The Problem of Thor Bridge is a murder mystery with a breathtaking twist.
Take one spoonful of intense 'mystery' powder and dissolve it in a glass of 'Conan Doyle' flavoured soda water.
Now add a pinch of electric Holmesian deductions that will cause the solution to bubble.
Finish off by emptying one vial of a potent 'hair-raising' twist solution, into the glass.
Now run! You really thought this 'potent' mix wouldn't explode? ;-)
Well, that's The Problem of Thor Bridge for you.
Sherlock Holmes himself says this in the story:
To put it simply: I found this story to be a really nice read. I loved it and would place it right up there amongst my favourite Sherlock Holmes stories.
Here go my ratings for the story:
Grace Dunbar is a governess at Thor Place and she's been accused of murdering her employer's wife.
Proof? There are plenty of proofs.
There's the revolver found in Grace's wardrobe. There's the note written by Grace in the murdered woman's hand. Given that Grace is a beautiful woman her employer admires...there's also a motive for the crime.
It looks like an open and shut case. Everything is perfectly clear...
But then - Sherlock Holmes notices a 'trifle' that he can't explain. It's only a small thing. Something that anyone would ignore.
Holmes also sees that cases are seldom so perfect. Why is this case so perfect? Isn't it too perfect? Maybe...just maybe - there's a deeper plot no one is looking at?
Here are the questions Holmes needs to answer:
I'll end with how the twist in the end made me feel: It rattled me.
Holmes is not a client-pleaser.
He has great manners in general, but if someone wants to hire him while lying to him - he's not cool about it.
When Neil Gibson (the murdered woman's husband), lies to Sherlock Holmes, Holmes refuses his case and dismisses the man.
I love the courage and conviction in Holmes' tone as he says:
A magical moment for me.
Sherlock Holmes does this in many, many cases.
He freakin' refuses to take credit for the case!
When he meets the Inspector in-charge of the Thor Bridge case, he says something that means the same as this:
"I just want to solve the case. I don't care two hoots about who gets the credit. The credit is all yours, Inspector!"
Every time Sherlock Holmes does this, I'm impressed. It makes me wonder just how passionate Holmes must be about solving crimes - to not worry about the credit at all.
Pretty passionate, I'm sure.
Imagine you're investigating a murder mystery.
Around 15 feet away from the murder scene, the surface of a ledge is chipped - but only by a tiny amount.
Would you notice?
Well, Sherlock Holmes does notice - and that 'chipped' area turns out to be the most important clue of the story!
The moment when Holmes notices the chipped portion of the bridge - is a magical moment for me. That moment provides the vital first clue to Holmes, who then slowly joins the dots...
The ledge is made of stone. Chipping off stone would require a massive blow. Who had given that stonework a massive blow and why?
That question sets Holmes on the right path.
I love it when Sherlock Holmes conducts real life experiments to test his plans out!
These experiments are sometimes dangerous. In The Devil's Foot, where people die suddenly with horrified expressions, he almost kills himself and Watson off with his experiment!
Well, in Thor Bridge, the experiment is a simple one.
Sherlock Holmes' theory is that Mrs. Gibson killed herself.
She apparently shot herself with a pistol and then released it. The pistol was tied tightly to a stone in the lake below the bridge. So, when released, the pistol hit the ledge of the bridge and then fell down into the lake.
Mrs. Gibson did this to put all the blame on the governess - Miss. Dunbar, whom she hated.
It's fascinating to see Holmes actually recreate this entire scene - and get the 'exact' results that the real murderer got!
Holmes' experiment proves that he is right.
Watson starts off this story with a fascinating revelation: he has carefully stored many of Sherlock Holmes' case accounts at Cox. and Co. in Charing Cross.
Is Cox and Co. a bank that's really located in Charing Cross, London?
Short answer: it was at that time! It later merged with Lloyd's Bank in 1923.
What about Thor Place - the household where the murder occurs? Is that real?
Nope. Not quite. But I can point out the approximate location...
Here's a picture that has some of the interesting places from the story!
Randall Stock from Best of Sherlock is a passionate Sherlock Holmes fan.
This guy has made a list of the results of Sherlockian polls held in 1954, 1959, 1989 and 1999. That's 4 polls - in which famous Sherlockian scholars mentioned what their favourite Holmes story was.
What's interesting is that in all of these polls, Thor Bridge has been voted the best story from The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes!
Now I'm not saying 'Thor Bridge is the number 1 story, overall.' In fact, it's best rank out of all the polls is 13 out of 56 stories.
But - it's definitely the best story from The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes.
(Have I already mention umpteen times that it is my favourite from The Casebook too? Well, it is. ;-))
Take a peek at this fun picture that shows you how the first version of The Problem of Thor Bridge looked in The Strand Magazine - more than 90 years ago...
Interesting, isn't it? I like the fact that the Strand Magazine guys have used that cool effect to combine pictures on two different pages (the way that bridge is shown).
(By the way - loads of thanks to Chris Redmond from Sherlockian.net for the amazing Strand Magazine picture).
In The Problem of Thor Bridge, this woman - Mrs. Gibson - shoots herself and then the revolver falls into the lake through a string attached to it.
Is that really possible?
Or is it a bit far-fetched to happen in real life?
Take a peek at these people who call themselves 'Sherlockian Myth-Busters.'
These guys actually recreated this experiment and got some fascinating results!
I bet these guys had quite some fun. :-)
Well, so that's about The Problem of Thor Bridge.
Don't forget to tell me your thoughts in the comments!
And yes, if you still haven't read this fascinating story, go ahead, read it now~