Free Classic E-Book 'The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge'
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"The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge" is one of the fifty-six Sherlock Holmes short stories written by British author Arthur Conan Doyle. One of eight stories in the cycle collected as His Last Bow, it is a lengthy, two-part story consisting of "The Singular Experience of Mr. John Scott Eccles" and "The Tiger of San Pedro", which on original publication in The Strand bore the collective title of "A Reminiscence of Mr. Sherlock Holmes".
[The Singular Experience of Mr. John Scott Eccles]
Holmes is visited by a perturbed proper English gentleman, John Scott Eccles, who wishes to discuss something “grotesque”. No sooner has he arrived at 221B Baker Street than Inspector Gregson also shows up, along with Inspector Baynes of the Surrey Constabulary. They wish a statement from Eccles about the murder near Esher last night. A note in the dead man’s pocket indicates that Eccles said that he would be at the victim’s house that night.
Eccles is shocked to hear of Aloysius Garcia’s beating death. Yes, he spent the night at Wisteria Lodge, Garcia’s rented house, but when he woke up in the morning, he found that Garcia and his servants had all disappeared. He was alone in an empty house. He last remembers seeing Garcia at about one o’clock in the morning when he came to Eccles’s room to ask if he had rung.
Eccles met Garcia, a Spaniard, through an acquaintance, and seemed to form an unlikely friendship right away. Garcia invited Eccles to stay at his house for a few days, but when Eccles got there, he could tell that something was amiss. Garcia seemed distracted by something, and the whole mood of the visit seemed quite sombre. Indeed, Garcia’s mood became even darker once his servant handed him a note that evening.
Eccles left Wisteria Lodge and inquired about the place at the estate agent’s, and was surprised to find that the rent on the house had been paid in full. Odder still, no-one at the Spanish Embassy in London had heard of Garcia.
Inspector Baynes produces the note that Eccles saw Garcia receive. It reads “Our own colours, green and white. Green open, white shut. Main stair, first corridor, seventh right, green baize. Godspeed. D.”, in a woman’s handwriting. Could it have been a tryst? Could a jealous husband be behind Garcia’s death?
It emerges that Baynes has deduced that Garcia’s body had been lying out in the open since one o’clock, but Eccles says that this is impossible, as Garcia came to his room about then. Holmes theorizes that Garcia may have tampered with the clocks to get Eccles to bed earlier than he thought it was, and that the whole business of coming to his room and making a point of mentioning that it was one o’clock ? when it was probably much earlier ? was likely aimed at setting up an alibi, but for what?
All that Holmes can deduce is that the murderer lives near Wisteria Lodge, and in a big house.
[The Tiger of San Pedro]
Holmes and Dr. Watson go to Esher to see Wisteria Lodge with Inspector Baynes. The constable guarding the house reports a hair-raising experience. A brutish-looking man ? the devil himself, thought the constable ? looked in the window. The constable gave chase, but the intruder got away. Holmes establishes by the footmarks that the constable did not imagine this.
Inside the house, a number of odd items are to be seen. Something resembling a mummified baby, a bird torn to pieces, a pail of blood, and a platter full of charred bones. Holmes later links these to voodoo, providing an important clue.