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A Scandal in Bohemia by Sir Arthur Conan…
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A Scandal in Bohemia (1891)

by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1)

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» See also 16 mentions

English (4)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  All (6)
Showing 4 of 4
Fast paced, enjoyable story. After all these years I finally now understand the story of "The Woman"

The more I read {audiobook} the original stories the more I enjoy the fan fictions of other writers of Holmes.

I know this was turned into a film, or at least highly referenced but for the life of me I can't remember the title of it. ( )
  LGandT | Jan 31, 2018 |
If you enjoy mystery stories and Sherlock Holmes in particular, you will love this short story. The plot is quite interesting: While the currently married Dr. Watson is paying Holmes a visit, a visitor arrives, introducing himself as Count Von Kramm, an agent for a wealthy client. However, Holmes quickly deduces that he is in fact Wilhelm Gottsreich Sigismond von Ormstein, Grand Duke of Cassel-Felstein and the hereditary King of Bohemia. Realizing Holmes has seen through his guise, the King admits this and tears off his mask.
It transpires that the King is to become engaged to Clotilde Lothman von Saxe-Meiningen, a young Scandinavian princess. However, five years previous to the events of the story he had a liaison with an American opera singer, Irene Adler, while she was serving a term as prima donna of the Imperial Opera of Warsaw, who has since then retired to London. Fearful that should the strictly principled family of his fiancée learn of this impropriety, the marriage would be called off, he had sought to regain letters and a photograph of Adler and himself together, which he had sent to her during their relationship as a token. The King's agents have tried to recover the photograph through sometimes forceful means, burglary, stealing her luggage, and waylaying her. An offer to pay for the photograph and letters was also refused. With Adler threatening to send them to his future in-laws, which Von Ormstein presumes is to prevent him marrying any other woman, he makes the incognito visit to Holmes to request his help in locating and obtaining the photograph.
The photograph is described to Holmes as a cabinet (5½ by 4 inches) and therefore too bulky for a lady to carry upon her person. The King gives Holmes £1,000 (£94,300 today[1]) to cover any expenses, while saying that he "would give one of [his] provinces" to have the photograph back. Holmes asks Dr. Watson to join him at 221B Baker Street at 3 o'clock the following afternoon.
The next morning, Holmes goes out to Adler's house, disguised as a drunken out-of-work groom. He discovers from the local stable workers that Adler has a gentleman friend, the lawyer Godfrey Norton of the Inner Temple, who calls at least once a day. On this particular day, Norton comes to visit Adler, and soon afterwards, takes a cab to the Church of St. Monica in Edgware Road. Minutes later, the lady herself gets in her landau, bound for the same place. Holmes follows in a cab and, upon arriving, finds himself dragged into the church to be a witness to Norton and Adler's wedding. Curiously, they go their separate ways after the ceremony.
Meanwhile, Watson has been waiting for Sherlock to arrive, and when Sherlock Holmes finally arrives, he starts laughing. Watson is confused and asks what is so funny, Sherlock then recounts his tale and comments he thought the situation and position he was in at the wedding was amusing. He also asks whether or not Watson is willing to participate in a scheme to figure out where the picture is hidden in Adler's house. Watson agrees, and Holmes changes into another disguise as a clergyman. The duo depart Baker Street for Adler's house.
When Holmes and Watson arrive, a group of jobless men meander throughout the street. When Adler's coach pulls up, Holmes enacts his plan. A fight breaks out between the men on the street over who gets to help Adler. Holmes rushes into the fight to protect Adler, and is seemingly struck and injured. Adler takes him into her sitting room, where Holmes motions for her to have the window opened. As Holmes lifts his hand, Watson recognizes a pre-arranged signal and tosses in a plumber's smoke rocket. While smoke billows out of the building, Watson shouts "FIRE!" and the cry is echoed up and down the street.
Holmes slips out of Adler's house and tells Watson what he saw. As Holmes expected, Adler rushed to get her most precious possession at the cry of "fire"—the photograph of herself and the King. Holmes was able to see that the picture was kept in a recess behind a sliding panel just above the right bell pull. He was unable to steal it at that moment, however, because the coachman was watching him. He explains all this to Watson before being bid good-night by a familiar-sounding youth, who promptly manages to get lost in the crowd.
The following morning, Holmes explains his findings to the King. When Holmes, Watson, and the King arrive at Adler's house, her elderly maidservant informs them that she has hastily departed for the Charing Cross railway station. Holmes quickly goes to the photograph's hiding spot, finding a photo of Irene Adler in an evening dress and a letter dated midnight and addressed to him. In the letter, Adler tells Holmes that he did very well in finding the photograph and fooling her with his disguises. She also reveals that she posed as the youth who bid Holmes good-night. Adler and Norton have fled England, but Adler has promised she keeps the photograph only as protection and not to use it against the King.
The King gushes over how amazing Adler is, saying "Would she not have made an admirable queen? Is it not a pity she was not on my level?" Holmes replies scathingly that Miss Adler is indeed on a much different level from the King (by which he means higher — an implication lost on the King). When he asks Holmes how he wants to be paid, Holmes asks for the photograph of Adler. Holmes keeps it as a souvenir of the cleverness of Irene Adler, and how he was beaten by a woman's wit.
I highly recommend this book to the permanent library of all mystery book lovers. You will not regret reading it! ( )
  rmattos | Jan 23, 2016 |
This was the very first Sherlock Holmes short story (as opposed to novella) and is in many ways the template for many of the later short stories. It differs from them in having the main protagonist as a woman, or rather the woman, Irene Adler, who not only outwits Holmes in the end, but does so in great style. Rereading this for the first time in years, having just watched the modern Sherlock TV series episode A Scandal in Belgravia, I was reminded that Irene Adler is in no way a villain, but at worst a young lady who made a bad choice in love; and clearly Holmes thinks more highly of her than he does of the aristocratically snobbish King of Bohemia. A great beginning to the first set of twelve Holmes stories. ( )
  john257hopper | Oct 13, 2014 |
My first outing with Sherlock Holmes, I found this a nice, brief introduction to Holmes and Watson. I'm intrigued by the way Holmes' mind works, and didn't get quite enough of an introduction here, though look forward to reading more. ( )
  greenleaf | Feb 13, 2011 |
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Sir Arthur Conan Doyleprimary authorall editionscalculated
Kingsley, BenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman.
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This is the original short story "A Scandal in Bohemia" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It should not be combined with any adaptation, abridgement, or larger work.
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