While convalescing in Cornwall, a depressive Holmes investigates the apparent death from apoplexy of a local woman and the unexplained sudden dementia of her two brothers.



(by) (as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), (developed for television by) | 1 more credit »


Episode complete credited cast:
Denis Quilley ...
Michael Aitkens ...
Reverend Roundhay
Freda Dowie ...
Peter Shaw ...
Christine Collins ...
John Saunders ...
Dr Richards
Frank Moorey ...
Police Inspector


Suffering from depression and nearing a breakdown, Holmes is accompanied by Watson to Cornwall for rest and recuperation as they tour the area's scenic coastal cliffs and Neolithic sites. The tranquility is interrupted by news that an unexplained tragedy has suddenly struck three siblings while playing cards in their home. The sister has apparently died from apoplexy, and her two brothers are suffering from acute dementia with expressions of fear and horror frozen on their faces. Showing great will power, Holmes discards his cocaine hypodermic and scrutinizes those involved in the case: an estranged third brother, the local vicar, and an enigmatic big game hunter and African explorer. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery





Release Date:

6 April 1988 (UK)  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


After being rescued by Watson, Holmes calls watson by his first name, "John". This is the first time in the entire literary, cinematic and televised history of Sherlock Holmes that one of the two main characters addresses the other by his first name; in all other instances, the surname ("Holmes", "Watson") is used. See more »


[first lines]
Dr Watson: Almost there.
Sherlock Holmes: What does a Harley Street specialist know about my health?
Dr Watson: Listen, Holmes, Dr Moore Agar insists you have a complete rest if you wish to avoid an absolute breakdown. The sea air will do you the world of good.
See more »


Version of Sherlock Holmes: The Devil's Foot (1965) See more »

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User Reviews

Worthy addition to the series
15 January 2007 | by (Germany) – See all my reviews

I suppose I am adding this comment as counterweight to the only other existing comment about this episode of the excellent Granada Holmes series.

While not the best of the series it certainly stands out as one of the better ones and is infinitely better than some other Holmes adaptations we have been subjected to in the past decades. An original and classic Sherlock Holmes story is not so much about a detective solving a murder case. We are not talking whodunnit here. People who are looking for that sort of thing had better look out for the odd Agatha Christie movie. A Holmes story is mostly about atmosphere, be it the foggy, nostalgic, and mysterious atmosphere of Victorian London, or, in this case, the lonesome, mystic and eerie air of the Cornish countryside.

Anyone who is slightly acquainted with the canon of Sherlock Holmes stories will know that all occurrences have a scientific and logical explanation. So there is no reason to dwell unnecessarily long on the possibility of something supernatural happening. Of course the astute viewer will have identified the criminal rather early but contrary to the plots of classic whodunnits some of the best Holmes stories feature a criminal who only appears towards the end of the story and is usually some strange and outlandish character from the victim's past. In a whodunnit we would resent such a solution but in a Holmes story which is mostly about atmosphere we do not.

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