My Thoughts on SH: His Last Bow- The Adventures of the Devil’s Foot


Every story I read always leads me to a growing admiration for Sherlock Holmes. I know I already sound like a broken record for saying how amazing and wonderful of a person he is, but who am I to blame? I just can’t find any flaw of Sherlock Holmes that will stir my distaste for him. There is nothing in him not to like. Even the defect which I have indicated in my previous entry is for me, another admirable characteristic of the world’s greatest detective.

The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot is one of my favourite SH case. In this particular case, and well, in several other cases, Sherlock Holmes showed immense knowledge not only on investigating the crime scene but also on coming up with the possible causes of a very horrifying outcome. The victims, as one can see, were driven to madness, of which two were brought to the asylum and the other one buried all because of an unexplainable scheme which left almost no trace of the perpetrator.

It is always a method of Holmes to first look into logical explanations before resorting to such things which are out of this world, say, perhaps a work of the devil. He makes sure that every possible means of arriving at a solution is exhausted and even if probabilities are slim, he will definitely take his chances.

It was indeed remarkable how Sherlock Holmes manages to find objectivity amidst serious mystery. His knowledge on sciences undoubtedly helped him resolve this case. You see, Sherlock Holmes knows a lot of things and he devotes ample time on knowing the environment, the people in it, and the society as a whole. I remember when he said that the mind is like an attic which needs to be filled with the necessary pieces of information and needs to be emptied which such details that are not helpful in any way.

It turned out that the perpetrator, Mortimer Tregennis, used a special kind of powder to turn the room, where the other three were staying, into a poisonous atmosphere. The offender was once estranged from his siblings by the matter of dividing the proceeds from the sale of the family business, but he insists that all was forgiven, although he still lives apart from them.

However, surprise among surprises! Well, this is not a shock for Sherlock Holmes surely. Days passed and the body of Mortimer Tregennis, distorted of terror, was found with no life left in it. So this led to a second suspect whom Sherlock Holmes was quick enough to realize in the name of Dr. Leon Sterndale.

There was a bitter history between Dr Leon Sterndale and the Tregennis. The former, unfortunately, was forced to put the law in his hand upon learning the death of the woman he so loved, Brenda Tregennis. Without a doubt, he knew how the crime was fulfilled and in turn, did it to Mortimer Tregennis. Hence, his tragic death.

What moved me in this story is the sympathy that Sherlock Holmes extended to Dr Leon Sterndale. The doctor was summoned into their Baker Street lodging without the presence of the police force so Holmes can hear the side of the doctor first and decide for himself the best way to deal with the case.

By the end of Dr Sterndale’s narration, Holmes asked what his plans were which was answered by a direct statement of the former, “I had intended to bury myself in Central Africa. My work there is but half finished.” Holmes perhaps already knew this and allowed the doctor to fulfil his plans. No formal trial whatsoever has been made.

I would like to share Sherlock Holmes’ reasoning for arriving at such conclusion.

“Some fumes which are not poisonous would be a welcome change. I think you must agree Watson, it is not a case in which we are called upon to interfere. Our investigation has been independent and our action shall be so also…”

The last part of the story was my favourite for it yet again introduced Sherlock Holmes to me. In every adventure, I always look forward to knowing Holmes more and more and the below statement, among all the others, by far, stood out for me.

”I have never loved Watson, but if I did and the woman I loved had met such an end, I might act even as our lawless lion hunter has done. Who knows?”

Sherlock Holmes may not be a big fan of womankind but he does know his limitations and that is when it comes to love, one can’t really tell what man is capable of doing. Who are we to judge anyway? Dr Sterndale is a man who had loved so much and lost so much. He did what he had to do. Sherlock Holmes just acted in the most humane way possible.

And that’s definitely a good ending. 🙂


Photo credits: Image used was grabbed online. Credit to owner.


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