Editor’s note: Each year the publication pictured on the left provides an essay topic in a special birthday edition which is distributed at both New York dinners and posted on the Adventuresses of Sherlock Holmes website (highly recommended by the management of this site). This year’s assignment was:

From seemingly ordinary objects such as a hat or pipe, Holmes frequently drew elaborate conclusions about the owner – conclusions which were always correct! Assume that you’ve found a left-handed gray leather glove with a stained thumb and first finger on the sixth step at 221B Baker Street. Give us your conclusions about the glove and its owner and the reasons for them in 250 words or less.

The winning entry was Warren Randall’s with Sandy Kozinn’s as first runner-up, both of which are published here for your reading pleasure.


A Case of  “Glove in Bloom”

WARREN RANDALL, editor of Prescott’s Press, takes on
all comers in the Birthday Challenge and emerges victorious

“So, Watson, while you still prefer the fair sex, you will accept the offer made by Messrs. Newnes and Smith even though you think it preposterous?”


“Most preposterous!” I exclaimed, and then suddenly realizing how he had echoed the inmost thought of my soul, I sat up in my chair and stared at him in blank amazement. “You’re doing your mind-reading shtick again, right?”


“Not at all,” he said affably. “You have not lately written even so much as a letter, and I know you would not extend your experience of women to Baker Street.”


“My blushes, Holmes, whatever are you thinking?”


“Blushes, my dear Watson? There was a glove upon the sixth step of the seventeen and it was a left glove.”


“Left? Is that unusual?”


“I have seen this symptom before – a bare left hand at such a low step presages an affaire de cœur.Who would call at Baker Street leaving a glove, but neither card nor message? Not a client! Mrs. Hudson’s callers do not climb. Ergo! Someone for good old Watson. It is not brown or tan or black or yellow—not one of your chums. Grey, with a stained thumb and forefinger. Where have we seen its mate? Why upon the right hand of the noted typewriter, Mary Sutherland. We are both upset with the editing of your literary agent, who substitutes his imagination for your poor penmanship, hence the need not for personal companionship, but professional transcription.”


“Yes, Holmes,” I hastened to agree, “Miss Sutherland is quite forgetful.”


“You are fortunate it was not a white glove, for that would require a rebuke and perhaps a constable.”