The Boscombe Valley Mystery

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Short Stories Challenge – The Boscombe Valley Mystery by Arthur Conan Doyle from the collection The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Published September 25, 2014 by bibliobeth


What’s The Boscombe Valley Mystery all about?:

Lestrade summons Holmes to a community in Herefordshire, where a local land owner has been murdered outdoors. The deceased’s estranged son is strongly implicated. Holmes quickly determines that a mysterious third man may be responsible for the crime, unraveling a thread involving a secret criminal past, thwarted love, and blackmail.

What did I think?:

Hooray, another Sherlock Holmes story for my Short Story Challenge, and one which I was very excited to get to. Holmes and his ever faithful companion Dr Watson arrive at the Boscombe Valley, asked to help by “that imbecile Lestrade,” (in Sherlock’s words) a detective who often requires the skills of Holmes to solve tricky cases. The background to the case involves two families, the wealthy Turners – John and his daughter Alice and the McCarthy’s – Charles and his son James who are tenants on Turners land. One day, McCarthy is walking to the Boscombe Pool as he has told his serving man that he has an appointment there he must keep. As it is, he seems to keep the appointment but does not return alive, bludgeoned to death. His son is found beside his father’s body, with blood staining his clothes and has been arrested as the prime suspect. When witnesses are interrogated, they report seeing McCarthy’s son following fairly close behind his father with a gun in his hand. Of course when it comes to the cases of Sherlock Holmes, nothing is ever clear cut, and Holmes begins to find clues that lead him to the conclusion that James is innocent. So, who killed Charles McCarthy and why? And where exactly does Turner’s daughter Alice fit into everything? It is certainly a puzzle but the reader is confident that Holmes will be able to solve it using his magical skills of intense observation and deduction.

The Boscombe Valley Mystery was easy to read and I enjoyed trying to put the puzzle together and solve the crime. Probably the only thing that bothered me was that I found it quite obvious what the conclusion was going to be. This was quite disappointing as it is the first Holmes story where I have been able to do that and I love the element of surprise, where the author keeps you guessing. Saying that, there were a few things that came out in the conclusion that did surprise me and made me think of the way we present ourselves in public isn’t necessarily the way we are in private. Say no more! So, nice story but I don’t think it really stands out in comparison to the others in this collection.

Would I recommend it?:


Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

NEXT SHORT STORY: The Agency by Sarah Hall from the collection The Beautiful Indifference

Challenge: Short Stories July to September

Published July 7, 2014 by bibliobeth

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I’ve really been enjoying my Short Stories Challenge so far, if you want to see what I’ve been reading so far, search for Short Stories Challenge on my main page and you should get a few (ahem!) entries. And here’s my batch of short stories for the next three months!

 Week beginning 7th July

The Colour Out Of Space by H.P. Lovecraft from the collection The Definitive H.P. Lovecraft

Week beginning 14th July

The Blood Pearl by Barry Maitland from the collection The Mammoth Book of Best British Crime Volume 7

Week beginning 21st July

The Isabel Fish by Julie Orringer from the collection How To Breathe Underwater

Week beginning 28th July

The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde from the collection Stories To Get You Through The Night

Week beginning 4th August

Cain Rose Up by Stephen King from the collection Skeleton Crew

Week beginning 11th August

Peep Show by Nathan Englander from the collection What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank

Week beginning 18th August

Lights In Other Peoples Houses by Lucy Wood from the collection Diving Belles

Week beginning 25th August

Child of Light by Randy Taguchi from the collection Fujisan

Week beginning 1st September

Proving Up by Karen Russell from the collection Vampires In The Lemon Grove

Week beginning 8th September

The Boscombe Valley Mystery by Arthur Conan Doyle from the collection The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Week beginning 15th September

The Agency by Sarah Hall from the collection The Beautiful Indifference

Week beginning 22nd September

I Am An Executioner by Rajesh Parameswaran from the collection I Am An Executioner

Week beginning 29th September

A Day In The Life Of Half Of Rumpelstiltskin by Kevin Brockmeier from the collection Things That Fall From The Sky