Sherlockian Shorts – The Adventure Of The Norwood Builder

First published 1903 in The Strand magazine, The Adventure of the Norwood Builder is the second story in the third collection of short stories, The Return Of Sherlock Holmes.

What’s It About?

Holmes is bored – after thwarting Moriarty, he is beginning to doubt that a challenging case will ever appear again. Enter John McFarlane, a junior lawyer, who is accused of murdering Jonas Oldacre, a builder from Norwood, promptly followed by Inspector Lestrade, intent on arresting him. Needless to say, Holmes is intrigued despite all the evidence pointing to McFarlane’s guilt.

Is It A Mystery?

Yes – there’s a decent twist in the tale although, as ever, but there are at least two problems with the solution, one of which makes it difficult to spot what’s happening. Interestingly, the TV adaptation makes a simple adjustment to the plot which gets round his.

Is It Any Good?

Yes – Holmes is good fun here, especially at Lestrade’s expense. And even with the problems, it’s a good tale.

Anything Else?

Apparently Doyle bought the fingerprint idea from one Bertram Fletcher Robinson, which is a shame really, as it doesn’t actually work.

NB For the full index of my Sherlockian Shorts, please follow this link.


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