Time for yet another Sherlockian mystery!
The story of ‘The Adventure of the Crooked Man’ is an exceptionally simple story. Late in the night, Sherlock drops by to visit Watson with a peculiar case. A few nights ago, a servant of a rich house overhears the man and lady of the house bickering. With the door locked, they get in through the window, only to discover the man dead and the wife in a state of shock. More confusing yet, the key to the door is missing.
At this point, that’s a pretty cliche setup for a mystery. But that’s because it works! It makes the audience ask so many questions! Where’s the key? Who has it? Did the wife kill him? Was it an accident? And if someone else killed him, how did they do it? Why? It’s a perfect premise for a murder mystery!
Unfortunately, in execution, this one is pretty dull.
For starters, there really isn’t much of a mystery here. Sherlock has all the necessary pieces to solve it before the story even starts. Then, when he goes to confront the character with all the answers, he just spills the beans immediately! The thrill of the hunt is nowhere to be seen! It’s just ‘Sherlock talks to a dude and that dude clears everything up immediately’.
My other big problem is a common one in Sherlock Holmes stories: Watson. He’s such a great character that so rarely gets something to actually do! In this story, he literally has no purpose in being there at all! He doesn’t do anything to help Sherlock solve it! So… why did Sherlock go to Watson for help? Why wouldn’t he just tell him about it in retrospect, long after having solved the case?
It certainly doesn’t help that the reveal is super underwhelming. Who’s the culprit? Well, no one! Everyone’s innocent! This is such a bore that I have to wonder if there’s even a point to this story at all! It just feels like a big waste of time!
All in all, this is a pretty underwhelming story. It’s a cool premise! But in terms of an actual, satisfying mystery? There are so many better Sherlock Holmes stories to choose from.