The Diogenes Club Logo

The Diogenes Club:  Good Old Index
Adventure I:
A Scandal in Bohemia
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

"To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman."

The Adventure of A Scandal in Bohemia was published in The Strand Magazine July, 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.  The manuscript for the story still exists and is owned by the University of Texas, Austin.

Strand Magazine poll
The Adventure of a Scandal in Bohemia placed as Number 5 of the top dozen stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Baker Street Journal poll
The Adventure of a Scandal in Bohemia placed as Number 5.
Study in Sherlockians poll
The Adventure of a Scandal in Bohemia placed as Number 3

The Diogenes Club:  A Scandal in Bohema

A Scandal in Bohemia
The Strand Magazine, London  July, 1891
1st UK Edition

Hoy Summary

GODFREY NORTON, a prominent young attorney, engaged to Miss Adler.
MRS. TURNER, Holmes' landlady
MARY JANE, Watson's servant girl.


Watson is married and in civil practice.  Holmes still uses cocaine.

The King of Bohemia is engaged to Clotilde Lothman, princess of Scandinavia.  Formerly, the king was informally engaged to Irene.  The king jilted Irene because he felt that she was greatly inferior to him socially and Irene feels very much misused.  She has letters which the king wrote to her including a photo of the two of them together, and threatens to send them to Clotilde on the day that her (Clotilde's) and the king's betrothal is announced publicly.

Holmes is hired to recover the photo and letters.  The king tells him that several attempts have been made to do this but that all have failed.

Holmes, in disguise, is casing Irene's house and is roped into being a witness at her and Godfrey's wedding.  She gives him a gold sovereign for his services which he plans to wear on his watch chain.

Holmes stages an elaborate con and determines that Irene keeps the photo in a secret compartment beside the fireplace.

Returning to Baker Street in deep twilight, Holmes is just opening his door when he hears a passing voice say, "Goodnight Mister Sherlock Holmes."  He recognizes Irene's voice.

Early next morning, they call on Irene, planning to take the photo.  Irene and Godfrey have fled to the continent, taking the photo with them.  She leaves a photo of herself for the king and a letter for Holmes, in which she says that she was cleverly tricked into betraying the photo's hiding place but instantly realized what she had done and followed Holmes back to Baker Street to confirm her suspicions.

Since she is now married, sending the photograph to Clotilde would involve Irene and Godfrey in the ensuing scandal so Irene plans to keep it as a souvenir. 

Holmes refuses a heavy emerald encrusted ring but accepts Irene's photograph as payment for his services.


1. His summons to Odessa in the Trepoff murder.
2. The singular tragedy of the Atkinson brothers at Tricomalee.
3. A mission he had accomplished so delicately for the reigning family of Holland.
4. A Study in Scarlet.
5. The Darlington substitution scandal.
6. The Arnsworth castle business.


1. A drunken looking groom.
2. An amiable simple-minded non-conformist clergyman.


Holmes stages a mob scene and fire to get Irene to betray the photo's hiding place.

This is one of the favorite stories among Sherlockians -- even though Holmes was outwitted -- and at Sherlockian meetings the first toast is always to "The Woman."

notable quotes:

"The woman."  (Holmes)

"You see but you do not observe."  (Holmes).

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data." (Holmes)

"Goodnight Mister Sherlock Holmes."  (Irene)

"What a queen she would have made!" (King).

Official Abbreviation: SCAN

A Scandal in Bohemia was first published in the Strand Magazine, July 1891

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

The Diogenes Club:  (c) Copyright 1999-2002 The Diogenes Club All Rights Reserved