The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone"
Author Arthur Conan Doyle
Series The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes
Publication date 1921

"The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone" (1921) is one of 12 Sherlock Holmes short stories (56 total) by Arthur Conan Doyle in The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes first published Strand Magazine October 1921 - April 1927.


Copy of the new cut of the Koh-i-Noor diamond

Watson arrives at 221B Baker Street where Boy Billy shows him a wax effigy of Holmes placed near a curtained window in the sitting room. The effigy produces a shadow on the curtain that, when viewed from outside, is the unmistakable profile of Sherlock Holmes. Using this visual trick Holmes aims to give a perfect target to a would be murderer with a rifle. Holmes names his murderer as Count Negretto Sylvius, the diamond thief he has been following in disguises. He gives the criminal's address to Watson, then sends the doctor out the back for the police. Surprised by the Count, Holmes offers him and his helper, boxer Sam Merton, freedom if they give up the jewel, or jail if not.

He invites them to discuss the deal while he plays violin in the next room. When the Count decides to double-cross Holmes and takes the stone from his secret pocket to show Sam in window light, the detective springs from the chair in place of his replica and grabs the £100K jewel. His bedroom has a gramophone and secret passage to behind the curtain.

After the police take away the villains, Lord Cantlemere sweeps in. Unlike the Prime Minister and Home Secretary, he did not want Holmes. When tricked into insisting on arrest for whoever is found possessing the diamond, he finds the jewel in his pocket, and apologizes. Finally, Holmes can eat.

Unusual aspects[edit]

It is notable for being the one of only two Arthur Conan Doyle Holmes stories, aside from a couple of humorous vignettes, to be written in third person. The other is "His Last Bow". "The Mazarin Stone" was written this way because it was adapted from a stage play, "The Crown Diamond", in which Watson hardly appeared. Its adaptation from the theatre also explains why the action in this story is confined to one room.

In the original play, the villain was Holmes's enemy Colonel Sebastian Moran of "The Adventure of the Empty House" infamy, not Count Negretto Sylvius.

In other media[edit]

The 1946 film Terror by Night uses some motives from "The Mazarin Stone".

This story was heavily rewritten for Granada Television's Sherlock Holmes series. In 1994, it was merged with another story, "The Adventure of the Three Garridebs". The most noticeable change is that Holmes does not feature except in the prologue and final scene (actor Jeremy Brett was away due to illness). It is Mycroft Holmes (Charles Gray) who takes up the case of the stolen diamond, while Watson is retained to look into the Garrideb mystery.

"The Adventure of the Headmaster with Serious Trouble", an episode of the NHK puppetry show Sherlock Holmes is an adaption of this story. In it, Holmes puts his dummy near the window and searches for the stolen love letters of Headmaster Ormstein despite being suspended from going out because of breaking school regulations.

External links[edit]