First published in the Strand Magazine in 1911, The Adventure of the Red Circle is the third story collected in His Last Bow.
What’s It About?
Holmes is approached by a Mrs Warren, a landlady who is concerned about the secretive nature of her new tenant, who only communicates by brief written messages and, after the first day, has never been actually seen.
Is It A Mystery?
Oh my word, no. Apart from working out what some flashes of light from a window represent (yes, it is that), and recognising some basic Italian, this is hardly a puzzle the reader can solve.
Is It Any Good?
No. It’s really poor. It’s one of those tales where it seems Doyle wanted to tell the tale of the Red Circle and shoehorned Holmes into an introduction before dumping some exposition on us. There is nothing that Holmes does here that couldn’t have been resolved by kicking down the door of the tenant’s room. Oh, and the Red Circle exposition is pretty dull, too.
A couple of pieces of trivia that make this seem more interesting that it actually is. It’s the last appearance of Inspector Gregson (out of four), the next-most-frequently appearing policeman after Lestrade. And also a radio play version starring Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce aired on the same day that Pearl Harbour was attacked.