Sherlockian Shorts – The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier

First published in 1926 in Liberty Magazine in the US, The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier is the eighth story in the final collection of short stories, The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes.

What’s It About?

Holmes himself narrates the tale of being approached by James Dodd, a soldier from the Boer War who wants Holmes to help him discover what happened to his fellow soldier and best pal Godfrey Emsworth – his family insist that he has gone overseas but Dodd is convinced he saw his friend at the family’s house.

Is It A Mystery?

Well… not really. Dodd has established before coming to Holmes basically all of the facts, so it’s just a question of why rather than what. And it’s not a desperately complicated situations.

Is It Any Good?

Well, it passes the time nicely and it’s an enjoyable read, but it’s hardly a classic. And the ending is a bit… odd. It’s nice to hear Holmes’ voice rather than Watson (who is off with his wife) at this point, but it is rather straightforward.

Anything Else?

It’s one of only two tales narrated by Holmes – the other is The Adventure Of  The Lion’s Mane – and it does include the legendary line “When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” There are similar lines in The Sign Of Four and The Adventure Of The Beryl Coronet.


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