Baker Street Wiki
Advertisement
Baker Street Wiki

"The Determined Client" is the fourth episode of Series 2 of the BBC Radio 4 series The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, written by Bert Coules. It was first broadcast on June 8, 2004. In it, a woman asks Sherlock Holmes to clear her father of murder.

Plot[]

Holmes and Watson receive a visit from Caroline Addleton, whose father has recently been accused of attempted murder. Caroline insists that her father was innocent, though the police refuse to take her seriously. She tells them that on her grandfather's death, he left his whole fortune and business to his younger son, her father, William Addleton. The older son, Thomas, was left with nothing. Caroline says that her father refused to discuss the reason for his brother's treatment, but the issue caused a permanent split between the brothers. Thomas did come to visit once time, to beg for money for son, Frederick, who was ill. However William turned him away, saying the business was doing poorly. Thomas left in disgust, and never saw them again. Caroline had only finally Frederick at Thomas' funeral, a little over a year ago. Frederick had seemed interested in mending the family relationship, and invited Caroline and William back to his home. Unfortunately, he and William get into an argument after he accuses William of insulting his dead father. Frederick reveals to Caroline that his father had drank himself to death, and shows he holds her father responsible.

Frederick didn't contact them again for over a year, until he called at their house three days ago looking for his uncle. William was not at home, but the housekeeper, Mrs Sindon, allowed him to wait; however, he left after waiting two hours, saying he would return at 9. He returned as promised, and William agreed to see him in his study. Caroline was started out of bed by gunshots, and rushed downstairs, where she found both Frederick and her father covered in blood. Frederick was laying on the hearth, her father behind the door. Both had been shot - Frederick in the left shoulder, her father in the head - and her father held a gun in his right hand. Frederick was not dead, but had hit his head when falling and had remained in a coma since. However, Miss Addleton refuses to believe that her father tried to kill Frederick. She admits the gun belonged to William, but says that an old accident left him unable to use his right hand - the hand found clutching the gun. Caroline departs, and Holmes tells her they will meet her at her home later in the afternoon. Holmes then goes out on his own, but tells Watson to meet him at Waterloo Station to catch the 2:45 to Upper Chiddingly.

On the train, Holmes points out several points that still need to be addressed. He questions why Frederick chose to confront his uncle at that particular time, and that they must know what he had been doing the past year. He reveals that ten months ago, Frederick had been arrested for drunken brawling, and that from this he has learned his address. Watson presumes Frederick must have asked for a share of the business, or money, and that an argument ensured, leading to William drawing his gun.

Holmes and Watson arrive at the Addletons' house, and Caroline shows them her father's study. She tells Holmes that though a number of people have been in the study, including the police, she had attempted to preserve it as best she could. She also tells him that her father had recently taken up gun collecting, and that the weapon used had been housed with others in the library.

Miss Addleton excuses herself when Holmes and Watson enter the study. They find several objects and pieces of furniture knocked over, which Watson takes as evidence of a fight. Holmes uses the highly-polished floor to recreate the two men's positions at the time of the shot, and notes that William had a clear shot at Frederick from either hand. He asks Miss Addleton to leave the study as it is for the time being.

Holmes next interviews the housekeeper, Mrs Sinden. She relates how she left Mr Addleton waiting in the library that afternoon. She returned at a later time to find him standing, with a triumphant look on his face. Holmes goes to the library to investigate. He finds that the lock on the weapons cabinet has been forced, and an imprint in the velvet where a gun is missing. They bid Miss Addleton goodbye, and borrow a coach to the station to return to London. On the way, the coachman tells them that Miss Addleton has always seemed content with her life, until recently.

Holmes sends Watson to interview Frederick's roommate, Elliott Matthews. He learns that Frederick was generally miserable, but had shown an unusual cheerfulness the last few days. While Frederick had meant to keep the reason a secret, he had accidentally let it slip to Matthews while drunk, and he tells Watson some disturbing information. Meanwhile, Holmes visits the police. The sergeant assigned to the case tells Holmes that while he knew of Miss Addleton's claim about her father's hand, he didn't think it was significant. Holmes asks to see the murder weapon, and in exchange gives the sergeant a clue on a series of recent burglaries. With Watson's information, Holmes solves the case.

Holmes and Watson return to Chiddingly to explain Holmes' deductions to Miss Addleton. Holmes summarizes the evidence found in the study, and the police's initial conclusions. He then has Watson join him in reenacting the events of that night. Holmes tells her that Frederick had initially come calling at a time when he knew William would be out, and stolen the gun while waiting in the library. He purchased bullets before returning that night, and shot William Addleton in the head. He then quickly ran to the fireplace and shot himself in the shoulder, then planted the gun in William's hand. However, he underestimated the severity of his injury, and on his way back to the fireplace he knocked over several things in his way. He next intended to lie down and feign unconsciousness. When the police came to, he would tell them William had shot him and then killed himself out of guilt. William's reputation would be ruined, and possibly his business as well, a perfect revenge for his life of poverty and deprivation. Fatefully, Frederick had slipped on a spill on the floor, accidentally knocking himself into a coma.

Miss Addleton thanks Holmes for restoring her father's honor; Holmes replies that he merely read the evidence in the room exactly as the person who planted it intended. Miss Addleton is stunned. Holmes says that Frederick hadn't shot William; in fact, the crime had occurred exactly as the police had described. The murder weapon hadn't come from the library collection; the missing gun was much larger. William had actually kept the gun in his desk drawer as protection against the recent burglaries in the area. Someone had moved the gun to the opposite hand afterwards to make it seem like it was planted, and knocked objects off tables to reinforce the story However, they had forgotten to disturb the rugs, and there was no blood trail supporting Frederick going back and forth. Since the person would have had to have access to the room and a personal motive, Holmes accuses Caroline of forging the evidence to frame Frederick out of hatred for her cousin.

Cornered, Caroline admits to the deception. She had hoped that the police would notice the discrepancies, but when they ignored her she went to Holmes instead. She admits that she had secretly been seeing Frederick - they had became lovers following their introduction. Frederick proposed marriage, claiming he wanted to reunite the family. However, after he had seduced her, Frederick broke off the engagement, leaving Caroline's prospects ruined. It turned out he had only been interested in using her to get revenge on his uncle, and he promised to spread the story of his conquest, destroying her and William's reputations. He returned to the house to goad William with this information, and William shot him in a rage. Caroline asks Watson if Frederick is likely to live, and is satisfied when Watson replies it is unlikely.

Back at Baker Street, Holmes admits to Watson that he was suspicious of Caroline from the beginning. However, though she has committed a number of small crimes, Holmes decides not to turn her in to the police, as his sympathies lie with her.

Cast[]

Trivia[]

  • The case was inspired by a reference in "The Adventure of the Golden Pince-Nez": "Here also I find an account of the Addleton tragedy..."
  • When Holmes sends him to question Elliot Matthews, Watson brings up Holmes' dismissal of his investigate prowess in "The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist". In response, Holmes says that Watson's abilities have improved significantly in the years since the case.
Advertisement