The Red Headed League by Arthur Conan DoyleIn The Redheaded League, Holmes is engaged upon two seemingly unrelated cases, a daring bank robbery and the disappearance of a pawnbrokers assistant. Using minute details of the small mystery, he is able to solve the larger one. Depend upon it, says Holmes to Watson in A Case of Identity, there is nothing so unnatural as the commonplace. Holmes is as fascinated by the story of a common young woman whose groom has vanished on the way to the altar as he has been by the woes of kings. He sharpens his powers of detection by putting together scattered facts to form a powerful and unexpected accusation. Holmes tells Watson about one of his first cases, The Musgrave Ritual; one that helped make him famous. Two servants of an English nobleman disappear. By following a trail of obscure clues left behind in an old parchment, Holmes discovers the crown of a former King of England.
The Red-Headed League
He explains that his assistant encouraged him to respond to advert in the paper offering very well-paid work to red-headed male applicants. The following morning, he followed the directions from the advert and joined a long line of red-heads applying for the job. However, it is only a very specific shade of red hair they are looking for, and Wilson is the only one offered the position. When Wilson learns of the very simple work he must undertake in order to earn his high wage, he is eager to begin. So, he gets Sherlock Holmes on the case…. The misdirection is clever, the plot extremely well thought out and it is always great to see how Sherlock Holmes thinks and interprets the clues he has been given. The idea of The Red-Headed League makes this an unusual story and for that reason, memorable, for it is so strange.
Colin has been reading as long as he can remember, and the works of Conan Doyle were some of the early works that kept him reading. The Red Headed League is the second short story written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to feature Sherlock Holmes, after Scandal in Bohemia ; making it the fourth story of the official canon of published work. The writing of short stories featuring Sherlock Holmes was bringing Sir Arthur Conan Doyle more and more popular success, and people would soon be eagerly awaiting the monthly publication of the Strand Magazine. The short stories seemed to hit the right note with the public, and because of its length, The Red Headed League is fast paced; whilst the story is short, it is detailed enough for the reader to follow the whole case. Having dealt with poisoning, conspiracy and blackmail in the previous stories, initially a case of red headed gentleman losing his well paid part-time job, might not appear worthy for the attention of Sherlock Holmes. Holmes though sees the possibility of something far more important from the provided facts, and creates a working hypothesis. Holmes then uses his energy to provide the additional facts that confirm that hypothesis.
While studying this perspective client, both Holmes and Watson notice his red hair , which has a distinct flame-like hue. Wilson tells them that some weeks before, his young assistant, Vincent Spaulding, urged him to respond to a newspaper want-ad offering highly-paid work to only red-headed male applicants. The next morning, Wilson had waited in a long line of fellow red-headed men, was interviewed and was the only applicant hired, because none of the other applicants qualified; their red hair was either too dark or too bright, and did not match Wilson's unique flame color. Wilson tells Holmes that his business has been struggling. Wilson learned much about the subjects starting with the "A" section and looked forward to getting into the "B" section. Wilson went to the landlord, who said that he had never heard of Duncan Ross, the person who managed the league office.
Jabez Wilson comes to Sherlock Holmes and John Watson for help, claiming he has been wronged by a mysterious league of red-headed men. The titular Red-Headed League claims to be an organization of red-headed men, founded by an eccentric red-headed millionaire who wished to provide for other red-headed men by offering them easy jobs for high pay. Wilson acquired one such job, copying out the encyclopedia for four pounds a week, for his employer, Duncan Ross. However, when Wilson turned up to the office today, there was a sign on the door announcing that the league had been disbanded. After having trouble tracking down Ross, Wilson learns that the landlord of the building knew Ross under a different name, William Morris.
Doctor John Watson steps into the home of his friend, the famous private detective Sherlock Holmes. Wilson reveals that he is a pawnbroker and has an assistant named Vincent Spaulding, who is working for half the usual salary to learn the business. Wilson says that Spaulding is a fine worker, although he is interested in photography and often goes alone into the basement of the shop to develop photos. According to Spaulding, the league is a foundation established by an eccentric and wealthy American to promote the interests of redheaded men by paying them to perform small tasks. Spaulding encouraged Wilson to apply, and the two went to the offices listed in the advertisement.