Sherlock Holmes and the case of the mystic racquet

‘Did you see that, Holmes?’ I exclaimed.
My friend had been dozing gently in the veranda to the tennis club, where he had solved the case of the vanishing tennis balls (a fox had been appropriating them).
I see a group lesson for school children continuing on the distant courts, well away from those allocated to members. I wanted to show that I too, as a highly trained physician, could observe and draw conclusions from my observations. ‘The mysterious way the racquets fell over without any intervention, as if by some inexplicable force’ I said.
‘Come, Watson, you a man of science subscribing to mystic forces’
For once, he had taken the bait.
‘Of course not, Holmes. There is a perfectly rational explanation.’
‘Indeed. And how have you reached the explanation?’
‘It was the coach. He has a most stentorian voice’
‘Enough to make the wire netting vibrate and disturb the racquets?’
‘Precisely, Holmes.’
‘Precisely, but not entirely correct.’
‘How so?’ I asked, now conscious I may have misread the situation
‘The coach had an accomplice, although one not aware of his role in this business. But you noticed, him, no doubt? The student who arrived late, looking like snail, creeping unwillingly to tennis training.’
‘He was sulking,’ I agreed. ‘Deliberately obstructive.’
Holmes changed track as he often does.
‘How many racquets were there up against the netting when the coach shouted, put your racquet down?’
‘Five. No, six. The snail added his, reluctantly.”
‘And thereafter he did everything to oppose instructions’
‘And when the coach saw him picking up his racquet, he called out for him to put it back. That was the most noisy shout of the day which I believe caused the entire netting to vibrate, and the racquets to fall down.’
‘How many fell down?’ Holmes asked.

Six, no wait, I ran the scene back in my memory. ‘There were five.’
‘Indeed, and even as the coach was shouting, the young troublemaker had smashed his racquet into the netting, thinking he would not be noticed.’
‘Causing all the racquets to jump and fall over!’
‘Remarkable, Holmes. How do you do it?’
‘Everyday creativity, my dear Watson, everyday creativity.

You can listen to the TudoRama podcast of the case of the mystic racquet, on Buzzsprout.


By Tudor Rickards

Tudor Rickards is a Business School Professor who has taught and written extensively on leadership, creativity and change management. He has also worked as a scientific manager, journal editor, and entrepreneur. Tudor lives in a part of Greater Manchester which figures in his fictional writings, plays tennis badly and chess more competitively.

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