One hundred years after the event, 105 members of London's Sherlock Holmes Society this week relived the great scene of the disappearance of their hero.
Holmes disappeared with the villainous Professor Moriarty in the rushing water of the Reichenbach Falls in the Bernese Oberland.But history accelerates events and the three years until the return of Sherlock Holmes were compressed into as many hours. After a joyous lamentation feast, Dame Jean Conan Doyle, the daughter of Sir Arthur, inaugurated what is claimed to be the most authentic of all Sherlock Holmes museums here in the former English church.
This is one of the 49 English churches that studded Victorian Switzerland; only a handful are still functioning today.
The pivotal scene from "The Final Problem" has not been the only moment to make Holmesian hearts flutter in this centenary pilgrimage to sites of their hero's exploits.
In Berne, when a portfolio of secret plans (carefully marked as such in three-inch letters) fluttered into a bearpit, the intrepid Holmes hesitated not a moment to follow, thereby arousing two fierce bears from their winter slumbers in a downpour that made the British Holmesians feel quite at home.
The full-rigged Victorian costumes obligatory for all did suffer a bit; never mind, most members - who chose which of Doyle's characters they would impersonate for the duration - have spent enough time in Portobello Road to have two or three changes.
Bustles and petticoats, hats and spats require considerably more luggage space and weight than modern travelers' gear; Swissair waived all restrictions on steamer trunks and hat boxes for the motley company.
And motley it is: as Lady Eva Bracknell meekly followed the elegant Charles Augustus Milverton (the greatest blackmailer of all times), through the controls at Heathrow last week, the reincarnation of Wiggins, the runner of the Baker Street Irregulars, was detained by security agents who thought him rather too scruffy to be a bona fide airline passenger.
Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service