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His Last Bow, published in September 1917, is one of 56 short stories about Sherlock Holmes written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It was first published in Strand Magazine, and, amongst six other stories, was collected in an anthology titled His Last Bow, also called Reminiscensces of Mr. Sherlock Holmes. The narration is in the third person, not, as usual, by Dr. Watson, and it is a spy story, rather than a murder mystery. Due to its portrayal of British and German spies, its publication during the First World War and its patriotic themes, the story has been interpreted as a propaganda tool intended to boost morale for British readers.
On the eve of the First World War, Von Bork, a German agent, is getting ready to leave England with his vast collection of intelligence, gathered over a four-year period. His wife and household have already left Harwich for Flushing in the Netherlands, leaving only him and his elderly housekeeper. Von Bork's diplomat friend, Baron von Herling, is impressed by his collection of vital British military secrets, and tells Von Bork that he will be received in Berlin as a hero. Von Bork indicates that he is waiting for one last transaction with his Irish-American informant, Altamont, who will arrive shortly with a rich treasure: naval signals.
Von Herling leaves. Von Bork then hears another car arriving. It is Altamont. By this time, the old housekeeper has turned her light off and retired. Altamont shows him a package.