One of my long-ago dreams was an anthology called Sherlock Holmes: For Queen and Country. With the wisdom of age, I now realize that a more correct subtitle would have been For Crown and Country, given that Holmes served British monarchs of both sexes.
This was not to be a book including every story in which Holmes is working for the Royals or the government, of which there are several. Rather, the idea was to pull together into one very small volume all the spy stories in the Canon. I count four:
- "The Naval Treaty"
- "The Adventure of the Second Stain"
- "The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans"
- "His Last Bow"
As I noted recently (June 27), I own a copy of the Vincent Starrett-edited The World’s Greatest Spy Stories. I did not point then that one of those stories is “The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans.” It was a logical choice for a Holmes representative, given that there are several spies in the story.
But if I were putting together a spy anthology, I would have gone with “His Last Bow” as the ACD entry. It’s the only story in which Holmes himself is the spy, and the only one which is pure adventure and not a tale of detection.
What’s your favorite Sherlock Holmes spy story?