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The Man Who Collected Women

    by Conan Doyle adapted by Ron Nicol


Drama Play Script: 'The Man Who Collected Women' by Ron Nicol

Based on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s short story 'The Illustrious Client'.

When unscrupulous Baron Adelbert Gruner persuades impressionable heiress Violet de Merville to marry him, Lady Hilda Damery asks Sherlock Holmes for his help in preventing the marriage.

Baron Gruner visits Holmes, warning him that there’s no possibility that Violet’s mind could be changed, and threatening him with severe repercussions if he becomes involved. Sherlock enlists the help of his underworld contact Annie Johnson, who investigates the Baron’s shady background and introduces Holmes to Gruner’s discarded mistress Kitty Winter.

Kitty explains that Gruner keeps a diary containing details of the collection of women he has courted and discarded, whose lives have consequently been devastated. Armed with this information, Sherlock invites Violet de Merville to visit him, and tries to persuade her to reject the Baron’s advances. Despite his and Kitty’s warnings about the many lives Gruner has ruined, Violet refuses to change her mind about the marriage.

Following this fruitless meeting with Violet, Baron Gruner’s threats are carried out. Holmes is assaulted and left for dead, but he exaggerates his injuries, leading Gruner to believe that he’s near death’s door and is being nursed back to health by Doctor Watson’s wife Mary.

The Baron is a Chinese pottery connoisseur, so Sherlock persuades Mary to meet Gruner on the pretext that she has a valuable piece of china which might interest him. While Mary keeps the Baron occupied, Sherlock visits Gruner’s home and steals the diary of conquests. He returns to Baker Street and confronts Gruner. Kitty takes her own drastic revenge by throwing acid in the Baron’s face.

Thanks to the intervention of Sherlock Holmes, the marriage of Violet de Merville and Baron Gruner never takes place.


35 mins approx


(2m, 5f)

  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Mary Watson
  • Lady Hilda Damery
  • Baron Adelbert Gruner
  • Annie Johnson
  • Kitty Winter
  • Violet de Merville

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