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Denis O. Smith’s interests range from logic and the history of London to Victorian society and railways, all of which contribute to giving his stories a true flavour of the period. He lives in the heart of Norfolk, England, from where he makes occasional trips to London to explore some of the capital’s more obscure corners.

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Constable & Robinson Ltd.

55–56 Russell Square

London WC1B 4HP


First published in the UK by Robinson,

an imprint of Constable & Robinson Ltd., 2014

Copyright © Denis Smith, 2014

The right of Denis Smith to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs & Patents Act 1988.

Grateful acknowledgement to the Conan Doyle Estate Ltd. for permission to use the Sherlock Holmes characters created by the late Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

All rights reserved. This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not be reproduced in whole or in part, in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or hereafter invented, without written permission from the publisher and without a similar condition, including this condition, being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

A copy of the British Library Cataloguing in Publication

Data is available from the British Library

UK ISBN: 978-1-47211-059-6 (paperback)

UK ISBN: 978-1-47211-073-2 (ebook)

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First published in the United States in 2014 by Running Press Book Publishers,

A Member of the Perseus Books Group

All rights reserved under the Pan-American and International Copyright Conventions

This book may not be reproduced in whole or in part, in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or hereafter invented, without written permission from the publisher.

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US ISBN: 978-0-7624-5220-0

US Library of Congress Control Number: 2013946639

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Digit on the right indicates the number of this printing

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Cover design by Joe Roberts


The Adventure of the Crimson Arrow

The Adventure of Kendal Terrace

A Hair’s Breadth

The Adventure of the Smiling Face

The Adventure of the Fourth Glove

The Adventure of the Richmond Recluse

The Adventure of the English Scholar

The Adventure of the Amethyst Ring

The Adventure of the Willow Pool

The Adventure of Queen Hippolyta

The Adventure of Dedstone Mill

An Incident in Society

The Adventure of


BETWEEN THE YEARS 1881 AND 1890, I enjoyed the privilege of studying at first hand the methods of Mr Sherlock Holmes, the world’s first consulting detective, and during this period kept detailed records of a great many of the cases in which he was involved. A large number of these concerned private family matters, the details of which never reached the public press, but in others we would find ourselves in the very midst of the leading news of the day, and I would know that the actions my friend took one day would dictate the newspaper headlines of the next. Such a case was the Buckler’s Fold tragedy of ’84.

Readers will no doubt recall that Buckler’s Fold in Hampshire was the country estate of Sir George Kirkman, a man who had amassed great wealth from his interests in metalworking, mining and railway engineering. Beginning in a modest way, as the owner of a small chain-link forge in Birmingham, he had risen rapidly, both in wealth and eminence, until a fair slice of British industry lay under his command and he had received a knighthood for his achievements.

At the time of the tragedy that was to bring the name of Buckler’s Fold to national prominence, Sir George had held the estate for some eight years. It was his custom, during the summer months of the year, to invite notable people of the day to spend the weekend there. It was said that he prided himself upon the happy blend of the celebrated who gathered at his dinner table upon these occasions, and it was certainly true that many of those renowned at the time in the worlds of arts, letters and public life had made at least one visit to Buckler’s Fold. Indeed, it was said in some circles that one could not truly be said to be established in one’s chosen field until one had received an invitation to one of Sir George Kirkman’s weekend parties.

One unusual feature of such gatherings was an archery contest for the gentlemen, which, by custom, took place on Sunday, upon the lower lawn behind the house. Sir George had in recent years developed an interest in the sport, at which he had achieved a certain proficiency, and was keen to introduce others to what he termed “the world of toxophily”.