Ralph Edwards - Fri, 8 Jul 1994
This tale has been recognized as sharing the plot of The Red-Headed
League and The Stock-Broker's Clerk. If indeed the plot is strong
enough to be employed three times, which story makes the best use of it, and
It could be a comedy, or it could be a tragedy, or it could simply be the next story we peruse: The Adventure of the Three Garridebs. My weekly questions and comments as we begin the weekend:......
It was a whimsical thing that brought Holmes out of his bed, where
he had stayed for the past several days. Not much of a challenge, on the
surface -- "Find a male adult named 'Garrideb'". Actually, three adult
males with this improbable surname were required, but two were already
at hand. All that stood between these two and a one-third share of fifteen
million dollars was the lack of a third namesake, or so attorney John Garrideb's
In a few minutes the Mâitre de Chasse will sound the great hunting-horn and follow the Hounds in pursuit of a wily fox. This fox is not an ordinary one -- he is a known killer. The trail will lead from Topeka, Kansas to the London home of an eccentric collector of all kinds of artifacts and at the end even the redoubtable Watson will fall, wounded by the quarry.
"Why," said Nathan Garrideb, "I shall be the Hans Sloane of my age!"
I fear that not everyone knows about Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753), "The
Great Collector" whose botanical and entymological specimens are housed
in Britain's Natural History Museum to this day. Sir Hans's tastes and
acquisitions were as far-ranging as his intellectual curiosity could take
him, and in his time he contributed mightily to mankind's knowledge of
the natural sciences. There is another Sherlockian connection to Sir Hans:
"The Hans Sloane of My Age" was the Irregular Investiture of the late,
beloved John Bennett Shaw.
Brad Keefauver - Thu, 13 Sep 2001
This week's story is a brief one as the adventures go, and it is a story in which there are no winners save perhaps the much-maligned C.I.D. of the London police force. Consider: Holmes got no fee; Watson was wounded (albeit superficially); "John Garrideb" a.k.a. Killer Evans went back to prison; and poor old Nathan Garrideb was consigned to a nursing home. With respect to the latter, a person with such catholic tastes and inquisitive mind surely deserved a more kindly fate.
In the second paragraph of the story, Watson casually informs us that Holmes had refused a knighthood for unspecified (but we can guess) services, ostensibly to the Crown. While we understand that Holmes is an intensely private person, such a declination would have been a rebuff to the Sovereign, who at this time was Edward VII. Would Holmes have refused the Honours List had the ruler been Victoria, the gracious lady whose initials adorned the wall at 221B?
Our introduction to "Mr. John Garrideb, Counsellor at Law" clearly gives the impression that this is an intelligent, imaginative person; someone to be reckoned with. Later on, Holmes referred to him as "clever". But how intelligent, how clever could he be to have fallen prey to what were obviously trap questions posed by Holmes? And couldn't he have devised a simpler scheme to inveigle Nathan Garrideb away from his "museum"? News of a well-preserved hominid fossil on Piltdown Commons, for example, or a fine example of a Syracusan coin on sale for a pittance in Land's End? The more complex a scheme, the more parts of it there are to come undone, and Killer Evans's plan unravelled within minutes of his meeting with Holmes.
Do we dare suppose that Holmes would have killed Evans had Watson been fatally wounded? Does this fit with what we know of the character of the Master Detective? Is it consistent with his action when he saw Watson reel after being shot by Evans -- crashing his revolver down on Evans's head instead of shooting him? Could he have done in cold blood what he did not do in hot blood?
Why did Watson say that "the counterfeiter stands in a class by himself as a public danger"? Granted that counterfeiting is a felony, in what way does it endanger the public? And what happened to the £200,000 in Prescott's counterfeit bills? I note that the Yard was happy to discover his printing apparatus, but there was no further mention of the notes Prescott had already printed. Could it be that Holmes and Watson helped themselves before alerting the authorities?
Rosemary Michaud - Thu, 20 Jul 2000
Return to Introducing the 60 Stories
Brad Keefauver - Thu, 13 Sep 2001