Sherlock Holmes: Secret of the Silver Earring (also released as Sherlock Holmes: Mystery of the Silver Earring or Sherlock Holmes: The Silver Earring) was first presented as a PC adventure-mystery game in 2004 by Ubisoft.
It's October 1897, and Holmes and Watson are attending a gala party thrown in honor of Lavinia Bromsby, the daughter of the wealthy Sir Melvyn Bromsby, at which they're supposed to investigate the questionable character of an Italian opera singer. Instead, everything gets thrown for a loop when the host winds up murdered — and the guest of honor is the number-one suspect. It's up to Holmes and Watson to find out who really killed Sir Melvyn. They have four days in which to solve the crime and save Lavinia from a trial at which the circumstantial evidence will surely seal her fate.
The course of the investigation leads them to discover that things are very strange within Bromsby's company. What really happened when they built that bridge in India? How is the whole situation connected with a company of traveling actors? Did Lavinia really kill her father? What about Hermann Grimble, Bromsby's right-hand man — how's he mixed up in all this? Holmes is able to solve the matter, of course. Can you?
Solving the mystery involves all manner of clue-hunting. You need to interview witnesses, collect and review documents, perform experiments with Holmes's own chemistry lab, and correctly answer quiz-style questions at the end of each day. In addition, there are a few more difficult scenes in which you have to successfully sneak past guards or reach a goal in time. Toss in a few Red Herrings and characters who aren't entirely what they appear, and you have a rich and engrossing mystery worthy of its famous star.
In 2010 the game was re-released for play on mobile phones.
Tropes present in this game include:
- Aloof Big Brother: Mycroft Holmes, who is so aloof as to not even appear. He helps Sherlock behind the scenes, however.
- Ambiguously Gay: Raleigh Wilcox, a member of a troupe of traveling actors whom Holmes interviews about Veronica Davenport. While he is not specifically described as gay, he has a minicing way of speech and after he praises the prison warden and local chief of police in Guacayamo, Brazil, an actress named Miss Sullivan calls Raleigh a "milk-toast" and claims that the actor is crazy about redheads which turns out to be a clue that points to Lt. Herrington as having been present when the actors were in Guacayamo.
- Another Side, Another Story: For two portions of the game, the player takes on the role of Watson to show what he was doing while Holmes was doing something else.
- Captain Obvious: Watson, in one scene, when he declares that a man is dead. Lampshaded by Holmes in full Deadpan Snarker mode, who comments that "I thought he merely decided to take a nap under a pile of potatoes!"
- Dialogue Tree: There's one for every character Holmes and Watson meet, and every conversational possibility must be exhausted with every single one of them before the game can progress to the next day.
- Drunk Driver: A variation. Watson has an interview with a drunk coachman, although he's not driving at the time. He's also not really drunk.
- Evil Redhead: The real killer has red hair. At one point, one of the conspirators also wears a red wig to give the real killer an alibi for Sir Melvyn Bromsby's death.
- Face Palm: Holmes has one in a cutscene, when Watson pulls out his gun to defend them from a group of thugs... only to find that he forgot to load it.
- The Farmer and the Viper: Holmes finds a written copy of this fable during his researches at one location; it's a clue about the identity of one of the conspirators.
- Final-Exam Boss: A variation. At the end of each of the first three days, you must successfully answer all the questions in a quiz. When confronting the villain on the fourth day, you must once again successfully answer all the questions — so rather than an actual boss, the "final boss" is literally a final exam.
- Gold Digger: Part of the overall solution is revealing one character to be this. Lt. Herrington murders Sir Melvyn so that he, Jeffries and Wyatt Collins can steal a portion if not all of Lavinia's inheritance; since Collins is Bromsby's nephew, they plan to doctor the will. But when Collins fails to steal the will and Horace Fowlett is murdered in the process, Herrington then begins courting Lavinia with the intention of proposing marriage, and plans to kill her off once he gains control of her assets.
- Hidden Heart of Gold: Holmes having one of these is well known to his fans; it's demonstrated in the game when he visits the monastery and claims to be the brother of the man he's seeking on the grounds. To help maintain his facade (and because of said hidden heart of gold), he makes a sizable contribution to the monks as "reimbursement" for "his brother's" trespass. His hidden heart of gold may also explain his efforts to protect Lavinia from Lt. Herrington, as Herrington was her father's killer.
- I Kiss Your Hand: Holmes kisses Lavinia's hand in a cutscene when they first meet. Probably done as a laugh for the die-hard fans, since he never does any such thing in the real stories. However, it also is a means for him to do some preliminary investigating; by kissing her hand, he brings it close enough to his face to smell it. There was no trace of gunpowder on her hand, thus she didn't kill her father.
- Informing the Fourth Wall: Holmes has plenty of what can be assumed to be inner monologue to let the player know if what they're trying to do is not possible.
- Inspector Lestrade: He's as useful as he can be, all things considered.
- MacGuffin: The titular silver earring. Or rather, earrings - there are three.
- Never Found the Body: Veronica Davenport, after her disappearance in South America. It is revealed that Jeffries had murdered her and Lt. Herrington helped dispose of her body.
- Point-and-Click Game: You can get a clue as to what to do by moving your mouse around the screen and watching for the pointer to change appearance. A hand means there is an object to pick up or examine; a portrait appears when pointing at another character and opens the dialogue menu; footprints mean you can walk into another part of the scene.
- Master of Disguise: Holmes travels incognito to a monastery in search of some evidence.
- Nonstandard Game Over: If you fail in either the Timed Mission or the Stealth-Based Mission, Holmes's file of cases will appear, showing that he was unable to solve the case. The file notes that Lavinia Bromsby was convicted of her father's murder and sentenced to death, and Hermann Grimble committed suicide. The game then returns you to the start of the failed mission in question and you can try again.
- Player Character: Usually Holmes; unlike many other Holmes games, however, a few scenes allow the player to assume the mantle of Watson for parts of the investigation where Holmes is not present.
- Red Herring: Several. Possibly the biggest is the character of Hermann Grimble, who seems to have been stealing money from Bromsby's company. Turns out that he was using the money all along to help keep Bromsby from being blackmailed.
- Another is the fact that Holmes tells Lestrade to take the character called Dwight Richards into custody as soon as possible. This implies to Watson, Lestrade, and the player that this is the guilty party; in fact, he wants the character taken into custody because Holmes has realized this is the next murder target.
- Sherlock Holmes: Of course.
- Solve the Soup Cans: Horace Fowlett's house is full of puzzles that have to be solved in order to get all the intel Holmes needs. The game justifies it by explaining that he's a toy and puzzle aficianado, but they're really just there to create difficulty for the player. It also prevents Fowlett's safe from being easily broken into, as a would-be thief found out the hard way.
- Stealth-Based Mission: The difficult matter of breaking into Bromsby Cementworks without attracting the notice of either the guard or the watchdog. This is arguably the most difficult challenge in the entire game, and probably the one which is most likely to send a player looking online for help.
- Talk to Everyone: Absolutely crucial to winning the game. The game will not proceed to the next stage until all possible conversation threads with all possible characters have been exhausted.
- Timed Mission: At the monastery, Holmes discovers that someone is burning important evidence. He has to rush back to where he can fill a pail with water, then rush again to the site of the fire in order to keep it from destroying everything. A clock on the screen shows just how much time remains.
- Unwinnable by Mistake: The game will prevent the player from continuing if Holmes misses so much as a single clue, with one exception. If Holmes fails to pick up the autographed photo of the actress in Lavinia's dressing room on the first day, the game will keep going and the player will not know that anything's wrong until the fourth day, when the clue needs to be shown to another character. (Presumably this is a glitch and not a case of Unwinnable by Design, since it's the only instance of the game becoming unwinnable.)
- Visual Pun: Lieutenant Herrington has red hair. He's a red Herrington.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: The whole reason Holmes and Watson were at the Bromsby party in the first place was to investigate the Italian opera star Gallia. After Sir Melvyn's murder, she's never mentioned in the main story again, though Holmes and Watson do make plans to finally see her perform right before the credits roll.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: There are three partners involved in the plot. After one of them makes his contribution, the other two kill him and dispose of his body in a way designed to keep him from being identified. The murdered conspirator also couldn't break into Horace Fowlett's safe before Fowlett found him and was murdered, so this might be a case of You Have Failed Me on the part of his partners.