The Blue Carbuncle
Sherlock Holmes had opened his mouth to reply, when the door opened
and Peterson, the commissionaire, rushed in. He looked incredibly
'The goose, Mr Holmes! The goose, sir!' he cried.
'What? Has it returned to life and flown out of your kitchen window?' said
'Look here, sir! Look what my wife found in its stomach!' He showed us a
shiny blue stone in his hand.
'By Jove, Peterson,' said Holmes, 'this is a treasure! Do you know what
you have got?'
'A diamond, sir! A precious stone! It cuts glass like butter.'
'It is more than a precious stone. It's the precious stone.'
'Not the Countess of Morcar's blue carbuncle that was stolen?' I cried.
'Precisely so,' responded Holmes, 'and here is the newspaper article
that tells the story:
Hotel Cosmopolitan Jewel Robbery
John Horner, 26-year-old plumber, has been arrested for stealing the
famous blue carbuncle from the Countess of Morcar.
James Ryder, an attendant at the hotel, said that he had sent Horner to
the Countess' room on the day of the robbery to repair a bar of the grate.
Ryder said that he stayed with Horner for a few minutes, but then he had
to leave. When Ryder returned he saw that somebody had forced open
the Countess' bureau. Ryder called the police and the police arrested
Horner that same evening.
Catherine Cusack, the Countess' maid said that she heard Ryder call for
help. She ran into the room and saw the same things that Ryder described
to the police. In addition, the police discovered that Horner had already
been charged with robbery in the past, but Horner says that in this case
he is innocent. His trial will be soon.
'Hum! So much for the police report,' said Holmes throwing the paper
on a chair. 'You see, Watson, our little deductions about the hat have
become much more important and less innocent. Here is the stone: the stone
came from the goose, and the goose came from Mr Henry Baker, the
gentleman with the bad hat which we examined so carefully. Now we must
discover Mr Baker's part in this mystery. To find him, the simplest thing is
to put an advertisement in the evening newspaper.'
'What will you say?' I asked.
'Well,' said Holmes, '''Found at the corner of Goodge Street a goose and a
black hat. Mr Henry Baker can have them if he comes to 221b Baker Street
at 6:30 this evening.'"
Then Holmes sent Peterson to buy another goose to give to Baker if he
came, and to put the advertisement in all the newspapers. I left to work for
That evening when I returned, I saw a tall man wearing a Scotch hat
waiting outside Holmes' house. We entered together.
'Mr Henry Baker, I believe,' said Holmes when he saw us.
'Please sit by the fire and get warm. Ah, Watson, you have come at the
right time. Is that your hat, Mr Baker?'
'Yes, sir, that is certainly my hat.'
'We have kept your things,' said Holmes, 'but we had to eat the goose.'
'You ate it!' said our visitor with excitement.
'Yes, it was going to go bad, but I bought you another goose.
It is over there, and I think it is just as good.'
'Oh, certainly, certainly!' answered Mr Baker with relief.
'Oh course,' said Holmes, 'we have the feathers, legs and stomach of your
bird if you want them.'
The man laughed loudly. 'Perhaps I could keep them to remember my
adventure, but, no, I don't need them. Thank you, but I will take this goose
'There is your hat, then, and there is your bird,' said Holmes. 'By the way,
could you tell me where you got your goose from? It was a splendid bird,
and I would like to get another one like it.'
'Certainly, sir,' said Mr Baker, 'I got it at the Alpha Inn near the Museum.
You see, the owner of the inn, Mr Windigate, started a goose-club. Each
week we gave him a few pence, and then at Christmas we received a goose.'
After this Mr Henry Baker picked up his hat and goose, and left.
'So much for Mr Henry Baker,' said Holmes when Baker had gone.
We decided to go immediately to the Alpha Inn to investigate the goose.
At the Alpha Inn we discovered that the goose had come from a salesman
called Mr Breckinridge in Covent Garden.
So, once again, Holmes and I put on our coats and walked to Covent
Garden to talk to Mr Breckinridge.
'Remember,' said Holmes as we walked to Covent Garden, 'at one end of
this chain of events we have a simple goose, but at the other end of the chain
there is a man who will go to prison for seven years if we cannot show that
he is innocent.'
We soon found Mr Breckinridge's stall, and Holmes asked him about his
geese. I was surprised when Mr Breckinridge replied angrily to Holmes'
'I have had enough. I am tired of people asking me "Where are the geese?"
and "Who did you sell the geese to?" and "How much money do you want
for the geese?" Enough!'
With a little bit of difficulty, Holmes finally got the information we
needed: the geese had come from Mrs Oakshott, 117 Brixton Road. We were
walking away when we heard shouting from Mr Breckinridge's stall. We
turned round and saw a little man in front of the stall.
'I've had enough of you and your geese! If you come here again, my dog
will attack you!' shouted Mr Breckinridge at the little man.
The little man started walking away, and Holmes and I went after him.
Holmes put his hand on the man's shoulder. The little man turned around and
looked frightened. He said, 'Who are you? What do you want?'
'Excuse me,' said Holmes, 'but I heard you talking to the goose salesman,
and I think I can help you.'
'You? Who are you? How could you know anything about the matter?'
'My name is Sherlock Holmes. It is my business to know what other
people don't know.'
'But do you know anything about this?'
'Excuse me, I know everything about this. You are trying to find some
geese which were sold by Mrs Oakshott, of Brixton Road, to a salesman
called Breckinridge, who then sold them to Mr Windigate of the Alpha Inn,
who then gave one of them to a member of his goose-club called Mr Henry
'You are the man I wanted to meet,' said the little man, whose name, as we
then discovered was John Ryder. Yes, John Ryder, the man who had called
the police to report the stolen blue carbuncle. We then returned to Holmes'
house to discuss the matter in front of a warm fire.
'Here we are!' said Holmes happily, as we entered his room.
'Now do you want to know what happened to those geese?'
'Yes, sir,' replied Ryder.
'But you really want to know what happened to that goose—the white one
with a black bar across its tail.'
Ryder shook with emotion. 'Oh sir,' he cried, 'where did it go?'
'It came here.'
'Yes, and it was an incredible bird. I am not surprised that you want to find
that goose. It laid an egg after it died —the brightest little blue egg that
you have ever seen. I have it here in my museum.'
Our visitor stood up and then almost fell down. Holmes took out the blue
carbuncle, and Ryder stared at it. He did not know if he should say it was his
'The game is up, Ryder. I know almost exactly what happened.
Because you worked at the Hotel Cosmopolitan you knew that the
Countess of Morcar had the blue carbuncle in her room.'
'It was the Countess' maid, Catherine Cusack, who told me about it.'
'I see,' continued Holmes, 'so you and Catherine Cusack broke the grate
in the Countess' room so that Horner had to come and repair it. You knew
that Horner had had a part in a robbery before so that he would be blamed
for this one. Then, when Horner had finished repairing the grate, you called
the police and the unfortunate man was arrested. You then ...'
Ryder threw himself onto the rug and held onto Holmes' knees, 'For
God's sake have mercy! Think of my father! Think of mother! It would
break their hearts.'
'Get back into your chair!' said Holmes sternly. 'It is easy to say that now,
but you did not think of this poor Horner before.'
'I will go away, Mr Holmes, and without my testimony. Horner will be
'Hum! We will talk about that next,' said Holmes. 'And now tell us how the
blue carbuncle came into the goose, and how the goose came into the open
market. Tell us the truth because that is your only chance not to go to
Ryder moved his tongue over his dry lips and began his story.
'I will tell you exactly what happened. After I had the blue carbuncle I was
terrified. I did not know where to go. I thought 1 saw the police everywhere.
Finally 1 decided to go to my sister's.My sister married a man called
Oakshott and lives on Brixton Road, where she fattens geese for the
market. When 1 arrived she asked me what was wrong. I told her that I was
upset about the robbery at the hotel.
'I then went out into the backyard where the geese are, and smoked a
pipe. I had a friend called Maudsley who had been in prison. He had told me
how thieves sold stolen property, so I decided to go to him with the blue
carbuncle. However, I did not know how I could carry the blue carbuncle to
his house. Then I had the idea to force one of the geese to swallow the
stone. My sister had told me that I could have one of the geese for Christmas.
So I caught one of the geese—a big white one with a barred tail, and forced
open its beak and pushed the stone in with my finger. The goose then
swallowed the stone. Then I told my sister that I wanted my Christmas goose
then. She thought it was a bit strange, but in the end she said I could have the
'Unfortunately, while I was talking to my sister the goose escaped and
went in the middle of the flock with the other geese. I caught it again,
killed it and took it to my friend Maudsley. I told him the story. We then cut
open the goose, but we could not find the stone! I ran back to my sister, and
asked her if there were any other white geese with barred tails. She said that
there were two other ones, but she had sold them to the dealer called
Breckinridge of Covent Garden.
'I went to him, and he told me that he had sold them all.
You heard him tonight. Now I will be considered a thief, and I have not
even touched the blue carbuncle. God help me!' There was a moment of
silence, and then Holmes got up and opened the door.
'Get out!' shouted Holmes.
'What sir? Oh thank you!' cried Ryder. 'No more words. Get out!'
And there were no more words. Ryder ran out of the room and out of the
'After all, Watson,' said Holmes, reaching for his pipe, 'if the police can't
catch their own criminals, I don't have to do it for them. Also this Ryder will
never commit another crime again. He is too frightened. Besides, this is the
season of forgiveness. Chance has given us an incredibly interesting little
problem, and its solution should satisfy us. And now, Doctor, we shall begin
another investigation in which a bird is also the most important part: our