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A Case of Identity

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Miss Mary Sutherland, angry and beside herself with feelings of loss, asks Sherlock Holmes to solve the sudden, mysterious disappearance of a shy and attentive man she has grown to love upon the very day they were to be married.


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Miss Mary Sutherland, angry and beside herself with feelings of loss, asks Sherlock Holmes to solve the sudden, mysterious disappearance of a shy and attentive man she has grown to love upon the very day they were to be married.

30 review for A Case of Identity

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    We open "A Case of Identity" with Sherlock Holmes' and Dr. Watson's typical banter, and then they look out the window to see Sherlock's next client. I love this description and Sherlock's comments:Looking over his shoulder, I saw that on the pavement opposite there stood a large woman with a heavy fur boa round her neck, and a large curling red feather in a broad-brimmed hat which was tilted in a coquettish Duchess of Devonshire fashion over her ear. From under this great panoply she peeped up i We open "A Case of Identity" with Sherlock Holmes' and Dr. Watson's typical banter, and then they look out the window to see Sherlock's next client. I love this description and Sherlock's comments:Looking over his shoulder, I saw that on the pavement opposite there stood a large woman with a heavy fur boa round her neck, and a large curling red feather in a broad-brimmed hat which was tilted in a coquettish Duchess of Devonshire fashion over her ear. From under this great panoply she peeped up in a nervous, hesitating fashion at our windows, while her body oscillated backward and forward, and her fingers fidgeted with her glove buttons. Suddenly, with a plunge, as of the swimmer who leaves the bank, she hurried across the road, and we heard the sharp clang of the bell. “I have seen those symptoms before,” said Holmes, throwing his cigarette into the fire. “Oscillation upon the pavement always means an affaire de coeur. She would like advice, but is not sure that the matter is not too delicate for communication. And yet even here we may discriminate. When a woman has been seriously wronged by a man she no longer oscillates, and the usual symptom is a broken bell wire. Here we may take it that there is a love matter, but that the maiden is not so much angry as perplexed, or grieved.” Miss Mary Sutherland's problem is a fiancé who mysteriously disappeared from his carriage on the way to the church, after asking her, that very morning, to remember that she was pledged to him, even if something unforeseen happened to separate them. Suspicious, much? So this Sherlock Holmes short story didn't work for me. The slightness and predictability of the tale, mixed with an unfortunate Victorian view of women -- that they are noble and of delicate sensibilities and are not to have their illusions shattered, even when it would be in their best interest, gah! SO MUCH -- combined to leave a bad taste in my mouth. But it was nice to see a brief glimpse of the softer side of Sherlock Holmes.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Aishu Rehman

    When the rich, sophisticated and emotionally troubled Miss Mary Sutherland appears on the doorstep of 221 B Baker Street, she brings with her a case that would be trouble for your average detective, but which is a mere cinch for Mr. Holmes. Just like his previous stories, Mr. Doyle presented the story from Dr. Watson’s perspective, who in this case was able to offer up his own deductive skills as opposed to merely watching in awe as Sherlock Holmes unravels the entire mystery by merely observing When the rich, sophisticated and emotionally troubled Miss Mary Sutherland appears on the doorstep of 221 B Baker Street, she brings with her a case that would be trouble for your average detective, but which is a mere cinch for Mr. Holmes. Just like his previous stories, Mr. Doyle presented the story from Dr. Watson’s perspective, who in this case was able to offer up his own deductive skills as opposed to merely watching in awe as Sherlock Holmes unravels the entire mystery by merely observing the victim. They were both in agreement that Miss Sutherland’s potential fiance, Mr. Angel, had behaved rather suspiciously before disappearing, and her stepfather Mr. Windibank did not appear to be completely innocent either with such a grand sum of money involved… All in all, a compelling story. There were even a few phrases I recognized from Sherlock BBC, which is what drew me into this world of detective work and criminal conspiracies. Just goes to show that his work continues to inspire writers of all types, which is a mark of true genius. That’s all for today. As always, I encourage you to share your thoughts in the comments, whether bad or good, and if you have a book that you would like to recommend, visit the “Book Recommendations from You” page above and leave the title, author and a brief summary in the comments. Until next time, happy reading!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    I've been watching and loving the new Brit series Sherlock, so I wanted to go back and revisit the originals. Ya know, do a little compare and contrast. A Case of Identity is one of Doyle's most innocuous of stories. It's simple. It's easy to solve. The stakes aren't very high: a case of petty theft and hurt feelings being the approximate sum. Overall it's not particularly exciting, so it was easy to spend the reading time examining more than the story. Benedict Cummerbund's version of Sherlock i I've been watching and loving the new Brit series Sherlock, so I wanted to go back and revisit the originals. Ya know, do a little compare and contrast. A Case of Identity is one of Doyle's most innocuous of stories. It's simple. It's easy to solve. The stakes aren't very high: a case of petty theft and hurt feelings being the approximate sum. Overall it's not particularly exciting, so it was easy to spend the reading time examining more than the story. Benedict Cummerbund's version of Sherlock is very cold, very analytical, lacking in almost all social graces to the point of being a clear sufferer of Asperger's. In comparison, Doyle's original creation is also quite analytical, quite the know-it-all and some times snarky about it, but he is also kindly, occasional gracious and seems more interested in his work and engaged with his clients. I like Cumberbitch, but he just isn't likable compared to the real Sherlock. Sure, you admire his abilities and his deep-seated and suppressed love for John Watson, all that's on the show, but the book pulls the character back from the antisocial precipice that could only land a person eventually in jail or the grave for his maniacal behavior....Well then again, it's hella fun to watch bat-shit crazy.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ann (Inky)

    Really a boring tale as far as Sherlock Holmes goes. Not really sure what the point was..? If you have an idea, please enlighten me. I certainly could have gone through my life without ever having read this short story and be just the same. Ho hum.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Areej

    “life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent. We would not dare to conceive the things which are really mere commonplaces of existence........

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jade

    4.5 stars

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jaksen

    Another great tale by an incomparable writer, and yet... I didn't figure it out! Damnation! It's all so obvious. It's all there. What is wrong with me! :D A young woman comes to Holmes to find out what happened to her betrothed. Seems that the fellow left her at the altar, and I knew HOW he did it. (That little fact was glaringly obvious.) But why? As the story unfolds - one of the main clues being a typewriter - it becomes more and more evident what happened. But me, no, I missed it. Enjoying read Another great tale by an incomparable writer, and yet... I didn't figure it out! Damnation! It's all so obvious. It's all there. What is wrong with me! :D A young woman comes to Holmes to find out what happened to her betrothed. Seems that the fellow left her at the altar, and I knew HOW he did it. (That little fact was glaringly obvious.) But why? As the story unfolds - one of the main clues being a typewriter - it becomes more and more evident what happened. But me, no, I missed it. Enjoying reading these stories in an annotated edition.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    All the Sherlock cases are moulding into one, so I'm just going to give myself a little reminder of each case I read. A Case of Identity - the one with the disappearing bride groom. (view spoiler)[ The one with the step dad pretending to be a suitor for his stepdaughter, so she's stuck with the 'suitor' she's pledged herself to and he never has to part with her money (hide spoiler)] All the Sherlock cases are moulding into one, so I'm just going to give myself a little reminder of each case I read. A Case of Identity - the one with the disappearing bride groom. (view spoiler)[ The one with the step dad pretending to be a suitor for his stepdaughter, so she's stuck with the 'suitor' she's pledged herself to and he never has to part with her money (hide spoiler)]

  9. 5 out of 5

    Fabian {Councillor}

    As part of my intention to read the Sherlock Holmes novels in their entirety, I'm currently tripping over the short stories published in "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" - as well-written as each of them is, I need a while to get accustomed to the differing storylines and to bring up some motivation for reading the next story out of this short story collection. "A Case of Identity" was probably just as predictable as the previous one, with the title already spoiling the outcome of the mystery, As part of my intention to read the Sherlock Holmes novels in their entirety, I'm currently tripping over the short stories published in "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" - as well-written as each of them is, I need a while to get accustomed to the differing storylines and to bring up some motivation for reading the next story out of this short story collection. "A Case of Identity" was probably just as predictable as the previous one, with the title already spoiling the outcome of the mystery, but this didn't degrade my delight about reading about another case of Sherlock Holmes and his assistant, Dr. Watson. Some subtle terms have been included in the story to develop the characteristics of their cooperation, as Sherlock noted that "you [Watson] are coming along wonderfully. You have really done very well indeed. It is true that you have missed everything of importance, but you have hit upon the method, and you have a quick eye for colour." Oh, Sherlock. You cannot compare the different versions of Sherlock Holmes which Arthur Conan Doyle in his literary works respectively Benedict Cumberbatch in his performance have created, but I love both of them. As to the plot itself, the mystery's solution was quite interesting and exposed one of the most shocking schemes I have read of so far in the Sherlock Holmes novels, but, unfortunately, Arthur Conan Doyle gave a lot of the mystery away before the initial reveal, and while he spent plenty of time on establishing the mystery's main construct, the outcome felt rushed and didn't allow the characters to experience any kind of consequences. As a result, I was left disappointed by this story, and while there was some good writing and a strong plot idea, the execution might have been done in another, more satisfactoring way. 2.5 stars, rounded up to 3 stars because I don't want to rate a Sherlock Holmes story that low.

  10. 4 out of 5

    DJ

    "A Case of Identity" is the third story in the The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes story collection, the third publication in the Sherlock Holmes series (after the first two novels, so the first story collection). Holmes is consulted by a young woman who's fiancé has disappeared just before their wedding. I started The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes before any of the novels and for some reason I did not start it at the beginning. So this was actually the first Sherlock Holmes piece I ever read. "A Case of Identity" is the third story in the The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes story collection, the third publication in the Sherlock Holmes series (after the first two novels, so the first story collection). Holmes is consulted by a young woman who's fiancé has disappeared just before their wedding. I started The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes before any of the novels and for some reason I did not start it at the beginning. So this was actually the first Sherlock Holmes piece I ever read. Whilst I had nothing to compare it to, I was very impressed and relieved to discover I thoroughly enjoyed it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Cora Tea Party Princess

    5 Words: Perfect length for a cuppa. All I could think at the end of this one was "that's so cruel" and it made me a little sad. Could anyone actually do that to someone, break their heart in such a way? :(

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jason Parent

    After reading A Scandal in Bohemia, I was giving Conan Doyle a nod for treating a woman as not only a worthy adversary, but perhaps a better. Then came this tale. Even in the author's time, this must have been somewhat insulting to women, no? The first story I did not care for.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Liam

    ( 3.7 STARS ) At first this was a little hard to follow but when it all fell into place it was pretty great and had such a clever story!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Doreen Petersen

    Well this was a much shorter book than I usually read but I loved it. You can never go wrong with a good Sherlock Holmes mystery.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Amina

    That was one easy case :D but it's such a delight to hear Mr. Holmes reasoning!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Brooklyn Tayla

    Didn't enjoy this one nearly as much as my first read, though the first few pages were still amazing, hence the rating. A solid, albeit vague-at-times story.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amanda (Artist Cat)

    Sherlock: "Life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man can invent. We would not dare to conceive the things which are mere commonplaces of existence. If we were to fly out of the window hand in hand, hover over the great city, gently remove the roofs, and peep in at the queer things which are going on... Blah blah blah..." Me: Oh, please stop gibbering and get on with the story!! Typical Victorians! Thay allllways bore the socks off you before getting to the point!!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Susie

    Just lovely. Great plot & eloquent, if not antiquated, language. Just lovely. Great plot & eloquent, if not antiquated, language.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Josiah

    I still really enjoyed reading this, but to be honest it was all very predictable (unlike other Sherlock stories). Action was also lacking. But, it was still cool to hear the Victorian language and Holmes’ deductions about people. Very quick read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Laiba

    The beginning was a bit slow but the case this short story centred on did not fail to pique my curiosity.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Fabi

    I quite liked the mystery in this one and I surprisingly enjoyed myself. much better than I did with a scandal in Bohemia.

  22. 4 out of 5

    SHOMPA

    I was always hesitant to try short stories because I like character development and story depth. But who could not want to read stories about the Master Detective Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle?! 😉 "𝑻𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆 𝒊𝒔 𝒅𝒂𝒏𝒈𝒆𝒓 𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝒉𝒊𝒎 𝒘𝒉𝒐 𝒕𝒂𝒌𝒆𝒕𝒉 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒕𝒊𝒈𝒆𝒓 𝒄𝒖𝒃, 𝒂𝒏𝒅 𝒅𝒂𝒏𝒈𝒆𝒓 𝒂𝒍𝒔𝒐 𝒇𝒐𝒓 𝒘𝒉𝒐𝒔𝒐 𝒔𝒏𝒂𝒕𝒄𝒉𝒆𝒔 𝒂 𝒅𝒆𝒍𝒖𝒔𝒊𝒐𝒏 𝒇𝒓𝒐𝒎 𝒂 𝒘𝒐𝒎𝒂𝒏."

  23. 4 out of 5

    Alice

    To me, this was a really boring case: most of the space was dedicated to the victim illustrating what had happened but there was barely any investigation. And I too, a completely oblivious reader, had come to understand what the truth was before the big reveal. In addition the title is a huge spoiler so this was just a nono for me.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kathrin

    You could see the resolution from a mile away... there are definitely better Holmes cases out there.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    Another great Sherlock Holmes story. In this installment, the reader is introduced to Mary Sutherland, who has been mysteriously left at the altar. Holmes solves the case of her fiancé's disappearance, but will he tell her the truth? I love the backhanded compliments that Holmes gives Watson . . . . you're doing so much better, what wonderful observations, of course you missed everything important. A fun, witty mystery that continues to develop the characters and relationship of Sherlock and his Another great Sherlock Holmes story. In this installment, the reader is introduced to Mary Sutherland, who has been mysteriously left at the altar. Holmes solves the case of her fiancé's disappearance, but will he tell her the truth? I love the backhanded compliments that Holmes gives Watson . . . . you're doing so much better, what wonderful observations, of course you missed everything important. A fun, witty mystery that continues to develop the characters and relationship of Sherlock and his faithful follower, John Watson. A note on this Audiobooks app recording: there is more than one free version of the Sherlock Holmes stories on Audiobooks. The one I am listening to has a woman who sounds like a professional narrator. She is fabulous. It is better than some of the Audible books that I have paid for.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mohammed

    There is a danger for him who taketh the tiger cub, and danger also for whoso snatches a delusion from a woman.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jocelyn

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A Case of Identity is about the effectiveness of simple manipulation. The book begins with Sherlock Holmes telling John Watson that the normalcies of everyday life are obscurer than anything a fiction author could write. Watson doesn’t fully believe Sherlock and he makes his point using an article in the newspaper. Sherlock defends his argument using a separate article, in which a man would come home from work, eat dinner, remove his fake teeth and throw them at his wife. Sherlock tells Watson th A Case of Identity is about the effectiveness of simple manipulation. The book begins with Sherlock Holmes telling John Watson that the normalcies of everyday life are obscurer than anything a fiction author could write. Watson doesn’t fully believe Sherlock and he makes his point using an article in the newspaper. Sherlock defends his argument using a separate article, in which a man would come home from work, eat dinner, remove his fake teeth and throw them at his wife. Sherlock tells Watson that no one would simply think of that by themselves. The two cease their discussion as one of Sherlock’s next clients arrives to his house. The client, Mary Sutherland, tells Sherlock that she has come to seek help in locating a disappeared person who goes by the name of Hosmer Angel. Mary tells Sherlock that her mother and stepfather didn’t want her to seek help in locating the man, but she did anyway. Mary tells Sherlock that her stepfather is only 5 1/2 years older than her, yet she still refers to him as Father. Mary begins explaining how she met Hosmer Angel. She tells Sherlock that she went to a ball with her mother while her stepfather was in France. While they were there she met a man named Hosmer Angel. Mary fell for Hosmer quickly and they began to see each other after the ball. Hosmer went on a few walks with Mary. He proposed to her and they agreed to get married. Hosmer did not see Mary when her stepfather returned. He insisted that their relationship should be kept secret from him. Mary’s stepfather went on another business trip, and Hosmer told Mary that they should get married while he was away. Mary felt guilty about the relationship and the secrecy surrounding it, so she sent a letter to her stepfather’s hotel. Unfortunately, it arrived after he had left. While Mary’s stepfather was gone, Hosmer made Mary swear on the Old Testament that she would always be true to him, regardless of what happened in their lives. The day of the wedding, Hosmer put Mary and her mother into a carriage together, then he got into a car behind them. When the petite procession arrived at the church, Hosmer was gone. Sherlock asks Mary a few questions about herself. He learns that she makes a small salary for the typewriting she does, but that the majority of her income comes from her Uncle’s stock interest that he left to her when he died. From the typewriting, Mary makes two pence per page typed, and from the stock interest she makes 100 pounds a year. Mary tells Sherlock that she gives the money to her mother and stepfather because she has no real use for it. Sherlock dismisses her and tells her to put Hosmer Angel out of her mind. Sherlock waits until Mary has left, then he tells Watson that he has solved the mystery already. Sherlock tells Watson to go home and then to return tomorrow and Sherlock will reveal how he solved the mystery. Watson returns the next day. He arrives shortly before Mary’s stepfather arrives. Once the stepfather arrives, Sherlock begins to casually discuss the case with the man. Mary’s stepfather is visibly nervous. He tells Sherlock that he didn’t want to bring other people into this family matter. Sherlock continues to talk about it and he reveals that he knows who Hosmer Angel is. The stepfather tries to leave, but Sherlock locks him into the house. Sherlock tells the stepfather that he knows that the stepfather didn’t want to lose Mary’s money, so he put on a disguise as Hosmer Angel so that he could trick her into staying with her family at home. Mary’s stepfather becomes very agitated and begins telling Sherlock that he didn’t do anything illegal. Sherlock agrees with him and lets him leave. Watson asks Sherlock how he knew that the stepfather was Hosmer Angel, and Sherlock tells Watson that it was because he was the only man who benefited from the whole endeavor. Sherlock also tells Watson that all of Hosmer’s letters were typewritten on the machine from the stepfathers work. Watson is once again amazed by Sherlock’s talent and intuition. Once again, I enjoyed reading this Sherlock Holmes story. The stories are captivating. As time goes by, I am beginning to predict the conclusions of the stories more accurately. In some of the cases, Sherlock’s questioning makes the solutions obvious, in others, the culprit will be a character who we did not meet in the story, so they will be unknown to me until the great reveal. I forget that in the 1870s and 1880s, people got married very quickly. It always makes me feel a little strange when characters become engaged after meeting each other twice. What was normal at the time is now frowned upon by society. I look forward to continuing my Sherlock adventure next week with The Boscombe Valley Mystery. -Jocelyn Kuntz Age 15

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Reynolds

    A Case of Identity (1891) by Arthur Conan Doyle is a short read. In the story, we meet Miss Mary Sutherland who has asked for the help of Sherlock Holmes in finding her missing groom on the day of their wedding. As the story unravels, we get to know about the love she and the missing groom have for each other and about Mary’s life. It is very intriguing and a lot is packed into the shortness of it. I read this story in one sitting. Sure, it might not be the story that might come to many of our mi A Case of Identity (1891) by Arthur Conan Doyle is a short read. In the story, we meet Miss Mary Sutherland who has asked for the help of Sherlock Holmes in finding her missing groom on the day of their wedding. As the story unravels, we get to know about the love she and the missing groom have for each other and about Mary’s life. It is very intriguing and a lot is packed into the shortness of it. I read this story in one sitting. Sure, it might not be the story that might come to many of our minds instantly when we think of Sherlock Holmes because some of the other stories he has been in are longer and give more detail. But this is excellent for what it is. It is a very enjoyable and entertaining way to break away from a project you are working on and just read and relax for a bit and recharge the batteries. It isn’t the most suspenseful but it is well put together. It was clever and the ending was emotive and sad but totally the right ending in terms of the puzzle of the story. Just there could have been a little more suspense generated throughout but an entertaining read nonetheless and I liked Mary as a character too so it was nice to meet her.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Clemen

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A Case Of Identity is about a woman, Miss Mary Sutherland, pleading for help to Sherlock Holmes to solve the case about of the disappearance of her engaged partner, Mr. Hosmer Angel. But, Mr. Hosmer Angel was actually Miss Mary Sutherland's stepfather, James Windibank which has deceived her into falling in love with someone he disguised as. Overall, this short story was interesting, and mysterious, as Holmes kept focusing on small details, which he used to solve the case. This short story, i rec A Case Of Identity is about a woman, Miss Mary Sutherland, pleading for help to Sherlock Holmes to solve the case about of the disappearance of her engaged partner, Mr. Hosmer Angel. But, Mr. Hosmer Angel was actually Miss Mary Sutherland's stepfather, James Windibank which has deceived her into falling in love with someone he disguised as. Overall, this short story was interesting, and mysterious, as Holmes kept focusing on small details, which he used to solve the case. This short story, i recommend, be read by people the age of 14 and above, as there is some old words which are not used in present day.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie Gleckler Clark

    One pleasant young lady swept off her feet by a Mr Hosmer Angel. Her step-father fore bides her from seeing Mr. Angel. So she is left standing sat the alter on her wedding day wheN her betrothed vanishes. Will Sherlock be able to solve the puzzle. But of course. I just love reading Sherlock Holmes mysteries.

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