Sherlock Holmes proceeds to investigate the murder of Colonel James Barclay in Oldershot, where the military unit is quartered. James was a brave soldier, for which he was promoted to officer. His wife was Nancy, the daughter of a sergeant of her regiment. They lived for 30 years. The couple did not have children.
Mrs. Barclay went to the next meeting of the charitable society, in which she was. When she returned, she locked herself with her husband in the living room, screamed that he was a coward. In their emotional conversation several times the name “David” sounded. Suddenly there was a terrible scream, then the roar and frightened cry of the mistress. When the servants were in the room, the hostess was unconscious, and her husband was dead. Colonel broke his head with a blunt object. There was a truncheon of solid wood beside the colonel. The key to the door was gone.
Sherlock Holmes noticed that the deceased’s face distorted the fear. Most likely,
there was a third in the room, he also carried away the key. He could get into the room only through the glass door. The detective suggested that while standing on the road, a man saw a quarrel between the spouses in the room. He entered the room, and either struck the colonel himself, or the one, frightened, fell, striking his head against the fireplace.
A friend of the hostess, Miss Morrison, said that on the way home they met a wandering hunchback who turned out to be an old acquaintance of Nancy Barclay. They were left alone, then Mrs. Barclay told a friend that this man was unlucky in life, and asked no one to talk about this meeting.
The hunchback turned out to be a wandering magician Henry Wood. Previously, he served in the same regiment with Barclay. He was very handsome. Nancy loved Henry, and they wanted to get married. Once the regiment fell into a siege. Brave Henry volunteered to make his way to his. James Barclay advised him the best way, but Henry was ambushed. Later, he learned that he was betrayed by James, who was also in love with Nancy. The rebels cruelly tortured Henry, and he became
a cripple. Nancy considered him dead.
Henry, who followed Nancy, seeing their quarrel with her husband, rushed into the house. Learning him, the colonel fell, hitting the fireplace. Nancy lost consciousness. The key was in the hands of Henry. He first decided to call for help, but changed his mind, as he realized that it was he who could be accused of murder. Finally put the key in his pocket, forgot his stick.
The medical examination found that the death of the colonel came from an apoplexy stroke, and the case was closed. And the name “David”, as Holmes explained to his friend Watson, Miss Barclay reproached her husband reproachfully, having made an analogy with the biblical king David.