"The Adventure of the Resident Patient" is a Sherlock Holmes short story by the British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It first appeared in print in the issue of The Strand magazine for August 1893. It was published again in December of the same year as part of the anthology The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.
The text of the story that appears in the first British edition of The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes is slightly different from that which was published in The Strand. When the story was republished in the anthology, a section was added in which Holmes appears to read Dr. Watson's mind, using a technique which Watson thought was impossible when he came across it in a story by Edgar Allan Poe. The section originally appeared in the short story "The Adventure of the Cardboard Box", which was omitted from The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes due to its content. The section does not have any bearing on the plot of either story.
The title character of "The Adventure of the Resident Patient" is a man named Blessington who shares a home with a doctor named Percy Trevelyan. Blessington seeks help from the brilliant consulting detective Sherlock Holmes after discovering that intruders have been in his bedroom. Holmes quickly realizes that Blessington is lying to him and refuses to help the man until he tells him the truth.
The story has been adapted for radio and television.
One evening in October, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson return to their Baker Street apartment to find that a client is waiting to see Holmes. The client is a doctor named Percy Trevelyan. He has come on behalf of his resident patient, a man named Blessington.
During his student days, Percy Trevelyan was recognized as having great potential by his professors. He won a prize for a paper which he wrote and hoped to become a well-known specialist in catalepsy. To become an acknowledged specialist, a doctor needs to set up a practice in the West End of London. This requires renting and furnishing a house, employing servants and keeping a smart-looking horse and carriage. Percy Trevelyan did not have enough money to do any of those things. A few years ago, Dr. Trevelyan was approached by Blessington, a man whom he had never seen before. Blessington offered to help Trevelyan set up a practice. He said that he would rent and furnish a house in the West End for Trevelyan, pay the servants and even give trevelyan some pocket money. In return, Blessington would take three quarters of all the money which Trevelyan made and stay with him as a resident patient. Blessington said that he required constsnt medical supervision due to his weak heart.
A few weeks ago, Blessington, in an extremely agitated state, told Dr. Trevelyan that there had been a burglary. Therefore, they should put stronger locks on the windows and doors. Blessington was so troubled that, for a while, he stopped taking his usual pre-dinner walk. After a few days, Blessington calmed down and returned to his normal routine.
Two days before he went to see Holmes, Dr. Trevelyan received a letter. According to the letter, a Russian nobleman suffering from catalepsy would come to consult Dr. Trevelyan at 6:15pm the next day. The Russian nobleman arrived accompanied by a muscular young man, who said that he was the man's son. The young man said that he would wait outside while his father consulted Dr. Trevelyan. During the consultation, the Russian appeared to suffer from a cataleptic attack, he fell silent and stared ahead blankly. Dr. Trevelyan went to get some gas to revive his patient. When he returned, the Russian nobleman and his son had both gone. Trevelyan's page, a boy who had not been in his service for very long, claimed that he had not seen anyone leave. Blessington returned home from his pre-dinner walk shortly afterwards.
The following evening, the Russian nobleman and his son returned. The old man said that, when he came to and found himself in a strange room, he walked out. The young man said that he left with his father because he assumed that the consultation was over. The young man waited outside while Dr. Trevelyan spoke with his father for thirty minutes. Again, Blessington returned home from his pre-dinner walk shortly after the men left. Soon afterwards, Blessington began to complain that an intruder had been in his room. Nothing had been moved or taken but Blessington pointed out large footprints on the carpet. At Blessington's request, Dr. Trevelyan went to see Holmes.
Holmes and Watson go back to Trevelyan's house with him at once. As they approach blessington's room, Blessington turns off the light and shouts out that he has a gun. Dr. trevelyan has to reassure Blessington that the two men who are with him mean no harm. Blessington tells holmes that he is worried about intruders because he keeps all of his money in a box in his room. He says that he does this because he does not trust banks. He claims not to know the true identities of the two men who pretended to be a Russian nobleman and his son. Holmes says that Blessington is lying and that he will not help the man until he tells the truth.
On the way back to Baker Street, Holmes says that the two men were looking for Blessington. The old man only pretended to have catalepsy. Holmes knows that the condition is not difficult to fake. He did not mention that in front of Dr. Trevelyan to avoid embarrassing him.
The following morning, Holmes receives a hastily written note from Dr. Trevelyan which tells him to come over immediately. When Holmes and Watson arrive, Trevelyan says that Blessington has committed suicide by hanging himself from a hook in his room. It is explained that Blessington kept a rope under his bed so that he could escape out of the window in case of fire. Holmes and Watson go up to Blessington's room and find Inspector Lanner of Scotland Yard there. Inspector Lanner says that Blessington appears to have killed himself at five o'clock in the morning, which is normal for a suicide. He adds that some screws and a screwdriver were found on Blessington's wash-hand stand and that he smoked four cigars during the night.Holmes notices that the four cigar ends are from a different type of cigar to the one which is left in Blessington's cigar case. He also sees signs that the four cigars were smoked by two different men. Holmes announces that Blessington's death was not suicide but murder.
From footprints on the stairs, Holmes realizes that three men entered the house, the men who pretended to be the Russian and his son and a third unknown one. He reasons that they must have been let in by an accomplice in the house, probably the page. They obviously picked the lock on Blessington's bedroom door. They probably gagged him before holding a mock trial. The men smoked the cigars while holding the mock trial. The screws and screwdriver suggest that they brought the materials to make a simple gallows with them. However, when they saw the hook, they realized that they did not need to build a gallows. After the men killed Blessington, the page let them out and bolted the door again.
Sherlock Holmes goes off to continue his investigation. He tells Dr. Trevelyan and Inspector Lanner to come to see him at Baker Street that afternoon.
Holmes says that Blessington's real name was Sutton. He was a member of a gang of five bank robbers who were led by a man named Cartwright. During one of their robberies, a man was killed. The five bank robbers were arrested. Sutton turned informer. On his evidence, Cartwright was hanged and the other three men were sentenced to fifteen years in prison. The three men were released early. Blessington became nervous when he found out they were free. he invented the story about a burglary in the area to try to convince Trevelyan to improve the security of their home.
Trevelyan's page is arrested but is released due to a lack of evidence against him. Blessington's three murderers are never seen again. They are believed to have been on a ship which samk off the coast of Portugal.
"The Adventure of the Resident Patient" was faithfully adapted as the eleventh episode of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, the first of four Granada TV series starring Jeremy Brett as Holmes. The episode first aired on the ITV network in the United Kingdom on September 15, 1985. A difference from the original short story is that the men who pretend to be a Russian nobleman and his son only come to the home of Dr. Trevelyan once, not twice, before Blessington's murder.
A radio adaptation of "The Adventure of the Resident Patient", starring Clive Merrison as Holmes and Michael Williams as Watson, was first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in the United Kingdom on October 14, 1992. The fake Russian nobleman and his son, nameless in the original story, are named as Count Orlowsky and Stefan Orlowsky in the radio adaptation. Instead of the page, the murderers' accomplice inside Dr. Trevelyan's house is a Portuguese maid named Maria. The third of the three murderers is a Portuguese man named Almeida.