The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet is a clever little yarn included in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series. It’s not particularly good, or particularly bad, but it has a couple of glowing errors that can only be laid at Doyle’s feet; Holmes had nothing to do with it.
Mr. Alexander Holder, one of the principles at Holder & Stevenson (the second largest private banking concern in the City of London), has agreed to accept the Beryl Coronet (which he describes as “[o]ne of the most precious public possessions of the empire”) as collateral on a four day, ₤50,000 pound loan. Holder doesn’t feel comfortable leaving the coronet at the bank so he takes it home with him and locks it in a bureau of his dressing-room.
The owner/curator of the coronet (who is not disclosed) admonishes Holder:
“I rely upon you not only to be discreet and to refrain from all gossip upon the matter but, above all, to preserve this coronet with every possible precaution because I need not say that a great public scandal would be caused if any harm were to befall it. Any injury to it would be almost as serious as its complete loss… “
Through some shenanigans from his family, the coronet is stolen. During the theft, Holder’s son attempts to regain the coronet from one of the thieves and in the process, it is bent and a corner is broken off with three stones (beryls) attached.
OK, here are my concerns:
If any injury would be “almost as serious as its complete loss, why, after Holmes recovers the broken corner (with the beryls attached), does Mr. Holder exclaim:
“You have it!” he gasped. I am saved! I am saved!”
Saved? The coronet is severely damaged!
I also wonder that Mr. Holder, after having been admonished to “refrain from all gossip upon the matter” proceed to tell his son and niece the whole story and where he is going to leave the loot?
And why does not the younger Holder realize the coronet has been broken? Holmes says that a break would make a noise “like a pistol shot”. Certainly the “pistol shot” would have occurred concomitant with the release of the cornet from Burnwell’s grip, wouldn’t Holder hear it?
Think I’m being too picky? Well, how about this: why did he take the coronet from the bank in the first place?