First published in The Strand magazine in July 1891, A Scandal in Bohemia is our first Sherlock Holmes short story, and has he already met his match?
Watson is enjoying his married life, including some weight gain that Holmes kindly or cruelly points out, when upon a visit to Baker Street, they are called upon by a mysterious stranger. The King of Bohemia, in a slightly less successful disguise than Holmes’ usual efforts, needs help in retrieving a compromising photograph before his looming nuptials.
Two disguises from Holmes and a rather elaborate pyrotechnic display is still not enough to outwit Irene Adler. Referred to by Holmes as ‘the woman’, Adler is held in the highest respect by the Great Detective, a vast contrast to the rather low opinion that he holds towards the King.
This story was the one I remember the clearest since my first reading and it is enjoyable seeing Holmes take on two different disguises before the fiery conclusion at the end. I thought it a bit odd that Watson drops everything to go along with his friend but Adler is Holmes’ first worthy opponent so far until we see the like of Moriarty appear. She shows us a very different aspect to Holmes that we haven’t seen so far.
Tomorrow we discuss the latest episode of Sherlock…