Nov 20, 2020 in Law

Sherlock Holmes

Sherlock Holmes is probably the most famous detective in the history of humanity whose deductive skills have been unprecedented both in literature and real life. The Bosgrove Valley Mystery by Arthur Conan Doyle is one of the short stories about this famous detective who solves another complicated mystery that puzzles the inspector from the Scotland Yard. This story shows how a historical case can be explained step by step, irrespective of an initial false impression. In this particular story, readers see that evidence that is the clearest is not always concrete and solid, and that all aspects and perspectives of the case have to be carefully and thoroughly studied before making any conclusion. Hence, the current paper aims to provide a brief overview of The Bosgrove Valley Mystery, as well as analyze this detective story through the lens of qualitative analysis, as the investigation conducted by Sherlock Holmes can assist with learning how to explain a historical case.


In The Bosgrove Valley Mystery Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson travel to Boscombe Valley that is not far from Ross, Herefordshire, in order to investigate a murder case. At first glance, the case seems to be simple, yet this simplicity is what makes the case truly mysterious and complicated from Holmes viewpoint. Thus, Charles McCarthy was found dead near the pond by his son James on June 3 with a fatal head wound. Since the gamekeeper had seen the father and son quarreling at this pond not long before the murder, and James rifle which could inflict such a wound lying nearby, the son was apprehended and suspected of the crime. However, Miss Turner, a daughter of alocal landowner and an old friend of the dead, is convinced that James is innocent, which is why she has asked Holmes to come to the countryside and investigate the crime. Upon coming to the small town, the two men meet inspector Lestrade who is certain that James is guilty. However, Holmes gradually finds persuasive evidence that John Turner, whom the deceased has blackmailed for many years and who refused to allow his daughter to marry the young McCarthy, has committed the crime. The cause of blackmail and hate between the two old men lies in their past. When both of them were in Australia, McCarthy witnessed a serious crime committed by Turner who was a member of the criminal gang at the time. Already in England, McCarthy saw that the man had become rich and threatened him with exposure unless the latter agreed to provide him and his son with everything they needed. Turner became annoyed and worried about his daughter, which is why he killed his old enemy. When Holmes finds evidence, he talks with Turner and learns the truth. Since the man is dying of diabetes, Holmes agrees not to expose him unless it is the only way to acquit James. The court absolves James due to the new evidence provided by Holmes, and the former lives happily with Miss Turner whose father dies seven months after the crime investigation without anyone but Holmes and Watson learning the truth about the murder and the mens Australian past.

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When Holmes travels to the crime scene, the only evidence he has is from local newspapers. Thus, he knows when Turner went to the pond and who saw his son going the same way, as well as some facts about their quarrel. He is also aware of the fact that the sons rifle found near the corpse could have been a suitable murder weapon. James was arrested, which came as no surprise to him. Although he feels sorry for the quarrel with his father, he has pled not guilty. Finally, Holmes has an access to the transcript of James statement. Overall, at the beginning of the investigation Holmes has circumstantial evidence. He investigates the case by assuming that James is innocent and talks with him, as well as with Miss Turner. Afterwards, he visits the crime scene and finds additional evidence there. He discovers traces that lead to a tree under which he notices ash from Indian cigars and a jagged stone that appears to be a real murder weapon. From these traces, findings, and testimony of James and witnesses, Holmes draws a conclusion that a murderer is a tall left-handed man who wears a grey cloak shooting boots, has a problem with his right leg, smokes cigar while using a cigar-holder, and has a pen-knife in his coat. So he concludes that mister Turner is a murderer, who confirms it during their personal meeting.

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The most important theory Holmes has developed in the process of investigation is related to young mans innocence and shared Australian past of the victim and his murderer. This way, there is only one possible suspect as it is common knowledge that Turner and McCarthy have known each other since the time in Australia. The ground on the murder scene is damp, and it has not rained since the day of the crime, which is why Holmes knows that he has to seek traces. These traces lead him to the place where the murderer has been waiting for his victim. The most crucial evidence includes ash, limp of the murderer, and the true murder weapon.

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It seems to be negligence or great inattentiveness on the part of investigators to miss traces on the damp ground where they can be easily seen. Besides, they should have checked whether the suspect is right- or left-handed, which is essential since the wound on the victims head clearly shows that the murderer was left-handed. In terms of some other evidence, investigators in charge of the case should have considered that the victim could have enemies, and that his son has been telling the truth. If they did that, they might discover animosity between McCarthy and Turner. It would be logical and reasonable to learn everything possible about the victims past to find his murderer.

Withal this story shows that historical outcomes are frequently explained on the basis of the most obvious evidence while true causes and essential details might remain undiscovered. When thinking of historical cases most people seek information that proves their first impression or theories complying with their assumptions while ignoring and missing significant details that reveal true circumstances of the case. The overview of the detective story under consideration proves that only such individuals as Holmes, who are willing to disprove all past assumptions and stereotypes, as well as seemingly possible causes, can uncover truth in a case without letting their personal judgment cloud their investigation.


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