Nov 20, 2020 in Law

Holmes Solving the Crime

The Adventure of Beryl Coronet is one of the most famous Sherlock Holmes short stories written by Arthur Conan Doyle. It tells the story of a banker Holder who has been trusted with keeping a precious beryl coronet. The banker discovers that the coronet has been damaged. The only suspect is his son Arthur whom Holder finds with the coronet in his hands. However, Holders niece Mary claims that Arthur is not guilty. Using his deduction method, Sherlock Holmes investigates the case and finds out that Arthur is innocent, and the criminal is Marys lover. This paper attempts to analyze the short story in terms of historical or qualitative explanatory analysis. Sherlock Holmes detective approach seems to be a suitable material for this type of analysis since it provides a good example of the way historical outcomes can be explained.


The crime described in the story consists in damaging the valuable beryl coronet. Three beryls disappear, and a small part of the coronet has been broken off. Arthur has been found with the coronet in his hands, and Holder supposes that he was trying to bend it. The main outcome to be explained is the damage and the behavior of Arthur. He keeps silent and does not attempt to deny his guilt, even though Mary believes he is innocent.

Holmes does not have much evidence to begin with. Early in the case, he has to rely mostly on the information provided by Holder as the main witness. The facts speak against Arthur because he was the last person to take the coronet. The coronet was twisted, and the gems were missing. However, the bankers version of the story seems to be superficial. This is why Holmes goes to the crime scene to search for further evidence. He does not accept Holders version of the crime and starts to consider other theories at once. The detective states that Arthur is certainly innocent. However, he refrains from suggesting possible suspects without sufficient evidence. Holmes does not attempt to propose his own theories. He rather tries to persuade Holder that the case is more complicated that it seems, and further investigation is necessary. Holmes uses what he calls deduction method. He visits Holders house and examines everything, paying particular attention to details which are the main keys that the detective needs for solving the crime. Holmes pays attention to the things that passed unnoticed by the police or Holder since they were not considered important enough or simply seemed irrelevant to the case. The detective examines not only the crime scene, but all the adjacent rooms and the yard. He starts with quick examination of everything and then goes over the evidence again in order to find tiny details that might be useful for the investigation. Holmes investigates things from big to small. He starts with doors, windows, and general views of the interiors, and then switches to particular objects. Holmes knows where to look for evidence because he has his own opinion on the case. He is sure that Arthur is not guilty, and the crime was most probably committed by an outsider. This is why his main objective is to find out how the criminal penetrated into the house and escaped unnoticed. Holmes devotes much attention to the investigation outside. This allows him to form a complete picture of the crime and solve the case. Holmes finds out that the criminal is George Burnwell. Mary is his accomplice. She told Burnwell about the coronet, and he decided to steal it. As Holmes says, Mary agreed to help George for the sake of love. The detective deduces these facts from the small details he noticed in Holders house. Footprints in the snow, traces on the windows, and particular damage of the coronet are the crucial clues that Holmes uses to solve the mystery.

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After Holmes solves the crime, the case becomes clear to the reader. However, it would be possible to look for further evidence, such as a thread, a piece of fabric, or a button that was torn off the thiefs clothes during his fight with Arthur. Other minor evidence, such as hairs, also might be useful for successful process tracing. The idea to search for this kind of evidence seems to be logical because Holmes stops his investigation when the evidence seems to be sufficient for him to build a credible theory. The details he finds are rather obvious. Traces in the snow and peculiar signs of damage on the coronet are the basic evidence. However, smaller details would surely exist. A modern reader could add fingerprints and DNA materials into the list of possible further evidence. Any small thing could provide a clue for solving the crime. Thus, the crucial aspect of successful event explanation is generalization of minor details in order to see the case from a larger scale.

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In conclusion, it can be noted that the analyzed story is a good example of the way the historical outcomes are explained. History rarely provides extensive information, and scholars have to restore the events on the basis of small evidence. The researchers remark that this evidence is often indirect and requires a lot of logical deductions (McClell, 2014). The approach of Sherlock Holmes is a good illustration of how details can be generalized, and a whole picture of the case can be constructed.


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