Barry Berwick is an English murderer who is in prison in Minsk, Belarus for stabbing and killing his wife whilst on holiday in that country. Sherlock Holmes travels to Minsk in order for Berwick to plead his case to him.
Berwick tells Sherlock that he and his wife left the hotel to go to a bar, where he got chatting with one of the waitresses, something which his wife Karen was not happy with. When they got back to the hotel they had a fight. Berwick says that Karen was always getting at him, saying he was not a real man. Berwick claims he does not know how it happened but he suddenly found a knife in his hand which he then used to repeatedly stab his wife.
During the course of their chat, Sherlock keeps correcting the grammar Berwick uses to tell the story, which really angers the prisoner. He is doing this in order to test if Berwick is prone to anger, which he shows he is. Sherlock does not take the case, dismissing it later as clear-cut murder.