The Blue Carbuncle by Arthur Conan Doyle

Christmas StoriesThe 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.

The Blue Carbuncle

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.

The Blue Carbuncle

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.

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15 thoughts on “The Blue Carbuncle by Arthur Conan Doyle

  1. maybe this one will penetrate the enigmatic innards of the electronic labyrinth… Doyle was my go-to resource for solace and consolation as a youth; i must have perused the canon 3 or 4 times… nice choice for Xmas and the holiday season… hopefully next year will be an improvement upon the this one… Happy New Year!

    • I really like the Holmes stories. I wish there were more of them!

      I, too, wish that this coming year is better than the last. From 2016 onwards, the years don’t seem to be as good as previously. However, I’m still enjoying life with all its ups and downs. Hope you are too! Keep on biking! 🚲

    • I knew there was a mistake (but not the details) before I started reading and I still couldn’t pick it out. Ooo yes, do read it. It’s a quintessential Holmes mystery and fun to read!

  2. I’ve been tempted lately to reread some of the Holmes short stories. I’d forgotten that this was a Christmas story – sounds like that’s where my reread should start!

  3. This is one of my favorite Sherlock Holmes short stories 🙂 I love rereading it every few years. This Christmas, we introduced our kids to the Granada series starring Jeremy Brett by watching this episode with them. Good fun!

    • Oh, I used to watch the Jeremy Brett series years ago! Thanks for the reminder! I should try it again. Now you’re making me want to read more Sherlock Holmes! 😉

  4. I liked this one. In fact, I enjoyed all of Sherlock Holmes novels and stories, I listened to them all a couple of years ago. And I’m going to try to do the same for Hercule Poirot, as 2020 is the anniversary of his first appearance

    • Hi Emma! That’s a great idea to listen to the Holmes books. Even though audio books and I are not the best of friends, I think I’d like these! And I’ve been reading Agatha Christie’s work in published order which has been fun. I must get back at it though.

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