The Great British Sherlock Read Off – 5. A Case Of Identity

Sherlock Challenge

And after a few weeks absence due to that which is known as “real life”, I’m back with the next part in my ongoing Sherlock reading challenge.  This time it’s “A Case Of Identity” which was published 1891 and became part of “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” anthology.

The story centres around a client by the name of Miss Mary Sutherland.  She is a woman with her own income from an investment fund and who has met a man by the name of Mr Hosmer Angel, much against the wishes of her stepfather.  On the morning that she is due to marry Angel, he disappears from the hansom cab which has been ordered to drive him to the wedding, at which point she engages Holmes into finding her missing fiance.

This is probably the shortest story from the Holmes canon that I’ve read so far… and probably the least rewarding.  The reason for this is that there is little substance behind it, in fact, Holmes never leaves Baker Street during the “investigation”.

You can tell that the readership is getting increasingly familiar with the Holmes and Watson pairing as there is little actual deduction taking place, apart from Holmes’s observations of Miss Sutherland’s dilemma and profession and the tying up of the actual story at the end.  The reader doesn’t get given any new facts about Holmes and Watson – apart from a line which states the Watson has to deal with a medical case whilst Holmes carries out his investigation, which is done “off stage”.

Without wishing to reveal any spoilers, it’s a basic “procedural” storyline in the same mould as “The Red Headed League”.  That said, you don’t get the evidence trail laid out in front of you as with previous stories, which leaves you in the Watson role of playing catch up at the end when Holmes does the “big reveal”.

For fans of “Sherlock”, I would recommend reading this story first and then going back to the Season Three story “The Empty Hearse” as there is a brief scene of Holmes and Molly carrying out the modern day equivalent of this story.

For those of you who are following this reading challenge, the next story in reading order will be “The Boscombe Valley Mystery”.

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