The Adventure of the Body in the Canal
Holmes and I had just finished up one of Mrs. Hudson’s excellent dinners. I picked up the Times, while Holmes fiddled with his pipe.
“Look at this, Holmes,” I said after a few minutes. “The Times reports that the body of a man was found in a canal. The Yard, they say, are baffled as to the man’s identity. The only thing they are certain of is that he was murdered.
“Indeed?” Holmes, his interest evidently piqued, took the newspaper from me and rapidly scanned the account.
"Mmm. A nice little problem for the Yard. I say, Watson, do you think it would help them to identify this fellow if they knew the dead man's occupation?”
“Undoubtedly,” I cried, amazed as always at Holmes’ perspicacity. “But—“
“He was a physician like yourself,” Holmes stated as fact. “Specializing, I believe, in medical problems of a gastric nature.”
I’m certain my mouth hung open for a bit before I was able to speak. Finally I said, “And what leads to you this conclusion, Holmes? The police say they’re completely at sea.”
He waved a disparaging hand. “Oh, the police. Well, no doubt they are. To a trained observer, however, the answer is simple. I merely took note of where the body was found.
“It was discovered by some workmen, floating in a canal. And that led you to deduce the man's occupation? I say Holmes I believe this time you're having me on.”
“Not at all, Watson, my good fellow, not at all. The question is, in which canal was the dead man found?
I perused the Times once more, and groaned as realization struck me like a thunderbolt.
“Yes”, said the great detective. “It was alimentary, my dear Watson.”