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Baron Ramsden was a British nobleman. He was the culprit in the case of a missing family heirloom, which Sherlock Holmes solves at the beginning of Dust and Shadow. Though Holmes finds the baron's tragic history sympathetic and decides not to reveal his involvement, the shame of his discovery compels Lord Ramsden to kill himself.

Dust and Shadow[]

Lord Ramsden was once in love with a girl named Eleonora Rowley, the daughter of a local dry-goods merchant he had known since childhood. The two were secretly engaged, and as a token of his affection Lord Ramsden stole his grandmother's wedding ring from the family vault and gave it to the girl. However, the girl took ill, and died soon after. Lord Ramsden did not realize until after her burial that he had not recovered the ring, which was eventually discovered to be missing when his brothers' gambling debts prompted an inventory of the family property. Scotland Yard was brought in, with the investigation headed by Inspector Tobias Gregson. Holmes and Watson were also engaged, and travelled to Lord Ramsden's Blackheath House near Colwell in Herefordshire.

While the police focused on Lord Ramsden's debt-ridden brother as a likely suspect, Holmes took his investigation in another direction. Lord Ramsden initially attempted to divert Holmes' interest by voluntarily revealing the existence of his tragic affair. However, Holmes connected this information with the pattern of mud he discovered on Lord Ramsden's clothes and a missing patch of sod on the estate lawn to realize that the baron had been working secretly to unearth Eleonora's grave, and covering the hole with the sod. Holmes therefore arranged for Watson to accompany him to catch the baron in the act.

Late at night, Holmes and Watson lay in wait just beyond the Colwall churchyard, where they spy Lord Ramsden refilling Eleonora's grave. Holmes steps forward to confront him when the baron returns up the path, and though the baron at first denies his actions, then threatens Holmes, when Watson reveals himself he utterly collapses. He admits to his crime and explains his motivations, and Holmes promised to keep his secret safe. However, Lord Ramsden, in despair over his actions and Eleonora's death, shoots himself. Holmes recovers the ring from Lord Ramsden's body, and Watson agrees with Holmes to lie that they found Lord Ramsden already dead to protect him from the shame of grave-robbing.

Back at Blackheath House, Holmes implies to Inspector Gregson that he is unable to solve the case due to lack of evidence, keeping his last promise to the deceased nobleman. He also lies that he has heard the ring was in London, allowing him to return it without implicating anyone specific. Gregson makes no further progress, and Lord Ramsden's family, distraught over his death, loses interest in the case, leading Holmes to assume it is over.

Though seemingly minor, the case would have a sinister and far-reaching effect. Unbeknownst to Holmes, am unstable young constable working the case named Edward Bennett had also solved the mystery. Bennett is infuriated by Holmes' arrogance in refusing to reveal the solution and his presumption in meting out justice. He develops an obsession with Holmes, which ensnares the detective the following year in a series of vicious crimes committed under an assumed name.

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