"So, Watson, we have been called in to investigate how the Vatican City, which numbers a mere 840 people, managed to attract 42,000 signatures for an online petition demanding a second EU referendum."
"But Holmes, why do they want another referendum, anyway?"
"Really, Watson, that is childishly simple. They got an answer they did not like, so naturally they wanted to run the vote again. But we are faced here with the interesting case of the Sockpuppets of the Vatican."
"But the Vatican, Holmes? Is this not a crime that one associates more with dens of iniquity such as North Korea or Chiswick?"
Holmes nodded his assent, took out his violin, and played some haunting selections from the works of Paul Inwood. I hurriedly fled into another room, knowing that I could do nothing about my friend's addiction to bad music.
"Now, Lorenzo, here is the list of sockpuppet accounts that you asked for."
When all was peaceful again, I had a suggestion to make.
"Could it be the doing of Cardinal Baldisseri?" I asked. "He is an experienced manipulator of synods, and maybe he has moved into other forms of chicanery."
"I think not, Watson. His hands are full with another matter. Following requests that the last papal conclave be re-run, on the grounds that the St Gallen Mafia had fixed it, he has been masterminding his own response.
Indeed, a giant petition signed by 42,000 cardinals - some with previously unknown names such as Cardinal Eccles, Cardinal Custard and Cardinal Biggles - has expressed its complete and utter faith in the election of Pope Francis. Baldisseri has had no time for other activities."
I then suggested that Emeritus Pope Benedict, who had retired from the Chair of St Peter, expressing the wish to spend more time in "praying, tweeting and checking up on spiritually nourishing blogs", might have a hand in the sockpuppetry.
"I did indeed consider him as a possible suspect," agreed Holmes. "After telegraphing to my agents in Bavaria, I even discovered that 'Benedict' is not his real name, and that he is known to his oldest friends as 'Holy Joe'. However, he was definitely otherwise engaged when the crime was committed. No, he is not the Napoleon of Crime that we seek."
Meanwhile, the word "Napoleon" had triggered something in Holmes's mind. "Watson, this is definitely a three-prayer problem. Leave me in peace to meditate in St Peter's Basilica - you will recognise it by the moving picture about monkeys playing on the outside - and we shall see if divine inspiration arrives."
After a restful doze through a three-hour sermon from Cardinal Kasper on "Why fornication is the new marriage", Holmes had a new suspect.
Fr Napoleon Rosica? Surely not!
"No, that's impossible," he said. "Surely there must be some other explanation..."