London a historic city, a prominent city, a city of mystery. “Puzzling Disappearance” topping the headlines of morning post newspaper. “The London Eye bordering the Thames River has vanished. What is the city to do, it’s number one tourist attraction is missing.”
Henry Holmes, not to be confused with The Sherlock Holmes, read the titles in his dinosaur pajamas while eating his breakfast crumpet.
Now Henry you see is no ordinary boy. He has worked with the London Police on several cases in his eight years of life. There was the Case of the Bubbling River at the Tower Bridge and the Queens Missing Carriage. Not to mention the Nuns of Nottingham Case that was resolved last week. But this case may be the biggest and I do mean BIGGEST challenge dear Henry has faced to date.
The London Eye, the United Kingdom’s largest Ferris Wheel was reported missing at 0600 this morning. Divulged by the Queens Guard who were caught looking off to the distance instead of directly ahead. Then broadcasted by Big Ben who shut down the clock to mark the time of the disappearance. They say the whole city caught wind of the puzzle in record time, even the pigeons at the park where pecking about it.
Henry arrives at the scene in his paddington hat, his spotted knee socks and dapper jacket. He is reported at being a bit dodgy in his tactics but darling in his appearance.
He walks the perimeter one foot in front of the other. He lies down in the dirt and stares up at the sky. As the bystanders looks on one queries, “perhaps he missed his morning nap?”
Then a loud “Brilliant” is heard.
Henry spots a faint mist in the air, that reveals a prismatic rainbow. The forecast called for sunshine and low humidity. The mist must mean their is a correlation between the river and the stolen Eye. If their are still traces of mist in the air the thief must be close.
He jumps to his feet. Climbs onto his red Schwinn bicycle chasing the mist
north on the Queens Walk. The perpetrator must have disassembled the cantilever cables dropping the Eye into the Thames River and floating it on some type of raft system out of the city in the direction of the mist.
By the time Henry reaches Blackfriars Bridge the mist has evaporated there is no trace or trail to follow. Begrudgingly he heads toward Ludgate Hill the highest point in the city of London to climb St. Paul’s Cathedral for another vantage point.
Perched as if he were a gargoyle of Notre Dame, young Henry looks towards the river with his fist under his chin. There are some peculiarities with this case, he thinks to himself. First, what would anybody want with the London Eye, it’s a national monument, the henchmen must be from outside of London he speculates. Next there might be some local help, that is aiding the criminals in the transportation or hiding of the giant Ferris wheel. From on high, Henry hears that all trains have been stopped at the Black Friars Station, and there appears to be a traffic jam on the bridge. Henry jumps down from his perch and rushes to the Millennium Bridge to see what all the commotion is about.
From the pedestrian bridge he can see scratch marks on the underside of Blackfriars Bridge. As though a giant wheel had scraped away at the rebar and concrete forming a week point in the bridge, leading to the traffic jam. A passerby yells, “there is leaking in the underground station, all trains stopped for the day.” A bit messy Henry thought, of the getaway plan. Someone had not calculated correctly the depth of the Thames River. The London Eye is approximately 394 feet in diameter. The cables in all likelihood had been cut, then the hub and rim floated down the river. The river is approximately 65 feet deep but ever changing so the hub must not have been completely covered by the river depth therefore scraping the underside of the the bridge. It’s puzzling though that the train station is leaking, and not sliced in half by the Hub structure. Perhaps the Eye came upon shore somewhere between the bridge and the train tunnel; Just grazing the tunnel in spots creating the leaking.
Henry stopped to think again, at the Founders Arm, a glass fronted pub facing the river. So if my calculations are correct, and they normally are. The 394 diameter would consist of a structural rim, hub, capsules and cables. So, where are all these pieces of the Ferris wheel hiding? He thought for bit more, but then all this thinking made him hungry so he ordered a slice of apricot pie and ate that with his afternoon tea.
As he ate his pie he thought about how apricots have a seed in the center that makes up about half the fruit. “By William,” he exclaimed then ate his last bite of pie. The Globe Theatre! The Globe Theater was reconstructed in 1997 with the understanding that the original was a 20 sided polygon that measured 99 feet across. This Shakespearean theater had been facing contempt for centuries. The odd shaped structure paired with the companies motto, “the whole world is a playhouse” made them number the number one suspect.
At further examination of the playhouse grounds, Henry noticed new planters radiating out from the center of the theater, that would form a star from an aerial view. The dirt was quite loose, and the landscaping haphazard. I think the retaining walls are made of stacked cables. This is part of the Eye he exclaimed!
The rim structure was slightly hidden but visible in the distance, encasing the Shakespearean Theater, just like he had visualized with the apricot seed. Sure enough, there was a sign on the Globe that said closed for reconstruction, the hub must be hidden inside. But what about the the capsule which people ride in? They were no longer attached to the rim? That’s when Henry saw a small team from China boarding a makeshift float on the river. The capsules had been submerged and topped with aluminum and plywood.
This float must have directed the Eye down the River! From a distance he noticed the acrobatic nature of his enemies. With a team like this they would have had no difficulty cutting the cables in the middle of the night.
But why would these Chinese outlaws join with the owners of the Globe Theater? Then dear Henry got it, the Star! The star pattern he had seen radiating out from the Globe was the trademark for the Star of Nanchang the Chinese Famous Ferris Wheel that rises 525’ tall. Desperate to control the amusement market the outlaws were hired by a second party to eliminate the competition. This could only mean the Singapore Flyer and The High Roller of Las Vegas were the next targets.
The breeze picked up and lifted Henry’s hat right of the top of his head, it tumbled and landed regrettably on the raft of the outlaws. Knowing it was the hat of Sir Henry (for his fame had spread across Asia) the acrobats were alerted to his presence. With two backflips they were off sailing down river.
Henry rushed towards the ornamental but thankfully still functional British Red Telephone Booth. Pulling some change from penny loafers he dialed the London PD alerting them of the Eye and the bandits whereabouts. From there he caught the express double decker bus heading towards Tower Bridge, with his eye on “The Eye” the whole time.
As he road he pondered, so the Globes motive presumably like the Star, was to eliminate the amusement competition. Since the Eye was constructed sales had dipped fifty percent at the Globe, and what was meant to be a temporary installation had become so popular that the structure was decided to be permanent.
Now back to the outlaws and the raft. They continued to increase their lead as they passed under the London Bridge. It seemed to be a clean getaway until Henry noticed a boat blockade at the Tower Bridge. The Authorities had stopped all boat traffic to slow down the raft, what developed in front of the criminals was a long line of barges, container ships, private yachts and tug boats.
The raft was stopped in its tracks. As it came to a halt the ropes securing the capsules were snapped by a sunken piece of loose steel. As the floor fell out beneath the acrobats the managed to board another ship, unbeknownst to them the freight ship was occupied by the London Police. The criminals were temporarily placed in the Tower of London till transport was determined for them to be prosecuted in their home country. A squad car was sent to the Globe to detain the accompli.
The detainees where the first to lodge at the Tower Of Londonsince 1952. The London Eye was excavated from the site of the Theater and reassembled within a few weeks time.
Sir Henry (as the queen had knighted him previously) joined the royal family for all the tea and crumpets that could fit in his little eight year old body. He went home that night to put on his dinosaur pajamas, and there lying at his nightstand was his rescued hat with a note that read, “Dear Sir Henry, the London Police Department thanks you for another job well done. On behalf of our team we would like to present you, your dapper hat and a lifetime pass to ride the London Eye Ferris Wheel, Best Regards.” Henry slept well that night with his full belly and his mind dreaming on the fun he would be having in the upcoming weeks, Goodnight Sir Henry.
story copyright Sarah Suzanne Noble
image credit Benjamin Swygart