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The Case of Sherlock HolmesSecrets and Lies in Conan Doyle's Detective Fiction$
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Andrew Glazzard

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474431293

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474431293.001.0001

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The Guardians of Securities

The Guardians of Securities

(p.30) Chapter 3 The Guardians of Securities
The Case of Sherlock Holmes

Andrew Glazzard

Edinburgh University Press

Wealth, or capital, tends to be represented in the earliest Holmes stories in the reassuringly familiar form of specie (coins and notes), or precious stones or metals. The Agra treasure in The Sign of Four, the French gold in ‘The Red-Headed League’, the Australian gold mines of ‘The Boscombe Valley Mystery’ (1891) and the American gold mine of Hatty Moran’s father in ‘The Noble Bachelor’, the 421 pennies and 270 half-pennies in ‘The Man with the Twisted Lip’ (1891), the blue carbuncle, the counterfeit half-crowns in ‘The Engineer’s Thumb’, the fifty thousand pounds in notes loaned to the illustrious client in exchange for a priceless piece of jewellery in ‘The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet’ (1892) – all are examples of the most solid forms of capital. Even the opium den in ‘The Man with the Twisted Lip’ is named ‘The Bar of Gold’. Several of these stories belong to a tradition of narratives, stretching back to Chaucer’s tale of the Pardoner but including such favourites of Doyle’s as Collins’s The Moonstone and Edgar Allan Poe’s ‘The Gold Bug’ (1843), in which great wealth in material, tactile form motivates characters to perform extraordinary feats.

Keywords:   Money, Securities, Murder, Capital, Doyle

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