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The Diogenes Club:  Good Old Index

The Adventure of the
Musgrave Ritual
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual was published in The Strand Magazine May 1893 with illustrations by Sidney Paget and in Harper's in May 1893 with illustrations by W. H. Hyde. 

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes was published in book form December 13, 1893 by George Newnes of London and February 2, 1894 by Harper & Brothers, in New York.  The First American Edition is the only edition of The Memoirs to contain CARD.  It is not known if the manuscript for the story still exists.

Strand Magazine poll
The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual placed as Number 11 of the top dozen stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Baker Street Journal poll
The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual placed Number 6
Study in Sherlockians poll
The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual placed Number 6

The Diogenes Club:  The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual
The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual
The Strand Magazine
May 1893

The Diogenes Club:  The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual
The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual
Harper's Weekly
May 1893

Hoy Summary

REGINALD MUSGRAVE, owner of Hurlingstone, an ancient estate with a large old  manor house and encrusted with history.
BRUNTON, Musgrave's head butler and major domo.
RACHAEL HOWELLS, jilted suitor of Brunton.  They were formerly engaged.
JANET TREGILLIS, current suitor of Brunton.


The "Musgrave Ritual" is a cryptic series of questions which has been in the family for many generations -- so many that the original meaning has been lost -- all male Musgraves must learn it as a rite of passage into manhood.

Musgrave finds Brunton poring over the ritual and related family documents late at night.  He fires Brunton on the spot, but after much pleading, allows him to remain for one week.  Two days later, Brunton vanishes late at night.

Two days after Brunton's disappearance, Rachael (who has been distraught since her break-up with Brunton) also disappears.  Her tracks lead into the mere.  The mere is dragged and although no body is found, a linen parcel containing a number of blackened metal plates and pebbles is found.

Musgrave knew Holmes at school and asks him for his advice.

Holmes deduces that the ritual is a guide to a treasure buried on the estate long ago by noble ancestors and that this treasure is the contents of the linen parcel..  He finds Brunton's body in a small subterranean cell bent over an ancient chest.  The chest is empty.

He proves that Rachael was taken into Brunton's confidence so she could help him raise the large, heavy flagstone "lid" which served as an entrance to the secret vault.  Whether she closed the lid intentionally to get revenge on her former lover or whether it closed accidentally and she was unable to reopen it remains unresolved as she is never found.


1.  Holmes mentions the following early cases of his career which occurred before he met Watson:
           A. Tarleton murders.
           B.  Vamberry the wine merchant.
           C.  The old Russian woman.
           D.  The singular affair of the aluminum crutch.
           E.  Ricoletti of the club foot and his abominable wife.
           F.  The Gloria Scott
           G.  Study in Scarlet




1. The story is narrated by Holmes.
2. Holmes says this was his third case.
3.  Watson lists a number of Holmes irregular habits:  the cigars in the coal scuttle, tobacco in the slipper, letters stuck to the mantle with a knife, "VR" in bullet pocks on the wall.

Official Abbreviation: MUSG

The Adventure Of The Musgrave Ritual was first published in the Strand Magazine, May 1893

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

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