The Adventure of the Stockbroker's Clerk Summary

Instructor: Bryan Cowing

Bryan is a freelance writer who specializes in literature. He has worked as an English instructor, editor and writer for the past 10 years.

'The Adventure of the Stockbroker's Clerk' is a tale that follows Watson and Holmes as they work to crack a tricky mystery. In this lesson, we will ride along with the gentleman and see how they solve the mystery.


If you have ever had a sneaking suspicion you were being tricked or ripped off, you will be able to relate to what happens in The Adventure of the Stockbroker's Clerk. In this lesson, we will take a look at just what happens in the tale, and how Watson and Sherlock solve the mystery.

The Invite

The Adventure of the Stockbroker's Clerk starts out with Watson mentioning that he has been busy. He just got married and has recently taken over an old doctor's practice. He has been so busy, that he hasn't had much time for Sherlock Holmes and adventuring. Fortunately for us, Holmes comes knocking on Watson's door and asks him if he is interested in heading off to Birmingham to solve a mystery. Watson happily agrees, telling Holmes that he will leave his medical practice in the care of his neighbor.

Show Off

The two rush off to play detective, but not before Holmes shows off a little, pointing out that Watson's medical practice has been more successful than his neighbor's practice. How does he know this? Because the steps are worn ''three inches deeper'' than the neighbors. Holmes also deduces that Watson was recently battling a cold since his shoes were new and had not been worn outside, and had in fact been worn while sitting in front of the fire. We get it Sherlock, you're perceptive! Onto the mystery.

The Story Within the Story

Sherlock, Watson and their client, a man named Hall Pycroft head off to Birmingham together. During their road trip, Watson gets the details on the case. Hall explains that he was working as a clerk, but he and 27 others were fired when the business started declining. He searched high and low for a new job as he worked his way through his savings. Finally, Hall is offered a job at a well known and wealthy business called Mawson & Williams's. They write him a letter asking him to come in and start on a Monday.

One evening while Hall is relaxing, a man, calling himself Arthur Pinner, shows up and sweets talk him, telling him what an excellent broker he is. He tells Hall that he is too good to be working at Mawson & Williams. In fact, he tells Hall to not even go to Mawson Williams, but rather come work for his brother's firm - which no one has heard of because ''it's too good a thing to let the public into.' When Hall gets suspicious, the man hands over 100 notes and calls it an advance on his salary.

Hall heads to Birmingham to meet his new employer but is surprised and disappointed to see that the office is old, dusty and not the kind of place that supports Pinner's claim of wealth. He doesn't say much because he has the money from this man's brother and needs the work. The man's brother (who looks very much like Arthur himself) puts him to work with menial tasks and Hall does the best he can. One day, Hall notices that his boss (Arthur's brother) has a gold filling in the same place as Arthur. In fact, it is identical to Arthur's filling. Twinsies! No. Just kidding. This man actually is Arthur, and clearly, there is tomfoolery afoot. Hall gets in touch with Sherlock and this brings us to the present day where Watson and Holmes are heading out to meet the boss of this company.

Meeting the Boss

When Sherlock, Holmes, and Hall arrive, the boss looks pale, sick and stressed. He eventually excuses himself to the other room. The men wait and eventually, hear a tapping on the door which turns out to be the dangling feet of the boss, who has hung himself. The men cut him down and he begins to breathe normally.

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