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Data! Data! Data! – The Three Garridebs

Data! Data! Data! – The Three Garridebs

“‘Data! Data! Data!‘ he cried impatiently. ‘I can’t make bricks without clay.'”

– The Adventures of the Copper Beeches (COPP)

This column is composed of material (Data!) developed for a short course called Appreciating Sherlock Holmes that I teach twice a year in the Community Education Life Enrichment Program for a local community college. It is composed of “points of information” that are common to many / most / all of the 60 Canonical stories.
The information has been researched by me or borrowed / stolen from many efforts of other Sherlockians.

HERE GOES – This month’s story ………. The Adventures of the Three Garridebs

Morley LargeA huge fortune was supposedly offered to the American Mr. Garrideb if he could find two others with the same unusual name to share it. This might not have been so difficult in the U. S. – there are three listings of a very similar name in the 1943 Manhattan telephone directory – but the real purpose (as in The Red-Headed League and The Stockbroker’s Clerk) was to gull a simpleton. Holmes shows unusual emotion when Watson is wounded.

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• Chronologically, this story was the 53rd of the 60 stories from Doyle’s pen to be published.
• The publication was first in the U.S. by Collier’s Weekly, October 25, 1924 and in England by The Strand Magazine, January, 1925
• It is part of the The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes collection published by John Murray, London, 1927 and George D. Doran, New York, 1927
• The illustrator for the American edition was John Richard Flanagan and for the British edition it was Howard Elcock.

Yes, there are Sherlockians who do strange stuff. According to C. E. Lauderback in 1960 (found on website of Chris Redmond), The Three Garridebs has 6,231 words. Of the 56 short stories, The Naval Treaty is the longest with 12,701 words and The Veiled Lodger is the shortest with just 4,499. The Three Garridebs is the 8th shortest.

THE BEST OF SHERLOCK HOLMES (How do Sherlockians rate the story?)
• In 1927, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle did not include it in his top 12. He never ranked past 12.
• In 1999, the Baker Street Irregulars ranked it at 41.
• In 1999, the Sherlock Holmes Society of London ranked it at 39.
• There are no favorable Scion Society rankings that are high.

CLASSIFYING THE CASE (From the Wandering Gipsies of Grimpen Mire of Decatur, Alabama)
The Three Garridebs is one of three cases classified as a theft of money. The others were The Red-Headed League and The Stockbroker’s Clerk.

Doyle was often very vague about WHEN the tale took place and included few contemporary references to help. Whether this was done intentionally or unthinkingly, dating the events in the Canon is a very popular pastime with several of our “scholars” researching and justifying their results to no end. Most of us take the easy way out by defaulting to William S. Baring-Gould’s dating of Thursday, June 26 to Friday, June 27, 1902, which would make it 51st of the 60.

• Based on Baring-Gould’s dating of the story as well as his dating of the births of our heroes, Holmes is 48 and Watson is 50.
• The two are sharing bachelor quarters at 221B.
• There is no mention of how many former wives Watson had.

This tale gives us two memorable “characters.”
• First is Nathan Garrideb, eccentric, reclusive collector. Let me add “gullible.”
• Second, is our villain James Winter, alias John Garrideb, (a lawyer from Kansas), alias Morecroft, alias Killer Evans. Con men have been around forever.

As we get near the end of the Canon, many stories have “less memorable” narrative. This month, for The Three Garridebs, we only have three:
• “Well, Watson, we can but possess our souls in patience and see what the hour may bring.”
• “If you had killed Watson, you would not have got out of this room alive.” (my favorite in The Three Garridebs)
• “In my profession all sorts of odd knowledge comes useful, and this room of yours is a storehouse of it.”

Holmes’ finances and fees tend to change from time to time, or not be mentioned at all. In this story there is no mention, but probably a lucrative case for Holmes, because his client’s castle in the air fell down and he lost his reason.


  • Not every Canonical story has been recreated on the movie screen or by television.
  • Eille Norwood did not include it in his 47 movies.
  • Little known is that in November, 1937, Louis Hector (Sherlock Holmes on the radio) played Holmes with William Podmore as Watson in a presentation of The Three Garridebs. The program was a “field test” before actual television would start. (Does this count?)
  • The Three Garridebs was “creatively” combined with The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone by the Granada / Jeremy Brett series in 1984. It was the 40th of the 41 programs in the series and substituted Charles Gray as Mycroft Holmes replacing Sherlock in almost every scene due to Brett’s failing health. (Does this count?)
  • Maybe we can get Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu to base an episode of Elementary on it. (But would that count?)

The Master of disguise used the deception of being disguised in, at least, 14 times in 11 of the 60 stories – – but not in this one.

UNRECORDED CASES (That involved Holmes)
Oh my, how Sherlockians love this category. I have in excess of over 1,000 examples in my collection. Watson did not give it a name, but he tells us that Holmes refused a knighthood – perhaps his service “can one day be described.”

FAINTING IN THE CANON (courtesy of Sherlockian Karen Murdock)
Fainting is extremely common in the Canon, appearing, in some form, in 37 of the 60 tales. In 21 cases someone actually faints. In 22 cases someone almost faints. And in 5 cases someone pretends to faint. But, in this tale, no one faints, almost faints, pretends to faint, or even mentions fainting.

Sherlockians love this topic and are regularly searching for these items. Holmes mentions published or projected works in 11 of the stories: ABBE, BOSC, BRUC, CARD, CASE, CREE, DANC, DYIN, LAST, SIGN, & STUD – – BUT NOT THIS ONE.

NEWSPAPERS (Real and Fictional)
Though included in only 20 tales some of our more obsessed Sherlockians love this one. However there is no mention of the press by name in this tale.

. . . there are more categories of Data! but you have suffered enough by now.  Since I work for free, hopefully our group’s Mycroft may allow me to annoy you next month.

2015-03-30 10.41.54Frank Mentzel, aka Merridew of Abominable Memory, became the Gasogene of the Six Napoleons of Baltimore in March. His Appreciating Sherlock Holmes classes for the Community Colleges of Baltimore, MD meet four times each during the spring and fall semesters, which would make it the second most active Sherlockian group in Maryland.

Rumor has it that Frank’s feature will return next month when we discuss A Study in Scarlet.

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