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The adventure of the Blue Carbuncle

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The Blue Carbuncle
Image Credit : Wikipedia

Read about the Red Headed League here. Read about the Scandal in Bohemia here.

It is Christmas and there is big  heist in London.  The Priceless jewel, ” The Blue Carbuncle”has been stolen from the room of the Countess of Morcar. As London prepares for Christmas, newspapers report the theft of the timeless jewel.  A person  named John Horner, a plumber( who is a previously convicted felon), is soon arrested for the theft, in spite of Horner’s protests of innocence and the fact that the jewel is till to be found. Horner is in troubled waters.

Shortly after Christmas, Watson pays a visit to Holmes. He finds Holmes closely examining an old hat- brought to him by the building manager. The hat and a goose(meant for christmas feast) had been lost in a street fight by their owner.  The building manager, Peterson, an honest man, had hoped for Holmes’ help in returning the items to their owner. The hat belongs to a gentleman named Henry Baker.  Holmes, however,does not have high hopes of returning them to their owner since London is a huge city and that exercise would have been equal to finding a needle in a haystack. Making use of the opportunity,  Peterson took the goose home for dinner and Holmes kept the hat, to study and make his deductions.

While Watson is there, Peterson comes to Holmes’s flat in a state of excitement. He has found the Blue Carbuncle, claiming that it was found in the goose’s throat.  Holmes realizes that Henry Baker may be involved in the mystery and therefore places an ad in the newspaper about the hat and the goose.Holmes and Watson engage in intellectual banter to deduce the identity of the owner of the hat and try to make deductions about the owner’s social status etc. Holmes also does this to judge whether Henry Baker was involved in the theft.

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In response to the advertisements Holmes had given , Baker turns up at 221 B Baker Street.  Holmes tries to test Henry Baker – and offers him the remains of the bird. Baker is least interested in it. However, as soon as Holmes offers him a replacement bird, Baker happily takes it and leaves,convincing Holmes that Baker knew nothing about the missing jewel. Before leaving, Baker tells Holmes the place where he has bough it from – a place called as the Alpha Inn.

Holmes is intrigued. He sets out with Watson to check out the Alpha Inn. [ Also to find out more about the interesting journey the jewel took from the Countess’ room to the goose’s throat] The proprietor of the Alpha Inn informs them that the goose was purchased from a dealer in Covent Garden. The salesman at   Covent Garden, complains about the amount of enquiries he has been getting about geese. Holmes tricks the Salesman  into revealing that the goose was supplied by Mrs Oakshott, a lady dealing in poultry  items.  Holmes gets lucky – a young man names James Ryder turns up at the Salesman’s door pestering him about the goose. Holmes asks Ryder to come to his house – where he will tell Ryder about the goose. [ This is obviously a ruse, Holmes has his doubts that Ryder is the man behind the theft and lures him into his house]

Holmes tells Ryder that the goose in question is dead and  confronts Ryder telling him that his game is over. A terrified Ryder confesses to the crime –  he and his partner Catherine Cusack[ also the countess’ maid]  had stolen the jewel and also planned to frame Horner for the crime[ Thus killing two birds with one stone – since Horner had a dark past]. During a visit to his sister—Mrs. Oakshott—Ryder had the idea of hiding the jewel in the goose’s throat, which was also promised to him as a Christmas gift!Unfortunately for  Ryder, he  mixed his bird with another thus setting off the long chain of events.

As a Christmas gift,  Holmes does not have Ryder arrested. He concludes that arresting  Ryder will only make him into a more hardened criminal later. [He appears chastised to Holmes] Holmes asks Ryder to flee the country.   Horner is set free as there is no case without Ryder’s Testimony..Holmes remarks that he is not an agent of the police and once again delivers justice in his unique style.

The Blue Carbuncle  is a truly unique story  in the sense that it brings out the fact that Holmes acts on his own volition and is answerable to none.

Getting to the business end of the review : –

Story :- 4.5/5

Writing Style : 4/5 [ old fashioned]

Verdict : Must Read!

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About the author

Aniket is a Business Consultant by profession - however his love of books led him to this website, where he posts book reviews and also gets together with new Indian Authors. He can be reached on aniketsitm@gmail.com.

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