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Data! Data! Data! – The Three Gables

Data! Data! Data! – The Three Gables

“‘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 taught 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.

HERE GOES….. The Adventure of the Three Gables


“In spite of intimidation Holmes goes to see why someone is anxious to purchase Mr. Maberley’s country house with all its contents.  The clue is page 245 of the manuscript of a novel, on which an embittered young author had unconsciously mixed his pronouns.”


“Mrs. Maberly receives an unusual offer to purchase her house (the buyer wants everything).  Thus begins another adventure of Sherlock Holmes.”


This is the 55th of the 60 stories. Published in The Strand Magazine, October, 1926. In the US, Liberty Magazine, September 18, 1926

Part of The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes collection by John Murray, London, 1927 and George D. Doran, New York, 1927.

British illustrator – Howard Elcock 


Baring-Gould places the dating of the story at Tuesday, May 26 to Wednesday, May 28, 1903 making it 56th of the 60.  This means that Holmes is 49 and Watson 51.


At 6,090 words, 3GAB has the 6th most words (#1 is VEIL – 4,499, #56 if NAVL – 12,701)


This case is the one classified as a theft of a manuscript.


1927 – Arthur Conan Doyle did not have it on his list of 12 favorites.

1959 – The Baker Street Irregulars voted it 56th on list of favorites.

1999 – The Baker Street Irregulars voted it 54th of the 56 short stories.

1999 – The Sherlock Holmes Society of London voted it 54th of the 56 short stories.


Just for the heck of it, here is one item each month since I had a six page list

  • Jan 2nd Pres T Roosevelt shuts down post office in Indianola Miss, for refusing to accept its appointed postmistress because she was black
  • Jan 7th Start of Sherlock Holmes “Adventure of Blanched Soldier”
  • Feb 22nd Due to drought the US side of Niagara Falls runs short of water
  • Feb 23rd The US and Cuba sign an agreement by which Cuba releases Guantanamo and Bahia Hondo to the US for naval stations
  • Mar 22nd Niagara Falls runs out of water because of a drought
  • Mar 23rd Wright brothers obtain airplane patent
  • Apr 14th Dr Harry Plotz discovers vaccine against typhoid (NYC)
  • Apr 20th 7th Boston Marathon won by John Lorden of Mass in 2:41:29.8
  • Apr 29th Limestone slides at Turtle Mountain kill 9 (Frank, Alberta)
    visits San Francisco
  • May 20th Britain’s House of Commons begins a debate on the charges of poor administration and ill treatment of natives in Belgium’s colony in the Congo Free State
  • May 29th May coup d’etat: Alexander Obrenovich, King of Serbia, and Queen Draga, are assassinated in Belgrade by the Black Hand (Crna Ruka) organization.
  • Jun 10th In Belgrade, Yugoslavia, a military coup d’etat- led by the Queen’s brother-in-law and other offices – kills King Alexander I of Serbia, Queen Draga, and many officers
  • Jun 16th Pepsi Cola company forms
  • Jun 16th Roald Amundsen commences the first east-west navigation of the Northwest Passage by leaving Oslo, Norway.
  • Jul 1st 1st Tour de France bicycle race begins
  • Jul 17th The Russian Social Democratic Workers Party meets, first in Brussels and then London because their leaders have been forced into exile by the Russian Government
  • Aug 2nd Unsuccessful uprising of Macedonians against Turkey
  • Aug 4th Cardinal Giuseppe Sarto of Venice elected Pope Pius X
  • Sep 9th 6 km long Engadin-railroad tunnel of Switzerland inaugurated
  • Sep 15th Queen Wilhelmina calls railroad strikers “criminals”
  • Oct 1st 1st baseball World Series, Pittsburgh Pirates vs Boston Pilgrims (Red Sox)
  • Oct 10th The Women’s Social and Political Union was formed by Emmeline Pankhurst to fight for women’s rights in Britain.
  • Nov 3rd Colombia grants independence to Panama
  • Dec 9th Norwegian parliament votes unanimiously for female suffrage
  • Dec 13th – Wright Bros make 1st flight at Kittyhawk
  • Dec 16th – The Taj Mahal Palace & Tower hotel opens its doors to guests 


Holmes is at 221B but it is uncertain about the doctor. It seems as if Waston was visiting, not residing at 221B. He is however, present in Holmes’ quarters at the beginning of this story.


Two “incidental” characters (Dixie & Pike) are more interesting that the primary characters.

  • STEVE DIXIE, a bruiser in the employ of Stockdale.
  • YOUNG PERKINS, murdered by Dixie.
  • BARNEY STOCKDALE, a small-time hoodlum.
  • SUSAN STOCKDALE, wife of Barney who works as a maid for Mary Maberly.
  • MORTIMER MABERLY, a former client of Holmes, now deceased.
  • MARY MABERLY, widow of Mortimer who occupies Three Gables.
  • DOUGLAS MABERLY, son of Mortimer and Mary. Now deceased.
  • SUTRO, Mary’s lawyer.
  • LANGDALE PIKE, a dealer in gossip who writes for the tabloids.
  • ISADORA KLEIN, a wealthy widow who had an affair with Douglas.
  • DUKE OF LOMBARD, engaged to Isadora.
  • FERGUSON, a retired sea captain from whom Mrs. Maberly bought Three


  • “It’s a wicked thing to tell fibs.”
  • “You can’t play with edged tools forever without cutting those dainty hands.”
  • “I am not the law, but I represent justice so far as my feeble powers go.”
  • “They are good hounds who run silent”
  • “You can’t play with edged tools forever without cutting those dainty hands”
  • “Surely no man would take up my profession if it were not that danger attracts”
  • “I suppose I shall have to compound a felony as usual.”


There is no mention of a fee.  Holmes demanded and got £5000 from Isadora for his silence in the matter, so her marriage to the Duke could proceed. Since this money was to be paid to the client, Holmes probably got his share.


Some interesting characters but a so-so story, hence only on the screen once

1994     The Three Gables with Jeremy Brett on the BBC / Granada Sherlock Holmes series.


Just one item needing “translating to the 21st century . .

  • “Paregoric” an alcohol solution made up of opium and camphor once used un cough remedies


  • Poker – From the fireplace in 221B, which Watson picked up after the precipitous entry of Steve “Bruiser” Dixie.
  • Chloroform – Used by one f Barney Stockdale’s henchmen to subdue Mary Maberly.
  • Fist – Of Steve “Bruiser” Dixie, which he swung at Holmes in a threatening manner.
  • Fist – Of one of the members of Barney Stockdale’s gang, which he struck Mary Maberly.
  • Novel – Written by Douglas Maberly which, if published, would expose the racy career of Isadors Klein.

Frank Mentzel, aka Merridew of Abominable Memory, is a past Gasogene of the Six Napoleons of Baltimore.


The Inquisition – The Three Gables

The Inquisition – The Three Gables

“Now we have the Sherlock Holmes test …” –  A Scandal in Bohemia (SCAN) Sharpen your pencils! How well do you know your Canon and The Adventure of the Three Gables? Some answers will be two words, with no spaces between words. Answers will be provided in another post on this site, later this month. How do… Continue Reading

The 17 Steps: The Three Gables

The 17 Steps: The Three Gables

Seventeen thoughts for further ponderance of the case at hand – The Three Gables (3GAB) LET’S DIAGRAM THIS PLAY . . . Watson writes that Holmes “had just settled me into the well-worn low armchair on one side of the fire, while he had curled down with his pipe in his mouth upon the opposite… Continue Reading

A Sherlockian Visits the Currency Exchange (1986)

A Sherlockian Visits the Currency Exchange (1986)

“Sold his soul to the devil in exchange for money” – The Adeventure of Wisteria Lodge (WIST) Seven hundred and fifty pounds, Dr. Grimesby Roylott had as the annual income of his late wife’s estate. The reader of The Speckled Band is supposed to understand that £750 is a lot of money, but that £250, which… Continue Reading

The Los Angeles Times Publishes The Three Garridebs on March 29, 1925

The Los Angeles Times Publishes The Three Garridebs on March 29, 1925

“The story has, I believe, been told more than once in the newspapers …” – The Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb (ENGR) When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had his stories published that would make up the Case Book of Sherlock Holmes, the stories were first printed in the United States in Colliers Weekly and in the Strand Magazine for the United Kingdom.… Continue Reading