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The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle by…
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The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle (1892)

by Arthur Conan Doyle

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (7)

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Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
A very entertaining mystery short story from the Sherlock Holmes short stories collection. The plot is quite simple and intelligent: Watson visits his friend Holmes at Christmas time and finds him contemplating a battered old hat, brought to him by the commissionaire Peterson after the hat and a Christmas goose had been dropped by a man in a scuffle with some street ruffians. Peterson takes the goose home to eat, but later returns to Holmes with a blue carbuncle his wife had found in the bird's crop (throat). Holmes makes some interesting deductions concerning the owner of the hat from simple observations of its condition, conclusions amply confirmed when an advertisement for the owner produces the man himself: Henry Baker.
Holmes cannot resist such an intriguing mystery, and he and Watson set out across the city to determine exactly how the jewel, stolen from the Countess of Morcar during her stay at a hotel, wound up in a goose's crop. The man who dropped the goose, Mr. Henry Baker, comes to reclaim his hat in response to Holmes' advertisement. Holmes drops hints about how he saved the "innards" of the goose, but Baker fails to respond to them, simply saying that he is afraid goose remains are not much use. He does, however, give Holmes valuable information, eventually leading him to the conclusive stage of his investigation, at Covent Garden. Holmes offers a fresh goose to Henry Baker, who responds with gladness and departs, whereupon Holmes tells Watson that Baker is eliminated from the suspect list as he obviously knows nothing about the carbuncle. At Covent Garden, a salesman named Breckinridge gets angry with Holmes, complaining about all the people who have pestered him about geese sold recently to the landlord of the Alpha Inn. Clearly, someone else knows that the carbuncle was in a goose and is looking for the bird.
Holmes expects that he will have to visit the goose supplier in Brixton, but it proves unnecessary: the other "pesterer" that the salesman mentioned shows up right then, a cringing little man named James Ryder whom Holmes prevails upon to tell the whole sordid story, by first mentioning that Ryder is probably looking for a goose with a black bar on its tail, a remarkable bird that "[laid] an egg after it was dead". Of course, Holmes has already deduced most of it.
Ryder, believing he was being pursued for the theft, fed the carbuncle to a goose being bred by his sister Maggie Oakshott. He was to have had that goose as a gift, but lost track of which one it was.
When Ryder cut open the goose and found no gem, he went back to his sister, who had provided the Alpha Inn geese, and asked if there was more than one goose with a black bar on its tail. She said there were two, but he was too late: she had sold it to Breckinridge at Covent Garden. Breckinridge had already sold the geese to the Alpha Inn, and the other goose with a black bar on its tail had found its way to Henry Baker as his Christmas fowl. Ryder and his accomplice — the countess's maid, Catherine Cusack — contrived to frame John Horner, a plumber who worked at the same hotel as Ryder and had previously been imprisoned for robbery, for the crime.
Holmes, however, does not take the standard action against the man, it being Christmas, concluding that arresting the clearly anguished Ryder will only make him into a more hardened criminal later. Ryder flees to the continent and Horner will be freed as the case against him will collapse without Ryder's perjured testimony. Holmes remarks that he is not retained by the police to remedy their deficiencies.
I recommend this book to all readers that love a good mystery story, mainly those who enjoy Sherlock Holmes mystery stories. ( )
  rmattos | Jan 23, 2016 |
Cute short Holmes mystery. Because it was so short, you really didn't get a chance to fall into the story like Doyle's longer works. ( )
  yougotamber | Aug 22, 2014 |
A little Christmas story free from audible. A little grace handed out by Sherlock to one unfortunate man and a would be crook. ( )
  Kristelh | Nov 16, 2013 |
A short story or novella that I enjoyed, but didn't have much to it. I did enjoy turning over the word "carbuncle" in my mind. It is a word that we don't hear very often and certainly don't attribute to beautiful gems. ( )
  jlapac | Aug 14, 2013 |
A classic Holmes story, and a classic reader. While I'm not a huge fan of Holmes, I've always enjoyed Alan Cumming's performances. He makes this one of the best readings I've heard in a long time. He distinguishes voices very clearly, and makes characters of different classes sound eerily accurate. The story, while not complex, is interesting. Really, though, it's the reading that makes it all worthwhile. If you can, get this edition. ( )
  grothenberger | Apr 11, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (37 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Arthur Conan Doyleprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alexander, JamesNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cumming, AlanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Book description
Two-time Emmy Award nominee (The Good Wife) and Audie Award winner for best narrator Alan Cumming here narrates Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's first-rate Yuletide whodunit "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle". Cumming adds his personal flair to the mystery classic and turns in an outstanding performance of the great detective Sherlock Holmes and his pal, Watson.
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An unusual sequence of events in leads the legendary Sherlock Holmes to locate the precious jewel owned by the Countess of Morcar.

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