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| Sir James Damery |
|Behind the scenes|
|Appearances||"The Adventure of the Illustrious Client"|
Colonel Sir James Damery was a British officer and society man. Naturally diplomatic, he had a reputation in society as a mediator of the utmost discretion in delicate cases. He acted in this capacity for an unnamed client to seek Sherlock Holmes' help preventing the marriage of Violet de Merville to Baron Adelbert Gruner.
In the fall of 1902, Sir James was approached by an unnamed figure who asked him to procure the services of Sherlock Holmes regarding a sensitive matter. The issue at stake was the impending marriage of Miss Violet de Merville, a lady of society, to the Austrian baron Adelbert Gruner. Gruner's past worried the client: he had been accused of the murder of his previous wife, who had died in an apparent accident at the Splügen Pass in Switzerland, although his trial in Prague ended with his acquittal due to a technicality and the suspicious death of a witness. Moreover, his reputation for debauchery was well-known; nevertheless, he had managed to charm Miss de Merville into seemingly unbreakable love. Sir James accepted the assignment, along with the condition that he must not reveal his employer's name.
Sir James visited Holmes and John Watson at 221B Baker Street, where he laid out the situation for the detective and stressed the importance of the case. Holmes was unsurprised to be brought a case centered on Gruner, familiar as he was with the Prague affair and Gruner's recent arrival in England. Though Holmes was initially wary of accepting a case not knowing the identity of his true client, Sir James managed to convince him to listen to his explanation of the situation. After hearing the facts Holmes declared himself intrigued, and decided to take the case. Holmes also agreed to not trace his client, after at first erroneously assuming it must be Violet's father, General de Merville.
Following Baron Gruner's attack on Holmes, Sir James loaned Holmes and Watson a Ming dynasty eggshell porcelain saucer from his client's collection. Holmes uses this as part of his plot to gain entrance to Gruner's house by having Watson pose as a porcelain collector interested in selling a set.
Following the conclusion of the case Sir James returned to Baker Street to collect Gruner's journal. He initially considered it unnecessary given the extent of Gruner's injuries following Kitty Winter's attack, but Holmes assured him that given Miss de Merville's devotion she would merely consider him a martyr. It was necessary to destroy his moral standing rather than his physical appearance. Sir James then left in his carriage, but not before Watson, seeing the armorial crest on the door, discovers the identity of his employer.