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“It was at this point,” says Sherrinford, “that he shook my hand–”

“Aha!” says Sacker. “From which gesture you surely gathered a panoply of interesting details.”

“It was neither limp and cold, like a dead fisherman’s, nor crushingly tight like that of some great Russian sadist,” says Sherrinford. “His fingers were slightly moist from the exertion of climbing the stairs. The shake was appropriately firm, and ended after a clasp and a slight vertical movement.”

“And what did you deduce?” asks Sacker, mustaches twitching.

“Almost completely nothing,” says Sherrinford, “the only people who don’t shake hands like that are in books.”