“The Red-Headed League”

Note: the tab marked "Explanation" reveals the ending of the story. Do not view that if you are reading the story for the first time and do not want to spoil your enjoyment.
Title: The Red-Headed League Collection: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Year published: 1891 (August) Year set in: 1890
Mystery: Why is a man is being employed to copy the Encyclopedia Brittanica?
Apparent crime: Robbery Actual crime: Shown below (possible spoiler)
Summary: A man is invited to join a strange club for people with red hair where he is paid to copy pages from the Encyclopedia Britannica.

A pawnbroker, Jabez Wilson, is encouraged by his assistant to apply for the Red-Headed League. He is successful. His task is to stay in an office for four hours, copying the Encyclopedia Britannica in return for £4.

When the League closes after a while, Wilson asks Holmes to investigate.

Actual crime
Explanation (spoiler alert)

The purpose of the club was to get Wilson away from his shop because it bordered a bank. The bank was holding some gold coins and the criminals were tunnelling between the two buildings.

Quotations in this story (3)
Mr Jabez Wilson laughed heavily. "Well, I never!" said he. "I thought at first that you had done something clever, but I see that there was nothing in it after all."
"As a rule," said Holmes, "the more bizarre a thing is the less mysterious it proves to be. It is your commonplace, featureless crimes which are really puzzling..."
"To smoke," he answered. "It is quite a three-pipe problem, and I beg that you won't speak to me for fifty minutes."

Characters in this story (7)
Surname First name Title
Clay John
Holmes Sherlock
Jones Peter Detective
Merryweather Mr
Ross Duncan
Watson John Doctor
Wilson Jabez

Locations in this story (1)
Location Town/City County
221b Baker Street London

Other notes


Jabez Wilson Duncan Ross Vincent Spaulding John Clay Peter Jones Merryweather Ezekiah Hopkins William Morris pawn pawnbroker hair red-head redhead Coburg darkroom tunnel encyclopedia encyclopaedia Britannica Pope's Court Saxe-Coburg bank napoleon