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A Scandal in Bohemia - Summary

The short story "A Scandal in Bohemia" written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was published in 1891 in the Victorian era. It's the first short story with Sherlock Holmes after his first appearance in the novel A Study in Scarlet from 1887. Narrated by John Watson in the first-person view.

At first, John visits Sherlock in Bakers street. Because of his Marriage, he sees him less often. Impressed by his observing skills Sherlock shows by deducting where he was, that he works again as a doctor and that his wife has fired their house-made, Watson has to deduct their new assignment, which is a pink-tinted note-paper. Sherlock helps him a lot and at next, they meet the thirty-year-old German King Wilhelm Gottsreich Sigismond von Ormstein, Grand Duke of Cassel-Felstein, and hereditary King of Bohemia, who has tried to hide his identity with a mask but Sherlock immediately recognises him. He reports, that he made a photograph with Irene Adler, a retired Opera of Warsaw, who was born in New Jersey in 1858 and now lives in London. She blackmails him to send the Photograph to Clotilde Lothmann von Saxe-Meningen, second daughter of the King of Scandinavia when they make public their engagement. This would ruin him. Also, as he states, five attempts were made to steal it from her but all failed.

On the next day, Sherlock, disguised as a groom (someone who takes care of horses) gets information about Irene and Godfrey Norton, a lawyer by chatting with the other groomers. Then as he follows them into a church he finds himself helping them to marry as some sort of witness. Back at home and after he reports Watson this funny situation, he explains him his plan. Later in front of her small and elegant villa, Sherlock clarifies why he thinks it's in her house and not at any banker, lawyer or under her dress. Next, a carriage rolls to the house and many loafers fight about who gets to open the door and maybe earns a copper. Sherlock dashes into the group, protecting Irene Adler who came out of the carriage. Then he falls down with blood running down his face, or at least it seems so as he explains later and well-dressed man and the guards try to help him. Irene who now stands at the door gets asked if he can come inside. As she agrees, he gets transported in her sitting-room. There he shows that he needs air and a maid opens a window. With his signal, Watson throws a plumber's smoke-rocket into the room and he cries out, that it would be burning. As the crowd is squirrelling around he apologizes for a false alarm.

At John's and Sherlock's meet point, he explains to him, that Irene showed him the recess because the photograph is the most important thing to her and in case of fire it's a natural reaction to look for the most valuable item. Due to the coachman who showed up and watched him, he couldn't get it right away, he says. At Sherlock's apartment, someone passes them and wishes him a good night.

At eight o'clock in the morning, they meet the king and drive tho Irene's villa. An old woman expects them and informs them that Irene left in the morning with her husband and will never return. Shocked by this they inspect the hiding place. They find a photo of Irene Adler in an evening dress and a letter addressed to Sherlock Holmes. In it, she reveals that she got warned against him and that she is impressed by how lately she saw through his plan, namely after the fire alarm. Furthermore, she writes, that therefore she went up and got in man clothes, followed him, wished him a good night and flew with her husband. In addition, she states, that the king does not have to worry about the photograph because she only keeps it for protection.

In the end, the king is happy about the outcome and Sherlock only wants and gets the photograph as payment.

All things considered, it can be said that in the short story The woman, as he calls her has beaten him but also it ended happy for all parties.


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