Just to clarify, this isn’t about Sherlock Holmes.

Because one encounters all sorts in the path of life, Sir Conan Doyle decided to write about someone who (like it or not) had been universally rejected, beaten, and on occasions stoned by the people he had met.

I’ll explain. A former gang member decides to tell his doctor his tale while in prison. The fact is that he sold his comrades down the river in the trial, which is something that no one in Australia was willing to forgive or forget. Although he was set free, there were hoards outside the prison that kept him captive, blaming him for being a turncoat and yellowbelly and all that and sending his comrades to the grave.

No matter that some evil men were in jail and were getting what the law thought they deserved, the people he met saw his betrayal as worse than the crime the gang had committed (robbery, by the way).

This man tries it all, whether sailing away, moving to London, going undercover… but his story pursues him wherever he goes, until he is forced (essentially) to go back to jail. Although the story is short, it is wrought with bad times which truly make you feel for the man (when he was kicked off a boat, swam to shore, and was almost hung by the local residents who had heard about him from people hollering from the ship).

Conclusion: No good dead goes unpunished (even those good deeds superseded by bad deeds)

This book review is part of my 1000 books before 30 challenge. Want to find out more? Read about the why and the wherefore here!

Creative commons image courtesy of peppergrasss

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