The Adventure of the Resident Patient Plot Summary

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Sometimes the past creeps up when you least expect it! That's the lesson one of our characters learns in '~'The Adventure of the Resident Patient.'~' In this lesson, we'll take a closer look at the Sherlock Holmes tale.

Looking over Your Shoulder

When was the last time the past caught up with you? Maybe an ex from years ago sends you a friend request on social media, or a decision made in your youth has present-day repercussions. Whatever it may be, we often face our past.

One of the characters in ''The Adventure of the Resident Patient,'' in fact, the resident patient, has a bit of his past creeping back up causing him to look over his shoulder. What do we mean? Read on to find out.

''The Adventure of the Resident Patient''

Our story opens not with the resident patient, but with Doctor Percy Trevelyan who presents to Sherlock Holmes with a problem. As he explains to Holmes and sidekick Doctor John Watson, he had been a good student, but a broke one. Sounds like most students, right? A graduate with a presumed ''distinguished career'' before him, Trevelyan nevertheless had no capital, or financing, to start up his own medical practice. That is, until a perfect stranger comes along.

Meeting Mr. Blessington

Blessington had heard of Trevelyan's intellect and work to win the Bruce Pinkerton prize for his study of nervous lesions, and arrived to make the doctor an offer he couldn't refuse.

The details of the deal were as such: Blessington would provide the location, staff, furnishings and necessities, and Trevelyan was to ''wear out'' his chair in the consulting room seeing patients. The doctor could keep a portion of his earnings and would provide a portion to Blessington for his investment.

As it turned out, Blessington himself was in failing health and needed medical supervision, so he designated a portion of the residence for Trevelyan's practice and a portion for his own personal living quarters.

All is going well, at first, with the doctor seeing lots of patients and Blessington's investment paying off in profits.

Trouble Knocks

Then, one day, Blessington approaches Trevelyan in a ''state of considerable agitation.'' He has read of a burglary in town and suggests adding more security to the doors and windows. He's also restless and anxious. Yet, the odd behaviors passed after a time, and things returned to normal.

Around the same time, the doctor finds a new patient, a Russian nobleman prone to ''cataleptic attacks.'' He arrives to see Trevelyan, with his strong, grown son assisting him. The pair arrive in the evening while Blessington is out and disappear just as quickly after the doctor leaves the patient's room to retrieve medication.

The next night, the same two men arrive again and apologize for their abrupt departure. The son tells Trevelyan that upon seeing his father leave the exam room, he thought the appointment over and took him home. Trevelyan completes the examination from the day before, and the two men leave.


After the men leave, Blessington is in a tizzy. Nothing has been stolen, but someone has entered his room. Footprints matching the two men appear to confirm it was the Russian and his son who had gone inside the private space. But, why?

Holmes begins his detective work straight away, visiting the practice/residence and observing Blessington's heightened anxiety and paranoia. Blessington explains that he keeps all of his money in a box in his bedroom because he doesn't trust the bank, but that he doesn't have a clue who the Russian and his son are. Holmes tells him that he knows he's lying and leaves saying, ''My advice to your, sir, is to speak the truth.''

As it appears to Holmes, the two men have issue with Blessington and are out to get him. The supposed medical condition that prompted their visit to the doctor was merely a ploy to distract the doctor.

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