Summary: A Duke’s son has gone missing from the Priory School (prep school), along with a German professor. The principal has contacted Sherlock to help, though the Duke would rather he didn’t to prevent a scandal. Sherlock finds the professor first, murdered in a grassy field next to a bunch of cow tracks. They go to the nearest house, where a rude man is who used to be the Duke’s coachman. Sherlock suspects him, and they watch the house. The Duke’s secretary comes after a while, and the rude man runs off like crazy. Sherlock returns to the Duke and calls him responsible for his son’s abduction. The truth comes out: the Duke has an illegitimate son (his “secretary”) who is jealous of his legitimate son and a bad seed altogether. The bad seed has bad friends (coachman) who helped him abduct the other son in order to ransom legitimacy. The coachman had killed the professor, who had been trying to chase after them. They have the son locked up in the inn. The Duke had found out about it, but wanted to still protect his bad son. In the end the murderer is arrested and the bad son is sent far away, and Sherlock collects a huge reward.
Sherlock Rating: 5 magnifying glasses. These later mysteries seem a little more satisfying. And complex (sorry for the huge summary). I found this one both riveting and satisfying.
Mystery Story Convention: Several–Disguising footprints (the cow prints had actually been from horses with special shoes), Climbing on your sidekick’s shoulders to see in a window–Sherlock did that, and it was awesome. I think “bad seed illegitimate sons” should count too, but this is more of a “regular-story convention.” And as a side note, there was a scene where Watson wakes up to Sherlock staring at him, ready to go investigating. That was awesome too.