An envelope with five dried Orange Pips is received by a rich man, baffling him to make a will in hurry and within seven weeks, he dies in his own garden. The same incident repeats with his inheritor and he too dies within three days.
Now, the same innocuous envelope with five orange pips has arrived in the life of John Openshaw. Would he meet the same fate as that of his father and uncle or would he able to avert the tragedy by seeking the help of Sherlock Holmes is the central theme of my present read Five Orange Pips.
Whether Holmes succeed in his endeavors or not, I am having quite a good time, as I continue with Adventures of Sherlock Holmes with my curiosity receiving a great push with the present story.
Five Orange Pips by Arthur Conan Doyle begins in a stormy fashion. It is the beginning of ‘equinoctial gales’ in London in 1887 and the good Dr. Watson and Holmes are indulging in usual friendly banter. When all of a sudden, a harried young man enters 221B Baker Street and narrates the above mentioned curious incidents, seeking wise counsel of Holmes.
Will Holmes be able to help him, is the key question here and I must say that Arthur has surpassed all his previous stories as far as breathtaking suspense and deep mystery is concerned.
The story is a short one running to just about 20 pages, but beautiful symbolism and awesome narration makes it one of the best. After all, how many times have you read a wind being represented as a sobbing child locked in chimney!
Whatever doubts I had about Arthur Doyle’s ability to play with words vanished with Five Orange Pips. Till now, I regarded him as a good detective fiction writer, but now he has also secured a comfy place as a charismatic narrator.
But, at the end of the day, nobody is perfect and despite a great storyline, I was a little disappointed with Holmes’ hurried investigations and slop sided end. After reading two novels and five stories, my expectations have risen sky high and I wish Arthur would continue to upscale his own achievements.
At the end of the day, as Watson himself said ‘some beginnings have no endings’, the open ended Five Orange Pips deserves a read and is a unique tale in the collection. A famous one for all the right reasons.