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| Charles Fitzsimmons |
|Behind the scenes|
|Appearances||The House of Silk|
The Reverend Charles Fitzsimmons is the main villain of The House of Silk. He ran the Chorley Grange School for Boys near Roxeth, a charitable institution founded to educate poor orphans from London. Although he appeared outwardly respectable, secretly he also operated the school as a brothel for wealthy pederasts called "The House of Silk" and pimped out his students.
Sherlock Holmes and John Watson uncovered the scandal through investigating the murder of Ross Dixon, one of Holmes' Baker Street Irregulars who had been assisting with a case for Holmes' client Edmund Carstairs. Fitzsimmons arranged Ross' murder because the boy, a runaway student from Chorley Grange, had recognized Carstairs as one of Fitzsimmons' clients and threatened to expose him. In order to take Holmes off the case, Fitzsimmons also killed Ross' sister, and with the assistance of the corrupt Inspector Harriman blackmailed several clients into acting as witnesses to accuse Holmes of the murder. Luckily, Holmes managed to escape from prison and convinced Inspector Lestrade to raid the school, thus revealing Fitzsimmon's depravity.
Fitzsimmons is arrested at the conclusion of the story, but brags that because of his connections and knowledge he will never go to trial. He is proved ironically right when he is killed in prison by falling down a flight of stairs, and Watson speculates it may have been done intentionally to silence him. His wife, Joanna, goes mad after his death and is locked away in an asylum in the farm north.
Fitzsimmons is described as a short, fat man of about forty years of age. He was almost entirely bald, and frequently wore dark clerical clothing.
- Fitzsimmon's school, Chorley Grange, is a thinly-veiled reference to Orley Farm School in Roxeth, which Anthony Horowitz attended. Horowitz despised the school, and referred to his experience as "unbelievably brutal", with teachers who were "sadists, perverts or alcoholics - and sometimes all three."