Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – Sherlock Holmes: The Man with the Twisted Lip (Adventures of Sherlock Holmes 6)

Dr. James Watson, that is who has been chronicalling Sherlock Holmes’s cases.  The Man with the Twisted Lip started out looking like it would be Watson’s case, but alas he will have to wait his turn it seems, if it ever comes.

Mr. Neville St. Clair is missing.  His wife last sees him in the 2nd floor window of an opium den in a shady neighbourhood.  She would have missed looking up and seeing him if not for the inarticulate cry that Mr. St. Clair gave out.  She tried to go in to see him but was turned away by the manager of the opium house.  Later she finds a couple constables to go in with her and Mr. St. Clair is nowhere to be seen.  However, a search of the room finds a box of bricks he intended to buy for his kids and all his clothes were there except his coat.

The tenant of the room was a professional begger by the name of  Hugh Boone.  After the search of the room and upon finding Mr. St. Clair’s items, Hugh Boone is arrested.  The only clue to the whereabouts of Mr. St. Clair is a stain of blood left on the window sill.  The window opens up into a river below where his coat eventually turns up stuffed with pennies and half pennies.

Sherlock Holmes assumes that Mr. St. Clair is dead after a few days of no news, but Mrs. St. Clair received a letter from her husband’s own hand saying he is alive.  Then after one sleepless night Sherlock Holmes solves the case and finds Mr. St. Clair.

Don’t ask me how, but just as Sherlock Holmes was about to reveal where Mr. St. Clair was, I had already figured it out.  Call it a gut feeling maybe, because as far as I could tell, there were no clues.  When pressed by an inspector how he solved the case, Sherlock Holmes replies,

I reached this one……… sitting upon five pillows and consuming an ounce of shag.

Apparently this is one of Doyle’s 16 favourite mysteries out of 56.  From reading other reviews, this is also the only case where Holmes does not reveal how he found out.  I did find it out odd at the beginning he did not flaunt his observational skills with his usual, “well you must have been here doing this because of that” .

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