The Adventure of the Diamond Pins
From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
The Adventure of the Diamond Pins is a Sherlock Holmes parody of the series The Adventures of Herlock Sholmes, written by Charles Hamilton (under pen name Peter Todd), published on 20 november 1915 in The Greyfriars Herald, starring Herlock Sholmes as the detective and Dr. Jotson as his sidekick.
The Adventure of the Diamond Pins
Sholmes was examining attentively, under a powerful microscope, a leading article in the Daily Mail, when I came into our sitting-room at Shaker Street. He looked round with a lazy smile.
"I have surprised you, my dear Jotson," he remarked.
"You are always surprising me, Sholmes," I replied. "May I ask what you hope to discover by a microscopical examination of a daily paper ?"
He yawned slightly as he laid down the microscope.
"Merely an amusement, Jotson. It may not have occurred to you that by a careful examination of the type in which an article is printed, much may be learned of the man who wrote it; in fact, his age, form, and starting-price, with sufficient care and attention. A simple amusement for an idle moment, my dear Jotson."
"You amaze me, Sholmes."
"Not at all, my dear Jotson. I do not say that this theory is widely known. Scotland Yard would smile at the idea." Herlock Sholmes shrugged his shoulders, as he frequently did at the mention of Scotland Yard, and changed the subject. "I see that you have not shaved this morning, Jotson."
"Sholmes, how could you possibly know——"
"Is it not a fact ?" he asked.
"It is a fact, certainly. But how you guessed——"
"It was not a guess, Jotson." Sholmes frowned a little. "I never guess. I leave guesswork to the police. It was a simple deduction, Jotson, simply explained. After shaving, your face presents a smooth and newly-mown appearance. I have observed this on innumerable occasions."
"At the present moment it presents a rough and hairy appearance. To a trained eye, my dear Jotson, the conclusion is instant and obvious. You have not shaved."
"It is simple enough now that you explain it, Sholmes, but I confess it would not have occurred to me. Yet I have endeavoured to study your methods."
"Rome was not built in a day, my dear fellow," said Sholmes, with a smile. "You must take time. It would amuse me to test your progress. Look at this, and tell me what you deduce from it."
He took a large pistol from a drawer, and handed it to me. I examined it with great attention. I confess to a keen desire to prove to Herlock Sholmes that my progress in his peculiar art was greater than he supposed.
"Well, Jotson?" he said, a smile lurking round the corners of his mouth.
"In the first place, Sholmes, it is a firearm." I felt that I was upon safe ground so far. This much was, indeed, almost obvious.
"Go on, Jotson!"
"In the second place," I went on, encouraged by Sholmes' approval, "it is a revolver of the Colt pattern, which is manufactured in the United States."
"What do you deduce from that, Jotson?"
"That it is an American pistol," I said triumphantly.
"Bravo!" exclaimed Sholmes. You are indeed progressing, Jotson. I am interested now; pray continue."
He threw himself back in his chair, and put his feet on the mantelpiece, in his usual attitude of elegant ease.
"There is a dark stain upon the butt," I continued. "I conclude from that — that——"
"Courage, my dear fellow. Go on!"
"That the revolver has been used as a paperweight, and that ink has been spilled upon it," I suggested. I was mortified to see Sholmes burst into a hearty laugh. I threw down the pistol somewhat pettishly.
"I suppose I am wrong?" I exclaimed.
"Excuse me, my dear Jotson." Sholmes checked his merriment. "I am afraid you are a little wide of the mark. That stain is not ink; it is blood."
"Good heavens!" I exclaimed.
"The revolver was found upon the scene of the Hornsey Rise murder," explained Sholmes. "You have heard of it? Seventeen of the most respected residents of Hornsey Rise were murdered on the night of the fourth. The peculiar circumstance is That each of them was robbed of a diamond pin. The police have concluded that the murders were committed for purposes of robbery. To that extent, Jotson, the intellect of Scotland Yard can go, but no further. They have no clue excepting this revolver, which has been handed to me. As a last resource," added Sholmes, shrugging his shoulders, "the police are willing to make use of my humble services."
"Better late than never," I remarked.
"Perhaps so." Sholmes glanced at the clock. "Nearly half-past nine. At half-past nine, Jotson, I expect a visitor."
"Do not go, my dear fellow. I shall need you."
"You delight me, Sholmes. You wish me to observe and deduce——"
"I wish you to take the tongs, and station yourself behind the door," said Sholmes calmly. "You will prevent his escape if I do not succeed in handcuffing him. He will be desperate."
"Sholmes ! Who is it, then, that you are expecting?"
"The Hornsey Rise murderer !" said Sholmes tranquilly.
Before I could make any rejoinder to my friend's astounding remark the door was thrown open, and our landlady announced the visitor.
He was a man of powerful frame. My study of Sholmes' methods made it possible for me to observe that he was a man of dangerous character. The handles of several knives protruded from his pockets, and he carried a bayonet in the place of a walking-stick. These details did not escape me, though perhaps I ought to admit that, but for Sholmes' warning, I should have noticed nothing out of the ordinary.
Herlock Sholmes greeted him genially. But the fact that he picked up the poker showed me that he was upon his guard. I secured the tongs immediately, mindful of my friend's admonition.
"Good-morning!" said Sholmes. "You have called in answer to my advertisement, I presume?"
"I have," said the visitor, glancing at him suspiciously. He may have noticed the tongs in Herlock Sholmes' hand.
"I am glad to see you," said Sholmes. "You have only to establish your right to the property in question, and it will be handed over to you immediately. This way, please! Ah! Help, my dear Jotson !"
Sholmes was upon the ruffian with the spring of a tiger.
I rushed forward.
There was a desperate struggle. In the midst of it, the door was flung open, and Inspector Pinkeye rushed into the room.
A moment more, and the handcuffs snapped upon the wrists of the ruffian.
Herlock Sholmes rose, panting, to his feet. He lighted a cigarette.
"Quite an easy capture," he drawled. "You are welcome to him, Pinkeye."
"Much obliged to you, Mr. Sholmes," said the inspector, with a smile of satisfaction. "I don't know how you did it, but you've done it. A lucky fluke, I suppose — what?"
"Exactly — a lucky fluke, my dear Pinkeye!" he said, with a sarcasm that was lost upon the worthy inspector. "Good-morning, Pinkeye!" Inspector Pinkeye marched the scowling ruffian from the room. Herlock Sholmes sank into his chair again, yawning.
"Twas ever thus, Jotson," he said, with a trifle of bitterness. "Scotland Yard will never understand my methods, and is content to call my success a lucky fluke. But for your generous appreciation, Jotson, I should be discouraged."
"You may always count upon my admiration, Sholmes," I said fervently. "You astound me more than ever. May I ask——"
"To you, Jotson, I will explain," said Sholmes. "It may help you on in your study of my methods. The capture was effected simply through the medium of an advertisement in the daily papers. The murderer left his revolver on the scene of the crime. You are aware that lost property, advertised in the papers, is very likely to be claimed."
"I have heard so," I assented. "But surely, Sholmes, the murderer would not have answered an advertisement of his lost revolver. Might he not have suspected that it was a trap of the police?"
"Undoubtedly, and therefore I did not advertise the revolver. I advertised a diamond pin."
"A — a what?" I exclaimed in amazement.
"A diamond pin, my dear Jotson. Look at this paragraph."
I looked. The advertisement ran:
"FOUND, in the neighbourhood of Hornsey Rise, a valuable diamond pin. Owner can have same by applying to No. 101, Shaker Street."
I gazed at Herlock Sholmes in complete astonishment.
"Sholmes!" I ejaculated. "You had found a diamond pin?"
"Not at all."
"One was lost ?"
"Certainly not !"
"Then, in the name of all that is wonderful——"
Sholmes smiled patiently.
"My dear Jotson, reason it out. Seventeen murders were committed in a single night, each for the purpose of stealing a diamond pin. Does this not argue that the criminal dealt specially in diamond pins? My advertisement stated, therefore, that a diamond pin had been found. Sooner or later it was certain to meet his eyes, and the rest was inevitable. To add one more diamond pin to his collection of ill-gotten gains would be an irresistible attraction for him."
"Most true!" I exclaimed. "But — forgive me, Sholmes — one more question: Suppose some ordinary member of the public had lost a diamond pin — such things happen — and suppose he had seen the advertisement, and come here—"
"My dear Jotson, you are supposing now, and my methods do not deal with suppositions." Herlock Sholmes yawned. "I leave suppositions to the police, my dear fellow. It is time you went to visit your patients, Jotson."