Suspense is also created in Silver Blaze. This originally comes from not knowing who committed the crime. Holmes playing mind games with the colonel creates tension, we want to know what it is that Holmes knows and is so enjoying in keeping from him. The twist in the end of Silver Blaze is also very characteristic of detective stories. In Silver Blaze, we learn that the horse killed Straker and then Silas Brown hid the horse. We find that the colonel did not recognise his horse as Brown painted his famous white streak.
There are two main suspects in Silver Blaze. These are Fitzroy Simpson and Silas Brown. Both of these men have strong evidence pointing towards them. Fitzroy Simpson is a suspect. He would be interested in the disappearance of Silver Blaze as he worked doing ‘a little quiet and genteel book-making in the sporting clubs of London’. When they looked at Simpson’s betting book they found that bets of up to five thousand pounds ‘had been registered by him against the favourite’ Silver Blaze. This gives him a motive.
Fitzroy Simpson didn’t want Silver Blaze to enter the race as if the horse won; he would loose all the money. There are many clues which point awards Simpson. We are told that he approached the maid after she had taken the stable boy his supper. The maid and the stable boy saw him so he could possibly have been at the scene of the crime. He tries to bribe the stable boy by saying: ‘You’ve two horses in for the Wessex cup – Silver Blaze and Bayard. Let me have the straight tip and you wont be the loser. ‘ Simpson is up to no good.
He wants to find out about Silver Blaze, and see how likely he is to win the race. When he saw the maid he ‘carried a heavy stick with a knob to it’. John Straker was killed as ‘his head had been shattered by a savage blow from some heavy weapon’. This injury could have been caused by him being hit by the stick Simpson was carrying. When the boys found Straker’s body, he held a cravat in his left hand ‘which was recognised by the maid as having been worn’ by the stranger who had visited the stables, this stranger was Fitzroy Simpson.
Hunter, the stable boy who was drugged, is also sure that the cravat belonged to Simpson. This suggests that he dropped his cravat when killing Straker. Finally, we are told that Simpson’s ‘wet clothing showed that he had been out in the storm of the night before’. If he committed the crime, he must have been out in the storm. However, some evidence also tells us that Simpson cannot be guilty. Curried mutton was served as the meal in the house. This is important, as the stable boy was drugged with powdered opium.
Holmes says ‘a curry was exactly the medium which would disguise this taste’, this taste being the powdered opium with which the meal was drugged. Simpson could not have known that curry would be served so he cannot be guilty. Silas Brown is the other suspect in the case. He would be interested in the disappearance of Silver Blaze because he had big bets on Desborough, the second favourite, and so if Silver Blaze was out of the way Desborough would be more likely to win.
Holmes found the tracks of a horse and man leading back to the Capleton stables. It later emerges that brown tried to hide the horse until the race was over. The story says ‘A man’s track was visible beside the horses’. Silas Brown’s boots exactly match the impressions on the track. Holmes says ‘you observed the peculiarly square toes in the impressions, and that his [Silas Brown’s] own boots exactly correspond to them. ‘. Holmes discovers that brown led the horse back to his stables to hide him.