('Christmas' © Paulo Fehlauer, 2007) *
THE ADVENTURE OF THE BLUE CARBUNCLE
by SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE
I had called upon my friend Sherlock Holmes upon the second morning after Christmas, with the intention of wishing him the compliments of the season. He was lounging upon the sofa in a purple dressing-gown, a pipe-rack within his reach upon the right, and a pile of crumpled morning papers, evidently newly studied, near at hand. Beside the couch was a wooden chair, and on the angle of the back hung a very seedy and disreputable hard-felt hat, much the worse for wear, and cracked in several places. A lens and a forceps lying upon the seat of the chair suggested that the hat had been suspended in this manner for the purpose of examination.
“You are engaged,” said I; “perhaps I interrupt you.”
“Not at all. I am glad to have a friend with whom I can discuss my results. The matter is a perfectly trivial one” – he jerked his thumb in the direction of the old hat – “but there are points in connection with it which are not entirely devoid of interest and even of instruction.”
I seated myself in his armchair and warmed my hands before his crackling fire, for a sharp frost had set in, and the windows were thick with the ice crystals. “I suppose,” I remarked, “that, homely as it looks, this thing has some deadly story linked on to it – that it is the clue which will guide you in the solution of some mystery and the punishment of some crime…”
Arthur Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh in 1859. He trained at Edinburgh University as a doctor, working afterwards as a ship’s surgeon, before settling in Portsmouth where he divided his time between medicine and writing. The famous Sherlock Holmes first appeared in his stories in 1887, and went on to star in twelve ‘Adventures’ – ‘The Blue Carbuncle’ being the seventh. Doyle died in 1930.