Slaves of Silver


Wolfe's comments from the Introduction to Storeys from the Old Hotel

"'Slaves of Silver' is the Sherlock Holmes pastiche all of us seem compelled to do. Its sequel ['The Rubber Bend'] brings in -- as a robot -- my favorite private eye, Nero Wolfe. At one time I dreamt of a whole series of these; little does the world realize just how narrow its escapes have been."


Set in a future society where intelligent robots live alongside humans, the narrator, Doctor Westing, becomes first the flatmate and then the investigatory assistant of March B Street, consulting engineer and detective. Temporarily deactivated robots, between jobs, are being stolen from the city. Street solves the case via a succession of ingenious and unlikely deductions.


  • Doctor Westing's name is close enough to Doctor Watson's. I'm not sure what "March" refers to, but I'd guess the "B" in his name is "Baker." So, March Baker Street?
  • It may be significant that "The Adventure of the Engineer's Thumb" was first published in March 1892, in The Strand magazine.
  • The overall tone of the story is more redolent of pulp SF than of the Sherlock Holmes stories themselves.

Unresolved Questions

  • What does the story title refer to? Westing's mention of it in the text seems to have a heavy resonance.
    Some have suggested it is meant to sound like "Silver Blaze." The reader might be expected to turn Westing's awkward phrasing to the more euphonious "Silver Slaves."

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