Watson starts to delve into the history of Holmes's first cases when he was just starting to unleash his masterly powers of deducation on the world. These stories are some of the first things he gets involved with after Universrity.
Highlights from The Gloria Scott
Invited to spend sometime with a friend after college Holmes visits him and manages to spook his relative who is thrown when Holmes identifies a tatoo that he has tried to get rid of at some point in the past. Then a man named Hudson turns up who claims to have been an old sailor who knows that man of the house but terrifies everyone and finally sends a message that causes the old man to have a heart attack. Holmes, who has left before Hudson waves his magic, is called in to find out what on earth happened and manages to work out that the relative was an ex convict who escaped on the way to Australia and the man Hudson was blackmailing him and no doubt is still trying to do the same to anhyone else he can.
A great bit of description is when Holmes manages in one brilliant scene to identify nearly everything that he is asked like a party trick but then goes beyond that to starle the person who dared to doubt him.
Highlights from The Musgrave Ritual
Again Holmes is called in by a friend who has discovered that his butler has gone missing along with a servant girl who had been infatuated with the missing butler. Before the butler went missing he had been caught by the master of the house, Holmes's friend, rifling through some papers to do with 'The Musgrave Ritual' and it is around this that Holmes concentrates his energy. He manages to use the old family ritual, which his friend treats as a family bit of nonsense, like a map and trace back what happened with the Butler and discovers him dead trapped in a family tomb. The spurned lover, who the butler had tried to exploit as an accomplice killed him and then left. The treasure turns out to be the crown worn by Charles I and left to the Musgrave family, who were staunch royalists.