Social Engineering in Fiction: Sherlock Holmes

A particular instance in The Hound Of The Baskervilles

"Have you any objection to my looking at your register?" said

"Not in the least."

The book showed that two names had been added after that of
Baskerville. One was Theophilus Johnson and family, of Newcastle;
the other Mrs. Oldmore and maid, of High Lodge, Alton.

"Surely that must be the same Johnson whom I used to know," said
Holmes to the porter. "A lawyer, is he not, gray-headed, and
walks with a limp?"

"No, sir; this is Mr. Johnson, the coal-owner, a very active
gentleman, not older than yourself."

"Surely you are mistaken about his trade?"

"No, sir! he has used this hotel for many years, and he is very
well known to us."

"Ah, that settles it. Mrs. Oldmore, too; I seem to remember the
name. Excuse my curiosity, but often in calling upon one friend
one finds another."

"She is an invalid lady, sir. Her husband was once mayor of
Gloucester. She always comes to us when she is in town."

Social Engineering from the greatest of consulting detectives. As we'd expect from one of the good guys, he doesn't use the information for nefarious purposes, just to eliminate suspicion. Nice huh?

posted @ Saturday, March 3, 2007 10:24 PM

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