The Adventure of the Cardboard Box - A Sherlock Holmes story
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Quite a stir is caused in Croydon when a 50-year-old spinster, Miss Susan Cushing, receives a parcel in the post which turns out to contain two severed human ears packed in coarse salt. The indefatigable though unimaginative Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard suspects a prank by three medical students whom Miss Cushing was forced to evict because of their unruly behaviour. The parcel was sent from Belfast, after all, and that was where one of the former boarders had travelled from. Holmes, however, upon examining the parcel himself, is convinced that they are dealing with a serious crime. A medical student with access to a dissection laboratory, Holmes points out, would be likely to use something other than plain salt to preserve human remains, and would be able to make a neater incision than the rough hack used on these ears. Also, the address itself, roughly written and with a spelling correction, suggests a certain lack of education about the sender, and that he is not familiar with Croydon. Even the knot in the string suggests to Holmes that they are looking for a sailing man.
It turns out to be quite an elementary case for Holmes, so much so that he asks Lestrade not to mention his name in connection with it. A few simple questions to Miss Cushing, a few observations, a cable to Liverpool, and a visit to Miss Cushings sister (although she will not see him because she has brain fever) convince Holmes that the ears belong to Miss Cushings other sister and her extramarital lover. He is convinced, too, that the dead sisters husband is the murderer,