The Adventure of the Second Stain by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
A SherlockHolmes short story
The Adventure of the Second Stain is part of The Return of Sherlock Holmes collection. It is Holmes seventh case chronologically. It was one of Doyle’s favorites (#8 to be precise), and Watson describes it as
…the most important international case which he has ever been called upon to handle…
The case is put to Holmes by the Prime Minister himself and the Secretary of European Affairs.
The honorable gentlemen impress upon Holmes the need for secrecy and discretion. The police are not even notified. They also stress that should Holmes fail to recover the stolen secret communiqué…the consequence could well be war.
Watson was not exaggerating.
Not surprisingly, the honor of a beautiful women is also at stake.
Bit of Doyle’s subtle humor here. Holmes, well known for his own lofty surmise of his powers of observation, defers to Watson
Now Watson, the fair sex is your department.
In the end of course, Holmes averts international calamity, while also protecting the honor of the virtuous lady – but not without some uncharacteristic duplicity.
I can see why Doyle liked this one. I did too.