Short summary - The Adventure of the Reigate Squire
Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle
Sherlock Holmes comes to rest in a small town where there was a petty theft, and then murder. The detective finds out that both crimes were committed by members of one of the two warring families.
After a serious investigation, the great detective Sherlock Holmes needs a rest, and Dr. Watson brings a friend to the estate of his patient, Colonel Haiter, near the town of Reiget.
On the day of arrival, it turns out that Mr. Acton's local squire was robbed. Thieves rummaged through the entire library, took a volume of Homer, a couple of candlesticks, a tangle of twine. Thanks to the efforts of Dr. Watson, the great detective does not show interest in this matter, but at night they kill the coachman of Justice of the World Cunningham, William, with a shot in the heart. Upon learning that Sherlock Holmes is in Reyget, a police inspector turns to him for help.
The great detective gets down to business. Mr. Acton and Cunningham have been fighting for many years, and their estates are the largest in the area. The night before the murder, Mr. Cunningham went to bed, and his son Alec was still vigilant. They heard William calling for help, and Mr. Alec ran downstairs. At the open front door, he saw two men fighting. The killer shot at William and disappeared, the coachman fell dead. Mr. Cunningham saw the criminal from the window, and Alec lingered next to William and could not rush for the killer.
William lived in a gatehouse. Frightened by the theft from Mr. Acton, he went to the house to check if everything was safe. A piece of a note was held in his hand with the words: «at a quarter to twelve you will know that which can ...».
Holmes studies the note and investigates the crime scene. The day before, William received a letter in the mail. He brought this note to the meeting. A killer pulled her out of the coachman’s hand, since there was no one else nearby.
Near the Cunningham house, Sherlock Holmes faints. He is being transferred to the house where he continues the investigation. Mr. Cunningham was still awake, and his son was smoking in a room with a lighted lamp; nevertheless, the criminal who had just committed the theft invaded the house, breaking the door. Given that the set of stolen things is very strange, the great detective offers to write an ad in which he appoints a reward for the capture of such an unusual criminal. He suggests to Mr. Cunningham to enter the amount of remuneration.
The great detective walks around the house. In one of the rooms, Holmes knocks over a table on which stands a decanter of water and a vase of fruit. Suddenly, he blames Dr. Watson for the incident. While the astonished people gather fruit, Holmes disappears. Alec Cunningham and his father set off in search of him, and soon the cries of the great detective are heard, he calls for help. Those who rush to help see how Mr. Cunningham twists Holmes' brush, and Alec strangles him. The great detective advises the police inspector to arrest them on charges of killing William coachman and shows a note.
In the presence of Mr. Acton, Dr. Watson and Colonel Haiter, Sherlock Holmes gives an explanation. If Alec Cunningham’s story is true, and after the shot the killer rushed to run, he could not snatch a note from the coachman’s hand. Consequently, Alec did this, and he could only put it in his coat pocket. Turning the table over, Holmes diverted his attention and pulled a note from the pocket of his robe that hung next to him.
If you look closely at the note, you can see that it was written by two different people. The time of the meeting was written with a firmer hand, and there is a certain similarity between the handwritings. Holmes suggested that the note was written by Cunningham, and was convinced of this, having received a sample of his father's handwriting. After examining the body of the killed man, he came to the conclusion that the shot was fired from a distance of several meters. Examining the place around the estate, Holmes did not see any traces of the escaping killer. Given the fact that Cunningham has been fighting a lawsuit with Mr. Acton for many years, the great detective suggests that it was they who committed the theft. Not finding the right document, they took what came to their hand to avert suspicion. The coachman William saw this and began to blackmail the owners. They trapped him and killed him.
Now the great detective can safely return home to Baker Street, because his vacation in the village was a success.