Sherlockian Shorts – The Reigate Puzzle

First published 1897, The Reigate Puzzle aka The Problem of the Reigate Squire/ Squires/Puzzle the seventh story in the second collection of short stories, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.

What’s It About?

Holmes is recuperating from a strenuous (but untold) adventure, have suffered a nervous collapse. He is called in when a second local burgalry ends in the death of the coachman at the nearby estate of the Cunninghams. Despite his weakness, Holmes sees that there is more to the case than a simple theft, but is he up to solving the case?

Is It A Mystery?

Definitely, although it’s more of a “what actually happened”, as if it were sold as a whodunit, there aren’t exactly a lot of suspects! It does feature one of my Holmes bugbears, namely the clue that Holmes sees that we don’t but in this case, we know what he was looking at – a muddy path – so we can at least guess the importance of what he sees.

Is It Any Good?

A very nice little story. We get to see a little of the human side of Holmes as he relies on Watson when his health fails. He does seem to take some rather unnecessary risks with catching the villain – nearly being killed – despite the fact he could probably make a case with what he had, but it did add some extra tension at the end of the story.

Anything Else?

Not really. A nice little mystery – Doyle said it was one of his top twelve stories (twelfth, in fact). I am starting to think I may have been too hasty with my prejudgments of Sherlock Holmes… very much looking forward to the next one, whatever it may be.



  1. I always loved this story, although I first read it in a Polish translation (not sure why…) It’s Holmes at his best, acting in incomprehensible ways yet it all makes perfect sense at the end. Glad to see you starting to enjoy these stories, but I do have to warn you that the first three collections have the best consistent quality. In the last two, I only remember a handful of stories (all of them ones that I enjoyed): THE SUSSEX VAMPIRE, THE DYING DETECTIVE, THE DEVIL’S FOOT (all three of these are personal favourites that not everyone will love as much as I do) and THE BRUCE-PARTINGTON PLANS.

    Good job with these recent reviews and hopefully you will continue to see just why Holmes and Dr. Watson have endured the test of time!


    • Well, I liked Thor Bridge from the last collection – maybe I should read them backwards to save the best for last – although that would end with A Scandal In Bohemia which I still don’t like at all…


      • I hear you! I didn’t like it at all the first few times I read it. I kind of enjoy it a bit more now, but I love practically all the stories far more than BOHEMIA– even the “Yellow Face”, which was unremarkable in everything but its anti-racist message!

        (And of course, THOR BRIDGE was great, but since you already read it I didn’t mention it.)


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