Reading Sherlock Holmes – The Red-headed League

Re-reading the original Sherlock Holmes stories. The Red-headed League offers our heroes an intriguing conundrum and a cool villain.


Facts of the case: Jabez Wilson, a redhead businessman, contacts Holmes with a puzzle that may or may not be a crime. He was hired by the Red-Headed League, a society of redheads, to do pointless busywork in their office for a generous fee. When the league up and disappears one day, Wilson contacts Holmes. Holmes and Watson investigate, following the clues to a brilliant young bank robber.

Great detective: Holmes makes the point multiple times that the more outrageous a case appears, the more likely there is a simple solution. Any hardcore logicians care to chime in on this one? Also, Holmes’ love of music is featured, as he takes a night off to enjoy a concert.


Good doctor: Watson says his medical practice is “never very absorbing,” allowing him to tag along with Holmes.

Who’s at the door? Instead of Lestrade, Holmes’ contact at Scotland Yard is a detective named Peter Jones. Jones is impressed with Holmes, and encourages Holmes to pursue his work.


Action hero: Holmes is armed with his fave weapon, the riding crop. He uses it to swat a pistol out of the villain’s hand.


Yes, this is canon: The villain is master thief John Clay, a young man who’s an Oxford graduate and grandson of a royal duke. Like Irene Adler, I wanted to read a whole series of stories about Clay’s adventures.

Indubitably: I love when mystery stories end in a completely different place from where they begin. This one kicks off with a secret society of redheads and concludes with an attempted bank robbery. Awesome.

Next week: What’s a “gasfitter,” exactly?


Want more? Check out my book, CINE HIGH, now available for the Kindle and the free Kindle app.


About Mac McEntire

Author of CINE HIGH.
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