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Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes' Stories - 2

Updated on May 4, 2015
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David Burke and Jeremy Brett as Doctor Watson and Sherlock Holmes
David Burke and Jeremy Brett as Doctor Watson and Sherlock Holmes | Source

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes

Published in 1894, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes is the second collection of Arthur Conan Doyle's stories, including The Adventure of the Cardboard Box (originally only published in the initial run of the American version, supposedly due to the 'adult' nature of the tale. However, it was omitted from further editions and eventually appeared in the later collection - His Last Bow). As with all of Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes adventures, all the stories first appeared in The Strand magazine. (Rather confusingly, like the first collection, they were also entitled The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes).

Some of the Sherlock Holmes books
Some of the Sherlock Holmes books | Source

The Stories

The stories in the second collection are:

Silver Blaze 1892
The Yellow Face 1893
The Stock Broker's Clerk 1893
The Gloria Scott 1893
The Musgrave Ritual 1893
The Reigate Puzzle 1893
The Crooked Man 1893
The Resident Patient 1893
The Greek Interpreter 1893
The Naval Treaty 1893
The Final Problem 1893

Poster for the movie version of Silver Blaze, starring Arthur Wontner and Ian Fleming
Poster for the movie version of Silver Blaze, starring Arthur Wontner and Ian Fleming | Source

Silver Blaze 1892

When a racehorse goes missing and a trainer is found murdered, Holmes and Watson hop on a train and take a trip to Dartmoor to investigate. On the journey, Holmes outlines the story and his theories to Watson, but as the investigation gets under way, he discovers that his initial thoughts are slightly off kilter:

"It was while I was in the carriage...that the immense significance of the curried mutton occurred to me."

Holmes pursues his theory and finds other events to be equally significant, along with the contents of the trainer's pockets and the millinery habits of the trainer's wife.

Inspector Gregory: "Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?"

Holmes: "To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time."

Inspector Gregory: "The dog did nothing in the night-time."

Holmes: "That was the curious incident."

The Yellow Face 1893

When the wife of happily married man Grant Munro asks him for money and won't tell him why, he thinks nothing of it - until that is, he learns that she is visiting a strange house near where they live. Munro is determined to find out why, but his wife will only tell him that she cannot divulge her "secret". Munro goes to the house and glimpses a mysterious yellow face at one of the windows. At a loss as to what to do, Munro seeks the help of Sherlock Holmes. Within hours, Holmes and his illustrious sidekick Dr Watson are hurrying to the aid of the poor fellow, but the solution to the mystery is not what Holmes expects...

"Upon my word, Watson, there is something very attractive about that livid face at that window and I would not have missed this case for the world."

The Stock Broker's Clerk 1893

When impoverished clerk Mr Hall Pycroft takes a post with London stockbroking firm Mawson and Williams, he suddenly finds himself in great demand. Only a few days before taking up his new position, a bearded stranger calls on Pycroft to offer a well-paid job with a hardware company. Pycroft is surprised, but a payment of £100 soon makes up his mind and he agrees to keep an appointment with the managing director of the new business. Things take an odd turn however, when he discovers the dilapidated state of the firm's offices. The bewildered clerk begins to wonder if he is the victim of an elaborate deception and turns to Sherlock Holmes for advice...

"I should like to have a look at this gentleman and see if I can make anything of his little game..."

The Gloria Scott 1893

Sitting by the fire one evening with Dr Watson, Sherlock Holmes recalls the particulars of the first case he was engaged in: While studying at College, Holmes meets Victor Trevor and forms a close friendship with him. Sometime after this, Trevor seeks out the budding detective in the hope that he'll be able to shed light on a curious situation. He invites Holmes down to his father's house where the young crime fighter , eager to try out his try out his deductive powers, reveals personal details about Trevor Senior. The old man is a little taken aback, but the arrival of a visitor heralds a series of ominous events. When a strange note is discovered, Holmes has the ingredient he needs to unravel the mystery...

"It was evidently as I had thought, and some second meaning must lie buried in this strange combination of words."

The Musgrave Ritual 1893

While living in lodgings in Montague Street, Sherlock Holmes is visited by Reginald Musgrave - a man he is aware of from his College days. Musgrave tells Holmes how he was recently forced to give notice to his butler, after catching the man in the early hours of the morning going through his employer's family papers. The butler, however, begs that he be allowed to work out his notice, and Musgrave finally consents and gives him a week to leave the house. Shortly after this, the butler mysteriously disappears, having apparently vanished wearing only his black suit and slippers. When Holmes sees a document the butler was looking at, he begins to see the light...

"It may be that the solution of the one will prove to be the solution to the other."

The Reigate Puzzle (Also known as The Reigate Squire)1893

Suffering from the exhaustion of a particularly difficult case, Holmes is not at his best at the start of this tale. Dr Watson travels to Lyons to bring his friend back to 221 Baker Street with the aim of allowing him to regain his strength. What Holmes really needs though, is a few days in the country, so when an old friend of Watson's offers them the opportunity to take a break, the gallant duo set off for Reigate. Naturally, a crime is soon committed that temps Holmes to lend a helping hand, and he soon finds himself inveigled in an apparent burglary that's ended in murder: Two houses are broken into and a man is shot by a mysterious assailant. However, the killer leaves behind a torn note which gives Sherlock Holmes a clue, and also puts his own life at risk...

His words were cut short by a sudden scream of "Help! Help! Murder! Murder!"

"Excellent!" I cried.

"Elementary," said he.

The Crooked Man 1893

Sherlock Holmes turns up late one night at the home of Dr Watson and tells him of a case he has been investigating. An army Colonel appears to have been murdered under rather odd circumstances: after a night out with a female friend, the Colonel's wife returns home and orders tea to be brought to her in the Morning Room. Shortly afterwards she and her husband are heard arguing. When a servant investigates, he finds the door locked from the inside. In a panic, he runs round to the back of the house through the open French windows and discovers the Colonel lying dead in a pool of his own blood...

"The most distinctive and suggestive point about the case is the singular disappearance of the door key."

NB this is the only story where Holmes utters the word 'elementary':

The Resident Patient 1893

Newly qualified doctor Percy Trevelyan struggles to make his way in the world, until he is offered a lucrative position by a wealthy businessman: Mr Blessington proposes to provide him with consulting rooms and a place to live in return for a percentage of all the doctor's takings. The young practitioner happily accepts and all goes well for a time, but one day Trevelyan's employer becomes agitated over a bank robbery. The doctor thinks little of this, until he is visited by a Russian nobleman who apparently suffers from catalepsy...

Holmes looked at Blessington in his questioning way, and shook his head. "I can't possibly advise you if you try to deceive me," said he.

The Greek Interpreter 1893

During a discussion about his deductive skills, Sherlock Holmes reveals to Watson that he has a brother, Mycroft Holmes. He also mentions that Mycroft assists him with the occasional case where superior deductive dexterity is needed. Holmes offers to

introduce Watson to his brother and the pair set off for the Diogenes Club, which Mycroft is known to frequent. After some initial chit-chat, during which the Holmes brothers entertain Watson with their observational skills, Mycroft mentions a Greek Interpreter who has recently encountered an unsettling experience.

The interpreter, Mr Melas explains his story to Holmes and Watson: having been approached by a Mr Latimer, he is offered a sum of money to speak to a fellow Greek. The stranger then whisks Melas away in a carriage and mysteriously draws up the paper-covered windows, preventing his passenger from seeing where they are headed. When Melas meets the man he is to question, he begins to realise the terrible position he has been put in.

"Excellent, Watson," cried Holmes. "I really fancy that you are not far from the truth."

The Naval Treaty 1893

This story was originally published in The Strand Magazine as a two-parter: When "Tadpole" Phelps, an old school chum of Watson's, gets in touch following a catastrophe at his place of work, the good doctor immediately enlists the help of Sherlock Holmes. Phelps is in the employ of the Foreign Office and having been entrusted with the vital task of copying out a valuable document, is absolutely distraught when it vanishes from his office. Such is the shock of the affair, that the poor man has been seriously ill for several weeks afterwards. Holmes and Watson visit Phelps at home, where he is being cared for by his fiancé Annie and her brother Joseph. After hearing Phelps' version of events and consulting with the police, Holmes has several theories which he quickly puts to the test...

"And then of course there is the bell - which is the most distinctive feature of the case."

Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty
Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty

The Final Problem 1893

John Watson begins his account of The Final Problem with the news that Sherlock Holmes is dead. He tells how Holmes comes to visit him one evening bearing several bruises and looking somewhat the worse for wear. Watson learns that the arch-criminal Professor Moriarty is behind a series of attacks on Holmes and Britain is no longer safe for the famous detective. The next day, following very specific instructions, Watson sets out to meet his friend at Victoria Station where they will travel to the Continent. The intrepid duo manage to evade the evil Moriarty and his gang for several days. Then, setting off from an inn with a young guide, they plan to walk to the village of Rosenlaui, arriving in time to spend the night. However, the journey takes in several natural spectacles, including the Reichenbach Falls...

"I think that I may go so far as to say, Watson, that I have not lived wholly in vain," he remarked.

Luckily for his many fans, Conan Doyle resurrected his intrepid hero after Holmes 'died at the Reichenbach Falls, and the famous detective went on to appear in two more collections of stories.

The Final Problem

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    • FatBoyThin profile image
      Author

      Colin Garrow 2 years ago from Kinneff, Scotland

      Thanks for reading, Jodah - yes, these are some of ACD's best stories, even though one or two (such as The Yellow Face) show how his enthusiasm is beginning to wane.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      I am a fan of Sherlock Holmes and Arthur Conan-Doyle, Colin. Though I cannot recall having read any of these stories. Very good reviews and information here. Thanks for sharing.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      I am a fan of Sherlock Holmes and Arthur Conan-Doyle, Colin. Though I cannot recall having read any of these stories. Very good reviews and information here. Thanks for sharing.