My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A very mysterious story of my most favorite fictitious character of all time, Sherlock Holmes.
Adventure of the Stockbroker’s Clerk sees Sherlock Holmes venturing out from his rooms at 221B Baker Street to visit his old friend Dr Watson. Watson had, a few months earlier, set up house with his wife Mary, and had taken over the old doctor’s practice of Dr Farqhuar. All of his time had been spent rebuilding the practice, and so Holmes and Watson had not spent any time together.
When Holmes visits Watson, the detective brings along a client, Hall Pycroft; with Holmes hoping that Watson would accompany him on another case.
Holmes is able to deduce the state of Watson’s recent health, from the sole’s of his new slippers, and also the popularity of Watson’s practice, by the amount of wear on the steps.
Watson readily agrees at the chance to investigate with Holmes once again, and goes to tell his wife, as well as arranging for his neighbour, also a doctor, to look after his patients, just as Watson has done for his neighbour’s in the past.
The case is explained to Watson by Hall Pycroft on the railway journey up to Birmingham.
Hall Pycroft has a twinkle in his eye as he explains, knowing the story makes him seem like a fool. Pycroft is a stockbroker’s clerk who for a while was out of work, but had then been taken on by the firm of Mawson and Williams in the City of London. Pycroft must have a decent reputation for the firm took him on without a face-to-face interview, with arrangements made via the postal system. The job is a good one, and the wages offered more than reasonable.
Hall Pycroft though, is a man in demand for the stockbroker’s clerk also receives another job offer, when Arthur Pinnar, of the Franco-Midland Hardware Company visits him in person. The Franco-Midland Hardware Company has nothing to do with stockbroking, and deals with hardware stores on the continent, but the terms of employment are better than those offered by Mawson and Williams. So despite the job being in Birmingham rather than London, Pycroft accepts the new job offer.
Quickly though, things don’t feel right to Pycroft; and the fact that Arthur Pinnar asks Pycroft not to resign from Mawson and Williams, stating that an argument had left ill-feeling between the two company’s.
In Birmingham, things are also not what Pycroft expected. The offices are dusty and unsuitable for the expected work, and the work given to Pycroft by Harry Pinnar, Arthur’s brother, is meaningless. Pycroft then discovers that Arthur Pinnar and Harry Pinnar are the same person, both having a gold tooth in the same place.
This last discovery sees Pycroft return to London to seek the help of Holmes.
Considering the day and age in which these stories were written this is a very good and intriguing mystery. The Serials like CSI, Bones relies heavily on forensics. Serials like monk, mentalist, castle etc relies on hunches and unexplained guess work of leads. But todays VFX graphics movie generation will not be able to appreciate the mystery.
A very satisfying read. Must read for all those who like a good mystery. What sets apart Sherlock Holmes form Poirot, Miss Marple, Feluda, Byomkesh Bakshi and many others is that he explains everything logically. Holmes doesn’t rely on intuition, hunches or so called intelligent guess work. Holmes is the best.
View all my reviews