Short summary - The Adventure of the Abbey Grange
Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle
The owner of the estate was killed. A gang operating in the county is suspected, but Sherlock Holmes discovers that the man was killed by a friend of his wife. He stood up for a woman with whom her husband mistreated.
Abby Grange Mansion killed its owner Sir Eustace Brackenstall. Sherlock Holmes arrives at the crime scene. Sir Eustace's wife, Lady Brackenstall, lies, battered, on the couch, and the maid takes care of her. Lady Brackenstall was born and raised in Australia. About a year ago, she married Sir Eustace. The marriage was not happy: the husband drank and raised a hand to her.
On the night of the murder, when everyone had already gone to bed, Lady Brackenstall went around the house. She did this every night, since her husband could not be relied on. The door was open in the dining room. Three men entered the room, beat a woman and tied her to a chair. Sir Eustace came running to the noise. One of the robbers with a poker inflicted a mortal blow on his head. Horror Lady Brackenstall fainted. Recovering, she saw that the thieves had taken silver and a bottle of wine from the sideboard. After drinking, the robbers left. The maid Teresa, who raised her mistress, confirmed the story. In these places, a gang of three people is working, and it seems that this is the work of their hands.
The great detective inspects the crime scene. A poker punch testifies to the tremendous strength of the killer. Holmes notices that the cord with which the ladies were tied to a chair is ringing. When he was pulled, the bell rang, but no one came, since all the servants were already asleep. Consequently, the criminals knew the customs of the house, but all the servants have been working on the estate for a long time and have excellent recommendations.
Holmes examines a bottle of wine and three glasses from which robbers drank. The bottle was initially full, and in one of the glasses a dark precipitate is visible. Upon reflection, the great detective concludes that they drank only from two glasses, and the remainder was poured into the third. Having examined the cord tied with strange knots, he discovers that he was cut off, and when he sees blood on the armchair, the great detective finally becomes convinced that the story of the lady and her maid is fiction. First, Sir Eustace was killed, blood spattered on the chair, and then the lady was put into it. The culprit was one: agile, tall and strong.
A conversation with women does not clarify anything; they stand firmly on their own.
The great detective leaves for the shipping company. He is studying the crew of the ship on which Lady Brackenstall and her maid arrived in England. He is interested in senior assistant Jack Crowker, the only one of that crew who is now ashore. Holmes leaves him a note asking him to go to his house.
On Baker Street, the great detective accuses the sailor of the murder of Sir Eustace. The sailor is ready to be punished. He says that he was in love with Lady Brackenstall even before her marriage. They were on friendly terms - what could a poor sailor offer to a girl from a wealthy family?
Having met by chance the lady maid of Brackenstall, Jack found out that his beloved was unhappy in marriage. They began to meet. Jack found out about the habits of the inhabitants of the house and came to her late in the evening. They were talking peacefully when Sir Eustace burst into the room and hit his wife. Jack, defensively, hit him with a poker. The three of them with the maid came up with a version of the attack.
Holmes believes the sailor, and solving the riddle was not difficult. Only a sailor could tie a cord with such knots and reach its top. Among the acquaintances of Lady Brackenstall were only sailors, whom she met on the way to England. Apparently, she fell in love with Crowker, if so staunchly defended.
Holmes offers Jack to disappear, and he will inform all the police. Jack refuses angrily: Lady Brackenstall is recognized as an accomplice and will be put on trial. He will remain and will try to save his beloved woman from court. Holmes shakes his hand: it was a test. Let the police fight over the riddle, and after a while Jack will be able to return to his chosen one.