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Adventure IV:
The Adventure of the
Boscombe Valley
Mystery
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

 
The Adventure of the Boscombe Valley Mystery was published in The Strand Magazine October, 1891 with illustrations by Sidney Paget. 

The story was published in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in 1892 by George Newnes of London and Harper & Brothers, in New York with illustrations by Sidney Paget.  It is not known if the manuscript for the story still exists.
 
 

Strand Magazine poll
1927
The Adventure of the Boscombe Valley Mystery did not place as one of the top dozen stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Baker Street Journal poll
1959
The Adventure of the Boscombe Valley Mystery placed Number 42
Study in Sherlockians poll
1999
The Adventure of the Boscombe Valley Mystery placed Number 35.


The Diogenes Club:  Good Old Index
The Adventure of the Boscombe Valley Mystery
The Strand Magazine
October 1891

Hoy Summary

 
DRAMATIS PERSONAE
 
 
JOHN TURNER, wealthy landowner in Boscombe valley.  Made his money in  Australia.
ALICE TURNER, his 18 year old daughter.
CHARLES McCARTHEY, the murder victim.  A tenant farmer on Turner's best  farm.  Knew Turner in Australia.
JAMES McCARTHEY, his son.  In jail and accused of the murder.
WILLIAM CROWDER, a gamekeeper.  Saw the two McCartheys pass within a few  minutes of each other just before the murder
PATIENCE MORAN, 14 year old daughter of the lodgekeeper.  She saw the two  McCarthey's arguing just before the murder.
OLD WOMAN, no name given.  Also saw the two McCartheys pass within a few  minutes of each other.
LESTRADE, hired in a private capacity by Alice Turner in the hope that he could  clear James of the charges.
DR. WILLOWS, attending John Turner for his diabetes. 
BARMAID, of Bristol.  Secretly married (?) to James McCarthey.

SUMMARY

Watson is married.  Anstruther covers for him.

In his youth, Turner went to Australia to search for gold.  He became a highwayman.  He was known as "Black Jack of Ballarat."  He and his gang attacked a gold convoy and made off with the gold, but all except three members of the gang were killed.  McCarthey was a driver of one of the convoy's wagons.  Turner could have killed him, but spared him.

Turner returned to England and bought a country estate.  He married and had a daughter.  His wife died when Alice was just a small girl.  McCarthey also returned to England.  He married and had a son.  His wife also died. 

McCarthey found Turner and was blackmailing him.  Turner granted his every wish until he asked that their children be married.  This was too much.

Turner arranged a meeting at the pool between he and McCarthy.  As he was approaching the pool, he made the call that he used in Australia of "Cooee."  He found the two McCartheys arguing.  Charles wanted his son to propose marriage to Alice, but John couldn't because he was secretly married to a barmaid in Bristol.  After James left, Turner Killed McCarthey.  Almost immediately, he heard James returning and hid behind a tree.  When James knelt beside his dying father, Turner sneaked back into the clearing to retrieve his coat, then he left.

Holmes comes on the scene and after carefully tracing the footsteps, declares, "It has been a case of considerable interest."  He then proceeds to give a detailed description of the murderer to Lestrade, however "that imbecile Lestrade" remained skeptical to the end.  Holmes gives his findings to James' attorney which secures his release.

John Turner died from his diabetes seven months after the murder. 

When his barmaid-wife read in the paper that her "husband" was in jail for murder, she wrote him a letter saying that she had previously married a Bristol dock-worker so their marriage was void,

At the conclusion of the story, Alice and James are courting.

OTHER ADVENTURES MENTIONED

None

DISGUISES

None

UNUSUAL DEDUCTIONS & BITS

Holmes refers to his "Monograph on 140 types of pipe, cigar and cigarette tobacco."

Holmes reads Petrarch on the train.  Petrarch was an Italian poet famous for his love lyrics.

Official Abbreviation: BOSC

The Boscombe Valley Mystery was first published in the Strand Magazine, October 1891

Copyright (c) James Hoy, 2002, All Rights Reserved


 

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