“The Adventure of the Second Stain”

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 Adventure of the Second Stain Collection: The Return of Sherlock Holmes
Year published: 1904 (December) Year set in:
Mystery: Who stole a valuable document?
Apparent crime: Theft Actual crime: Shown below (possible spoiler)
Summary: A letter from a foreign ruler which could lead to war disappears from a locked despatch box. Holmes is asked by the Prime Minster to find it.

Holmes is visited by the Prime Minister and one of his cabinet, Trelawney Hope. A letter from a foreign ruler had been sent to them, a letter which, if published, could lead to war. It had been kept in a locked despatch box in Trelawney Hope's bedroom but none of those with access to the room would have known of its presence.

Actual crime
Explanation (spoiler alert)

A spy had learned of the letter and blackmailed Trelawney Hope's wife to get her to steal it.

Quotations in this story (1)
"It is a capital mistake to theorise in advance of the facts."

Characters in this story (3)
Surname First name Title
Holmes Sherlock
Lestrade Inspector
Watson John Doctor

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

Other notes

This story mentions that Holmes has retired to the Sussex Downs.


Lord Bellinger Premier Prime Minister Hilda Trelawney Hope Lestrade Eduardo Lucas Godolphin Barrett Mitton Henri Fournaye second stain MacPherson