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Exploits

Cover of an edition of The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes

The Exploits of Sherlock Holmes is a collection of Sherlock Holmes pastiches by Adrian Conan Doyle, the youngest son of Arthur Conan Doyle, and John Dickson Carr, the American mystery writer and the author of the official biography Life of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1949).

The twelve short stories in the anthology, published first in magazines between December 1952 and October 1953, are all based on "untold cases" referenced in canonical Sherlock Holmes stories. The collection was first published in book form by J. Murry in 1954.

Stories

"The Adventure of the Seven Clocks"[1]

Celia Forsythe, a young companion to Lady Mayo, comes to see Holmes about a charming gentleman named Charles Hendon whom they met during a holiday in Switzerland. Celia witnessed Hendon inexplicably smash a clock in the hotel lobby and, a few days later, another clock in the dining room. She also learned from Hendon's manservant that he has buried in the snow and hidden in the cupboard five more clocks. Four days ago, Hendon left the hotel suddenly and disappeared after receiving a letter signed by Holmes. Celia, who is clearly in love with Hendon, demands to know what was in the letter.

"The Adventure of the Gold Hunter"[2]

Reveland James Appley, a country vicar, consults Holmes on the sudden and mysterious death of Squire John Trelawney, a rich landowner. Scotland Yard has been called in due to the fact that the postmortem has failed to determine the cause of death. Trelawney had recently changed his will, disinheriting his niece and leaving everything to his physician Dr. Paul Griffin. Appley is afraid that Dr. Griffin, his nephew, is the prime suspect.

"The Adventure of the Wax Gamblers"[3]

Sam Baxter, the night attendant at Madame Taupin's waxworks, comes to consult Sherlock Holmes with his granddaughter Eleanor. In the underground exhibit called the Room of Horrors, there is a tableau of gamblers at a table. Two nights ago, Sam noticed that one of the gamblers was holding fewer cards than usual, as if he had discarded from his hand, and the cards on the table had also been moved. Holmes, unfortunately confined to the couch with a sprained ankle, sends Watson to the wax museum to fetch the playing cards from the exhibit.

"The Adventure of the Highgate Miracle"[4]

Mrs. Gloria Cabpleasure wishes to know why her husband James, a diamond broker, "worships" his shabby umbrella. The umbrella has no financial or sentimental value, yet he has not allowed it out of his sight even at night for the past year. She has even had the umbrella taken apart and examined while he was asleep to verify there are no hidden compartments. Believing her husband to be involved in some sinister plot involving diamonds, she comes to hire Sherlock Holmes.

"The Adventure of the Black Baronet"[5]

While on a rest cure in the country, Holmes is called into a case by Inspector Gregson. Colonel Jocelyn Daley, a famous gambler, has been murdered while staying at Lavington Court. Daley was found dead in the hall where he was, according to the butler, about to have wine with Sir Reginald Lavington. Gregson believes Sir Lavington killed Daley out of jealousy over Lady Lavington's friendship with the gambler.

"The Adventure of the Sealed Room"[6]

Cora Murray, an old friend of Mrs. Watson's, lives with Colonel and Mrs. Warburton. Last night after dinner, two shots were heard and the Colonel and his wife were found shot in a locked room. It is assumed that Colonel Warburton shot his wife then killed himself. Cora, however, cannot believe the Colonel guilty of such a horrible deed. She runs to Dr. Watson for help, hoping he and his friend Sherlock Holmes can uncover the truth.

"The Adventure of Foulkes Rath"[7]

A rich landowner named Squire Matthias Addleton is murdered at his manor house, Foulkes Rath. He was heard quarreling with his nephew Percy Longton in the evening. Shortly after midnight, hearing a loud cry, servants rushed down to find the Squire lying in a pool of blood and Longton standing next to him with an axe in his hand. The butler heard Squire Addleton whisper "It - was - Long - ton" with his dying breath. Longton protests his innocence and states he had retired to bed after the quarrel which was over proposed sale of some valuable land. He says he was awakened later by the yell, ran downstairs, and found his uncle dying with the axe lying beside him. Longton's lawyer contacts Sherlock Holmes in desperation.

"The Adventure of the Abbas Ruby"[8]

The Abbas Ruby has been stolen. Andrew Joliffe, butler to the horticulturist Sir John Doverton, is suspected. The ruby is normally kept locked in a safe in Sir John's bedroom, but last night it was taken out to be shown to dinner guests. While they were admiring the ruby, Lady Doverton sent Joliffe to light the lamps in the conservatory so the guests can see Sir John's prize camellias afterwards. Lighting the lamps, Joliffe was startled to find all the camellia blossoms gone. He ran back to report the matter. Sir John hurriedly put the jewel case away in a drawer as they all rushed to the conservatory. When they returned a short while later, the jewel case and the ruby were gone. Joliffe, who has a robbery record, runs to Holmes for help.

"The Adventure of the Dark Angels"[9]

Daphne Ferrers lives with her father Joshua in an isolated large estate which he purchased five years ago after selling off his vineyards in Sicily and retiring to England. Five months ago, Daphne found nailed to a tree a colored print depicting nine angels in dark robes with the words "six and three" scribbled underneath. Upon seeing it, her father became pale and locked himself in his study. He has not left the house since. Some weeks later, they found a print of six dark angels nailed to the front door. About a fortnight later, she saw a man's face peering through the window, and her father threw a candelabrum at it. Six weeks ago, the print of nine dark angels was found on the breakfast table. Her father is resigned to his fate and refuses to call the police. Daphne manages to slip away to see her father's cousin, Sir Robert Norburton of Shoscombe Old Place. On his advice, she comes to consult Sherlock Holmes.

"The Adventure of the Two Women"[10]

Holmes is engaged in a sensitive and dangerous case of blackmail involving the Duchess of Carringford, window of a great statesman. On the eve of her daughter's marriage, she has been contacted by a blackmailer who threatens to expose her late husband's secret and ruin the family. Unless the Duchess surrenders copies of state papers kept by her late husband, an old marriage certificate will be made public which proves the Duke was secretly married in his youth to a French woman. The blackmailer says the woman is still alive, which makes the second marriage bigamous and the daughter illegitimate.

"The Adventure of the Deptford Horror"[11]

Theobold Wilson comes to consult Holmes about his niece Janet. Janet's father Horatio Wilson was drowned three years ago, having apparently fallen into the river while intoxicated. A year later, her mother died suddenly in her bedroom from a heart attack, leaving Janet and her brother Phineas behind. Phineas was recently found dead in his room with a horrible expression of terror on his face and Janet, fearful of "shadows and noises," is ready to sell the house and move abroad. Theobold, the only other surviving member of the family, wishes Holmes to assure his niece that there is nothing wrong with their house.

"The Adventure of the Red Widow"[12]

Lord Jocelyn Cope is found guillotined to death at his estate Arnsworth Castle in Derbyshire. The guillotine, a family relic, had been on display in the museum on castle grounds. Lord Cope's cousin Captain Jasper Lothian, a disreputable man, has disappeared and a horse is missing from the stable. The local police believes the two men had a violent quarrel and Captain Jasper overpowered Lord Cope. Upon examining the scene, however, Holmes declares the crime premeditated.

Footnotes

  1. First published in the December 29, 1952 issue of Life magazine, based on "the case of the Trepoff murder" mentioned in "A Scandal in Bohemia."
  2. First published in the May 30, 1953 issue of Collier's magazine, based on "the Camberwell poisoning case" mentioned in "The Five Orange Pips".
  3. First published in the June 20, 1953 issue of Collier's magazine, based on "the Case of the Darlington Substitution Scandal" mentioned in "A Scandal in Bohemia." The story was written mostly by Carr.
  4. First published in the June 6, 1953 issue of Collier's magazine, based on the unfinished tale of Mr. James Phillimore mentioned in "The Problem of Thor Bridge". The story was written mostly by Carr.
  5. First published in the May 23, 1953 issue of Collier's magazine, based on the affair of "the unfortunate Madame Montpensier" mentioned in The Hound of the Baskervilles. The story was written mostly by Conan Doyle.
  6. First published in the June 13, 1953 issue of Collier's magazine, based on the case of "Colonel Warburton's madness" mentioned in "The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb". The story was written mostly by Conan Doyle.
  7. First published in the June 27, 1953 issue of Collier's magazine, based on "the Addleton tragedy" mentioned in "The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez". The story was written entirely by Conan Doyle.
  8. First published in the August 21, 1953 issue of Collier's magazine, based on "the famous card scandal of the Nonpareil Club" mentioned in The Hound of the Baskervilles. The story was written entirely by Conan Doyle.
  9. First published in the August 7, 1953 issue of Collier's magazine under the title The Adventure of the Demon Angels, based on "the case of the Ferrers Documents" mentioned in "The Adventure of the Priory School". The story was written entirely by Conan Doyle.
  10. First published in the September 4, 1953 issue of Collier's magazine, based on the blackmailing case involving "one of the most revered names in England" mentioned in The Hound of the Baskervilles. The story was written entirely by Conan Doyle.
  11. First published in the September 18, 1953 issue of Collier's magazine, based on the case of "Wilson the notorious canary-trainer" mentioned in "The Adventure of Black Peter". The story was written entirely by Conan Doyle.
  12. First published in the October 2, 1953 issue of Collier's magazine, based on "the Arnsworth Castle business" mentioned in "A Scandal in Bohemia". The story was written entirely by Conan Doyle.

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