In this second adventure, Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are called on to investigate the bizarre proceedings of The Red-Headed League, a philanthropic society which promotes the interests of men with red hair by paying them handsomely to perform small tasks. Holmes soon realizes that The League is not as charitable as it appears but rather part of an ingenious criminal plot involving the fourth smartest man in London.
One of Conan Doyle’s favourites
Among the illustrations for this adventure, I quite like the iconic image of Sherlock Holmes with his feet up on his chair as he contemplates, in the words of Dr Watson, the ‘grotesque’ case of ‘The Red-Headed League’. Interestingly, this singular term, ‘grotesque’, is also used by Holmes in ‘The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge’ to describe the circumstances of that case as well as the affair of ‘The Five Orange Pips’, which also features in the Sherlock Holmes Re-Imagined book series. From a creative standpoint, I think the simple step of removing the two legs from the hips of the LEGO® Holmes minifigure and placing them on the seat of the chair yields a fairly realistic representation of rounded knees drawn up to the chin.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was also fond of the grotesque case of Jabez Wilson as he listed ‘The Red-Headed League’ as the second best Sherlock Holmes tale, when he was invited in 1927 by The Strand Magazine to name the twelve best stories he had written. Others on the list included: ‘The Adventure of the Speckled Band’ (#1), ‘The Adventure of the Dancing Men’ (#3) and ‘A Scandal in Bohemia’ (#5), the latter of which is the first story in the Sherlock Holmes Re-Imagined book series.
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