The Man With The Twisted Lip by Arthur C. Doyle

Everytime I read a Sherlock Holmes story, I feel its the best, most entertaining short fiction I have ever read. But at the very next tale, I am proven wrong as Arthur Conan Doyle keeps coming up with even more engrossing mysterious stories.

My latest read ‘The Man With The Twisted Lip’ is the newest addition to some of the most admired short stories that Arthur is so apt at.

The story revolves around a missing person Neville St Claire, who is last seen by his wife in the window of an opium den in an agitated condition and thereafter he simply dosappears. Despite the best efforts of Police, nobody is able to trace Mr. Claire.

sherlock-holmes To make matters complicated, the room where Mrs. Claire last saw her husband has a single entrance and is occupied by a particularly bad looking beggar Hugh Boone. He has the most disgusting features, with a scar running across his face, twisting his lips and lending him an abominable air. As Hugh is the only one present in the room at the time of incident, Police arrests him as the suspect. But there is no hard core evidence.

At this moment, Sherlock Holmes gets involved in this deceptively simple yet complex crime. Will he be able to trace Mr. Neville or comprehend his possible murderer Hugh Boone, forms the crux of present story and is dealt with utmost finesse by the gifted author.

As is usual with Doyle’s stories, there were twists and turns and some glorified pieces of literary wit Holmes is famous for. But what struck me most was once again the unusual beginning.
The present story, in sharp contrast to earlier ones, begins with Dr. Watson as the central character, who goes to Opium den in search of his missing friend, but unwittingly gets embroiled in a typical Holmian investigation.

In Sign of Four also, Sherlock exhibited his great skill as a make up artist, but here he is matched wit by wit by another master craftsman and I just loved the shock Holmes gets out of it.

The story also has an underlying social message as to how greed and laziness can bring about the fall of a gentleman and what a vice, begging is in our society.

The story remains true to its title and indeed The Man With The Twisted Lip is a memorable character, I would remember for years. A good, short, crisp story from the worthy kit of Arthur Conan Doyle.

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