Why Sherlock Holmes was a Master of Simplicity
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson arrive at King’s Pyland to investigate the disappearance of the super race horse ‘Silver Blaze’ and the murder of its trainer, John Straker.
The horse belongs to Colonel Ross.
John Straker was a long time associate of Ross and Silver Blaze was a favorite horse for an upcoming race.
To protect Silver Blaze, Ross had appointed a watch-guard Ned Hunter and a dog to keep an eye on the stable.
On the frightful night, Ned Hunter was drugged by a sedative added to his dinner.
And before these incidents of crime took place, a sheep on Ross farm had got lame. The reason was unknown.
John Straker’s body was found in desolated location far away from the stable.
The investigations revealed that he was hit hard on his skull which caused his death.
A cataract knife was found at the crime scene and Staker’s coat was found drape over a bush.
And a cravat was found in Straker’s hand which belongs to a bookie named Fitzroy Simpson.
On the day of this ugly incident, Simpson had come to King’s Pyland to gather information about Silver Blaze and other horses.
He was arrested by Inspector Gregory of Scotland Yard on the criminal charges for kidnapping Silver Blaze and the murder of John Straker.
Inspector Gregory theory was –
Simpson had stolen Silver Blaze from the stable.
While he was running away, Straker caught him on the moor.
A scuffle took place, and Simpson hit Straker on the head with his heavy stick.
Then he ran away with the horse and hid it someplace.
But Sherlock Holmes was not satisfied with Gregory theory
He started his investigations from a different angle.
And he came to a conclusion that it was John Straker who was kidnapping the horse.
But what caused John Straker to betray his master?
John Straker was in debt because his secret second wife was a heavy spender.
To repay the loan he took hefty money from a rival party to injure Silver Blaze.
He took the horse to an isolated location to make Silver Blaze lame by cutting him with the cataract knife.
He had earlier tried this experiment on the sheep that made it lame.
But his plan backfired.
Before he can inflict the wound, the horse kicked him on his head.
Straker died on the spot and the horse ran away.
The horse was captured by a neighboring stable owner who painted it to make it look like one of his own.
What Sherlock Holmes did was that he asked a simple question.
The guard Ned Hunter was drugged and unconscious; so he could not take any action when the culprit came to the stable to kidnap Silver Blaze. But the DOG did not barked and alarmed its owner (Ross) and other employees. Why?
The dog was not drugged.
The dog did not bark, because it knew John Straker.
Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”
Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”
Gregory: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”
Holmes: “That was the curious incident.” — Silver Blaze by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
We often ignore or overlook the simple facts because we find it useless.
We are hypnotized by complexity.
But the simple facts are actually the key to solve complex problems. And Sherlock Holmes was a master of simplicity.