To Sherlock Holmes appeals for the help of Miss Dobney with the request to find her ward lady Frances. Once every two weeks, Lady Francis writes to her old governess, but for five weeks she has not heard from her. The state of Lady Francis is small, but she inherited the rarest jewels and always carries them with her. It is also known that two and a half weeks ago the maid of the pupil received the money by check from her account.
Since the great detective is very busy, he instructs this matter to his friend Dr. Watson.
The last letter was from Lausanne, and the doctor goes to the address indicated. From the hotel manager, he learns that Lady Francis is a charming woman, but he does not know anything about her jewelry. She left unexpectedly, but he gave the groom the maid’s address.
The groom’s maid said that a tall bearded man came to Lady Francis, but she refused to accept him and left the next day. He also said that the maid had left her mistress, but refused to name the reason.
Next, Dr. Watson learns that Lady Francis went to Baden by a roundabout route, obviously to knock someone off the trail. There she met the Schlesinger family. Mr. Schlesinger was sick, and she helped his wife take care of him. Three weeks ago they left for London, the track is lost. But the bearded man is also looking for Lady Francis.
Dr. Watson telegraphed the information to Holmes, but in return receives a request to describe Schlesinger’s left ear. Watson believes that this is a joke.
The maid of honor Francis informs that the bearded man very rudely treated her mistress, and the girl received the money from her as a wedding gift. Then the girl sees this man in the window. Dr. Watson comes to him and directly asks about Lady Francis. With a furious yell, the bearded man throws himself at the doctor, but from the tavern a man jumps out and protects him. The defender is himself Sherlock Holmes.
Holmes introduces Watson to a stranger. This is... Mr. Philippe Green, he has long loved Lady Francis, but because of his dissolute way of life, she broke off relations with him. Now he wants her to forgive him, but Lady Francis does not want to see him. He is also concerned about her disappearance.
The great detective makes inquiries about Schlesinger. This is a well-known criminal Peter the Righteous, who in the fight was bitten by the left ear, and who specializes in single women.
Time goes by, but the search for results does not bring. Suddenly, in one of the pawnshops there is a suspension of Lady Francis. The man laid it down, whose description coincides with the description of Schlesinger.
Green sets up supervision over the pawnshop, and soon the same suspension is laid by the woman. Then she goes to the shop of the undertaker. There Greene overhears her conversation with the undertaker’s wife, who is justified for delaying the order: she had to make a special coffin. Then the stranger goes to his house. Soon, near the house, a van stops, from which a coffin is carried. It’s clear that Lady Francis was trapped, but in order for the funeral to be official, the doctor’s certificate and the police’s permission are needed.
The great detective comes to the house where the coffin was brought. There he meets someone who pretends to be Dr. Schlesinger. The fraudster says he paid Lady Francis for bills, and she left him some trinkets. In London, they broke up, and he does not know where she is now. Holmes wants to open the coffin. But there is the old nanny of Schlesinger’s wife, and the documents about her death are in order. The great detective leaves with nothing.
Holmes meditates all night, and on the day of the funeral he runs to the house of Schlesinger. Stopping the procession, he tears off the roof of the coffin and finds in it Lady Frances, sleepy with chloroform. Hardly a woman is brought to life.
Criminals who were going to bury two women in one coffin run away, but the police are following their trail.