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Essay Samples > Book Review > The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb
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The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb

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This is among one of the two incidents in the collection of Dr. Watson that he launched to Sherlock Holmes. The narrative, generally involves a young hydraulic engineer, Mr. Hatherley, who came to seek medical treatment of his cut thumb from Dr. Watson. Dr. Watson then accompanied him to Sherlock Holmes to assist him shed some light on the horrendous incident that led to his injury and get the architects.

Mr. Hatherley had been visited in his place of work by an elderly, dubious man who recognized himself as Lysander Colonel Stark, who volunteered to offer Hatherley a job opportunity where he was to assess and examine a hydraulic machine which was used to compress and squeeze fuller’s earth into bricks as explained by stark (Arthur Conan, 2000). However stark warned Mr.Hatherley not to tell anyone about the well-paid job, which would pay approximately 50 guineas an equivalent of 4000 GBP today. Hatherley felt obligated to take this assignment, despite his uncertainties, as his business was recently established and he had very little work.

Upon arrival of Mr. Hatherley, at the train station he is met by Stark Colonel who drove him a great distance towards the house where he would examine the hydraulic machine. (A trifling detail is that the house was really too near the train station, and the wagon drove around in loops in order to camouflage the house's position from Hatherley). (Arthur Conan, 2000).   Hatherley being excited by the pay of 50 guineas, he does not become scared even when a lady at the house notifies him to run away. He is then shown the press machine and makes his commendations to the required repairs. Then, he hastily decides to scrutinize the machine very closely, establishing that it is definitely not used for compressing fuller's earth.

Hatherley intently escapes getting compressed to death when the press machine is turned on, and is enforced to jump through a window to save his life, in the course of jumping his thumb is injured . Holmes then makes sense of events, identifying Stark and his friend team as counterfeiters, but later police and Walton arrives too late when the house has been set a blaze and the architects of the event have fled. Ironically, the machine was smashed when Hatherley's lamp was compressed inside it, setting the machine on a blaze and tarnishing the criminals' operation.

In this story the lack of ethics of conduct is evident. Mr. Hatherley who is a competent and a responsible young engineer goes contrary to the work ethics on the matter of engineer’s performance services which state that, engineers must accept assignments and assume responsibility for organization of the whole project and they must involve themselves in signing a contract before beginning any work in engineering (National society of professional engineers, 2007).

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Related essays

  1. Roth Philip’s Book “Everyman”
  2. “Man’s Search for Meaning”
  3. “The Scarlet Letter”
  4. Thoreau and Emerson
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