Hilton Cubitt, a squire, has come to Sherlock Holmes for help. Cubitt has found several messages of coded letters drawn in the form of dancing men, undecipherable to him but extremely disturbing to his American wife, Elsie. With his typical brilliance Sherlock Holmes quickly realizes the danger the messages convey, and he and Watson travel to the Cubitt estate. But it is too late. Cubitt is dead and it is believed that Elsie shot him, although it cannot be proved because she herself is unconscious, near death’s door. Holmes sets a trap for an American man renting a room nearby. Holmes must find out the truth or Elsie may pay the consequences … if she lives.