Dr. Culverton Smith is the main antagonist of the short story The Adventure of the Dying Detective by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He is called by John Watson to see the seemingly terminally ill Sherlock Holmes, but is revealed to have been behind an attempt on Holmes's life.
The Adventure of the Dying Detective
The famous detective Sherlock Holmes is infected with a highly infectious tropical disease and requests that his friend, Dr. John Watson, ask Mr. Culverton Smith of 13 Lower Burke Street to come and talk to him, but must return before Smith arrives. Watson arrives at Smith's home and forces Smith to see him before explaining that Holmes sent him. Smith refused to see him before, but now that he knows Holmes wants to see him he agrees to come.
Watson returns to Baker Street before Smith's arrival and hides behind a screen at Holmes's behest. When Smith arrives, he tells Holmes that he can be frank as they are alone. During the following conversation, it is revealed that Holmes is suffering from the same illness that killed Smith's cousin Victor. Smith then sees a little ivory box on Holmes's table and confesses that he had sent it to Holmes. It contained a spring covered in poison, which had cut Holmes when he opened the box and which was also used to kill Victor. Holmes's last request is that Smith turn the gas light up to full. He obliges, having resolved to stay and watch Holmes die, so that Holmes will never tell anyone that he killed Victor.
However, Smith's arrogance was his undoing, as the gas light was a signal for a police officer to burst in and Watson reveals himself from behind the screen, having heard Smith's confession. The officer then arrests Smith for murder at the behest of Holmes, who faked being ill to trick Smith into confessing.
- Main article: Culverton Smith