to show you that there were other possible motives for Mr Oldacre’s death. And now, goodbye Mr Lestrade. I will probably see you at Norwood later today.’

Lestrade left us, and Holmes put on his coat.

‘I'm going to Blackheath,’ he said.

‘Why not Norwood?’ I asked.

‘Two strange things have happened, my friend, and the police are only thinking about one of them. The first thing was the strange will. Why did Oldacre want to give his money to Mr McFarlane? I’m going to find out.’

‘Do you want me to come with you?’ I asked.

‘No, it isn’t necessary; you can’t help me. There’s no danger at Blackheath,’ replied Holmes.

*   *   *

It was quite late when my friend returned from Blackheath. He was not happy.

‘I’m afraid that the case is difficult, Watson,’ he said. ‘This time I think that perhaps Lestrade is right. I still don’t think that McFarlane killed Oldacre. But the facts are helpful to Lestrade and they don’t help me. I’m afraid that he’ll win.’

‘Did you go to Blackheath?’ I asked.

‘Yes, I did,’ said Holmes. ‘And I quickly discovered that Oldacre was a very unpleasant man. I spoke to Mr McFarlane’s mother. She was very angry and afraid. Oldacre wanted to marry her many years ago. She agreed, but later she changed her mind. She heard that he was unkind to his animals.

‘This made Oldacre angry. On the day of her marriage to Mr McFarlane, he destroyed her photograph and sent the pieces to her with a letter full of hate. If the police discover this, they’ll think badly of young Mr McFarlane. He clearly had another possible motive for killing Oldacre.’

After meeting Mrs McFarlane, Holmes then went to Norwood. He showed me the simple plan of Oldacre’s house and garden which he made there. The garden was large, and the fire was a long way from the nearest road. Lestrade was not there when Holmes arrived. But another policeman showed him everything.

‘They’ve found some pieces of Oldacre’s clothes where the fire was,’ continued Holmes, ‘and some burnt parts of an animal or a person. I looked at everything very carefully but I found nothing new. There’s very little blood inside, and there are only two men’s footprints on the floor.

‘I looked at the papers on the table. Some of them were in packets, closed with red wax. Mr Oldacre s bank book was there too. I was surprised to see the amount of money in it. He had less money in the bank than people believed. It was not enough to make McFarlane rich!

‘Then I spoke to the old woman, Oldacre’s servant. I think she knows something. But she told me very little. She let McFarlane into the house at about half-past nine and soon went to bed. She didn’t wake up until people started shouting about the fire. She thinks that the burnt pieces of cloth come from Mr Oldacre’s clothes that night. That’s what she told me. But I’m sure that she’s hiding something. I can feel it.’

Next, Holmes told me a strange thing. Oldacre was paying money to a ‘Mr Cornelius’. This was one reason why he had very little money in the bank. Nobody knew who Cornelius was.

Holmes then became very serious. ‘I’m afraid that Lestrade will be able to hang Mr McFarlane for murder,’ he said. ‘And I don’t know how to stop him.’

I went to bed soon after this. But I do not think that Holmes slept all night.

*   *   *

When I got up next morning, Sherlock Holmes was reading the morning newspapers. There was a letter from Lestrade on the table. It said:


Come to Norwood soon. I have discovered a new fact. I am sure now that McFarlane killed Oldacre - Lestrade


‘Lestrade is clearly very pleased that he’s right. He thinks that I’m wrong for the first time,’ said Holmes. ‘I must go to Norwood. Please, Watson, will you come with me? I need a friend today.’

We drove together to Oldacre’s house. Lestrade was waiting for us there.

‘Hello, Mr Holmes,’ he cried. ‘Have you found your thief yet?’

‘I haven’t found anything yet,’ replied Holmes.

‘Well, I have,’ said Lestrade.

‘You do seem very pleased with yourself,’ Holmes answered.

Lestrade laughed loudly. ‘Sherlock Holmes doesn’t like being wrong, does he, Dr Watson?’ he said to me. I did not reply and he continued, ‘Please come this way.’

He took us into the house.

‘McFarlane came this way after he killed Oldacre,’ he said. ‘Now look at this.’

He pointed to a mark on the wall. It was a thumbprint and it was the colour of blood.

‘That’s John Hector McFarlane’s thumbprint,’ said Lestrade.

‘It’s exactly the same as the print which McFarlane made in prison this morning.’

He showed us a piece of paper with McFarlane’s thumbprint on it.

‘That’s the end of the case,’ said Lestrade proudly.

‘Yes, it is,’ I agreed.

‘Yes, it is,’ said Holmes in a strange voice. I looked at him and was surprised. He seemed very happy. Lestrade continued to talk proudly, but Holmes was quietly laughing at him.

‘Very good! ’ said Holmes. ‘This is a lesson to us all.’

‘Yes, it is,’ the detective replied.

‘Who discovered this thumbprint?’ asked Holmes.

‘Mr Oldacre s servant, the old woman. She found it this morning,’ said Lestrade.

‘Are you sure that the mark was there yesterday?’ said Holmes.

Lestrade thought that my friend was mad. I did not understand what his question meant either.

‘Mr Holmes,’ said Lestrade, ‘how do you think that McFarlane got out of prison ? And if he did get out, why did he come here?’

Then Holmes said, ‘Well, it’s his thumbprint, we can be sure of that.’

‘Yes, we can,’ said Lestrade. ‘And now I must go. I’m a busy man and I must write my report on this case.’

He went quickly into the sitting room and closed the door.

‘Why were you so pleased about the thumbprint?’ I asked Holmes.

‘Because I know that it wasn’t there yesterday. I looked at that wall very carefully. The police didn’t look as carefully as I did. That’s why they’re not the best detectives. Now, Watson, let’s go for a walk in the garden.’

I followed Holmes. I couldn’t understand how the thumbprint got there. And I could see that Holmes did not want to tell me yet. He looked at every part of the outside of the house. Then we went back inside and he looked carefully in every room. We looked in every cupboard and walked down every passage.

We were in the last passage, at the top of the house, when Holmes suddenly started laughing.

‘This is an interesting case, Watson,’ he said. ‘Lestrade thinks that he’s better than me. He had fun when we were talking about the thumbprint downstairs. But I think that I can have some fun now. What shall I do ... ? I know!’

We went down to the sitting room where Lestrade was working.

‘Are you writing your report, Mr Lestrade?’ Holmes asked.

‘Of course I am,’ the detective replied.

‘Isn’t it too early for a report?’ Holmes asked.

Lestrade put down his pen and looked at him. He knew Holmes well. He could see that he had important news.

‘What do you mean?’ he asked.

‘Well, there’s one important person in this case that you haven’t spoken to,’ said Holmes.

‘Really? Who? Can you show me this person?’ said Lestrade.

‘Yes, I think I can,’ said Holmes, ‘but I shall need some help. How many policemen are there here?’

‘Three,’ said Lestrade.

‘Are they strong men, with loud voices?’ asked Holmes.

‘Yes, they are. But how can their voices help us?’

‘You’ll soon find out,’ said Holmes. ‘Now, please ask one policeman to bring a few old newspapers. There are some in the kitchen. The other two must bring plenty of water.’

The policemen brought the things, and all six of us went up to the top of the house. The policemen were smiling. Lestrade still thought that Holmes was mad. I did not know what my friend wanted to do.

Sherlock Holmes walked to the end of the passage and carefully put the newspapers on the floor. Then he said, ‘Watson, please open the window, and then start a fire here.’

I did what he asked. The papers soon started to burn. Next Holmes said, ‘Now I want you all to shout, “Fire!” with me. Shout as loudly as you can. One, two, three -’

‘Fire!’ we all shouted.

‘Again!’ cried Holmes.



‘FIRE!’ we shouted as loudly as possible.

Suddenly the wall at the end of the passage opened, like a door. An ugly little man ran out, like a rabbit coming out of its hole.

‘Very good,’ said Holmes. ‘Watson, put some water on the fire, please. ’Then he said, ‘This is Mr Jonas Oldacre.’

‘Where have you been for the last two days?’ said Lestrade, in a strange voice.

Oldacre laughed, but he was clearly afraid of Lestrade. ‘I haven’t hurt anyone,’ he said.

‘You haven’t hurt anyone!’ repeated Lestrade angrily ‘Because of you, Mr John Hector McFarlane is in prison. We thought that he killed you. He was almost hanged by the neck for murder!’

‘I only did it for a joke,’ said Oldacre.

‘You aren’t going to play any more jokes now!’ said Lestrade. He told the policemen to take Oldacre away.

When they left, Lestrade said, ‘I must thank you, Mr Holmes. I was rude to you earlier today and I’m sorry. I really thought that the case was finished. Mr McFarlane mustn’t die for a crime that he didn’t do!’

‘Don’t worry,’ said Holmes kindly. ‘Nobody will know what happened. You can change your report. It isn’t necessary to say that I helped.’

‘But don’t you want people to know about your skills?’ asked Lestrade.

‘No,’ said Holmes. ‘I’m happy with my work, and that’s enough for me. Now, let’s see where that rabbit was living.’

The end of the passage was closed to make a small room. Inside it there was a little furniture. On the table there was some food and water and some papers. When the door was shut, it was impossible to see the room behind it.

‘Oldacre was a builder. He was easily able to make this place for himself,’ said Holmes. ‘He only needed his servant’s help with his plan.’

‘How did you know that he was here?’ asked Lestrade.

‘I thought that he was hiding somewhere in the house,’ Holmes replied. ‘I saw that this passage was shorter than the one below it. Then I realized where he was.’

‘That was clever,’ said Lestrade. ‘But why did you think that he was in the house?’

‘The thumbprint,’ said Holmes. ‘It wasn’t there yesterday when I looked. So somebody put it there last night.’

‘But McFarlane was in prison. How was it done?’

‘When Oldacre and McFarlane were working on the papers, they used a lot of red wax. They used it to close the packets,’ said Holmes. ‘Oldacre asked McFarlane to do that job because he wanted a clear thumbprint in the soft wax. Later, Oldacre used the same wax to put McFarlane’s print on the wall. He probably used blood from his own thumb.’

‘Wonderful!’ said Lestrade. ‘Wonderful! But why did he do all these things, Mr Holmes?’

I wanted to laugh. This proud detective was asking questions like a child with his teacher.

‘That doesn’t seem difficult,’ said Sherlock Holmes. ‘Oldacre hated McFarlane’s mother. A long time ago, she refused to marry him. You didn’t know that, Lestrade, because you never visited Blackheath.

‘Oldacre is a very unpleasant and dangerous man. He waited many years to make Mrs McFarlane unhappy. Then at last he thought of a way to plan her son’s death. The law hangs her son for murder, and at the same time he makes some money for himself.’

‘Makes some money? How?’ asked Lestrade.

‘His papers show that Oldacre had money problems,’ said Holmes. ‘He wanted to disappear without paying his bills. He paid a lot of money to a “Mr Cornelius”. But I don’t think that Mr Cornelius exists. Oldacre planned to change his name to Cornelius after he disappeared.

‘The will gave Mr McFarlane a motive for murder. And the fire explained why there was no dead body. It was a clever plan. Mr Cornelius could come alive in another part of England after Mr Oldacre died in Norwood. But now, Mr Lestrade, let’s go and ask him some more questions.’

We went down to the room where the policemen were keeping Jonas Oldacre. When he saw us, he said again, 'I only did it for a joke. I didn’t want to hurt dear Mr McFarlane.’

‘I don’t think that anyone will believe that,’ said Lestrade. ‘I think you’ll have to go to prison, Mr Oldacre.’

‘And I think the police will take all Mr Cornelius’s money too,’ Holmes added.

Oldacre looked at Holmes and said in a very angry voice, ‘I’ll kill you, Sherlock Holmes!’

Holmes smiled and said, ‘You’re not the first man who has said that to me. But you’ll be too busy in prison for the next few years. Before you go, I have a question for you. You burned something like a dead body with the wood. What was it? Was it a dead dog, or perhaps some rabbits?’

Oldacre sat in angry silence. Holmes laughed and said, ‘He doesn’t want to tell us, Watson. Well, it isn’t important. If you ever write the story of the Norwood builder, put “rabbits”.’


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