On the way to Abbey Grange, Holmes has a massive moan at poor Watson about his literary shortcomings. He really does go on and on about it to the point where Watson snaps – “Why do you not write them yourself?” with some bitterness. Holmes is oblivious to the hurt in this comment and continues to witter on about how he intends to but not until his declining years. They then start to discuss the current case concerning the murder of Lord Eustace Brackenstall. If I were Watson, considering Holmes had turned him out of bed and whisked him off at such an early hour without breakfast, I would have demanded an apology for such rudeness before a subject change. But then, I am a nightmare in the mornings, especially if I haven’t had breakfast.
Here again we have a highly-spirited wife from overseas. Her husband, Lord Eustace Brackenstall, was a violent drunkard and has been murdered. Suspicion initially falls on a gang of local burglars known to the police, but Holmes senses a different explanation. Due to the knots with which the lady was tied to a chair and the nimble way someone climbed up to the bell rope, he suspects a sailor and, indeed, the guilty man is one who the lady met on her voyage over to England from Australia. He is in love with her and acts in defence of her and himself when he strikes her violent husband with a poker.
Here again we see Holmes hide the truth from the police, even his young prodigy Hopkins, to protect the man who, he feels, deserves to go free. The advantages of being an unofficial person are clear once again, though I don’t see how this one could stay hidden for long. Where would that leave Holmes if the truth eventually came out? I think this is the biggest risk he has taken of all the times when he has kept the truth to himself. Still it’s a 7 out of 10.