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Peter Carey, called Black Peter, was a British sea-captain and whaler. Sherlock Holmes' investigation into his murder is chronicled in "The Adventure of Black Peter".

History[]

Peter Carey formerly commanded the whaler Sea Unicorn, based in Dundee. He led many successful whaling and sealing expeditions in the North Sea, eventually retiring in 1884. A few years later he purchased a small house called Woodman's Lee near Forest Row in Sussex, where he settled with his wife and daughter and resided for six years.

In July 1895, Peter Carey is brutally killed in a small cabin on his property: he is impaled with a harpoon through the torso with such force that he is left pinned to the wall. Inspector Stanley Hopkins seeks Sherlock Holmes's assistance in solving the crime. Hopkins initially suspects a young man name John Hopley Neligan, whom they catch breaking into Carey's cabin. However, Neligan insists he did not kill Carey. Carey had been selling securities that had belonged to Neligan's father, a disgraced banker who had disappeared a decade earlier. The elder Neligan had set sail for Norway in his yacht with a box of securities to buy time to pay off his creditors. However, he was never heard from again. Neligan says he believes Carey was involved in the disappearance, and that he merely wanted to search for evidence of what had happened to his father in Carey's sailing logs.

Holmes' investigation reveals the killer to be Patrick Cairns, a harpooner who had sailed on the Sea Unicorn under Carey in 1883. Cairns admits to killing Carey, but insists it was not murder. He explains that the Sea Unicorn had rescued the elder Neligan off Norway, but that Carey had had him thrown overboard and stolen his box of securities. Cairns had visited Carey with the intention of using this knowledge to blackmail Carey for money. However, the drunken, belligerent Carey had attacked him, so Cairns grabbed the harpoon and killed him in self-defense. Cairns is arrested as a result, and Hopkins releases Neligan and returns the remaining unsold securities to him.

Adaptations[]

  • The story was adapted for the first case of the 2014 video game, Sherlock Holmes: Crimes & Punishments as "The Fate of Black Peter". While largely faithful, it includes some new characters and expanded background.
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