‘Watson, telegraph the offices of my cutting agency for everything on the alias under which Moran operated his zoological gardens, if I am right in my initial thoughts, and it may be I run ahead of the data although the deduction is so obvious that I hardly think so – we will find that within the last three months there has been some scandal associated with the place. An assistant placed in danger, an
escaped beast something of that kind.
Lestrade, pass me the large leather bound volume under the Persian slipper, I must see what the Encyclopedia has to say about Stingrays. Ah, as I recollected, “any of a number of flat-bodied rays noted for the long, sharp poisonous spines on their tails. Members of the family, Dasyatidae, they can in rare circumstances prove fatal to man.” Rare circumstances, I grant you. Lestrade while we await Watson’s return, I suggest you ponder the following:-
Firstly, Moran was essentially a heodonist, never a deep thinker like Moriarty and happy to be ordered rather than ordering. His criminality and thrill seeking alike came from an inability to postpone a pleasure, a desire if you will to live out the dictum Carpe Diem.
Secondly, there can be only one rational interpretation to be placed upon the mutilation of the maligned Dasyatidae of the Queensland coast.’
‘The supposed mutilation.’ Lestrade said raising a thin finger in remonstrance. ‘You go too fast Mr Holmes, we have only your deduction that such an event has occurred. You ask me to accept your prediction and then build a further theory on your own suppositious foundation. It is too bad of you I declare.'
Holmes smiled, ‘I have done you too little credit, I must confess that you make a telling point. But the damnable thing that sets his crime aside from every
other I have investigated is the time it has taken the news of death to reach us. Even a mystery as obvious as this can not be solved with sufficient urgency when
all the materials involved in it come to us from the opposite side of the globe. We tread in the villain’s footsteps when at home we would be upon his heels. I
must, as you say, go fast for if I am tardy, I fear a greater crime will be committed.
Ah Watson, back from Baker Street’s post office I see. I perceive that they have not amended their pernicious habit of closing a window as the queue reaches it.
No, do not enquire merely consider the twin red stains on your left sleeve, we have I fear no time for trifles. I was setting before Lestrade the twin issues: Moran’s character, and the mutilation of the Rays. What do you make of them?
I considered. (I have since, filled in the dialogue between Lestrade and Holmes from Lestrade’s own account, naturally I was unaware of it at the time. In retrospect I am proud to say I did not quibble as to my old friends' deduction, to me the mutilation of the rays was a grisly certainty.)
‘Well as to the mutilation, if we discount revenge for the reasons we cited earlier. That no single beast could be identified and that the notion of seeking revenge on an animal for its animality is itself nonsensical, then what is left but that some person or persons had a need for Stingray, ah, stings.’
‘Indeed Watson, and that need I can deduce in two words: Fresh Ammunition! Ammunition for Moran's air-gun, adapted to shoot poisoned spines, and capable
- doubtless through a system of compressed air on the Davey principle - of ejecting a spine underwater as easily as on land.'