A ‘madman’ dashing through the snow asks Holmes and Watson for help.
Holmes is asked by a visibly agitated Alexander Holder to save his reputation and that of his son. A banker, Holder was asked to provided a private loan to a wealthy client in exchange for the Beryl Coronet, a famous and highly valuable item under public ownership. Holder decides not to lock it away in the bank’s vault but to keep it with him at all times under his personal protection.
He awakes in the night to find his son Arthur, troubled by gambling debts, about to steal the Coronet. His nice Mary also walks in, fainting at the sight of the theft taking place. The Coronet has been damaged, missing three jewels and bent in places. Arthur refuses to explain and is arrested. Holder calls on Holmes to try to find the missing three jewels.
From the opening scene in which Watson believes that a ‘madman’ is tearing down Baker Street towards them, to the eventual outcome and reveal of where the jewels are and who stole them, this is a vintage Sherlock Holmes story. Mixing some British aristocracy and mystery, there are footprints in the snow, a one-legged man and an ending that is tinged with sadness. After a few lacklustre stories this felt like Conan Doyle was back on form.
Tomorrow it is The Adventure of the Copper Beeches…