"Yes, John! Honestly, what must it be like to be so simple-minded? Asparagus, John. The silver spoon. Do you get it yet?"
John stared at his companion in disbelief. Only an hour ago, they had been informed of the apparent murder of a young man, a rather wealthy entrepreneur whose maid had phoned the police when she had found him slumped over the dining room table with a knife in his side. Lestrade had driven personally to Baker Street, accompanied by the young man's fiancé and father, who, despite their recent loss, had insisted on speaking to "the infamous Mr. Sherlock Holmes" themselves. They had barely walked into the room before Sherlock had, with one fell glance, announced to the small crowd that the fiancé and Mr. Alfred Jenkins, her not-quite father-in-law, were having an affair.
"What?!" Lestrade had sputtered. "Sherlock, you can't make that accusation without grounds!"
Sherlock had merely raised an eyebrow, tilting his head to glance at John, who had shrugged his shoulders in response, claiming a chair by the wall as Sherlock assumed his I-am-about-to-explain-something-simple-to-you-daft-creatures pose.
"First, look at the way they entered the room together. They were standing close, close enough to imply that she was helping him walk in, but we can see from his steady stance that that he doesn't need her assistance. Maybe they were consoling one another, but it doesn't take a genius to see that neither of them is crying. The way their bodies are turned in toward each other shows affection. Maybe it's innocent, most likely not. Then, look at her wedding ring. It's expensive, at least fifty years old. Maybe it's a family heirloom, but his pocket-watch tells us another story. He has another son, possibly two, but at least one who is married. You can see that engraving on the pen in his suit-coat pocket- "Gregory and Anne Jenkins, 17th July." It's a wedding favor. That must be the wedding of the other son (could be a brother, Google says otherwise), or he wouldn't be carrying around the pen. Any ring passed down in the family would have been given to the fiancé of that other wedding or any before it unless the groom wasn't on good terms with his family, but we know from the generous gift of the pocket-watch that he is.
Add all that to the unfortunate fact that a young entrepreneur like our murder victim wouldn't be able to afford such an atrocity of a gem on his own. The father pitched in to buy an antique for this wedding. But what kind of a father spends that much money on a ring? We can tell from the way he is standing that he's a clever businessman- he wouldn't invest much money on something that could be easily lost unless he had a special interest in it as well.
Look at his shoes- they're scuffed. The rest of his suit is flawless- not a hair or loose thread to be found. Why would a man who took such good care of his outfit let his shoes become damaged? He's not as rich as he puts out to be. Buying the ring set his assets back further than he is comfortable with. He cut down on his wardrobe care to preserve his bank account, but his high status in society forces him to keep up his appearance even when he can't afford to. Keep his suit up, let his shoes go. The ring was an uncomfortable purchase for him, but he bought it anyway. Maybe he wanted to do something nice for his son but more likely he had personal interest in the marriage, specifically in the woman who would be wearing the ring.
Then there's the fact that neither of them are crying, as I said before. Her fiancé, his son, was pronounced dead not two hours ago. It's a bit soon to be over the mourning. Isn't that what you normal people do? No, they're not sad, they're jubilant. The father wasn't proud of his son anyway, throwing away law school (oh yes, it had to have been law school) to become an unsuccessful businessman. And she was only in it for the money she thought he had. Yes, but now they can be together without that obstacle.
Take all that and it could just be a series of coincidences, but judging from the way the father's forehead became beaded with sweat when I first made the accusation, I believe it's safe to assume that I am, as always, correct."
He turned on his heel, facing Lestrade, who shook his head. "Alright, so are you saying they committed the murder?"
"What?" Sherlock's brow furrowed in confusion for a moment. "No!" He rolled his eyes. "Honestly Lestrade, don't you listen? Neither of them committed the murder; they each have too much to lose. He couldn't have done it- he has a career to think of, and anyway, he invested too much into the marriage to end it all without profit. And she certainly couldn't have done it. Look at the way she's shaking right now. She wouldn't have the stamina to commit murder."
Lestrade frowned. "Then who do you think-"
"John, my coat." Sherlock held his hand out. John rolled his eyes, pulling himself out of the chair to hand Sherlock his jacket. "We're going to the crime scene."
And now here they were, and John couldn't figure out how Sherlock was relating asparagus to the death. It was obvious that the man had been stabbed, not poisoned. The knife still jutted out from where it was stuck between his ribs. Blood coated his lap and the floor.
Sherlock prodded around the table, gently poking items with a small wooden dowel he had procured from the seemingly endless pockets of his long coat. He stood, rolling his shoulders as he clasped his hands behind his back.
"Suicide, definitely." Sherlock turned to leave the room.
Anderson blocked the doorway. "Suicide? We ruled that out in five minutes."
Sherlock's glare bore through the man preventing him from leaving. "Anderson, don't be a child. There was enough stupidity in this room before you entered."
Anderson sneered at him. "Come on then, psychopath. Let's see you talk your way through this one."
Sherlock sighed, closing his eyes tightly. "It's obviously a suicide. How could it not be? Look at him. Look at the table."
John frowned. "I don't get it."
"The table, John!" Sherlock yelled. "Yogurt! He was eating yogurt with a silver spoon! The rest of his silverware drawer is filled with cheap utensils- of course they're cheap, he hasn't enough money to afford an engagement ring- but this silver spoon he was using matches the set in his father's house, I'm sure. You can have it checked if you like- I'm positive I'm correct. He must have stolen it the last time he was there, over for a dinner with his fiancé perhaps. But yogurt. Yogurt. Who eats yogurt with a silver spoon? While Anderson was talking uselessly to you lot about blood patterns, I asked the maid what this man's favorite food was. Guess what she answered. Anderson, you should be able to handle that at least."
Anderson rolled his eyes. "Yogurt?"
"Yogurt!" Sherlock smiled sarcastically. "Specifically, peach yogurt, which I'm sure you won't be surprised to find he was eating at the time of his death. He wanted to have one last meal, his favorite, before he killed himself.
"Oh, but why did he kill himself?" Sherlock asked mockingly. "He just discovered his fiancé has been having an affair with his father. His family has lost its wealth. He dropped out of law school and became a failing entrepreneur. I figured the passwords to his online medical files- do pick your jaw up off the floor, Anderson, you look outrageous- and cross-checked my observations with his medical history. He's been dealing with severe depression and anxiety since he was in primary school. Unstable childhood, too many stressors piled on him, top it all off with a failed engagement, and we have a suicide on our hands."
The room was silent. Finally, John scratched his head. "But… where does asparagus figure into any of this?"
Sherlock smiled. "Good, John! Yes, the asparagus. If he had been stabbed unsuspectingly, he would have urinated. However, if he knew he was going to die (which he did, since he was himself the murderer), he would have relieved himself immediately before. The maid informed me that had a strict dietary schedule, and asparagus was a part of his meal for the past two nights. If he had urinated himself, as happens with unexpected trauma like a sudden stab, he would smell of asparagus- even if his pants dried between his death and now. However, he doesn't smell of it, because he took the liberty of using the restroom immediately prior to taking his own life."
Anderson shoved his hands in his pockets, huffing. John smiled to himself. Lestrade shook his head, one hand stroking across his chin as he raised the other in defeat.
"Suicide, then," Lestrade said finally. "Nobody touch the crime scene. We still have work to do. Anderson, take a walk. Your face is redder than a tomato. Sherlock, than-"
Sherlock swept past him, cutting him off. "Don't bore me with one of your weak metaphors, inspector. I expect next time you'll as least have the decency to bring me a more interesting case? These simple ones are a waste of energy. Do call me when you get something more worthy of my leaving Baker Street. A triple homicide, perhaps. A nice serial killer. John!"
John shrugged at Lestrade, grasping him firmly by the shoulder for a moment before following Sherlock out the door and across the lawn, leaving in their wake, as always, a confused and angry police force.