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The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton (The Return of Sherlock Holmes, #7)
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General > Holmes' "engagement" to Agatha

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message 1: by J. (new)

J. Rubino (jrubino) | 148 comments Got into a long discussion with some other Holmsians over Holmes', as the plumber Escott, getting engaged to Charles Milverton's maid in order to gain information about Milverton's household.
This is the case where Holmes justifies the burglary of Milverton's house as being morally justifiable though technically criminal. If by "engaged" he means that he asked Agatha to marry him and she said "yes", he's also bending the law - at least opening himself up to a suit for breach of contract. Of course, he justifies it be saying that she has another suitor who will cut Escott, as soon as he's out of the picture.
Still, there were those who were comparing what Holmes did to what James Windibank does to Mary Sutherland. I never really considered the comparison before, but do wonder now whether the poor jilted Agatha did move on, or whether, like Sutherland, she promised to wait for her lover to return.


message 2: by Bruce (new)

Bruce Is that still illegal in the UK?

I remember in the tv film of it, The Master Blackmailer, Agatha (played by Emma Thompson’s sister Sophie) shows Holmes (out of disguise) into Milverton’s study, and she gives a look that she clearly recognizes him, and is thinking, “he lied to me, but I’m not saying anything.”


message 3: by J. (new)

J. Rubino (jrubino) | 148 comments I think suits for breach of promise were eliminated in England in the 1970s century. Back in the day, once there was an engagement - offer and acceptance - women were more likely to sue a man for breaking the engagement because an engagement promised a material benefit - financial support, shelter, protection. Men could sue, but it was rare. I read somewhere that one of the primary Jack the Ripper suspects, the lawyer Druitt, once successfully pled a suit for breach.

I didn't think The Master Blackmailer needed to be expanded to feature length, but I thought Sophie Thompson was terrific as Agatha. In fact, a lot of the supporting cast choices in the series were wonderful.


Mary Pagones J. wrote: "I think suits for breach of promise were eliminated in England in the 1970s century. Back in the day, once there was an engagement - offer and acceptance - women were more likely to sue a man for b..."

Sophie Thompson WAS terrific, although I agree the execution was a bit dodgy. I think a great deal of the humor and cracking pacing of the short story was lost.

I always assumed Agatha said nothing because she HAD revealed critical information about the house that enabled the burglary, something she obviously was loathe to admit to; also, who would believe a servant's word over that of Mr. Sherlock Holmes (a gentleman and her social superior).


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