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The wealthy and vastly powerful Lord Justice Harold Stratford has a life most would envy. With his partner, barrister John Willow, he protects and controls the south of England. There is nothing to give him the slightest inkling that something is about to go terribly wrong.
When Sherlock Holmes is found brutally murdered alongside three other men in an abandoned house, Lord Stratford's world is shattered. While he is determined to seek full retribution from the highest justice, the only surviving witness to the murders is killed in his hospital bed. Worst of all, the motiveless crimes lack any evidence whatsoever. As more murders follow-each more ghastly than the last-Stratford struggles to retain his grip on the reins of power, but more importantly, his own good sense. With Holmes in his grave and Watson a broken man, it seems as if there is nothing to stop the hand behind it all.
Even when it seems it cannot get worse, another more devastating murder looms that may cost one man his life and the other his sanity.
Doherty stepped into the judge's study and took a deep breath, drawing himself up to speak. 'Good morning, my lord.'
'Sergeant, I trust that this is of grave importance for you to disturb me so early at home?' Stratford asked as he put down the fine leather-bound book and glowered at the intrusion.
'Yes, sir. The matter is,' he stammered, 'well, sir, it is of a peculiarly serious nature and one where, I am sure you will appreciate, the outcome may have grave and far-reaching consequences for those involved.'
'I understand. Pray, have out with it then and mind your facts,' Stratford granted as he took a chair, lighting a cool pipe.
'Late last night there were discovered three amber lights in high places.'
'I presume you have performed the necessary geometric manipulations?'
'We did. The bisector pointed to the old abandoned Snowden house upon the Downs. We arrived to find the manor in flames. The fire brigade managed to subdue the flames well enough for us to pass through, but it was too late. We found four men, all dead.'
Stratford leaned against the chair for support at the news, greatly disturbed at the horror of the thing. 'Good Lord.'
'The men upstairs were...' Doherty paused. 'Well, sir, they were murdered. Once was stabbed in the chest, another in the gut, and the other was...' Doherty hesitated again, abruptly halting at what he could not bring himself to say. 'The man who was short in the head was,' Doherty stammered again, 'Sherlock Holmes.'