Short summary - A Scandal in Bohemia - Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle

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Short summary - A Scandal in Bohemia
Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle

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The king of Bohemia is about to get married, but he is blackmailed by an ex-lover. He asks for the help of Sherlock Holmes, and he is the first to be defeated by a woman.


The king of Bohemia seeks help from Sherlock Holmes. The king once had a stormy romance with the famous opera diva Irene Adler, but now he is going to marry a woman corresponding to his origin. Irene blackmails her former admirer, threatening to send the bride's family a compromising photo and upset the wedding. Despite the fact that various attempts were made to get a picture - hired burglars and robbers, searched Irene - the card could not be found. The last resort remains - the help of the famous detective.

To fulfill the assignment, Holmes disguises himself as an unemployed groom and goes to Irene’s house. Helping the servants take care of the horses, he learns that Irene is the most charming creature of all wearing a ladies' hat. She leads a modest lifestyle, sometimes gives concerts and after lunch leaves for a walk. She is visited by lawyer Godfrey Norton. The detective is wondering who this Mr. Irene can be. Meanwhile, he appears himself and, together with Irene, goes to church. Holmes follows them. In the church, Irene and her companion approach the priest with a request to marry them, but he refused to perform the ceremony without witnesses. The appearance in the church of Holmes in the clothes of a groom solves the problem: there is a wedding.

In the evening of the same day, Holmes, disguised as a priest, again goes to Irene’s house. People hired by him attack the woman leaving the crew. Holmes rushes to her aid and with his face smeared with specially prepared for this red paint falls to the ground. The people of Irene bring the detective into the house and, at his request, open the window. Standing on the street, Watson throws a smoke rocket into the room. Panic rises, during which Irene first rushes to the cache, in which the treasured snapshot is stored. Taking advantage of the general confusion, Holmes leaves the house. When he enters his apartment on Baker Street, a young man passing by wishes him good night. Holmes is perplexed: where did he hear this voice?

The next day, Holmes, Watson and the king of Bohemia come to Irene’s house, but the house is empty, and a letter has been left for the great detective. Irene guessed who the priest was, whom she had provided shelter in her house, and made sure of this when she changed into a man’s suit to wish Mr. Sherlock Holmes a good night. Irene will not obstruct the king’s marriage, she married her beloved and forever leaves England. She takes the photo with her, and in return leaves her for memory.

This turn of affairs suits the king. As a service charge, he offers Holmes an emerald ring. But the great detective refuses: Irene’s photo is the best reward.

Holmes, always taunting the female mind, is defeated by the woman. Irene Adler becomes an ideal for him, the only woman who managed to outwit him, the one he calls «That Woman».