Royal Mail Competition: Collect a prize holiday

THROUGHOUT this week the Independent is running an exclusive competition with Royal Mail, which yesterday launched a set of special stamps to mark the centenary of the death of Sherlock Holmes. The five 24p stamps, designed by Andrew Davidson, depict scenes from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories, and in keeping with the detective theme, they incorporate a challenge to decipher some extremely well-disguised clues.

Your first task will be to find the five letters hidden somewhere in the scenes, one on each stamp. These letters should then be rearranged in an order with strong Holmesian connections. Your second problem is to solve the five clues, saving your answers for the reply coupon which will be included on Friday.

The winner will receive a week's holiday for two in Switzerland's beautiful Bernese Oberland region. Flying Swiss Air and travelling with Kuoni Travel, they will stay at the picturesque Park Sauvage Hotel, overlooking the Reichenbach Falls, where Conan Doyle himself plotted the death of his most famous creation. Accommodation is half board and the holiday must be taken between 1 April 1994 and 31 October 1994, subject to availability. Three runners-up will win a copy of The Penguin Complete Sherlock Holmes, which includes The Greek Interpreter. There will be 100 further prizes of presentation packs of the stamps - a valuable addition to any collection, or a fine start to a fascinating hobby.

The third stamp in the set shows Holmes in a scene from the story The Greek Interpreter with his brother Mycroft, who helps him to discover the whereabouts of Mr Melas, the Greek interpreter, and save him from a room filled with charcoal fumes.

The Clue

'Having trouble with the knot, Sherlock?' asked Mycroft. 'Perhaps I might be of assistance.' 'O, that hemp is sensible,' exclaimed the great detective, pulling at the rope.

'What I cannot grasp,' said Mycroft, 'is how you knew where to find the Greek interpreter.' 'When you have eliminated the impossible,' said Holmes, 'whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.'

The Question

Where did Holmes find the interpreter?

Answers will be given and winners announced in the 8 November issue. Standard Independent competition rules apply.