The Veiled Lodger: Yet another story about a murder victim whose death is much less regrettable because he was abusive to his wife. I should start keeping a list of how many Holmes mysteries follow this pattern — I am beginning to wonder whether spousal abuse was to Doyle what debtor's prison was to Dickens. I must admit it makes me like him more.

This story does not make me like Watson, though — where does a medical doctor get off with having (and being unable to hide) such a vile gut reaction to a woman's facial disfigurement? Holmes comes off scarcely better. He's the only one to oppose her suicide wish, which is good (at least compared to the behavior of others present), but to tell her that she should live in order to be an example of patient suffering is sickening.

The Illustrious Client: This turned out to be one of my favorite stories so far! In addition to being yet another one where the villain's primary characteristic is horrible mistreatment of women (as opposed, by the way, to a number of more recent criminals who are shown to be rapists just as a sort of last flourish), the "mystery" is that of finding a way to save the villain's next victim, and his previous victim plays an extremely important role.

I loved Kitty Winter. Holmes couldn't have solved this case without her, but when invited to participate in the final stage of Holmes's plan, she did and then used the opportunity to seize her own revenge. Holmes and Watson do portray her as somewhat hysterical with anger, but they cannot deny that her anger is totally justified.

What clinched the story for me was how it handles the danger of the villain to Kitty Winter. The villain makes it clear to Holmes that if Holmes continues to meddle in the case, his life will be worth little. Since both Holmes and Kitty Winter are openly involved in the attempt to make the next victim perceive the reality of her situation, I was afraid that Holmes and Watson would be sadly shocked to open the paper the next day and read about the "Murderous Attack on Young Woman," and I pre-emptively cursed their lack of thoughtfulness for their assistant. (view spoiler)