TROUBLE CITY

Catching Up with Sherlock #11

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Banner art by Chelsea Sprauer

Everyone’s heard of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson, but how much do you really know about the residents of 221B Baker Street? In addition to four novellas (one of which we covered at GUY.Com), Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote five collections of 56 short stories starring the world-famous detective and his faithful associate. We’ll be spotlighting 20 of them, to get you caught up just in time for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. All of these stories are public domain, so find a free copy online and read along!

The Reigate Puzzle

Found in: “The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes”

The Case: Sherlock Holmes has fallen ill after running himself ragged for a previous case, and Dr. Watson prescribes some R&R at the country home of an old friend in Reigate. Their timing is impeccable, as the neighborhood has recently seen a burglary and a murder.

The Solution: *Some of the neighbors were locked in a dispute over real estate. The burglary was a cover-up for a failed attempt at stealing some legal documents for the case. When the thieves’ coachman found out about it and tried to blackmail them, he was murdered instead.*

Impressions and Fingerprints: This is a mystery with precious little in the way of visible clues. This means that Sherlock must resort to some methods that are even more unorthodox and opaque than usual.

More importantly, this story has a unique recurring thread: Sherlock’s infirmity. Because his nerves were so completely shot at the outset, and because his activities are strange even by his normal standards, this story constantly raises the implicit question of whether Sherlock has finally gone mad.

Is it worth it? The only reason why these crimes are a mystery is because the culprits and the local authorities are idiots. Still, this story provides a very fresh and interesting perspective on Holmes’ methods.

Part 20: "The Last Bow" Part 19: "The Adventure of Shoscombe Old Place" Part 18: "The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone" Part 17: "The Adventure of the Abbey Grange" Part 16: "The Adventure of the Dancing Men" Part 15: "The Adventure of the Empty House" Part 14: "The Final Problem" Part 13: "The Naval Treaty" Part 12: "The Crooked Man" Part 11: "The Reigate Puzzle" Part 10: "The Greek Interpreter" Part 9: "The Musgrave Ritual" Part 8: "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" Part 7: "Silver Blaze" Part 6: "The Five Orange Pips" Part 5: "The Adventure of the Copper Beeches" Part 4: "The Boscombe Valley Mystery" Part 3: "A Case of Identity" Part 2: "A Scandal in Bohemia" Part 1: "The Red-Headed League"