Sherlock Holmes story summery: The Boscombe Valley Mystery
The Boscombe Valley Mystery is included in the “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” which contain twelve enormously thrilling and cerebral suspense stories. This story first appeared in the Strand Magazine in 1891.
Boscombe Valley, a fictitious place in Herefordshire, a “thickly wooded round” in the description of Holmes, witnessed an unusual crime which immediately demanded Holmes’ attention and intervention. Sherlock Holmes arrives with Dr. Watson from London to investigate the horrid death of one Mr. Charles McCarthy who has supposedly been murdered by his son James. The senior McCarthy is an Australian who has settled in the valley with his friend and partner Mr. John Turner. James, physically present at the ominous spot, is already taken into the prison and waits legal proceedings based on circumstantial evidence. Lestrade, a crime investigator from the Scotland Yard, is convinced with the facts, cues from the crime scene and the reports of the witnesses who have spotted the father and son involved in violent altercation.
The strongly intuitive mind of Holmes refuses to accept the easy conclusion derived from too obvious and blatant clues. The nature of the crime seems to him to be quite complicated than what is apparent; as he declares paradoxically that it is “one of those simple cases which are so extremely difficult”. A host of mysteries boggle the minds of the readers, such as the motive for Mr. McCarthy’s visit to the pond, his being followed by his son with a gun under his arm, the son’s report of the strange “cooee” call in the woods, the altercation between the father and son and the son’s refusal to reveal the reason and nature of the dispute, the disappearance of a grey coat which vanish mysteriously as the son squats near his dying father, Mr. McCarthy’s dying reference to “a rat”. As the narrative progresses the neighbour, Mr.
Turner’s daughter is also involved into the perplexing entangle of the unfortunate murder. She happens to be the second person besides Holmes himself who believes in the innocence if young McCarthy.
Holmes’ thorough rummage around the crime scene near the pond reveal interesting set of footprints from which Holmes deduce that the perpetrator of the heinous murder is a tall and lame man smoking Indian cigar. The description narrows down closely to the culprit but dramatically before Holmes’ hands lay upon him, he visits Holmes to make a confession. The story ends on a rather dramatic note making the young McCarthy walk free and the culprit meeting his natural death after a couple of months of the admission of his misdeed. A moral standpoint is given to the culprit saving him from turning into a reckless criminal before the readers.
Like any other Sherlock Holmes stories this is also an interesting and intriguing one gripping the unflinching attention on the part of the readers. The first hand experience of the narrator Watson involves the readers promptly with the twists and turns of the plot. In the case, Lestrade’s over-simplified and inefficient assumptions are proved to be shamefully true and glaringly point towards the negligence and ineffectiveness of the police officials. Holmes’ assertion that “many men have been hanged on far slighter evidence”, seems to be true. At the end great deal of relief is furnished by saving an innocent man from the gruesome clutches of rigorous punishment.