“His Last Bow: An Epilogue of Sherlock Holmes”

Summary: Some German spy is about to leave the country with secrets and he meets with his American (US) contact to exchange money/secrets, but the American turns out to be Sherlock–and old Sherlock, apparently, who has come out of retirement from watching bees just to catch this guy. And he does.

Sherlock Rating: 2 out of 5 magnifying glasses. Eh. It was okay. Predictable, and missing the investigation part of the story. It only really showed the “reveal” part where Sherlock comes out of his disguise and collars the guy, so there wasn’t any “mystery” to it, or excitement either.

Mystery Story Convention: The detective who had been in disguise/undercover and arrests the bad guy right when he thinks he’s going to get away with it.

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Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot

Summary: Sherlock Holmes is in bad health, so the go on holiday to a gloomy moor. They are summoned by a clergyman and his lodger to look into a strange, tragic event at the lodger’s family’s home. After leaving them from playing cards, his two brothers and sister were found the next morning still at the card table; the girl was dead, as if scared to death, and the two men were sitting there were out of their senses, laughing and singing, but also looking scared. Then the lodger/brother turns up dead in the same manner a short time later. Sherlock discovers a strange powder that had been burnt at both scenes, and so he decides to test it out on himself and Watson. They descend into fear/madness until Watson saves Sherlock. Then Sherlock confronts this lion hunter/Dr. who had been about to go to Africa but had come back after learning about the first deaths. It is revealed that the lodger/brother had poisoned his siblings with this special devil’s foot stuff the lion hunter had brought back from Africa in order to get control of their family’s wealth. The lion hunter came back because he had been in love with the sister, so he took revenge on the murderer. Sherlock lets the lion hunter go, saying if he’d ever loved anyone he might have done the same (meaning, if Watson is ever killed, Sherlock will get ruthless vengeance)

Sherlock Rating: This one gets 5 magnifying glasses. The summary was so long because the details of this one were interesting, and it was even exciting when Sherlock almost killed himself and Watson.

Mystery Story Convention: I’ll call this a “Sherlock” convention because Sherlock, the scientist and experimenter couldn’t resist testing the poison himself, even though it had probably killed two others and sent two more to the loony bin. That’s so Sherlock.

Sherlock Holmes: “The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax”

Summary: A wandering woman has gone missing, and Sherlock sends Watson to investigate. He botches it of course, and his prime suspect turns out to be her lover who is extremely worried about her. Sherlock shows up to fix everything, having determined that she was abducted by a pair of con artists who prey on devout wealthy women. They were going to kill her and bury her with another, legitimately dead body, but Sherlock and Watson get there just in time, only kind of breaking laws to save her, but the cops don’t care because he’s the great Sherlock.

Sherlock Rating: 2.5 magnifying glasses. Maybe it was my state of mind, but I was bored through the whole thing. Their ideas about “wandering women” didn’t help.

Mystery Story Convention: The fake bad guy. Watson is convinced that the big ugly, savage looking guy is the bad guy, but it turns out he’s their ally. In a well-constructed mystery, the villain should never be the obvious guy.