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This parody appeared in the Cardiff Western Mail in 1894. As far as I am aware it has not been republished since then.




When I entered the club-room a gentleman in the far corner raised his head from the paper he was reading and glanced quickly at me. His peculiar facial expression was familiar to me and I knew the man in an instant. It was Sherlock Holmes, looking as shrewd and as pleasant and as full of quiet energy as ever.

“Why, Holmes, old fellow,” I remarked, when our formal greeting was over, “I thought you were dead. Didn’t Doyle kill you after all?”

“Truth of it is,” said Holmes, with a good-humoured twinkle in his eye; “he got a bit tired of writing up my experiences month after month, and he told me he was going to kill me. I gave Doyle full discretion in the matter, and he made me fall over a precipice. I did have a nasty fall, it is true, but I wasn’t absolutely killed. I have told you I was a wonderful amateur trapezist in college, and my ape-like agility served me in good stead on this occasion. I caught hold of the branch of a tree. This broke my fall, and I managed to clamber down the rocks to a place of safety.”

“And what brings you to South Wales?” I asked him.

“This is a return visit. I came down here some months ago to unravel the Penarth Gorilla Mystery, and did so within a few hours, although the public never knew whom to thank for the elucidation of that mystery. Your chief has some good wine and cigars at Cwrt-y-vil,” continued Holmes, his face lighting up with pleasant memories, “and we spent two or three joly evenings together.”

“To what interesting circumstance are we indebted for this, your second visit?” I inquired.

“I have been spending a rather long holiday in North and South Wales,” replied Holmes, “and have just finished a little job which has not only brought me credit but also enabled me to pay off an old score.”

“Ha, ha,” said I, smelling “copy,” “just the very thing. I’m out for the evening, and nothing would delight me more than to have one of those inimitable yarns of yours. Tell me all about it, Holmes. I’m sure the story will be worth hearing.”

“Well, as I’ve also got the evening to go through somehow, I don’t mind if I do,” said Holmes, evidently forgetting that I was a newspaper man. Then, taking a cigarette out of his well-stocked case, he slowly lit it, and, settling himself comfortably in his cosy arm-chair, he began.

“Perhaps I ought to explain to you at the beginning that the detective force of the kingdom is, to use a vulgar expression, ‘dead nuts’ on me, and you will, therefore, not be surprised when I tell you that a recommendation made by a Welsh member of Parliament to a Welsh head-constable that I should be engaged to unravel the mystery of a big jewel robbery some time ago in the Principality was rejected in a manner that I considered to be rude and offensive, the terms of the letter written by the head constable to the M.P. being that I might be all very well in the pages of the ‘Strand Magazine,’ but they were not going to entrust the unraveling of an important matter like that of a big jewel robbery in everyday life to an amateur.

‘An Amateur,’ fancy that! Sherlock Holmes an amateur! I am not revengeful as a general thing, Clupper, but I felt the rebuff keenly, and I registered a vow, in the presence of my friend Doyle, who was dining with me when the M.P. sent me the head-constable’s letter, that ere many months had passed I would compel that head-constable to publicly pay tribute even to my ‘amateurish’ abilities. I have had my revenge, and feel peaceful calm, and happy when I think of it.

This was how it came about. A second robbery took place from a silversmith’s shop, and about £2,000 worth of jewellery was found to have been taken away by the thieves, of whose whereabouts the police, in spite of most strenuous efforts, could not obtain the slightest clue. There was immediately a great hubbub among the people of the town where the robbery took place, and public meetings were held at which reflections were made upon the efficiency of the police force as this was the second occasion on which he burglars had gone undetected.

While this hubbub was at its height I wrote the head-constable offering him my services, and making the only condition of the acceptance an undertaking from him that, in the event of my bringing the thieves to justice or recovering the booty, he should publicly acknowledge my success. He agreed to the terms, and I came down to S----- by the next train.

I immediately proceeded to the police-station, got all the detectives before me, and, having heard their stories, which were, I may remark, lamentably bald, I turned to the head-constable and said, ‘You have hitherto been skeptical of my smartness as a private detective, and you have accepted my services eight days after the burglary has been committed. During that time you have had no trace or clue of either the thieves or the missing articles. Therefore, to you the task I am undertaking seems hopeless. But Sherlock Holmes has never yet completely failed, and when he lays his head upon the pillow to-night it will be with the consciousness that he has met with some measure of success.’

The head-constable gazed incredulously at me, and the faces of the detectives wore sarcastic expressions. ‘I see, you think I am fooling you,’ I said; ‘but Sherlock Holmes has a reputation, and he is prepared to stand or fall by what he has said.’ I wanted to make the thing as mysterious as possible, for my own prestige’s sake, and extracted a promise from the head-constable not to question me as to my methods of work if I succeeded in my undertaking. I then left the police office, and mingled with the crowd in the public street.

I had arranged to return to the police-station at midnight, and the clock was just striking twelve when I entered the head-constable’s sanctorum. ‘Of course, you have discovered the thieves and recovered the booty!’ remarked the head-constable, with a tinge of sarcasm in his voice. ‘I have recovered the booty,’ I replied dryly; ‘but the thieves, although discovered, are not likely to be caught yet awhile.’

To cut a long story short, I produced the whole of the stolen jewellery, which was returned to its owner. With reference to the thieves, I convinced the head-constable that there was no doubt about their having managed to pass right under the noses of the police, and to reach New York in safety.

The recovery of the stolen property was regarded by the public as a big achievement, and my revenge was completed. The head-constable came down handsomely, for, in his letter to me, which will in due course be published in the daily journals, he not only gave me credit for what I succeeded in doing, but refers to me as the smartest detective in the United Kingdom.”

Holmes having finished the narrative, leaned back in his chair, and, wrinkling his brow with a self-satisfied air, began rolling another cigarette.

His case was, as already intimated, well stocked, but he “rolled” a cigarette, because he used to do so in the “Strand Magazine”.

I watched his quiet, unassuming movements for a moment or two, and then, breaking the silence, said, “Your narrative has been a deeply-interesting one, Holmes, but the most interesting part of it is yet to come. For heaven’s sake, relieve my suspense and tell me how did you manage to recover the stolen property so quickly.”

“Well, old man,” replied Holmes, with a forced laugh, “as I have retired from ‘public life’ since Doyle got tired of me, I don’t mind telling you privately, but don’t breathe a whisper of my explanation to a living soul. I committed the burglary myself!”


Western Mail, 7 Nov 1894


Image reproduced with kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive (

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