Who is the world’s greatest detective? For almost 130 years, there has been little debate: it’s Sherlock Holmes, the brittle and brilliant 1887 literary creation who still captures our collective imagination. The years have brought no end of adaptations to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s tales of the famous 19th century sleuth, the most recent of which was Ian McKellen’s summer blockbuster Mr. Holmes. If you saw it, you know all about Sherlock Holmes’s waning years and his final case.
But have you heard about his first one?
A Study in Scarlet
Holmes made his first appearance in a story entitled A Study in Scarlet, a bloody murder mystery that baffles both Scotland Yard and young Holmes’s new friend, Dr. Watson. The case hinges on a few clues: a body with no wounds discovered in an abandoned room; a woman’s gold wedding ring, found under the body; and the word Rache, German for Revenge, scrawled across a wall in blood. The detectives and Dr. Watson are entranced by the word, thinking it an exceptional clue. (Holmes is not. Want to find out why? Read the story!)
We, too, are captivated by the word, but for an entirely different reason. When we read A Study in Scarlet, we can think only one thing: They definitely needed Aftermath!
In the story, the bloody room is just a setting. But in reality, ruined rooms are very real, and it’s Aftermath’s responsibility to help restore order.
So how would we have dealt with Rache?
The Aftermath Way
First, Aftermath would have determined how porous the affected materials were. Biological materials like blood cannot be completely disinfected from porous substances — to fully account for the threat of infection, they must be removed. That’s called remediation, and it’s one of Aftermath’s specialties.
In the 19th century, townhouse walls were made of wood and plaster, both extremely porous. Aftermath would have carefully removed the graffitied area of wall entirely, along with some of the wooden flooring, which the author describes as stained with “gouts and splashes” of blood! We perform remediation delicately, leaving as much of the surface as possible while still assuring the safety of the home. Aftermath is fully licensed to handle, package, and transport medical waste, and we do a thorough, professional job.
In the 19th century, this would have been the best we could do. But this is the 21st century, and today, Aftermath’s job isn’t over with remediation. We have to make sure we’ve eliminated invisible particles of hazardous material – particles that not even Sherlock Holmes’s magnifying glass could have revealed. How?
We use something that would have seemed like science fiction in the 19th century. It’s called ATP testing. Bodily fluids, bacteria, viruses — all of them contain adenosine triphosphate, the energy source for all living cells. We can find it.
It’s a process Sherlock would have loved. When we first meet him in the book, the great detective is conducting a hemoglobin test, attempting to determine the presence of blood in an extremely diluted solution. Imagine his delight if we could transport him to our century and show him Aftermath’s procedures, which identify not just blood, but the presence of any form of organic material.
Infection and Illness
It’s vital to test for ATP, because until you disinfect all biological materials, you risk infection with bloodborne pathogens like HIV and hepatitis. The CDC estimates that more than 1.2 million people in the United States have HIV infection, and almost 1 in 8 (12.8%) don’t know it! So we test, clean, and then test again. We don’t stop until our specialized chemicals have killed all the potentially harmful biological material we’ve found.
If you’re faced with a situation you wished were fiction, give us a call at 877-872-4339. We can’t make the event disappear, but we can help you clean up and restore your home or business to a healthy, safer state. When you’re asking, “What now?”…the answer is Aftermath.