A big welcome today to Tim Symonds as part of his blog tour with Book Unleashed for The Mystery of Einstein’s Daughter
MYSTERY OF EINSTEIN’S DAUGHTER
Publisher: MX Publishing
Publication Date: January 13, 2014
Setting: Holmes and Watson are in Berne, Switzerland. Holmes wants to learn more about a graduate student by the name of Albert Einstein. He asks a very unwilling Watson to go to a Swiss bank nearest to the young Einstein’s home and masquerade as Albert himself. Here’s what happens:
Holmes went on, ‘Before I forget, Watson, there is a little masquerade I wish you to undertake here in Berne. Let’s discuss it tomorrow.’
The next day, I entered the hotel breakfast room. Before I could greet him with a customary good morning Holmes met me with my instructions.
‘I need you to look your most respectable and walk into the bank nearest Einstein’s address on the Tillierstrasse. It’s called the Spar Leihkasse. Demand to see your bank-statements – that is, Albert Einstein’s bank statements. A bank has a thousand customers a day. It’s hardly likely any teller would know the real Einstein from the ghost of Newton.’
‘Why would you wish to know how much this young man has in his bank-account? It can hardly be the equal of Baron de Rothschild,’ I demanded.
‘Not so much his financial standing but the manner of his outlays,’ came the explanation. ‘I can tell eighty percent of a man’s secrets from one glance at his accounts. What of regular payments of a precise amount over many months or years? Landlord? Mistress? Blackmailer?’
‘Holmes,’ I protested, ‘other than greatly inadequate French and a smattering of Urdu in which Swiss bank tellers may have little grounding, I speak only English!’
‘My dear fellow, look how the students around us at the Café Bollwerk converse – English is the lingua franca. Einstein is a Jew, born in Bavaria. His native tongue would be a colloquial German but it is quite likely he would use English at a bank.’
Despite my evident discomfort at the task, I was dismissed with a ‘Good-bye and be brave, Watson – it’s hardly a case of performing the salto mortale, the most dangerous act in the circus.’
I entered the Bank with a show of confidence I didn’t feel. If the teller shouted out for my arrest, my advancing years and stiffening limbs would make an escape to the outside world difficult. The teller greeted me politely with a ‘Comment puis-je vous aider, Monsieur?’
In English I replied, ‘I wish to see my bank-statements for the last three months of 1904.’
‘Certainly, sir,’ came the reply in English. ‘Your name, please?’
‘Mr. Albert Einstein,’ I replied.
He began writing ‘Albert’ then stopped, looking up at me over his eyeglasses.
‘Einstein,’ I responded firmly.
‘Did you say Albert Einstein?’
‘Yes,’ I repeated stoutly. ‘Mr. Albert Einstein of the Tillierstrasse.’
‘The Tillierstrasse?’ he parroted.
‘Yes, the Tillierstrasse,’ I returned, trying to look suitably bewildered and irritated by this interrogation.
The Bank teller leaned towards me.
‘I have a reason for asking you to repeat your name. You see, ever since the Great Council of Geneva in 1713 we are prohibited from revealing details about our customers to anyone else but the account holder.’
‘Such discretion is the hallmark of the Spar Leihkasse Bank and the principal reason I bank with you,’ I retorted. ‘I am a customer and my name is Albert Einstein.’
A smile crept across his face. He turned to a small notebook at his side. From it he wrote on a piece of scrap paper what appeared to be a telephone number and slipped it through the grill.
‘What’s this?’ I asked, bewildered.
‘Our famous University’s Medical Department,’ came the reply.
‘Why should I want – ?’
His smile broadened. ‘Mr. Albert Einstein, I must ask you to offer yourself as a guinea-pig in the University’s Gerontology department.’
‘Why in Heaven’s name would I do that?’ I protested.
‘Because in hardly three hours, you have aged more than thirty years. You were here this morning exactly where you stand before me, trying to get the bank to increase your overdraft. If indeed you’re the same Albert Einstein you really must avoid repeating whatever it was you ate for lunch.’
He sat back on his uncomfortable stool. ‘I realise you may be one of Mr. Einstein’s many creditors, Mein Herr, but I must wish you good-day before I call the police and have you questioned in some depth.’
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