A historian in Scotland has found a long-lost Sherlock Holmes story — and it was right above his head the whole time.
Eighty-year-old Walter Elliot found the 1,300-word Arthur Conan Doyle tale when he was going through his attic in search of items for a pop-up museum when he made the discovery. The 48-page pamphlet, tied together with string, was given to Elliot more than 50 years ago by a friend, but he had forgotten about it until he went on his search for something to give to the museum. Elliot spoke to the Telegraph about the shocking finding on his own property.
“I have no idea how many they made and sold. I’ve had this book for about 40 or 50 years. I must have got it from a friend because I can’t remember buying it from anyone.”
The pamphlet contained a collection of short stories, including Conan Doyle’s “Sherlock Holmes: Discovering the Border Burghs and, by deduction, the Brig Bazaar.” It was written for a local bazaar, which was held by the locals of Selkirk to raise money to build a new bridge. In 1902, a wooden bridge in the Scottish town of Selkirk was destroyed in a flood, and locals put on the three-day bazaar in 1904 to raise money to have another one built.
Over the two days, the bazaar, local MPs, and landowners brought in £560, that Elliot says “was quite some sum then.” Ideally, the town wanted a carriage bridge, but what they had funded wasn’t enough for that, so they opted for an iron bridge instead, one that still stands today.
In the book, the great detective deduces that his companion, Dr. John Watson, is going to Selkirk, a place that Conan Doyle liked visiting in real life. It is believed that this story is the first unseen Sherlock Holmes tale since his last book was published in 1927. Until that time, Holmes had appeared in a total of 56 short stories.
‘Well, goodbye, Watson; shall be glad of your company after Saturday. Remember Horatius’ words when you go to Border Burghs :- “How can man die better than facing fearful odds.” But there, these words are only illustrations. Safe journey, and success to the Brig!’
The whole story can be read online, courtesy of the Telegraph.
Conan Doyle’s character of Sherlock Holmes still continues in media today, including the popular BBC show Sherlock starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the detective and Martin Freeman as Dr. John Watston. There will also be a film coming out on June 19 called Mr. Holmes, starring Sir Ian McKellen, where the aging detective grapples with an unsolved case that his fragmented memory desperately tries to piece together.
[Images via SNWS]