After the short stories began to appear in The Strand, he became one of the most famous fictional characters in the history of literature. SherlockHolmes’s quick eye took in my occupation, and he shook his head with a smile as he noticed my questioning glances.
“Beyond the obvious facts that he has at some time done manual labor, that he takes snuff, that he is a Freemason, that he has been in China, and that he has done a considerable amount of writing lately, I can deduce nothing else.” “I am not quite so bulky, but if he had remained I might have shown him that my grip was not much more feeble than his own.” As he spoke he picked up the steel poker and, with a sudden effort, straightened it out again.
The case will require Holmes not only to save his client’s life but to solve the mystery of how her sister died two years ago. Like many of the Sherlock Holmes stories, the British Empire lurks in the background (Dr Boycott had met the girls’ mother out in India, and has a menagerie of exotic animals from that country), and in this connection, the story also reveals a debt to one of the first detective novels, Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone.
The story concerns a missing racehorse and sees Holmes donning his famous deerstalker to investigate. I put the question, with a hint that it was my companion’s modesty which made him acknowledge his brother as his superior.
Its code-themed story probably inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Gold-Bug’, ‘The Dancing Men’ is one of Holmes’s greatest code-breaking triumphs. Mr. Hilton Cubist of Riding Thorpe Manor in Norfolk, and husband to a nervous wife, tells Holmes a series of stick figures have started to appear chalked up on the window-sill of the house.