* This review may contain spoilers *
The Adventure of The Illustrious Client is a Sherlock Holmes short story by Arthur Conan Doyle. It is the first story in the collection, The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes.
Quick Review (read on for full review)
A good, gripping story with an interesting mystery and unexpected ending. 4 / 5
Sir James Damery seeks out Sherlock Holmes on behalf of an un-named yet illustrious client. The case is a delicate one. Violet de Merville has fallen madly in love with Baron Gruner, a highly intelligent man, believed by both Sir James and Sherlock Holmes to be a murderer. Violet is determined to marry the Baron, no matter what anyone says about him and even after the man himself apparently lays bare his chequered past. Can anything be done to make Violet realise what she refuses to see?
I couldn’t decide between these two:
‘Johnson is on the prowl,’ said he. ‘He may pick up some garbage in the darker recesses of the underworld for it is down there, amid the black roots of crime, that we must hunt for this man’s secrets.’
(From The Adventure of The Illustrious Client by Arthur Conan Doyle, page 15)
‘Woman’s heart and mind are insoluble puzzles to the male. Murder might be condoned or explained, and yet some smaller offence might rankle.’
(From The Adventure of The Illustrious Client by Arthur Conan Doyle, page 16)
I am slowly making my way through the Sherlock Holmes stories, although not in chronological order. Currently, I am moving back and forth between the short story collections, The Return of Sherlock Holmes and The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes, and having just recently finished the short novel A Study in Scarlet (you can read my review here), plan to start the next Sherlock novel, The Sign of Four, soon.
The Adventure of The Illustrious Client was a good story. The storytelling ensured the tale was gripping and the mystery itself was certainly an interesting one. As for the ending, it was certainly unexpected.
Out of all the Sherlock Holmes stories I have read so far, this one, I think, has the most interesting and memorable characters.
Kitty Winters was probably chief amongst them. I would love to have known more of her back story. One of my favourite descriptions from this story is that of her and Violet being like fire and ice.
The Baron made for a very engaging antagonist; a dangerous rogue but well-educated, with a niche interest in Chinese pottery. He was also very brazen and sure of himself, admitting to Sherlock that yes, it’s all true but there is nothing you can do about it!
An entertaining read, indeed!