‘Dark was falling from a dull and humid sky, and the lamps were beginning to struggle for brightness in Piccadilly, when the opal of Carmalovitch was first put into my hand . . .’
Written in an engaging style similar to that of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (author of the ‘Sherlock Holmes’ mysteries), these stories feature the entertaining experiences of a jeweller with a knack for solving mysteries, which he encounters as part of his unique position as a friend both to the wealthy and to the police. They will be of interest to readers who relish a certain Victorian type of atmosphere and plot that includes a fair amount of character study - in addition to being entertaining, they offer instructive food for thought regarding how greed and vanity affect human character.
About The Book
Six of the stories from the original collection are included here. They have been lightly edited (a few out-of-date terms have been replaced for clarity, such as ‘crowd’ in place of ‘crush’).
Following each story are four possible assignments, which focus on descriptive writing and research. The student may complete as many of them as the teacher sees fit. The themes of the assignments are: a creative description of a place or concept; a creative character description; a long writing assignment involving retelling part or all of the story; and a research assignment related to the story (on the topics of jewellery, safes, precious stones, etc.).
The student may also find themselves inspired to write their own mystery, in which case they can refer to Pemberton’s stories (or the plot summaries) for inspiration, their own completed assignments for ready character descriptions and accurate research, and the tips in the ‘Write Your Own Mystery, Tips and Worksheets’ appendix for guidelines and worksheets to help with planning and writing!
The Opal of Carmalovitch: The narrator is visited by a mysterious Russian who wishes to sell an opal of remarkable value. The stone’s origins are unknown, and it becomes evident that a strange force links the stone and its owner in an almost unbelievable manner.
The Comedy of the Jewelled Links: Lord Harningham is wealthy but uncaring man who is determined that his nephew should have none of his fortune upon marriage. The jeweller finally convinces him to purchase an exceptional wedding gift – which Harningham ultimately decides he wants for himself. What he does to procure it ultimately obliges him to part with some of his wealth in order to save his honour and reputation.
The Watch and the Scimitar: The jeweller has made a special trip to Algiers in order to purchase gems and jewellery for his shop. Once there his hired help, an enigmatic Moor, orchestrates a bizarre series of events in which one particularly well-crafted piece of jewellery goes missing and is recovered under exotic circumstances.
The Seven Emeralds: The jeweller is on a fishing trip when he is approached by an odd man who wishes to sell him two emeralds of great value. His suspicious aroused, the jeweller investigates further only to find himself witness to a murder, a death, a further robbery, and years later, an explanation of the whole chain of events.
The Ripening Rubies: Jewels have mysteriously gone missing at several recent London balls. At another such gathering the jeweller observes one of the missing pieces hidden in a most unexpected place. He follows the clue carefully and discovers a circle of criminals working together to make an illegal fortune.
My Lady of the Sapphires: The jeweller hears of a woman who claims to be able to make gold and precious stones. He is curious, despite himself, and agrees to meet her. She proceeds to make sapphires before his very eyes – but are they real?
Note: Recommended for ages 13 and up.