About the Author

Saki-He is a British writer and his actual name is Hector Hugh Munro. He was born on 18th of December 1870 and died on 14th of November 1916. He is better known by his pen name Saki, and also frequently as H.H Munro. He is considered as a master of the short story, and often compared to O.Henry. Besides his short stories, he also wrote a full-length play, “The Watched Pot”, in collaboration with Charles Maude.

Introduction

“A shot in the Dark” by Saki, explores the theme of misconception and shows that how an elder and observant man (Philip Sletherby) misinterprets a young boy to be a fraud and later realized his mistake.

Philip Sletherby’s Journey

The story begins with Philip Sletherby, who leaves to Chalkshire in England to meet Mrs. Saltpen Jago, an influential and powerful lady, on whom Philip was relied to get a seat in the parliament e- election and to become a member of Parliament for the Eastern division of the fictional country of Chalkshire in England.

He has caught a train and is heading to the nation of Mrs. Saltpen Jago. Suddenly there was some sort of chaos going on inside the train, in which Philip was travelling, but he did not showed any concern about it. After few times, a twenty-two-year-old young boy, who was Philip’s companion on the train, introduced himself to him. His name was Bertie and he was actually the son of Mrs. Saltpen Jago, with whom Philip Sletherby was desperate to meet.

Bertie had not seen his mother for almost six months. He informs that he has lost his royal seal and the purse, in which he kept his money for the ticket fare and his short stay. Out of helplessness, Bertie asked Philip to lend him three pounds and to pull him out of trouble.

Sletherby Suspects Bertie

Now, here Sletherby develops a sense of suspicion against Bertie. He was very cautious and under the doubtful situation of getting involved in a wicked play. The reason behind it was that Philip knew that Mrs. Saltpen Jago is a Blonde but according to Bertie’s description, she had a dark brown hair. Bertie informed him that his mother’s hair was dark brown similar to his.

At this, Philip Sletherby interrupted that as per his knowledge, his mother had a greyhound courant crest. He agreed to lend but asked about his crest. Bertie informed that the two crests were Jago and Saltpen. The grey hound courant was the Jago crest while the Demi-lion was the Saltpen crest .So, he has the right to use both the crests but Bertie prefers the usage of Demi-lion.

Bertie later informs that he was getting down in the next station. When he was about to get out of the train, he reminded him of his three quids. On realising that Philip was not ready to believe the fact that Bertie was the son of Mrs. Saltpen Jago, Bertie furiously moved out of the train.

Finally They Arrive

A tall man arrived to receive Bertie at the station. A luxury vehicle was parked and it had the door panel with the display of two crests: a grey hound and a Demi-lion holding in its paw a cross crosslet. Sletherby was picked up by Claude People K.C.

Mr. K.C informed Sletherby that Mrs. Saltpen Jago used to have beautiful dark brown hair but she had changed her looks as a brilliant blonde five weeks ago. At this point, Sletherby realises that Bertie had not lied to him, but it was his own fault that he mistook him for a fraud.

Further Reading

A Shot in the Dark Questions and Answers