All The Devil’s Foot

The Adventure of the Devil’s Foot

Watson dates the story to March 1897. It was published in the Stand Magazine in December 1910 and is one of the eight stories making up the compendium His Last Bow. Holmes and Watson have gone to Cornwall so Holmes can recuperate following a warning from a Harley Street specialist that unless he does so there is the potential for him to have a complete breakdown. They stay in a secluded cottage overlooking Mounts Bay. One morning they are visited by the local vicar of Tredannick Wollas, Reverend Roundhay and his lodger, Mortimer Tregennis. Tregennis had spent the previous evening with his two brothers and sister at their home at Tredannick Wartha, situated near an old stone cross on the moor. That morning the doctor had been called. The sister is dead and both brothers have been rendered insane, all with looks of horror on their faces. The next morning Mortimer Tregennis is found dead at the vicarage displaying the same symptoms. Holmes and Watson put their own lives in danger to solve the mystery which also involves the renowned African explorer and Lion-hunter Dr Leon Sterndale.

Although it has been claimed that the events take place on the Land’s End peninsula, Watson’s use of real and barely concealed placenames pinpoint the events to the Lizard Peninsula. This is also supported by Arthur Conan Doyle and his wife spending two weeks on holiday at the Poldhu Hotel on the Lizard Peninsula in March 1910.