“My daughter is gone,” sobbed the dark haired woman sitting before Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. “My poor June . . . she was kidnapped. Please, you have to help me!” The distressed mother gripped the edge of the desk so hard her knuckles turned white.

Juniper Abbott had disappeared the night before while at a friend’s sleepover. The only clue was an anonymous Facebook post directed at her friend that read Please do not post any pictures from last night.

Sherlock steepled his fingers beneath his chin. “Did you have any reason to suspect that your daughter would be kidnapped?”

Mrs. Abbott’s face flushed red in anger. “Did I –? Why, no, sir! I didn’t know it was the last time I would see her. If I had, I would have held her tight and never let go. Why on Earth would I let my sweet June leave the house if I knew she was going to be kidnapped?”

“Ma’am, can you give us the address of the house that your daughter was at last night?” John Watson interjected. “So we can check out the crime scene.”

Thinking with his eyes shut, Sherlock murmured, “Yes, that would be very helpful.”

Giving a watery smile, Mrs. Abbott dug around in her big leather purse and extracted a pen and a notepad. She scribbled down an address. “The girl who hosted the sleepover is named Autumn Ellis. June liked that about her, the thing their names did. Autumn and June, both important parts of the year . . .” She wiped a tear away, smearing mascara down her cheek.

“Excellent,” Sherlock said, examining the address. “John, escort Mrs. Abbott out of the flat. I need to think.”

John sighed, grabbed his cane, and rose to his feet. “Come with me, Mrs. Abbott . . . Sherlock is brilliant at solving murders and kidnappings, don’t worry . . .”

When he mentioned “murder,” the distraught mother burst into tears again.

“I didn’t mean . . . Calm down, Ma’am . . . Oh, blast . . .,” he fumbled, leading her down the stairs and out of 221B Baker Street.

With Mrs. Abbott safely inside a taxi, John trudged back up the stairs to Sherlock’s flat. He found him skipping around gleefully, winding his dark blue scarf around his neck. “A kidnapping! This is brilliant!” Sherlock exclaimed. Turning up the collar on his black trench coat, Sherlock met his friend’s eyes and said, “John, let’s go crack this case.”

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