A handwritten manuscript of one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous Sherlock Holmes stories, “The Adventure of the Dancing Men”, is to be sold at auction in Dallas, Texas next month.
The story was written in 1903 for Strand Magazine, a decade after Doyle’s first two Holmes novellas were published to enthusiastic reviews.
It is one of 13 stories published in the cycle “The Return of Sherlock Holmes” and one of only two in which his clients die after seeking the detective’s help.
The hand-written manuscript includes amendments made by Conan Doyle as well as the original text, laying bare how the plot developed.
It also includes original drawings by Doyle of the dancing men cipher, an idea which came to the author after staying at the Hill House Hotel in Norfolk.
The manuscript is expected to fetch more than $500,000 (£350,000) when it is offered for sale by Heritage Auctions on April 18.
According to Randall Stock, a leading authority on Holmes, the idea originated when he signed a woman’s autograph book which contained drawings by two children, Gilbert John Cubitt and Edith Alice Cubitt.
He uses the children’s surname for Holmes’s client in the story.
The plot centres around a series of messages containing the stick figures that arrive at the home of Hilton Cubitt and his American wife, Elsie Patrick.
While Holmes endeavours to decipher the code and determine the source of the notes, both Cubitt and Patrick are shot — Cubitt fatally.
Doyle donated the manuscript to a 1918 auction on behalf of the Red Cross. It was last sold at auction 90 years ago.
The current owner was given the manuscript by her father, a book dealer in Texas.
The manuscript will be on display at Heritage Auctions’ New York offices located at 445 Park Avenue from April 9 until April 12.
The dancing men story inspired the second episode of the first BBC Sherlock series, where it was entitled “The Blind Banker”.
Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/03/30/conan-doyles-handwritten-manuscript-famous-sherlock-holmes-story/