The Blue Carbuncle
Two days after Christmas, Watson calls on Sherlock Holmes only to find him scrutinizing an old battered hat. Holmes reveals that Peterson, a commissionaire, saw a man with a goose over his shoulder being assaulted by some ruffians. The man raised his cane to defend himself and broke a window behind him; when he saw Peterson running towards him, he hastily fled, leaving his hat and the goose behind. Peterson sought Holmes for help finding the owner of these treasures, but the only physical clues they discover are a tag on the goose, reading, “For Mrs. Henry Baker” and the initials H.B. inscribed on the inside of the hat.
However, as we know, the amazingly nimble brain of Holmes determines many other facts and theories from the quality and condition of the hat which hopefully will assist them in their search. Suddenly, Peterson, who had taken the goose home and was preparing to eat it for dinner, rushes in clutching a beautiful blue gem and claiming that he found it in the crop of the goose. Holmes recognizes it as a gem that has been stolen from the Countess Morcar in her hotel suite and a plumber named Horner has been arrested for the crime, however the jewel was never found.
And so Holmes uses his superior intellect to follow the trail of the crime and expose the culprit before an innocent man can be convicted.
O, in her posting of this story last year noted that Doyle made a blunder with this story but never said what it was. It actually wasn’t easy to find but I discovered it eventually; apparently Doyle didn’t realize that geese do not have a crop. I would say, if this is his most significant literary mistake, he’s doing pretty well.
This story was a typical, solid Sherlock Holmes mystery and a nice addition to this Christmas compilation.