Sherlockian Shorts – The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans

First published in 1912, The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans is the third story collected in His Last Bow.

What’s It About?

Mycroft, Holmes’ brother, makes a rare appearance at Baker Street, wishing to engage the great detective to find some important secret papers, stolen by Arthur Cadogan West. West has been found next to the tracks at Aldgate station with his head crushed, and some of the papers are still on his body. Three pages are missing – enough to give Britain’s enemies the secret of the Bruce-Partington submarine.

Is It A Mystery?

Yes – a surprisingly complicated one. The case against Cadogan West as the thief has some questions about it – and how did his body get to the location where it was found? Can Holmes locate the plans and bring a killer to justice?

Is It Any Good?

Yes – a chance, for once, for the reader to play along. While not really clued, there are plenty of chances to guess what happened. It’s got more going on as well than most of the short stories – arguably than some of the novels as well…

Anything Else?

You won’t be surprised by parts of the solution if you’ve seen The Great Game, episode two of the first series of Sherlock, which pinches most of the plot for part of the story.

The second of Mycroft’s major appearances in the short stories – two out of fifty six might surprise people who have come to the short stories via Sherlock…


  1. This is a very good mystery and one of my favourites. (Incidentally, in the edition of The Complete Sherlock Holmes available with me, it appears as the fourth story in His Last Bow.)


  2. I have this, as well as in a Holmes collection, in The Mammoth Book of Spy Stories by Bill Pronzini. This is probably the inspiration for making Holmes battle Nazis in two Rathbone films, plus the espionage touches in ‘Sherlock’.


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