By Frank Key
Now the BBC’s trio of Sherlock dramas has come to a close, and the critics have had their say, it is appropriate to note that it missed an opportunity. Why do writers feel they need to come up with entirely new stories when Conan Doyle – or rather his narrator Dr Watson – left us so many tantalising glimpses of cases he never got round to recording in full?
Instead of concocting new plots, would it not be better to flesh out the details of Von Bischoff of Frankfurt, Mason of Bradford, the notorious Muller, Lefevre and Leturier of Montpellier, Samson of New Orleans, Van Jansen of Utrecht, the Ratcliff Highway murders, Dolsky of Odessa, the wills in Riga in 1857 and St Louis in 1871, Mrs Cecil Forrester’s domestic complication, the woman who poisoned three children for their insurance money, similar cases in India and Senegambia, the Bishopsgate jewels, the Trepoff murder, the Atkinson brothers at Trincomalee, the mission for the Dutch royal family, the Darlington substitution scandal, the business at Arnsworth castle, the Dundas separation case, that intricate matter in Marseilles, the disappearance of Mr Etheredge, the similar cases in Andover and The Hague, the adventure of the Paradol Chamber, the Amateur Mendicant Society, the loss of the barque Sophie Anderson, the Grice Patersons on Uffa, the Camberwell poisoning, the Tankerville Club scandal, two murders, the throwing of vitriol, suicide and a number of robberies associated with the Blue Carbuncle, Mrs Farintosh and the opal tiara, the madness of Colonel Warburton, the Grosvenor Square furniture van, the King of Scandinavia and similar cases in Aberdeen and Munich, the affair of the bogus laundry, the Tarleton murders, Vamberry the wine merchant, the old Russian woman, the singular affair of the aluminium crutch, the club-footed Ricoletti and his abominable wife, Baron Maupertuis and the Netherland-Sumatra Company, the Worthingdon bank robbery, Adams and the Manor House, the tired captain, the French Government case in Nîmes and Narbonne, the Scandinavian royal family, the Vatican cameos, Wilson of the district messenger office, the Grodno blackmail and others, Little Russia, the Anderson murders in North Carolina, the Colonel Upwood card scandal at the Nonpareil Club, Madame Montpensier’s murder charge against her daughter, the Molesey Mystery, Morgan the poisoner, Merridew of abominable memory, Matthews who knocked out Holmes’s left canine in the waiting room at Charing Cross, the murder of Mrs Stewart in Lauder, the papers of ex-President Murillo, the Dutch steamship Friesland, Bert Stevens the murderer, the persecution of tobacco millionaire John Vincent Harden, Archie Stamford the forger, the Ferrers documents, the Abergavenny murder, the death of Cardinal Tosca, Wilson the canary trainer, the dreadful business of the Abernetty family, the Conk-Singleton forgery, Crosby the banker and the red leech, the contents of the Addleton barrow, the Smith-Mortimer succession case, Huret the Boulevard Assassin, Arthur H Staunton the forger and Henry Staunton, the Randall burglars of Lewisham, the Margate woman, Colonel Carruthers, Brooks, Woodhouse, Fairdale Hobbs, the Long Island cave mystery, Abrahams in mortal terror, Rotherhithe, old Baron Dowson, the disappearances of James Phillimore and of the cutter Alicia, the madness of Isadora Persano, the ship Matilda Briggs and the giant rat of Sumatra, the forger Victor Lynch, Vittoria the circus belle, Vanderbilt and the Yeggman, Vigor the Hammersmith Wonder, Sir George Lewis and the Hammerford Will, Wainwright, the Duke of Greyminster and Abbey School, the Sultan of Turkey’s commission, two Coptic patriarchs, the St Pancras picture-frame maker, and a coiner?
Not to forget the finest case Watson never bothered to record, that of the politician, the lighthouse and the trained cormorant (mentioned in The Adventure Of The Veiled Lodger).
Frank has assured The Dabbler that every single one of the above cases is genuinely mentioned in the canon – Ed