The Five Gold Plates
We had returned to 22b Baker Street. The fire was burning brightly, and Holmes had just finished playing one of my favourite pieces of Stravinski. "A magnificent recital, Holmes." I exclaimed. "Thank you, my dear chap." he replied. "But tell me," I said, "how you solved the puzzle of the five gold plates?"
"Elementary, my dear Watson," he began, "The fact that the man was an American, and the mention of 5 gold plates, led me to suppose that he was a Mormon. The sacred book of the Mormon Church was supposedly translated by its founder from 'Reformed Egyptian' writing on five gold plates that he discovered. Incidentally, it is called the book of Moroni, which is what the dying man was trying to say - you just caught ' Moron- !"
"Astounding, Holmes," I cried in admiration, "How easily you cope with such matters! You must admit that it is much more difficult for people like me, who are bright, but who do not possess your encyclopaedic knowledge."
"Well actually," he replied, smiling, "I did not really need encyclopaedic knowledge - merely a knowledge about encyclopaedias. Anyone who got down any decent encyclopaedia, and looked up 'Joseph Smith' would be directed to the entry on Mormonism, and all the details I 've just related would have been found there. Also that Joseph Smith was the founder of the Mormon Church, so any book with his name in must be his own copy - unique and immensely valuable! Our poor friend expressed this in terms natural to him; he said it was worth Five Gold Plates. That was what the telegram meant!"
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