(Pic 371) H 177 (Conan Doyle MS) 1

The opening page of the 34pp autograph manuscript of Arthur Conan Doyle’s ‘The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter' sold for $280,000 (£236,090) at Heritage.

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It was offered in a Heritage (25/20/15% buyer’s premium) auction that ended on July 17.

What it made when first offered in London, at Christie’s in 1964, I cannot tell, but the saleroom noted that it was bought on that occasion by the writer’s son, Adrian Conan Doyle. It next came to auction in 1982, again at Christie’s, when the selling price was £14,500.

This was the tale that first introduced readers to Sherlock’s brother, Mycroft, and the Heritage catalogue entry quotes from the great detective’s response when Dr Watson expresses surprise at his friend’s apparent claim that his brother was his superior in the matter of investigative skills.

“You wonder why it is that Mycroft does not use his powers for detective work. He is incapable of it …I said that he was my superior in observation and deduction.

“If the art of the detective began and ended in reasoning from an armchair my brother would be the greatest criminal agent that ever lived. But he has no ambition and no energy. He will not even go out of his way to verify his own solutions and would rather be considered wrong than take the trouble to prove himself right…”