After rescuing a friend's husband from an opium den, Dr. Watson is startled to find his friend Sherlock Holmes there, disguised as an old man apparently trying to extract information from the addicts in the den. Holmes is on the scent of a man who is living a double life. This story in unique among Holmes tales in two ways. First, it turns out that no crime has been committed and there is no villain Secondly, and unlike in his other stories, Holmes does not explain how he solved the mystery, but leaves it to the intelligent reader to work it out.
The narrator was overly dramatic to the point of being almost funny at times. He reads Dr Watson as a blustery old man. A young woman who is a friend of both Dr and Mrs Watson sounds like Eleanor Roosevelt. The story is interesting and I rather enjoyed it which somewhat compensated.