The Stonor Case

Right. Re-read The Stonor Case.

Three acts. First act: Miss Stonor is dead. There is a coronary inquest. One of the witnesses is Dr. Watson, who is an old friend of the family from their days in India. Dr. Rylott is proved to be a cad, but nothing definite about the death is established. It's fishy but unexplained.

Act two, scene one: Stoke Moran, two years later. The other Miss Stonor, Enid, is engaged to be married. Her betrothed is about to sail off to parts unknown. Enid is getting a bit jittery. Strange sounds in the house. What are all those plates of milk for? What or whom is Dr. Rylott hiding in his study? And what is that nocturnal whistling all about?

Dr. Rylott's minions, the Indian servant Ali and the housekeeper Mrs. Staunton, act very suspiciously towards Enid. Clearly they're up to no good.

Scene two: Dr. Watson visits Sherlock Holmes at Baker Street. Holmes is not at home, Watson is insulted by a cheeky workman - who of course turns out to be Sherlock in disguise. Sherlock then goes on to consult a number of clients, one of whom is Milverton the blackmailer. The last client is Enid Stonor. Sherlock agrees to help her. Enter Dr. Rylott. Poker. Sherlock bends it back.

Act three, scene one: Stoke Moran. Dr. Rylott tries to get Enid to sign over her money to him. She refuses. Right, says he, that's it then. There's a new butler. He stops Dr. Rylott from physically assaulting Enid by pulling a gun. Butler is sacked. Exit butler.

Scene two: there's a knock on Enid's window. It's Holmes and Watson. Turns out Holmes was the new butler all along, in disguise of course. Enter snake. Holmes beats it with a stick. Snake kills Dr. Rylott. Curtain.

It's been a while since last I read The Stonor Case. It's not a good play. There's a lot of bad dialogue and very little dramatic meat on the creaking bones. Sherlock doesn't come on till it's half over. Actually, the play only really starts when Sherlock enters. The previous scenes are quite simply a waste of everybody's time.

Somehow one gets the feeling that the author doesn't quite get the story - in fact: doesn't quite get Holmes! The dynamic of the piece is all wrong. There's absolutely no magic.

The Crown Diamond is a lot better. Maybe because it's a lot shorter.

Have to say it - Doyle is absolutely terrible as a playwright. He's as bad a playwright as he's good a short story writer.

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