Miss Smith makes quite an impression on Watson who clearly had a bit of a fancy for her – ‘Young and beautiful woman, tall, graceful and queenly,’ is his emotive description.
Holmes is initially too busy to investigate the strange case of Miss Smith being followed by a mysterious man as she cycles into town from Farnham to visit her mother from the country house where she was employed as a music teacher. Instead Holmes sends Watson to investigate and is pretty scathing about his results. Watson is happy to tootle off and do Holmes’ bidding, but then what else has he to do now that he is no longer practicing medicine?
So even though their friendship has deepened of late, Holmes can still be very insensitive towards Watson, not to mention quite bossy. But then, I guess he has every right to ask favours after paying above the odds for Watson’s medical practice, even though Watson is probably still unaware that it was actually Holmes who put up the money.
The adventure itself is fairly straightforward and doesn’t contain many opportunities for brilliant deduction. And yet again it involves people from abroad with dodgy intentions. If I wasn’t so stupidly busy at the moment I’d go through all the stories and work out how many of the villains are foreign and how many are English, I‘m guessing the majority are from distant shores.
I felt it was a bit of a come-down after the Dancing Men, which is a hard act to follow, so it gets 6 out of 10.