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"The Saviour of Cripplegate Square" is the fifth and final episode of Series 1 of the BBC Radio 4 series The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, written by Bert Coules. It was first broadcast on February 27, 2002. In it, Sherlock Holmes recalls a case from his past, when the guidance of an extraordinary man helped solve a particularly diabolic crime.

Plot[]

On a dark and rainy night at Baker Street, Holmes recounts to Watson a crime from his past, when he was a young detective only recently graduated from university.

Miss Jenny Snell, a cleaner at Holmes' local public library, asks the detective for help. She has a second job as a cleaner at an orphanage in London's East End, which is run by Mrs Emily Guttridge and her husband. Three sick babies at the orphanage have died, not long after Jenny had a suspicious encounter with Mr Guttridge in the medical storeroom. Jenny suspects that Mr Guttridge poisoned the infants somehow, and now fears that he may harm her.

As Holmes' investigation progresses, he learns that the someone had stored large quantities of arsenic in the Guttridge's storeroom. Suspicion naturally falls on Mr Guttridge because of his suspicious behaviour towards Jenny, and his vocal dislike of his wife's profession. However, the doctor who investigated the murder determined there was no evidence of arsenic poisoning; in fact, the babies in Mrs Guttridge's care are all significantly better cared for than most East End children. Nevertheless, Jenny is killed when Guttridge realizes that she has connected the arsenic to the deaths.

Holmes confronts Mr Guttridge, and accuses him of killing Jenny and the children. Mr Guttridge confesses; however, he cannot say how the children were killed, or what the motive was, making it obvious that he is protecting his wife. Holmes reveals that Mrs Guttridge had been poisoning all of the children in her care with small doses of arsenic, causing them to become addicted. When Mrs Guttridge cut off their arsenic supply, the babies would go into withdrawal and die, leaving no evidence of the poisoning. Mrs Guttridge admits to killing the children, but denies doing it for insurance money or power as Holmes assumed. Instead, she argues that the babies' future is so bleak that killing them is an act of mercy. Holmes reports the Guttridges to the regular police. The local doctor reports that the remaining poisoned children should live, but their future prospects dampens Holmes' enthusiasm for this news.

Cast[]

Trivia[]

  • The case was inspired by a reference in The Sign of the Four: "I assure you that the most winning woman I ever knew was hanged for poisoning three little children for their insurance-money..."
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