The original manuscript of a Sherlock Holmes story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle will be handed over to the National Library of Scotland (NLS) this afternoon. 'The Adventure of the Illustrious Client' was the first story in the last Holmes compilation, 'The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes', which was published in 1927.
Bequeathed by the late Dame Jean Conan Doyle, Arthur's daughter, the manuscript will join the Library's collection of Conan Doyle material, which contains around 60 letters and another short story manuscript, 'The Haunted Grange of Goresthorpe', which was only published in 2001. That manuscript forms part of an exhibition at the Royal College of Surgeons which opens on 5 July, entitled 'Conan Doyle and Joseph Bell, the Real Sherlock Holmes'.
Set in 1902, 'The Illustrious Client' has the classic ingredients: Violet de Merville, a beautiful, rich, English rose falls for rich, handsome continental rotter, Baron Gruner, who it transpires murdered his first wife, among others. Sherlock Holmes is called in to persuade her to change her mind and, through investigation, subterfuge and a trip from Dr Watson to the London Library to learn about Chinese porcelain, he does just that.
Cate Newton, Director of Collection Development at NLS, said: 'We are delighted to be receiving this manuscript since, in the same way that Holmes is one of London's best known fictional figures, so Conan Doyle himself is one of Edinburgh's most cherished literary icons. This story is of course particularly relevant to the NLS as, in the course of helping Holmes to solve the case, Dr Watson himself uses a library to get the information he needs!'
29 June 2006