Holmes passed his eye over the entire room. I am certain that, in his years of experience with keen observation applied to his science of deduction, that he had revealed events and facts that never cease to amaze me in the ingenuous way in which he obtains them.
“Well,” said Holmes. "This room certainly has the appearance of being inhabited by an male individual of Chinese descent, a new college student, of considerable resources when it comes to dealing with the education system, and with a slight beard growth on his chin.
“My dear Holmes!” I exclaimed. “I admit I am utterly confounded. I can observe, for example, by the case of empty green tea on the table that you take this individual to be a Chinese man, but how on earth did you arrive at those other conclusions?”
Holmes laughed with his genial disposition and sat down on a green wooden chair. “Ah, my dear man”, he said. “Your eye is entirely as good as mine. You perceive, but you do not quite observe. Take, for example, those considerable other resources within the room which may indicate that our man of mystery is of Chinese origin. Observe how he writes the Greek “a” on this paper full of book listings, over the prices of which every student of academia bemoans. This is extremely uncommon in one of local raising, such as in the United States. You also failed to observe a membership to the Chinese club of the University of Toronto.”
“Fantastic!” I remarked.
“Elementary,” said Holmes, with a wave of his hand, and a slight smile on his face. I have often noticed that appealling to his ego, more often than not, reveals, for a time, the man behind that cold, calculating machine of the law, however brief that may be. “Also take these papers on the poster board. You will observe that they are almost entirely composed of guides and maps to basic facilities of the university, something that the seniors of this school would not need. There are used notes from students of advanced years piled upon his bookshelf, indicating that he has considerable contacts who are willing to give or sell their work.”
“And the unshaven face?” I asked.
“Two of these three razors which lie upon the shelf,” remarked Holmes, “are entirely unused. One of them has the appearance of being used perhaps once or twice. A man who needs razors must have something to shave, and if it was only used once or twice, then the ritual does not occur very often. You have erred, perhaps, in saying unshaven. This is a young adult, after all, and I would say that he is only slightly unshaven, and that trait perhaps not even noticable.”
“Amazing!” I exclaimed. “You have clearly shown me every link in your chain of reasoning and I find none of them wanting. I wonder how the law can ever do without a Sherlock Holmes at their disposal.”
“My dear Watson,” said Holmes, as he rose from his chair and opened the door for me, “I have no idea.”