Sherlock Holmes: “The Adventure of the Dancing Men”

Summary: A man comes to Sherlock with a series of dancing men (stick figures) that seem to be upsetting his new American wife. These drawings keep appearing, and she doesn’t want him to get involved because it is very dangerous. Sherlock recognizes it as a code, but he needs more samples to work it out. The man sends more, and just as Sherlock works it out, he realizes the man and his wife are in grave danger. But they can’t get there in time, and the man ends up dead, the woman shot and unconscious. Sherlock sets a trap by sending a note in the code to the suspect, posing as the woman. He comes right over–he turns out to be part of the Chicago mob, who the woman had been engaged to for a while before she left for a calmer life. The man had shot the husband at the same time as the husband shot at him, and then the woman tried to kill herself

Sherlock Rating: 4 magnifying glasses. It was exciting, and I loved how Sherlock explained working out the code. It was a little disappointing that Sherlock couldn’t figure it out in time. Sometimes these stories are too realistic.

Mystery Story Convention: Early Law and Order. The end has a little epilogue about how the murderer was condemned to death but then got a reduced sentence. In my head I heard it read as a Law and Order ending, complete with the “dong dong” tone.


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