A certain Mr. McCarthy was found dead in the Boscom Valley. The largest landowner in the area is Mr. John Tener, who earned his capital in Australia and returned to his homeland a few years ago. He gave one of his farms to his longtime friend, Mr. McCarthy, who also came from Australia. McCarthy has only son James, and Tanner has Alice’s only daughter. The wives of both old men died long ago.
On the day of the tragedy, McCarthy left the house and headed for a small lake in the Bosco Valley, saying that he was rushing to an important meeting. Soon McCarthy met with his son, in whose hands was a gun. One of the local women heard the father and son quarrel, and saw James swing at his father. Frightened, she rushed for help, but then came the excited James, without a gun, with blood on his hands, and reported that he had found his father dead. The killed were found near the lake, his skull was smashed with a blunt gun, the gun was lying next to him. The police arrested James,
although he denied his involvement.
The suspect told me that he spent several days in Bristol. Returning, he went on a hunt to the lake and there he heard a cry of “Kou!”, With which he called each other with his father. My father rudely asked what he was doing, and the conversation turned into a quarrel, the reason for which he did not want to tell. James left, but soon he heard a cry, returned and saw his dying father. Before his death, McCarthy muttered a few words, one was like a “rat.” James thought that there was something gray on the ground, like a plaid. Believing in his innocence, Mr. Tanner’s daughter invited Inspector Leistred to defend. Leistred gives the case to the great detective Sherlock Holmes.
Holmes, along with his faithful friend Dr. Watson, are leaving for the Boscom Valley. Alice Tener tells him that a quarrel between father and son McCarthy was due to her. Mr. McCarthy wanted to be married to James, but her father, and she and James were against it – James is still too young.
Holmes visits James McCarthy in prison. The young man confesses to
the great detective that he loves Alice passionately, but a few years ago he had stupidly married a Bristol barmaid and no one knows about it. Therefore, he silently listened to reproaches for refusing to marry his beloved girl. However, now, having learned that James is accused of murder, the barmaid said that she had a lawful husband for a long time, and she does not have anything to do with James.
The great detective drew attention to two points: McCarthy did not know when the son would return, so he had to meet with another person at the lake, and the cry “Kou!” came out before the father found out about the return of his son.
Holmes arrives at the crime scene. After examining it, he comes to the conclusion that there was a third person there, a tall, lame left-hander smoking Indian cigars with a mouthpiece. The great detective finds a murder weapon – a stone. Lame left-handed is Mr. Tener: except for his son, the Australian cry “Kou!” McCarthy could only call him, and “rat” is the ending of the name of the Australian state of Ballarat.
Mr. Tener confirms the conclusions of Holmes. In the Australian mines he was a bandit and robbed wagons on the roads. Once, having robbed one van, he left the coachman alive, who was McCarthy. Returning to England as a rich man, Mr. Tener bought the estate and lived a quiet, honest life. To his misfortune, he met the impoverished McCarthy, who began to blackmail him. Tener did not take money from him for rent, but McCarthy began to demand that Tener give Alice a husband for James. He was not against the boy, but he did not want to be related to McCarthy.
Tener and McCarthy agreed to meet at the lake. Arriving at the appointed time, Tener heard how McCarthy forced his son to marry Alice, not caring about how Alice herself would react to this. From the desperation of the deadly sick, Tener decided to kill.
Under pressure from the evidence presented by Sherlock Holmes, the jury justifies James McCarthy. Mr. Tener soon dies, and James and Alice are quietly living in a happy marriage.