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"Notes Upon the Diadem Club Affair" is a Sherlock Holmes short story by Lyndsay Faye. It was first published in The Strand Magazine, and later included in her collection The Whole Art of Detection: Lost Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes. Written from Holmes's point of view, it follows the detective as he once again defends the safety of the British Empire by attending a dinner party at Mycroft's request.

Plot[]

While Watson is out of town for a medical conference, Holmes receives a telegram from a mysterious individual requesting a meeting later that day in Regent's Park. Having nothing better to do, Holmes goes to the park and meets his prospective client. Although the man has attempted to disguise himself, Holmes easily identifies him as Lord Chesley Templeton, a foppish, wealthy socialite. Holmes takes an immediate dislike to Lord Templeton's superficiality and blitheness, which only deepens when he learns the reason for his summons. Lord Templeton informs Holmes that he wishes to invite him to a meeting of the Diadem Club, an exclusive gathering of the cream of London society. He explains that the club members, all wealthy peers and government ministers, compete with each other to invite notable persons to their extravagant parties. The dinner will be held held on a ship the following night, under cover of darkness for fear of assassins. He promises Holmes a significant payment for attending. Offended, Holmes leaves without giving a response.

Unfortunately for Holmes, he receives a note from Mycroft when he returns to Baker Street. Mycroft tells him that matters of state require him to humor his client, and that Mycroft has already taken the liberty of responding for him. Mycroft specifically asks Holmes to convey his regards to Sir Alderford Blythe. Exasperated, Holmes concedes defeat.

Watson returns the next day, and Holmes convinces him to join him at the party, hinting that there may be some great intrigue afoot. Watson finds the idea distasteful, but readily agrees to accompany his friend. To Holmes' chagrin, Watson reveals he knows Holmes has used past reward money to benefit his Baker Street Irregulars, and suggests he can do the same in this case.

That night, Holmes and Watson prepare to leave for the dinner and Holmes opens a card with the location of the ship. On seeing the card is letterpressed, a number of clues suddenly coalesce and Holmes realizes that Lord Templeton had been planning his attendance for longer than he had said. They arrive at the launch site, where Lord Templeton is waiting. They board the pleasure ship, which conceals an extravagant dining room within its neglected exterior. Holmes finds himself seated next to the diplomat Sir Alderford Blythe, whom he greets on Mycroft's behalf. Lord Templeton then asks Holmes and Watson to join him on deck, where he drops his dandyish façade, and confirms that Mycroft expects an attempt on Sir Alderford's life. He tells him that he has identified one of the guests as the French spy Louis La Rothière; however, he cannot compromise his persona, therefore Holmes and Watson must be the ones to take him down. Their conversation is cut short when a Hungarian baroness who had been seated next to Watson comes out on deck.

Back inside, Holmes finds a concealed knife on La Rothière, and a scuffle ensues, which Watson breaks up with his pistol. They restrain the spy and hand him over to Scotland Yard when the ship docks. Holmes and Watson bid goodbye to Lord Templeton, who has returned to his dandy persona. As they depart, Holmes confides to Watson that he admires Lord Templeton's commitment to his role, and would be happy to perform such a service for the government if it were ever required of him.

A week later, Watson receives a letter from the Hungarian baroness at the Diadem Club, who is revealed to be a writer named Emmuska Orczy. She requests permission to use their adventure in a new story, which Holmes grudgingly grants.

Trivia[]

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