Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Scandals , Red Hair, and Disguises

Royalty comes to Sherlock Holmes in this short story. The King of Bohemia has been caught in a scandalous affair with a beautiful opera singer and somehow a photograph was taken. The king cannot marry into royalty until the photo is found and destroyed and that is not going to happen because the opera singer is determined to use it as blackmail to prevent any such wedding.
Sherlock meets his match when he tries to dupe the lady into revealing where the photo is hidden. The cleverness of both of them becomes a battle but in the end it all works out. Dr. Watson takes a bit of time out from his honeymoon to assist Sherlock and gladly engages in some questionable antics designed to assist his detective friend.
It is a fun but short read.
3 1/2 stars
A red-headed pawn broker is duped into joining the 'Red-Headed League' with the incentive of doing much of nothing for four hours a day except copying the encyclopedia. He is well paid for his relative inaction. He is suddenly dismissed as the League has become defunct with little notice. He goes to Holmes to get to the bottom of it. And get to the bottom he does. The clue here is that the pawn broker's business is next door to a bank.
We discover in these two stories how Sherlock makes his money. He is rewarded handsomely in both cases, first by a king, and then by a rich bank. It certainly keeps him in cocaine.
3 stars
A young woman is left standing at the altar on her wedding day. Her fiancé has disappeared and she comes to Sherlock Holmes to seek his help in finding the missing bride groom.
Sherlock first establishes motive and then discovers through keen observation that the groom is not who he purports to be, but is actually the woman's stepfather. It seems that the mother and stepfather were living off the inheritance of the daughter and if she married, she would take her money with her. The stepfather then disguises himself and pretends to be one who is interested in and indeed wants to marry the daughter. By then going missing, he hopes the daughter will continue to look for years for her fiancé and thus stay at home where her money can continue to be used by her mother and stepfather.  
Sherlock puts a magnifying glass to good use as he observes that the fiancé's letters written to the daughter were written on the stepfather's typewriter. There, I have given everything away. You will not have to read this one as you now know all about it.
3 stars

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