Dr John Watson, MD, confirmed last night that his esteemed friend Mr Sherlock Homes had been consulted in earnest by the anguished mother of the missing infant Madeline McCann.
He recalled: 'A fine silvery mist was whipping through the alleyways and narrow streets surrounding Baker Street when an unfamiliar but decidedly feminine step was heard on the landing outside our humble quarters.
'Holmes had tossed himself on the chez longe and was cleaning up the mess with a silken handkerchief when a tentative knock at the door announced her arrival.
'Her scarf was tightly wrapped around her head I at first though she may be a subscriber to the Moslem faith until she spoke in a thick, guttural accent which marked her origins as to the tumbledown slums of the port quarter of Liverpool.
'You've got to help me Mr Holmes. My little Maddie's missing and everyone thinks I done it,' said she.
Holmes ceased his nettoyage of the spunk stain and observed her languidly.
'And where have you looked for her,' he asked in a depreciating tone reserved for the filthy underclass we were accustomed to dealing with in so many episodes of our Baker Street adventures.
'All over the world, Mr Holmes,' the wretched woman replied. 'I was going to look for her on a scuba diving trip in Mauritius till the Portuguese police said I done it and I never.'
'Then to Praia da Luz it is,' Holmes ejaculated, for the second time that evening.
'Then you'll take me case,' enquired the mother with quavering voice.
'Never,' said Holmes sternly. 'But I deduce the bill of fare at the restaurant in which you dined must be of a quality unknown to the greatest chefs in the empire if you could not tire yourself to check with regularity on your three infants as you dined. I'm starving me.'