The Investigation: From the first, Holmes viewed the Barclay case as a "supposed murder," and he correctly singled out the clue of the missing door key as the most significant point to resolve. But there is one feature of the crime scene which troubles me, and which I do not think Holmes considered with sufficient care: the position of Colonel Barclay's body. He was found "with his feet tilted over the side of an armchair, and his head upon the ground near the corner of the fender...dead in a pool of his own blood." I don't have any problem with the head on the fender, but how did his feet end up over the side of an armchair? Was he standing up or sitting down during the altercation with his wife? Either way, can the Hounds explain how he ended up with his head on the ground and his feet over the chair?
Were the police aware that there had been a third person in the room when Colonel Barclay died? If not, should Holmes have told them? Should Holmes have gone to the police after he talked to Miss Morrison? Should he have told the police about Henry Wood? Why was Holmes so determined to keep the police out of this case?
A few other questions: If Watson had never formally practiced medicine while living in Baker Street with Holmes, how did Holmes know what his friend's habits were on a busy day versus a light day?
Was Major Murphy romantically inclined towards Nancy Barclay? Did he request Holmes's help in order to clear her of murder, or was he worried that he might eventually be seen as a suspect?
Leaving aside Barclay's wrongdoing, would Nancy have had a happier life if she had married the "harum-scarum" Henry Wood?
If Wood only partially understood the language of his captors outside Bhurtee, is it possible that he made a mistake as to Barclay's duplicity? Was Barclay responsible for Wood's capture without being guilty of intentional betrayal? Did he simply make a bad map, or let slip some casual conversation about Wood's mission that was overheard by the native servant? Was the servant the true culprit?
Copyright © Chris Redmond 2000