"Ah, Sherlock, we were waiting for you. Something horrible has happened and we need your help."

Sherlock Holmes had barely entered the Security Council room. Only a few hours ago, he was summoned from 221B Baker Street. The mission was so urgent that Sherlock was flown across the Atlantic in a suborned SR-71 Blackbird.

"Good Morning to you as well, Madame President. I hope Bill hasn't complained too much about his speed chess defeat last night."

Hillary Clinton, President of the United States of America, was impatient. "He'll live. However, several family members of European heads of state aren't that lucky. Several of them have been poisoned and we have no idea how."

Marine Le Pen suddenly interrupted "Mathilde, elle est dans un coma. S'il vous plaît, Monseigneur Holmes, il faut la sauver!".

"As president Le Pen mentioned, one of her children was the first victim. Soon after, Belgium, Germany, Poland and Ukraine were the next to get hit. Each country has the youngest child of the current leader heavily ill. We think the Russian prime minister might be next, but we're not sure."

Sherlock sighed, then said "You're not sure? Obviously they're next. I really don't understand why you haven't made any arrests yet. It's clear who is causing this".

Holmes then explained in 3 sentences who they had to arrest, what the link between the countries is and how the link leads to the perpetrators.

He was right, obviously. But who was arrested, and why?


The poisonings are the work of a conspiracy, not one person. Each offspring was poisoned by a different person. All acting conspirators had the same profession. It's not clear what poison they used, but the symptoms point to one that needs to enter via the mouth.

Second Hint:

As deduced by the first answer, the E40 European route is important in this question. What's also important is how many victims are mentioned or planned. the perpetrators won't head into Asia.

Last Hint:

There are 6 victims along the E40. Put in another way, that's E406. E406 has a well-defined meaning as a code word for a food additive. It's that food additive that holds the key to the puzzle.

  • $\begingroup$ Where did all the comments go? $\endgroup$
    – user88
    Apr 10, 2015 at 18:58
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ -1: Based on the correct answer, this puzzle doesn't require a logical insight. Instead, it requires noticing an obscure pun and reading into it. $\endgroup$
    – Kevin
    Apr 11, 2015 at 17:45
  • $\begingroup$ I agree with Kevin; it's not the kind of deduction that Sherlock would have made. $\endgroup$
    – user88
    Apr 11, 2015 at 21:26
  • $\begingroup$ @JoeZ. I think the biggest mistake I made was trying to shoehorn Sherlock Holmes into this. It probably would have been better to use a nameless spymaster or something like that. $\endgroup$
    – Nzall
    Apr 12, 2015 at 10:35
  • $\begingroup$ I'm curious - how was Sherlock so certain that the Russian PM's child was next, given that the rest of the reasoning only follows if you first accept that claim? If we replace Russia with any other country, the reasoning falls apart, and the only way to be sure that the rest of the reasoning has any basis is if Russia is indeed next. $\endgroup$
    – Glen O
    Apr 26, 2015 at 14:05

1 Answer 1


I believe the perpetrators are the European Dental Association.

"If you notice, Miss Clinton," said Sherlock, "the European highway E40 passes through all the countries that were affected. Now, the diagnosis was that the children were all poisoned with agar, also known as E406, which would square quite nicely with six countries on the E40. Agar is used to prepare a substitute for that vegetarians eat in place of gelatin. It's also used to make various candies and to make tooth impressions for dentistry."
     "That last use is how I deduced that these perpetrators must be dentists. You see, all six of these children recently visited the dentist for brace checkups within a six-day span, and their tooth prints were made using agar. The dentists must have poisoned the agar made in the impression."

I have to admit, that "E406" step is a pretty far-fetched chain of deductions, even for Sherlock. My second thought after hearing about E406 would have been PETA, since gelatin is something with animal products, and agar would have been a substitute that they might want to promote. It's also possible that my line of reasoning here is completely wrong, as the Sherlock Holmes stories usually have more of an investigation to go on.

  • $\begingroup$ It should be MADAME (Marine) Le Pen ;-) $\endgroup$ Apr 6, 2015 at 21:47
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Maybe Le Pen just has a very masculine voice. You never know. $\endgroup$
    – user88
    Apr 6, 2015 at 21:50
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The chemtrails jet follows E40! $\endgroup$ Apr 6, 2015 at 21:59
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @JoeZ. Your answer is correct. Although my idea was more that all children recently underwent a visit to the dentist, who took their tooth print using agar, and the agar was poisoned. $\endgroup$
    – Nzall
    Apr 11, 2015 at 8:58
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Although then, based on that, I can't figure out what sort of a motive they would have had, which makes the puzzle strange again. $\endgroup$
    – user88
    Apr 11, 2015 at 16:20

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