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I enjoyed this story and thought the "twist" was good.  But it was another story that ended too abruptly.  I think a little bit more about what actually happened afterwards, rather than the hope of what might happen afterwards, would have been better.  Probably another one that was written on a too-tight deadline.

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Once again I agree completely with what has already been said.


What I would add is that I felt that this story was rather digging up old ground.  Holmes had used the clues surrounding tobacco ash and footprints many times before and although I know that this would happen there did not seem to be too many new ideas.  He has also used the idea of old grudges/past history before.  Also used the idea of characters being followed from other countries to this country in the past.


Still really enjoyed the story and am finding the stories as a whole very easy to read.  Liking Watson more and more - feel that although he is not the star of the show is a necessary element to the stories if only as a steadying influence on Holmes and his brilliance and flamboyance.  For all Holmes' brilliance and attention to detail he sometimes seems unaware of human emotions in the same way as Watson.  Am loving the development of the Watson character as much as that of Holmes.  Also enjoying the continuation and development of the friendship.

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This story starts with Dr Watson at home with his wife.  I checked back to the previous story; he's unmarried. I have to remind myself that these stories are not meant to be connected or chronological, but wonder why not. (See "Thoughts" for more on the chronology conundrum)


The initial chat between Watson and his wife reveals their relationship briefly and skillfully. I find that Conan Doyle has an easy way with dialogue, managing to create the right tone whatever the situation. There is even an amusing riposte to Lestrade …

"I find it hard enough to tackle facts, Holmes, without flying away after theories and fancies."  "You are right", said Holmes demurely; "you do find it very hard to tackle the facts." … that goes right over Lestrade's head!


I wonder why Lestrade fails to learn detection skills by being around Holmes. As always he does the wrong things at the scene – accidentally destroying clues – and then pours scorn on Holmes's revelations. Maybe he gets better later on. But, they seem to have a good working relationship for all that.  I was uncomfortable with Lestrade's refusal to go looking for the perpetrator.  Talking of whom, the timing of his arrival was excellent. :clap:


The Australia story was a nice change from England, and a bit of banditry always goes down well! :)

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I wonder if the fact that Lestrade does not seem to improve his ability to deduce clues in the way that Holmes does is because although of a high position in the police he probably was not a man of great education.  It has to be remembered that the police force was probably not the sort of career that men of Homes' or even Watson's abilities would be drawn to.  Holmes just had a real interest in working out crimes but was often only looking for expenses and did not care too much if he did not gain by the experience.  I suspect that Lestrade was simply someone who rose up through the ranks because he was the brightest of a not very bright bunch.  The way that Holmes often refers to him would seem to uphold this thought.

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I found this story interesting and didn't really pick up any clue as to the potential murderer.  I did wonder briefly about Mr. Turner senior but he was described by his daughter as being terribly ill so thought there's no way he would be capable of murder. The young Miss Turner pleaded with Holmes to help James McCarthy as she was convinced of his innocence and Holmes was quite willing as he was sure himself at this point that James McCarthy was innocent.  We also learn that Miss Turner is in love with the young James.  I was surprised to find out how Turner became rich, hadn't any inkling of him having a criminal past. I liked the way Holmes behaved at the crime scene (almost like CSI :)) as he analysed the various foot prints and clues.  I still wonder why he needs to bounce his ideas off of Watson as Watson is always so surprised at Holmes' clever thinking.  The description of Lestrade when they arrive at the station leaves you with the feeling that Doyle did not have a lot of respect for policemen and his portrayal of the Scotland Yard man was not terribly flattering.  Am rambling a bit here but just jotting the notes down as they come to mind.  


When Mr. Turner confesses to Holmes that what he did was to save his daughter from the clutches of the spawn of the evil McCarthy it is ironic that it would be to no avail as his action doesn't prevent that from happening.  The story doesn't say that Mr. Turner's written confession is what gets James his release but rather "on the strength of a number of objections which had been drawn out by Holmes and submitted to the defending counsel."  This seems rather strange, however, it wraps up the story briskly and without burdening Miss Turner with the knowledge of what her father did.

Edited by momac

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I love Holmes's decisiveness, he seems to know the truth well before anyone else, and usually just needs a few details confirmed before the confrontation/denouement takes place. I liked this a little more than the previous story as like Holmes we could be reasonably sure that James McCarthy wasn't guilty, just a bit too easy, and typical of the simple police methods of the time. The real culprit was a little more elusive.

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Just checked the chronology, it certainly is all over the place! I wish the dates were included in the index.

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