McMurdo’s Camp


The Adventure of the Noble Bachelor

First published in:  The Strand Magazine, April 1892

Time frame of story (known/surmised): Autumn (given) of 1887 or 1888 (given by age and birth year of client).   First half of October, as indicated by hotel bill.  A few weeks before Watson’s marriage.

H&W living arrangements:  Sharing bachelor quarters at 221B Baker St.

Opening scene:  Letter from Client.  H&W review newspaper accounts of case.  Client arrives at 221B and is interviewed by Holmes.  After client departs, Holmes tells Watson he has solved the case.

Client:  The Noble Bachelor, Lord St. Simon.  Referred to Holmes by Lord Backwater.
Crime or concern:  Client’s wife disappeared shortly following wedding ceremony.

Villain:  None.  The least sympathetic character in the story seems to be the client himself.

Motive:  Bride departs having discovered an earlier husband whom she believed was dead, is in fact, alive.

Logic used to solve:  Circumstantial evidence (the trout in the milk) and knowledge of similar cases.

Policemen:  Inspector Lestrade, who does not distinguish himself in his detecting.

Holmes’ fees:  Not mentioned in story.

Transport:  Holmes traveled “thither” by unspecified means.

Food:  A quite epicurean little cold supper was laid out upon H&W’s table. There were a couple of brace of cold woodcock, a pheasant, a pate de foie gras pie with a group of ancient and cobwebby bottles.  Holmes had ordered this from a confectioner in anticipation of being joined for supper by his noble client, the bride, and her husband.

Drink and Vices:  Holmes had a whisky and cigar after questioning St. Simon.  Extra tumbler and cigars offered to Lestrade when he came to see Holmes shortly after.

Other cases mentioned:  The problem of the Grosvenor square furniture van.
Some previous dealings, arrangement, or relationship Holmes had with Lord Backwater.

Notable Quotables:  “They often vanish before the ceremony, and occasionally during the honeymoon; but I cannot call to mind anything quite so prompt as this.”
“It is very good of Lord St. Simon to honour my head by putting it on a level with his own,”
“I believe that the folly of a monarch and the blundering of a minister in far-gone years will not prevent our children from being some day citizens of the same world-wide country under a flag which shall be a quartering of the Union Jack with the Stars and Stripes.”

Other interestings:  In this story, H&W have a page-boy.

Holmes does a put-down his snobby client by mentioning previous client “of the sort” was a King.


  1. Wouldn’t the criminal be the bride and her crime bigamy? I love all your summaries! Thanks for sharing.

    Comment by Diane Gilbert Madsen — February 25, 2013 @ 5:31 pm

    • We are not sure. A mistake was made in believing the earlier spouse was dead. We would have to consult a 1890’s solicitor for the answer. I tend to believe the marriage would have been invalidated when the spouse was discovered.

      Comment by Matilda — February 26, 2013 @ 1:50 pm

  2. Note that the bride saw her first husband BEFORE she uttered her vows at the alter and said “I do.” Once the ceremony was over, they were legally married, and she was a bigamist in the eyes of the law. Also the dowry papers would have been legally signed and filed before the wedding. Therefore, Holmes might not have been correct in saying St. Simon would lose both his bride and his fortune. He might have gotten some token settlement from the wealthy father for disolving the marriage without pressing charges.

    Comment by Diane Gilbert Madsen — February 26, 2013 @ 4:05 pm

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