To Sherlock Holmes, Mr. Hackstable, Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy, seeks help, asking him to find the missing son of the Duke of Holderness. The great detective is very busy, but he is ready to get down to business, especially since the duke who gives the location of the boy gives five thousand pounds, and a thousand if the names of the kidnappers are called.
Mr. Haxtable is the director of a boarding school for boys, the best and most privileged institution in England. The richest and most notable people of the country trust him with their sons. Three weeks ago, Duke Holderness handed him through his secretary, James Wilder, his only son, Lord Soltire. At home, the boy lived hard. His parents divorced and his mother left for France. The boy was on his mother’s side
A few days ago the boy fled. Inspection of his room showed that he did not go to bed, dressed in school uniform and jumped out the window, although no traces were found on the ground. Finding the disappearance of the little lord, the director urgently called all the teachers of the orphanage. Did not come only the teacher of German Heidegger. After examining his room, they found an uncleaned bed and clothes lying on the floor. In the footsteps on the ground it was clear that he also jumped out of the window. His bicycle also disappeared.
Heidegger joined the boarding school two years ago. His recommendations were excellent, but he was a silent person and did not use any of his teachers either among the teachers or among his students. Lord Soltair, he did not teach, and there was no connection between him and the boy. The Duke’s estate is not far from the school, but the boy was not found there. The police came to a dead end, there was only hope for the great detective.
Sherlock Holmes finds out the details of what happened. It is unlikely that the boy decided to escape himself. On the eve of no one was visiting, but there was a letter from his father.
Sherlock Holmes and Dr.
After inspecting the room of the fugitives, the great detective makes sure that they jumped out of the window. After studying the map of the area and interviewing people, Holmes decides that the fugitives had one way – to the north, where the duke’s house is located behind a grove and swampy plain. On the plain are scattered farms, immediately there are a hotel and a church. In the gypsy camp in the plain, they find out the boy’s kepi, although the gypsies say that they found the kepi and are not involved in the kidnapping.
Survey of the plain does not give anything. Traces of fugitives are trampled by sheep and cows. They find the trail of a bicycle, but with a trace of the Heidegger bicycle, it does not match. With difficulty, Holmes discovers the second track, which is the track from the teacher’s bike, and blood stains. Walking along it, he finds a bicycle in the bush, and next to him is half-dressed Heidegger with a broken skull.
The great detective recreates the picture of the escape. The boy was dressed, therefore, he was preparing to escape. The teacher dressed in a hurry, so he saw a runaway boy and rushed after him in a hurry. He took the bike because the boy had some kind of vehicle. Overtaking the fugitive, the man received a fatal blow to the head, which could only be inflicted by an adult. So the boy was not alone. Here Holmes is lost in conjecture: there are only traces of cows around, and there are no human tracks anywhere.
Holmes decides to follow the first track. He comes to a small hotel. Having pretended that he had twisted his leg, he asked the owner of the hotel to provide him with some kind of crew. The host, who is not very amiable, refuses, but having heard that he will be well paid, promises to give horses. At the hotel, Holmes sees a smithy. It seems strange to him that there are traces of cow hooves everywhere, but cows are nowhere to be seen. And what kind of cow goes about stepping, trotting and galloping? The great detective inspects the hooves of the horses, which infuriates the innkeeper.
Holmes decides to watch the hotel and sees the duke’s secretary on a bicycle. The secretary enters the hotel, and soon a crew of one person is leaving. The secretary himself remains at the hotel. After inspecting his bicycle, the great detective discovers that it was these tires that left traces on the plain.
The next day, Holmes is to the duke. He asks the secretary to retire and informs that the son of the duke is in the hotel, the duke himself is the kidnapper, and the master of the hotel is the murderer of the teacher.
Once the duke fell in love with a woman whose marriage could ruin his career. The woman died, leaving him a child. The Duke took care of him as much as he could, but could not openly acknowledge his fatherhood. He made the illegitimate son his secretary. When the little Lord Soltayer was born, James fiercely hated the legitimate heir. He also influenced the rupture of the duke and his wife. The Duke sent his youngest son to the boarding school, but James conceived the kidnapping, making his accomplice the innkeeper of the hotel.
James put in a letter, which the duke wrote to his son, a note. In it he asked the boy to meet with him a grove, ostensibly in order to give him something from his mother. The boy came to the grove, but met the owner of the hotel, who was on a horse, and brought a pony for the boy. Seeing that they were pursued by the teacher, the innkeeper hit him on the head, and brought the boy to his room and instructed the cares of his wife. The Duke knew nothing about it, but James began to demand that all property be left to him in exchange for his son. Then it became known about the death of the teacher. James was frightened and asked his father to give a few days so that the killer could escape.
Waiting for the darkness, the duke hurried to his son. The boy was safe and sound, but the murder had a terrible effect on him. While the boy is in the hotel, but the duke is at a loss: an investigation into the murder will lead to James. The Duke intends to send James to Australia and try to reconcile with his wife.
Holmes is interested in two questions. The second – who had told the owner of the hotel to shoe the horses so that their tracks could be taken for cow? The Duke explains that this method was used in the Middle Ages to confuse the traces during the chase. But what is the first question of the great detective? In response, Holmes takes a check with the reward due to him.