"The Adventure of the Stockbrokers Clerk"

The Adventure of the Stockbroker's Clerk 04

Published in:1893
Set in:1889
Client:Hall Pycroft
Villain: Beddington

"The Adventure of the Stockbroker's Clerk" is one of the most popular Sherlock Holmes short story adventures written by Sir Authur Conan Doyle. It was collected in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.

Brief Summary: In 1890, a clerk named Hall Pycroft comes to Holmes and Watson with suspicions concerning a company that has offered him a very well-paid job."


A young clerk, Hall Pycroft, consults Holmes with his suspicions concerning a company that has offered him a very well-paid job. Holmes, Watson and Pycroft travel by train to Birmingham, where the job is initially to be based, and Pycroft explains that he was recently made redundant from a stockbroking house. He eventually secured a new post with another stockbrokers, Mawson and Williams, in Lombard Street in the City. Before taking up the job, he was approached by Arthur Pinner, who offered him a managership with a newly established hardware distribution company, to be based in France. Pycroft is sent to Birmingham to meet Pinner's brother and company co-founder, Harry Pinner. He is offered a very well-paid post with one hundred pounds in advance, and is asked to sign a document accepting the post, and is also asked not to send a letter of resignation to his would-be employers — ones who allegedly bet Pinner that he would reject Pycroft's offer, Pinner betting in response that they wouldn't hear from Pycroft again. He immediately commences his duties, but he is concerned about the unprofessional aspects of the business and their sparse offices, as well as the suspicious fact that the two Pinners have a distinctive gold filling in their teeth in the same place, suggesting that they might be the same man.

When the trio arrive at the Birmingham office, with Holmes and Watson presented as fellow job-seekers, Pinner is reading a London newspaper and is clearly in shock. As they leave, he attempts suicide, but Watson is able to revive him. Holmes concludes that the story of the brothers is a fabrication and that there is only one 'Pinner'; lacking enough men to make their attempt to deceive Pycroft convincing, Pinner had attempted to pose as his brother to make up the numbers in the hope that Pycroft would dismiss the similarities between them as a family resemblance. He further deduces that the whole point of the exercise was to obtain Pycroft's signature so that a 'fake' Pycroft may be employed at Mawsons; hence why they asked him to not officially resign his post. Mawsons was keeping a vast stock of valuable securities, and 'Pycroft' was to be a safebreaker.

From the newspaper, they learn that Mawson & Williams have suffered an attempted robbery, but that the criminal had been captured, although the weekend watchman has been murdered. Beddington, the forger and cracksman, was the miscreant, masquerading as Pycroft, and his brother was masquerading as Pinner. Nearly a hundred thousand pounds' worth of American railway bonds, with a large amount of scrip in mines and other companies, was taken, but recovered by the police from the would-be thief.

As the police are called to arrest 'Pinner', Holmes observes that "Human nature is a strange mixture, Watson. You see that even a villain and murderer can inspire such affection that his brother turns to suicide when he learns that his neck is forfeited".

See also

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