|The Red-Headed League|
"The Red-Headed League" is one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It is the second of the twelve stories collected as The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. It was first published in The Strand Magazine in August 1891.
In 1890, a pawnbroker named Jabez Wilson comes to Holmes and Watson and tells them about a very strange business with a group of red-headed men called "The Red-Headed League."
Set in 1890, a London pawn broker named Jabez Wilson comes to Sherlock Holmes and Doctor John Watson. He tells them that his young assistant Vincent Spaulding, some weeks ago had shown him and urged him to respond to a want-ad offering work to only red-headed male applicants. The next morning, Wilson had waited in a long line of fellow red-headed men, was interviewed and was the only applicant hired. He was well-paid for several weeks of doing obviously useless clerical busywork in a lonely office, but finally one morning a sign on the locked office door inexplicably announced: "THE RED-HEADED LEAGUE IS DISSOLVED." Wilson then went to the landlord, who said that he'd never heard of Duncan Ross, the person who formed the league. After Holmes client leaves (having given the detective a description of Spaulding), he decides to see Spaulding, whom Holmes notices has dirty trouser knees. Holmes then taps on the pavement in front of the pawnbroker's shop. With the case solved, he calls Inspector Jones and Mr. Merryweather. The four confront the thieves, John Clay and his helper Archie (they were Spaulding and Ross in disguise), who contrived the Red-Headed League rigmarole just to keep Wilson out of his shop while they did digging in the basement in order to break into the bank vault next door. Back at Baker Street, Holmes explains to Watson how he solved the case.