Appeared in The Strand in 1891, also published in The Adventures
of Sherlock Holmes.
A young man seeks the aid of Sherlock Holmes after both his
uncle and father has died under mysterious circumstances. It
appears both men recieved an envelope signed 'KKK' and containing
five dried orange pips shortly before death. Holmes
decides that the young man is in danger an promises to help
him, but he is killed later the same night. After some detective work
Holmes figures out the names of the perpetrators but is
unable to catch them since the ship they're on sinks in the middle of
In my opinion this is a rather weak story, mainly because Holmes'
passiveness. He could easily have avoided the death of his
client by accomanying him home, but still sends him away
on his own. He doesn't do much sleuthing in this story apart
from identifying the KKK as the Ku Klux Klan (which comes as no
surprise for a modern reader, but maybe things were different back
then) and frankly does not influence the events at all, even though he
is supposed to be the main character.
The story ends rather abruptly, just when one expects the
hunt for the criminals to begin, with a deus ex machina; this is
never a Good Thing in a short story.