Quote of the Day: A Gem, Adventure & A Christmas Day

“It’s a bonny thing,” said he. “Just see how it glints and sparkles. Of course, it is a nucleus and focus of crime. Every good stone is. They are the devil’s pet baits.”

The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle

Origins of the Quote

“The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle” is one of the 56 short story cases of Sherlock Holmes. Authored by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, it’s the seventh of twelve in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

Each of the stories has a distinctive feel and is related in an inimitable style. This is a Christmas special as it evokes a sense of adventure and excitement. It is a story where things eventually work out. The innocent are free – and the lost gem is returned. This story was first published in The Strand Magazine in January 1892.

On Christmas Eve, Sherlock Holmes and Dr John Watson try to determine how a fabulous blue carbuncle found its way down the gullet of a goose. It is an exciting tale of discovery and a great piece of armchair detection. As even before Holmes is shown getting off his chair – he has determined the rudiments of the case. Conan Doyle’s story is fast-paced but has the readers hanging on the sentences.

This quote shines in the story as Holmes, and through his Doyle lets out a great truth about avarice and crime.

The Person Behind the Words

Arthur Conan Doyle was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1859. Doyle’s studied at a Jesuit boarding school, according to the wishes of his family. Later he entered the University of Edinburgh Medical School in 1881.

One of his professors at the university was Dr. Joseph Bell, who became the model for Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. Dr. Bell was instrumental in encouraging Doyle to use his innate powers of observation to help him deduce the nature of a patient’s affliction.

While in school, Conan Doyle began writing to earn a little extra money. The first – Mystery of the Sasassa Valley was published in the Chambers’ Journal in 1879.

When his father fell ill, a young Doyle was forced to become the breadwinner for the family. He worked for a time as a ship’s doctor, then opened his own medical practice near Portsmouth. In his spare time, he did more writing.

His third attempt at a novel was ‘A Study in Scarlet’,. This was the story that introduced Sherlock Holmes to the world. ‘Study’ was published in Mrs. Beeton’s Christmas annual, in 1887. Encouraged by publishers to keep writing, Conan Doyle wrote his second Holmes mystery, The Sign of the Four, in 1890.

So successful were these novels, and the stories which followed, that Doyle gave up his medical practice to devote himself to writing full time. It was his true calling as well, he has left an unmatched legacy behind,

Some Final Thoughts

The genre of detective fiction is immensely popular. It is a compelling read. Conan Doyle’s writing had the peculiar ability to allow the reader to pause and take in all the sights and sounds that he is describing. All the while he embellishes his plot. And just when the reader breathes, the plot thickens.

A master storyteller he weaves the reader into the story without them knowing and understanding that they are as much part of the story as the protagonists. He likes to carry the readers with him. This is how these stories have been popular through generations.


Check out our Quote of the Day archive where we bring you quotes hand picked by me, Divvya Nirula. Sharing the stories, people, moments behind the inspiration and thought provoking words.