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Unwelcome Social Summons

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“I suggest,” said Holmes, not at all pleased to be consulted over a minor Society event, “that you advertise in the papers. If the lady wishes to see you again, she will know where to find you.”

“Look, my man, I’ve heard you can figure out all sorts of things from discarded possessions, handkerchiefs and such,” said our client—young and rich and no doubt very well-bred. Holmes shot me a look—it was likely from my stories that he had heard it. “I’ve got something a bit more than a handkerchief, don’t you know.” He produced a lady’s dancing slipper from his satchel. “Found this in the garden. I thought it might be of use—give you a clue, so to speak.”

Holmes’ eyebrows twitched, but he took the shoe. “Custom made, of course,” he said, “but over two years old. Debris on the sole from what I assume is your garden paths, nothing earlier. Cleaned recently, and last worn by someone with feet significantly larger than its original owner’s. No wonder she kicked it off.” He handed it back. “It’s borrowed,” he said. “I might be able to tell you something about the owner, but I recommend again that you advertise instead. A lady who kicks her shoes off to run faster may not wish to be called back.”