Short Story Review: The Case of the Abominable Wife by June Thomson

London, 1892.  Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson are at home, in their sitting room, having a discussion on the theme of coincidence, when the detective explains the reasoning behind the subject.  A short news item in that day’s newspaper states that a man Sherlock Holmes crossed paths with a number of years ago was knocked down and killed in the street.  Holmes had only mentioned that particular case in passing to Watson the previous week, but had yet to tell him about.

And so, Holmes proceeds to explain all, in great detail.  It centred on a criminal gang, who targeted victims in a particularly gruesome manner, garrotting, only the case was never closed with a sufficient degree of satisfaction for Sherlock Holmes liking.  The question is, can they close it now?

I must admit that as far as I am aware the only Sherlock Holmes stories that I have read were those written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle himself.  So I wasn’t quite sure what to expect…

However, I thoroughly enjoyed this short story.  From the footnotes in the story we learn that the case that this story is based on was mentioned in another Sherlock Holmes story, The Adventure of the Musgrave Ritual.  To my mind, it was in keeping with the original stories and so was definitely worth a read.  I thought the plot was clever – I did not anticipate the twist in the story – and the dialogue and description was engaging.

This short story was found in Murder Through the Ages: A Bumper Anthology of Historical Mysteries, ed. Maxim Jakubowski.


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