Sherlockian Shorts – The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot

First published in 1910, The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot is the sixth story in the fourth collection of short stories, His Last Bow.

What’s It About?

Holmes and Watson are in Cornwall, to allow Holmes to recuperate. Needless to say, a case soon presents itself – Mr Mortimer Tregennis, after leaving his family in the evening, returned to find his two brothers were now insane and his sister was dead. With no sign of violence, Tregennis is convinced that it is the work of the devil himself. Needless to say, Holmes has other ideas…

Is It A Mystery?

Yes – the plot has a couple of good twists in it, and while part of it is pretty guessable, there’s a lot going on in this one. Not too many clues, of course.

Is It Any Good?

Yes – Conan Doyle rated it his ninth favourite of his stories, and, apart from the oddity mentioned in the next paragraph, this was one of the cleverest of the tales that I’ve read so far – do bear in mind, dear reader, that for some reason that I’ve forgotten, I’m reading these in a completely random order. A very well-constructed and well-written mystery.

Anything Else?

Given how long Holmes has been doing this, he does something unbelievably and life-threateningly stupid at one point – if you’ve read the story, you’ll know what I mean. Apart from that, a first-rate entry into the canon.


  1. Addicted to English mysteries as I am, I must admit I have not read Sherlock Holmes but over the years let the movies fill in the blanks. After reading this review, I have decided to change my ways and start with His Last Bow. (My mother would be so pleased, she was a Holmes aficionado) Hoping I can get it on kindle, I have run out of shelf space.


    • You can get the complete Holmes, including the novels, for free on kindle from a variety of sources. I paid 77p for my version to make sure it was well-formatted.


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