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In The Sign of Three, when Sherlock is having a conference with the 5 women (the Mayfly Man case), he finds that the employers of all five women are different. So how does Tessa know about the wedding and why did the Mayfly man date the other women?


GAIL: Gardener.


TESSA: Private nurse.

ROBYN: I do security work.

VICKY : Maid.

SHERLOCK: Obvious. You all work for the same person!

SHERLOCK: No, not the same employer. Damn.

Source for Transcript: Ariane DeVere

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I'm wondering how the Mayfly man managed to find these women. It's unlikely that their dating profile said "I work(ed) for Major Sholto". – Oliver_C May 28 '14 at 20:59

2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted


There are two possible reasons how Tessa knew about the wedding: she saw the invitation whilst working for Sholto, or was told by Sholto in her capacity as his private nurse.

The Mayfly Man dated the women as they all worked for Sholto at some time.

Long Answer:

All five women have dated the same man (The Mayfly Man), named as such as he lived like a Mayfly:

The man had given a different name on each occasion...He'd taken the names of people from obituaries. He'd found single recently-deceased men who had lived alone - and he'd taken the women back to their homes. So on each occasion, he'd taken a dead man's identity for one night only.

So to answer your questions as to why he dated them - the most logical explanation is that they all worked for Sholto at some time.

Now, we know from the conference that Sherlock initially dismissed this link as they had different employers. Instead, he focussed on the fact they all had a secret. However, there is an issue with this. Whilst they all work for different employers now, their employment history is never mentioned.

From the script:

At the reception, everyone is back in the room. Sherlock tries to act nonchalantly as he walks over to a nearby table and picks up one of the name cards on it while pulling a pen on a chain from his waistcoat.
SHERLOCK: Ooh! A recluse, small household staff.

GAIL: Gardener.
TESSA: Private nurse.
VICKY: Maid.

SHERLOCK (writing on the name card in the reception room): High turnover for additional security.

ROBYN: I do security work.

SHERLOCK (walking over to Sholto and casually dropping the name card down in front of him before walking away): Probably all signed confidentiality agreements.

He realised at this point that they had all worked for Sholto at some point (not necessarily at the same time). They either lied about it to Sherlock as they had signed confidentiality agreements or they were simply never asked by Sherlock as he was more interested in their current employer.

So the photographer who tried to kill Sholto effectively dated all the women due to their connection to Sholto.

As for Tessa, there are a few possibilities as to how she knows about the wedding. Note her job - private nurse. She has a strong reason to know Sholto's whereabouts at all times, in case he needs medical attention. It's possible she was told he would be at the wedding and passed this information on during her seduction by the Mayfly Man. Another possibility is that as Sholto's private nurse, with close access to him, she simply saw the wedding invitation lying around and likely made the link between the name on it (John Watson) and the blog she reads online.

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+1 for detailed answer... You covered all the points which I have missed... :) – Ashutosh May 28 '14 at 8:20
Thanks a ton @Andrew Martin – Rippy May 29 '14 at 17:57

After the conservation as you have posted, Sherlock continue to find some common factor between all the women. Look at the following transcript.

(He looks down, then raises his eyes and points at the women one by one but this time not going straight round the semi-circle. Presumably he is working in the order in which the ‘ghost’ dated the women.)

SHERLOCK: Security guard, gardener, cook, maid, private nurse. He’s romancing his way up a pecking order, somebody’s pecking order. (He closes his eyes.)

SHERLOCK (sternly to himself): Come on, think. (His eyes open again.)

SHERLOCK: Unless ... (He twitches a small, brief smile and turns to Gail.)

SHERLOCK: Do you have a secret you’ve never told anyone?

ALL FIVE WOMEN (simultaneously): No. (Sherlock smiles.)


JOHN (suddenly at his side again): What d’you mean?

SHERLOCK: Everyone has secrets, and they all replied too quickly.

GAIL (looking anxious): Gotta go. (She walks away.)

CHARLOTTE: See ya. (She too turns to leave.)


ROBYN: Bye-bye. (She leaves.)


VICKY: Sorry, sexy. (She winks at him.) Some secrets have to stay secret. (She walks away.)

TESSA (smiling at him): Enjoy the wedding.

Latter back at the wedding he again recall the conversation an frees on

TESSA (smiling at him): Enjoy the wedding.

He knows that John hates the name & never uses it, only few person know his middle name. Sherlock,Mary and Irene 'The Woman' Adler (she was long gone). Mary had put the John's middle name in there wedding card.

So he deduces that Tessa must have seen it in a wedding invitation as she is a private nurse and John is a military doctor same profession .And then connecting the dots how the all woman who have dated The Mayfly Man reacted to the question about secrete Sherlock concludes all the women have worked for Major.Sholto in various capacities and were bound by confidentiality.

Here is the transcript for it.

In the Council Chamber, Tessa smiles brightly at Sherlock.

TESSA: Enjoy the wedding.

SHERLOCK (pointing at her): The wedding. You knew about the wedding; more importantly, you’d seen a wedding invitation. Now barely a hundred people had seen that invitation. The Mayfly Man only saw five women. For one person to be in both groups ... (he tilts his hand back and forth) ... could be a coincidence.

MYCROFT (disapprovingly, offscreen): Oh, Sherlock. (Sherlock turns around. Mycroft is up on the dais, standing in front of the Chairman’s chair. The women have vanished.)

MYCROFT: What do we say about coincidence?

SHERLOCK (slowly walking towards him): The universe is rarely so lazy.

MYCROFT: So, the balance of probability is ...?

SHERLOCK: Someone went to great lengths to find out something about this wedding.

MYCROFT: What great lengths?

SHERLOCK (stopping, while continuing to stare intensely up at his brother): They lied, assumed false identities.

MYCROFT: Which suggests ...?

SHERLOCK: Criminal intent.

MYCROFT: Also suggests ...?

SHERLOCK: Intelligence, planning.

MYCROFT: Clearly. But more importantly ...?

The champagne glass continues its fall.

SHERLOCK (in the Chamber): The Mayfly Man.

As The Mayfly Man wanted revenge on Sholto reason which is latter revealed wedding its his chance. That's why he dated all this woman to found out about wedding invitation.

Source for Transcript: Ariane DeVere

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Before writing such a detailed answer, kindly spare 5 minutes to READ the question. – Rippy Apr 29 at 20:01

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