The so-called classical detective stories were originated in the work of the American writer Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), in which reader is implicitly invited to solve the mysteries and identify the murderer before the final denouement. But this kind of fiction became exceptionally successful thanks to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, whose name became forever linked with the immortal figures of Sherlock Holmes and his intimate friend Dr. Watson. The Sherlock Holmes stories are all very short stories, and so they were gathered together under the title “Adventures of Sherlock Holmes”, in 1892. One of these stories, “The Blue Carbuncle”, is included in the collection above-mentioned. “The Blue Carbuncle” is a justly famous story, because it puts special emphasis on Holmes and his extraordinary mental faculties rarely to be met with.
The Blue Carbuncle
The day after Christmas, Dr. Watson, a loyal friend and confidant of Sherlock Holmes, sees him carefully watching an old hat. Watson asks Holmes why he pays so much attention to a simple hat, and Holmes answers this question by saying that a certain Mr. Peterson had brought him just before a hat along with a goose, which, according to the statements of Peterson, had been left on the street by an occasional man, who in passing along this street was assailed by a band of malefactors.
Holmes gives back Peterson the goose, and meanwhile, with his wonderful intellectual acumen, he formulates interesting hypotheses about the owner of the hat. But then something strange happens. Peterson returns almost immediately to report that he had found a blue stone inside the goose, without understanding the value. Holmes, however, recognizes the value of the stone. It was a valuable gem, known as the blue carbuncle, which a few days before Christmas had been stolen from the palace belonging to the Countess of Morcar. John Horner, a plumber working in her room, was accused of stealing the blue carbuncle. Both James Ryder, a valet who was at the service of the Countess of Morcar, and the Lady’s maid of Countess of Morcar, testified against him at trial. So the poor plumber was sentenced to prison.
But Holmes is not convinced of the guilt of Horner, and therefore he devises an amazing system to uncover the real author of the theft. Holmes puts an advertisement in some newspapers saying that he found a goose and he is ready to return it to its rightful owner. A poor baker, named Henry, comes to pick up the goose, but he persuades Holmes of his innocence, and of knowing nothing about the theft. However, Holmes asks him where he bought the goose and all he had to do to find that food store.
Holmes quickly leaves his home and starts wandering up and down the street indicated by Henry, when he meets James Ryder, the valet at the service of the Countess of Morcar, who tells Holmes he comes looking for a goose which had got out of hand. At this point, the puzzle will be resolved. Holmes accuses Ryder of stealing from the room of Countess of Morcar, then saying that the goose swallowed the blue carbuncle .
Holmes had finally found the man responsible for the theft.