Sherlock Holmes Memoirs
by Arthur Conan Doyle

Summary is based on Wikipedia content

Sherlock Holmes, Watson, Inspector Lestrade

Quote from Silver Blaze -

"I am afraid, Watson, that I shall have to go," said Holmes, as we sat down together to our breakfast one morning.

"Go! Where to?"

"To Dartmoor; to King's Pyland."

I was not surprised. Indeed, my only wonder was that he had not already been mixed upon this extraordinary case, which was the one topic of conversation through the length and breadth of England. For a whole day my companion had rambled about the room with his chin upon his chest and his brows knitted, charging and recharging his pipe with the strongest black tobacco, and absolutely deaf to any of my questions or remarks. Fresh editions of every paper had been sent up by our news agent, only to be glanced over and tossed down into a corner. Yet, silent as he was, I knew perfectly well what it was over which he was brooding. There was but one problem before the public which could challenge his powers of analysis, and that was the singular disappearance of the favorite for the Wessex Cup, and the tragic murder of its trainer. When, therefore, he suddenly announced his intention of setting out for the scene of the drama it was only what I had both expected and hoped for.

"I should be most happy to go down with you if I should not be in the way," said I.

"My dear Watson, you would confer a great favor upon me by coming. And I think that your time will not be misspent, for there are points about the case which promise to make it an absolutely unique one. We have, I think, just time to catch our train at Paddington, and I will go further into the matter upon our journey. You would oblige me by bringing with you your very excellent field-glass."

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And so it happened that an hour or so later I found myself in the corner of a first-class carriage flying along en route for Exeter, while Sherlock Holmes, with his sharp, eager face framed in his ear-flapped traveling-cap, dipped rapidly into the bundle of fresh papers which he had procured at Paddington. We had left Reading far behind us before he thrust the last one of them under the seat, and offered me his cigar-case.


Synopsis -

There are 12 stories included in the memoirs. The Cardboard Box was revised prior to being introduced in the United States due to content related issues that may have been unsuitable for this audience.

As a result, most American editions include the Memoirs with His Last Bow, while most British editions keep the story in its original place in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.

The 12 stories in this collection are:


Silver Blaze -

Sherlock Holmes is brought in when a famous horse Silver Blaze, is missing and his trainer is found dead on the moor on the eve of an important race. John Straker, the trainer appears to be murdered with his skull smashed and a knife clenched in his hand.

Holmes deduces it is the horse that kicked the owner in the head which killed him.

But, Why? And, how? Additionally, where is the horse?

Holmes finds the horse and investigates what learns happened almost immediately; however, he keeps the horse hidden until the time of the race.

There is a more sinister reason and circumstance that looms in the intentions for the murder and the missing horse.

As usual Holmes solves the case and makes special agreements to keep anyone who may have assisted in the disappearance of the horse from from legal prosecution.

Silver Blaze is one of the most popular stories in the memoirs.



The Cardboard Box  (The Last Bow) -

"The Adventure of the Cardboard Box"
" was not published in the first British edition of The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes. It was published in the first American edition, but removed.

An old spinster, Miss Susan Cushing, receives a parcel containing two severed human ears packed in coarse salt.

Holmes, upon examining the parcel is convinced they are dealing with a very serious crime. Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard suspects former borders of Miss Cushing are playing a prank whom Miss Cushing was forced to evict.

After Holmes questions Miss Cushing, makes a few observations, sends a cable to Liverpool, and visits Miss Cushing's sister (although she does not see him as she has "brain fever") convinces Sherlock of the facts.

Holmes gives the whole pleasure to Lestrade without a mention of his involvement as this investigation was too elementary for his credit.


The Adventure of the Yellow Face -

Sherlock Holmes embarks upon a shameful secret to be kept closely hidden, and whose revelation might entail very negative reactions.

Holmes and Watson listen to the account of Munro's untruthfulness from his wife. She had been previously married in America; however, her husband and child had died of yellow fever. After her sorrow she returned to England and met and married Munro.

Their marriage was harmonious until she asked him for a hundred pounds and refused to tell him why she needed the money. Two months later, he finds his wife, Effie Munro conducting secret association with the occupants who just moved in a cottage near the Munro house.

He explains to Holmes and Watson that when he attempts to take an interest in discovering who is lives in the cottage, he finds it empty.

Holmes sends Munro back home with instructions to wire for him if the cottage is once again occupied.

Holmes comments to Watson that it is his belief that Effie Munro's first husband is alive and has come to England to blackmail her.

The saga unfolds and to Holmes and Watson's amazement, Sherlock is not correct on his assessment.


The Stockbroker's Clerk -

When Holmes with almost no notice asks Watson to join he and his friend on a journey, heto quickly agrees; along with Holmes' young client, Hall Pycroft, a stockbroker's clerk, who tells a very mysterious story.

Pycroft recently found a new job. However, that very same day a man named Arthur Pinner offered him a  better position, paying £500 a year to start.

Pinner said his company was a chain of hardware stores all over France and one in Belgium and Italy.

Pinner  explains Pycroft's ignorance of hardware is not important as the company wanted him for his expertise with figures.

Pycroft decides to accept Pinner's offer, without writing any resignation to Mawson & Williams who also just hired him.

Pinner gives Pycroft an advance. Additionally, he asks him to write out a statement saying that he is willing to act as business manager for the Franco-Midland Hardware Company, Limited.

Pinner tells Pycroft to go to an address in Birmingham, a considerable distance from London, and see his brother, Harry Pinner, for further details.

From here the criminal caper is afoot.

There are many twists and turns in this one. Be sure not miss the adventure.


The Gloria Scott -

This jaunt is related by Holmes more so than Watson. It is the first case  where he applies his supremacy of deduction. Prior, he treated it as a mere hobby until this time.

In his college days his studies are interrupted when a telegram arrives from a friend Trevor who he visited prior. His friend begs him to come back to Norfolk.

Upon arriving, Holmes learns the elder Trevor has been in a critical state after he suffered a stroke when he opened a letter he received.

The elder Trevor dies during Holmes's return to Norfolk.

Holmes discovers a dark secret upon the Gloria Scott and blackmail scheme.

Holmes and young Trevor find the elder's confession in his Japanese Cabinet that sets forth a possible scandal and ruin of the Trevor history.


The Musgrave Ritual -

The main narrator of this story is Sherlock Holmes himself and not Doctor Watson. Watson provides the introduction for the narrative thereby this being a story-within-a-story.

Holmes gives an account to Watson of developing events  after a visit from his university colleague, Reginald Musgrave.

Musgrave visits Holmes and recounts the disappearance of his two domestic staff, Rachel Howells, a maid, and Richard Brunton, a longtime butler. They both vanished after he finds Brunton reading the Musgrave Ritual, a family document; and, he dismisses him.

Holmes investigates and discovers the meaning of the document and the events that led to the Butler and the Maid's disappearance. Musgrave is shocked to learn the facts and the resolve.


The Adventure of the Reigate Squire -

Watson takes Holmes to a friend's manor near Reigate in Surrey to rest after a rather strenuous case in France.

There has been a burglary at the nearby Acton estate in which the thieves stole a contrasting assortment of possessions, yet none are valuable items.

Then one morning, there is news the coachman was murdered at the nearby Cunningham's estate.

Holmes investigates and interviews the two Cunningham men, Alec and his elderly father.

Holmes fakes his illness to get further control and access to the home and a note that reveals the details that eventually resolves the murder at the Cunningham estate and the burglary at the Acton estate.


The Adventure of the Crooked Man -

Holmes calls on Watson late one evening to tell him about a case he is investigating and to ask him to be a witness in the final stage of the probe.

Colonel James Barclay, of The Royal Mallows is dead,  and his wife Nancy is the prime suspect.

Two maids and the coachman heard an argument between the Colonel and his wife where she was angry and mentioned the name David. The staff listened as they quarreled hearing her tell her husband he was a coward.

All of a sudden, the Colonel cried out, there was a crashing sound, and Nancy screamed.

Holmes believes that a third person came into the room at the time of the Colonel’s death, and ran off with the missing key.  Although the staff are positive they only heard the Colonel’s and his wife’s voices, Holmes is convinced otherwise.

The Resident Patient -

Dr. Trevelyan has a business arrangement with a man named Blessington, who he knows little about; yet, as Blessington has money to invest, he sets Dr. Trevelyan up in an office in a prestigious address and pays all expenses for a sizable and continuing return.

Daily events and patients frequent Dr. Trevelyan and Blessington receives his large return on investment, until one day an occurrence evolves.

A cataleptic man has an attack in his office, but disappears with his son before Dr. Trevelyan can treat the him.

Shortly after Blessington is angered and an argument ensues because his room has been burglarized.

Due to the excitement of Mr. Blessington; Trevelyan, seeks the advice and assistance of Sherlock Holmes.

Quote from Resident Patient:

"Sherlock Holmes had listened to this long narrative with an intentness which showed me that his interest was keenly aroused. His face was as impassive as ever, but his lids had drooped more heavily over his eyes, and his smoke had curled up more thickly from his pipe to emphasize each curious episode in the doctor's tale. As our visitor concluded, Holmes sprang up without a word, handed me my hat, picked his own from the table, and followed Dr. Trevelyan to the door. Within a quarter of an hour we had been dripped at the door of the physician's residence in Brook Street, one of those somber, flat-faced houses which one associates with a West-End practice. A small page admitted us, and we began at once to ascend the broad, well-carpeted stair."

From this point Sherlock attempt to resolve the case; however, Mr. Blessington is unwilling to speak the truth and Holmes leaves.

"Might the whole story of the cataleptic Russian and his son be a concoction of Dr. Trevelyan's, who has, for his own purposes, been in Blessington's rooms?"

Blessington is then found hanging. Was it suicide or murder?

Holmes immediately recognizes the issues and details that resolve any unanswered details.


The Greek Interpreter -

Mr. Melas, a Greek interpreter, tells a rather unnerving experience to Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock's brother.

On one evening Melas was asked by Harold Latimer to go to a house, in pretense to do some translation.

The coach windows were completely covered to prevent anyone from seeing where they were and where they were going.

When Melas protested, Latimer lay beside him a club like weapon as an implied threat. Latimer threatened him with unspecified retribution should the evening’s business ever be made public.

After riding for at least two hours they arrived at their destination.

Melas was brought into a room where a man almost starved with tape over his mouth sat tied into a chair.

Since Latimer and the other kidnapper did not know one word of Greek, within Melas' translation demands that this man sign papers, he added his own short questions to the dialogue.

The victim not only answered Latimer that he would never sign these papers, but he also answered Melas that his name was Kratides, that he had been in London for three weeks; yet, he had no idea where he was.

Kratides wrote all his answers, as he was unable to speak through the cover on his mouth.

Quote from the Greek Interpreter:

"Melas would have extracted the whole story from this stranger had the woman herself not burst in unexpectedly, but even that event furnished new information. She recognized Kratides as “Paul”, whereupon he managed to get the plaster off his mouth and he called her “Sophy”. They both behaved as though neither had expected to see the other."

"Melas was ushered back into the coach for another interminable ride and was deposited far from his home on Wandsworth Common. He made it to Clapham Junction just in time for the last train to Victoria. He has now presented his story at the Diogenes Club to Mycroft, who asks his brother Sherlock to look into it."

Melas has betrayed the evil ones and is kidnapped once again.

It is necessary to find him as soon as possible for the outcome looks dim.

Sherlock sifts through the information and details to discover the whereabouts and to try and save their lives.

The Naval Treaty -

Dr. Watson receives a letter from an old schoolmate, who now is an employee at the Foreign Office; and, he has had an important naval treaty stolen.

It disappeared while Mr. Percy Phelps walked out of his office late one night.

His office has two entrances, a side and a main access. The commissionaire kept watch at the main entrance; however, there was no-one watching the side entrance.

Phelps asks Watson to bring Mr. Holmes into the case for his opinion. The authorities guaranteed him that nothing more could be done; however it was of grave importance to retrieve the Naval Treaty documents.

Sherlock and Watson look into this matter together. They begin be seeing Forbes who can probably tell many more details.

The most difficult crime to track is the one which is purposeless. Now this is not purposeless. Who is it who profits by it? There is the French ambassador, there is the Russian, there is who-ever might sell it to either of these, and there is Lord Holdhurst.

Quote from the Naval Treaty:

"Upon my word, you may put it down to my weak nerves or not, but I believe there is some deep political intrigue going on around me, and that for some reason that passes my understanding my life is aimed at by the conspirators. It sounds high-flown and absurd, but consider the fats! Why should a thief try to break in at a bedroom window, where there could be no hope of any plunder, and why should he come with a long knife in his hand?"

Of course, Holmes has the answers and sets the game afoot.


The Final Problem -

This story, set in 1891, introduces Holmes' greatest opponent, the criminal mastermind Professor Moriarty.

Holmes has been tracking Moriarty and his agents for months and is close to capturing them all.

Moriarty is the central organizer of a highly secretive criminal force. Holmes will consider it a crowning achievement when he can defeat Moriarty.

Moriarty intends to destroy Holmes and any plans of attack and capture. Holmes admits, that Moriarty is his very close intellectual equal.

Holmes asks Watson to come to the continent with him providing instructions to meet him in a reserved first class coach. However, Watson sees only an elderly Italian priest. Holmes soon makes it apparent that he is the cleric in disguise.

Holmes spots Moriarty on the platform trying to have someone stop the train. Moriarty has obviously tracked Watson despite extraordinary precautions.

Holmes and Watson change their route plan and are forced to hide behind luggage; as they see Moriarty pass on another train that he hired to follow them. Holmes suspected he would, and the route change proves valuable, at least for the moment.

Holmes and Watson journey to Switzerland and stay at Meiringen. They walk to Reichenbach Falls, a local natural wonder. While on their walk, a young boy delivers a note to Watson saying an English doctor is required back at the Hotel for a very sick old English woman. Holmes realizes it is a hoax, yet does not mention it to Watson.Watson leaves Holmes alone to attend the patient.

Watson rushes back to Reichenbach Falls after realizing it was a hoax. At the Falls he finds no one there.

Watson notices two sets of footprints going onto the muddy dead end path with none returning. He also finds a note from Holmes, explaining that he knew the note for Watson was a deception and that he is about to fight Moriarty.

Watson observes at the end of the path there are signs of a violent struggle occurring. It is all too clear Holmes and Moriarty have both died, falling to their deaths down the gorge whilst locked in mortal combat. Dr. Watson returns to England with sorrow in his heart.



Comments -

"The Final Problem" was intended to stop writing about his famous detective.

Conan Doyle, having rid the world of a criminal so powerful and dangerous as Moriarty felt that any further cases would be inconsequential in comparison.

Fans, however, did not think the same; and, eventually they persuaded Doyle to bring Holmes back.

Doyle was plausibly able to resurrect Holmes. During Holmes' three year supposedly death there were a few surviving members of Moriarty's organization.

Additionally, Holmes' brother Mycroft appears in the return of Sherlock Holmes knowing he is still alive.


Special Commentary -

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