Sherlock Holmes seeks help from Colonel Ross, who kidnapped a stallion named Silver, the first favorite of the races for the Wessex Cup. Silver coach John Straker was found dead.
The great detective arrives at the crime scene. Since the last time Silver took all the prizes at the races, there are a lot of people in whose interests it was to prevent his presence in the nearest competition. Realizing this, the stable of the favorite was carefully guarded. John Straker served the colonel for 12 years. At first he was a jockey, then he became a coach. He fulfilled the duties exemplary. In the stables at night one groom was on duty, the rest slept in the hayloft. Stracker lived with his wife near the stables in a small house.
In the evening, two grooms went to the trainer to supper, and the third remained on duty in the stable. The maid brought him food, lamb with garlic sauce. She did not take the drink with her, since there is a tap in the stables, and drinking anything other than water by the night watchman is prohibited. Not far from the stable to the girl came an unfamiliar, well-dressed man with a cane and began to offer her money for information about horses. The girl rushed to the stables. The groom ran down the dog, but the stranger was gone. He closed the door, and it was impossible to climb through the window. One of the grooms went to report to Straker about what had happened. At first the coach did not attach any importance to this, but in the middle of the night he became alarmed and despite the rain he went to find out if everything was in order in the stable.
Having woken up in the morning and saw that there was no husband, Mrs. Straker became worried, and went to the stable with the maid. The door was wide open, Silver in the stall was not there, the stableman on duty was fast asleep, apparently under the influence of a strong drug. Two other grooms also slept and did not hear anything.
Not far from the stables on the bush hung the cloak of Straker, and Straker himself lay dead. His head was smashed by a heavy object, on the thigh – a cut. In one hand he was clutching a small bloody knife, and in the other, a tie that was on a stranger. Traces of Silver were seen near the bush, but then disappeared. The horse disappeared without a trace. An analysis of the remains of the groom’s supper showed that opium was poured into the food, but other inmates ate the same, and nothing happened to them.
The police arrested a stranger who was approaching the stables. It turned out to be some Fitzroy Simpson, who lost most of his fortune at the races. He confessed that he was near the stables, he recognized his tie,... which he lost, running away, but denied involvement in the murder, although he could well have struck Straker with a fatal blow.
Sherlock Holmes examines the pockets of the murdered man. There he finds matches, a candle stump, papers. The great detective is attracted by a knife, clamped in the hand of Straker – this is a surgical instrument designed for the subtlest operations. It’s strange that a man going to catch thieves takes such weapons with him. Among the papers, he finds accounts for a large sum from a certain William Derbyshire, who, according to Mrs. Straker, is a friend of her husband.
Holmes goes to the place of the murder. Since there was no wind that day, he establishes that the cloak was laid on the bush. In the mud he finds matches. The great detective thinks about where Silver could have jumped off. Stallion is very attached to people. If he did not return home, he could wander to his neighbors. In the neighboring estate, Holmes finds the owner of the horse and faces him great trouble, because he is sure that the horse is hidden in his stable. Colonel Ross keeps a little down, and the great detective wants to have fun. He reports that the horse will still run, but it will be difficult to arrest the killer, which is a very disappointing Colonel. Meanwhile, Holmes is wondering if there is a sheep on the estate and whether there have been any recent troubles with them. Learning that several sheeps have become limp, he points this out to the police inspector. He also draws attention to the fact,
Seeing that Silver is declared in the poster, the colonel does not believe his eyes. The stallion wins the race. Ross does not recognize his horse, which is covered with white spots. The colonel apologizes for doubting, but who is the killer of Strucker? The great detective shows the stallion.
If you add opium to a person, he will notice and will not eat, and garlic sauce is exactly what can drown his smell and taste. Simpson could hardly know that he was preparing for dinner. And under suspicion falls the family of Strakerov. The dog was silent, therefore John Straker himself entered the stables and led the horse away. Seeing at Strucker’s strange knife, the great detective comes to the conclusion that the coach wanted to do the Silver operation. If you skillfully pierce the stallion tendon, there will be no marks on the skin, and the horse will begin to limp. To do such an operation without training is impossible, so Straker trained on sheep. That night he led the horse into the ravine, lit a candle with a match. Silver got scared, struck Straker with his hoof and ran away. Finding in the accounts of the murdered address of the dressmaker, Holmes showed her a photograph of Straker, and she recognized him as Mr. Derbyshire. Apparently,