Of the 56 short stories about Sherlock Holmes, “The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone” is, without doubt, the one that is most problematic. Mrs. Baynes is questioning Inspector Baynes about this story at this time:
Mrs. Baynes: Now, tell me Inspector, what did you think of that story, “The Adventure of the Mazarin Stone?”
Inspector: It was published in November, 1921.
Mrs. Baynes: But what did you think of it?
Inspector: It was an adaptation of, or transplant from, Conan Doyle’s play, “The Crown Diamond: An Evening With Sherlock Holmes.” which was performed in February, 1921.
Mrs. Baynes: But, Inspector, how did you like the story?
Inspector: If you would like to read the full script of “Crown Diamond,” you will find it at http://www5a.biglobe.ne.jp/~gegebo/crown_en.htm.
Mrs. Baynes: But the story, Inspector, the story?
Inspector: Not only was “Crown Diamond” transplanted into “Mazarin Stone,” but a part of “The Adventure of the Empty House” had been lifted from that story and grafted onto “Crown Diamond?
Mrs. Baynes: I don’t care about those details. What did you think about it as a story?
Inspector: Also, Mrs. Baynes, it might of interest for you to know that Col. Sebastian Moran was in “Crown Diamond,” but he was replaced, as Holmes’s foe, by a character by the name of Count Negretto Sylvius in “Mazarin Stone.”
Mrs. Baynes: Inspector, you’re not listening to me. How did you like the story? How did you like “The adventure of the Mazarin Stone?”
Inspector: That story, Mrs. Baynes, was not written by Dr. Watson. It is another of the third-person tales.
Mrs. Baynes: What about the story? What are your thoughts about it? What is wrong with you, inspector?
Inspector: Well, I’ll tell you, Mrs. Baynes. Ever since I was a small child --- a young whippersnapper, --- I have been told that “if you can’t say something good about it, you don’t say anything at all.”
Thereafter, a resounding silence reverberated throughout the Baynes household.
(Jody Baker is a Chattanooga attorney, who specializes in Sherlock Holmes lore. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)