‘I shall call you in a day or two,’ said Openshaw, `with news of the brass box and papers. I shall do exactly as you told me.’ John Openshaw shook hands with Holmes and myself and then left. Outside, the wind still screamed and the rain still struck against the window. This strange, wild story seemed to have come to us in the storm, blown in like leaves in the wind.
Sherlock Holmes sat in silence for a long time and stared into the red glow of the fire. Then he sat back in his chair, lit his pipe, and blew smoke rings into the air.
`I think, Watson,’ he said after a while, `this is a strange case indeed; possibly the strangest we have ever heard. This John Openshaw is walking in great danger.’
`Who is this K.K.K and why do they go after this unhappy family?’
Sherlock Holmes closed his eyes, placed his elbows on the arms of the chair, and put his fingertips together. `We need to gather all our resources. Kindly give me the letter `K` of the American Encyclopaedia from the shelf behind you. Thank you. Now let us think of the situation and what we can deduce from it. First, we can assume that Colonel Openshaw had a very strong reason for leaving America. Men do not just leave a warm climate like Florida for a lonely life in an English town. His desire to be alone suggests that he was in fear of someone or something and it was this that made him leave America. What was he scared of? We can only deduce that by thinking about the letters that were sent. Do you remember the postmarks?’
`The first was from Pondicherry, the second from Dundee, and the third from London,’ I said.
`From East London,’ said Holmes. `What do you think about that?’
`They are all seaports,’ I said. ‘Perhaps the writer was on a ship!’
`Excellent,’ said Holmes. `We already have a strong clue!’