In the English province, a Spaniard is killed, of which nothing is known. Sherlock Holmes discovers that the Spaniard died, preparing to kill the escaped dictator of a small country, who was hiding here.

Part one. Extraordinary adventure with Mr. John Scott Ackles

Mr. John Scott-Ackles, a respectable and honest man, seeks help from Sherlock Holmes. By his careless hairstyle and a suit, which is in disarray, it is evident that he was in a hurry. Mr. Scott Ackles does not have time to begin his story, when police inspector Gregory from Scotland Yard and police inspector Baines from the province appear in an apartment on Baker Street. In the pocket of a certain Mr. Garcia, recently killed, a letter was found addressed to Mr. Scott-Ackles, and the police intend to interrogate him.

Mr. John Scott-Ackles is single, but a rather sociable person. While visiting a friend of his, he met a young Spaniard named Garcia. The young man was incredibly handsome, had excellent manners. He immediately felt sympathy for Scott Ackles, visited him several times, and then invited him to the Lilac Gatehouse cottage. The cottage turned out to be an old neglected house in which the owner lived with a servant and a cook. Dinner was not prepared well, the table was served ineptly, and the owner himself behaved very strangely, showed signs of anxiety. By the end of dinner, Garcia brought a note, after which his anxiety became even stronger. At eleven o'clock the guest happily went to bed. After a while, Garcia came to him asking if he had called. Apologizing for waking up at one in the morning, the owner left.

Mr. Scott-Ackles woke up at about nine, although he asked to wake him at eight. The house was empty: the master with the servants disappeared. Mr. Scott-Ackles tried to inquire about a strange acquaintance. Neither the real estate agency, nor the Spanish embassy knew anything about the young Spaniard, and the person who introduced them knew less about Garcia than Mr. Scott Ackles himself.

Garcia was found dead in the morning, his head was crushed with a blunt object. In the pocket of the murdered man was a letter from Mr. Scott-Ackles informing of the arrival of the guest. Death came before one in the morning, but Scott-Ackles claims that at one in the morning Garcia came into his room. Inspecting the house, Inspector Baines finds a note. In the note, a date was set in the house with the front door. Together with Holmes, they conclude that the note was written by a woman, and an Englishwoman, since the note was written in English, and the house itself should be large enough if it has a front door.

The great detective analyzes the situation. Garcia was interested in friendship with Scott Ackles, but why? Scott-Ackles does not possess either intelligence or charm, but he is a respectable gentleman, all without hesitation believed his story. Consequently, Garcia was up to something and hoped that Scott Ackles would confirm his alibi.

Holmes, accompanied by his faithful friend Dr. Watson, arrives at the Lilac Gatehouse.

Part two. Tiger from San Pedro

Together with Inspector Baines, Holmes examines the Lilac Gatehouse. In the kitchen they find a strange object, similar to the mummy of a human body, and in the sink - a torn white rooster. Then the detectives decide to go their own way.

Days go by, but Sherlock Holmes takes no steps. Suddenly, Inspector Baines announces the capture of the alleged killer in the newspaper. It turned out to be the cook Garcia, immediately after the murder he came to the Lilac Gatehouse several times, where he was arrested.

Holmes believes that Baines is mistaken, the servants were not killers, but accomplices of what Garcia intended. The cook forgot something in the house and returned. The great detective thinks that you need to look for the house indicated in the note.

His attention is attracted by a nearby mansion in which a foreigner lives, a certain Henderson with two children, who are brought up by a governess, an Englishwoman of about forty. In addition to them, many servants live in the house. The host is a passionate traveler and is often on the road. He is a very cruel man and never leaves the house alone, and the governess with the children only releases into the garden.

After the murder of Garcia, the governess disappeared. Most likely, she wrote a note, and it is not love that connects her with Garcia. Holmes finds a former servant of Henderson who is angry with his master. A servant is watching the house. When its inhabitants leave by train, the governess leaves, and he brings her to Holmes. Baines, who came, says that he was sitting all this time on a tree and saw Holmes walking around the house, and an advertisement in the newspaper was given to confuse a real criminal.

The governess says that Henderson is the former tyrant of the country of San Pedro, who fled from the rebels with his family and is now hiding. Her husband was the envoy of San Pedro in London. Henderson shot him and confiscated his property. A woman came to England and got a job as a governess. Together with Garcia, they were preparing an attempt, but Henderson and the secretary intercepted her note, and Garcia was trapped.

Henderson and the secretary manage to escape, but after some time they are killed in Madrid.

Dr. Watson is still unclear why the cook was returning. To which the great detective replies that the cook conducted a witching ceremony for the successful completion of the case.