Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Curly Haired Company

Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Curly Haired Company
卷发公司的案子

based on The Red Headed League by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

LEVEL 1 (300 unique characters)

  • Free Sample Downloads: ePUB, mobiPDF
  • Study Resource: Word List, Grammar Wiki
  • Paperback Edition (Simplified):
  • Amazon Barnes and Noble
  • Ebook (Simplified):
  • 50kindle_icon 50ibooks_icon 50kobo_icon
  • Paperback Edition (Traditional):
  • Amazon 
  • Ebook (Traditional):
  • 50kindle_icon 50ibooks_icon 50kobo_icon


Mr. Xie was recently hired by the Curly Haired Company. For a significant weekly allowance, he was required to sit in an office and copy articles from a book, while in the meantime his assistant looked after his shop. He had answered an advertisement in the paper and although hundreds of people applied, he was the only one selected because of his very curly hair. When the company unexpectedly closes, Mr. Xie visits Gao Ming (Sherlock Holmes) with his strange story. Gao Ming is certain something is not right, but will he solve the mystery in time?

Adaptation Notes

This story is an adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1891 Sherlock Holmes story, “The Red-Headed League.” This Mandarin Companion graded reader has been adapted into a fully localized Chinese version of the original story. The characters have been given authentic Chinese names as opposed to transliterations of English names.

The location has been adapted from Victorian London, England to 1920’s Shanghai, China. During this period, Shanghai was known as “The Paris of the East, the New York of the West”. It became the focal point of many activities that would eventually shape modern China. The architectural style of many grand buildings built during this period was modeled after British and American design to suit the preferences of the influential Western businessmen. This time period of Shanghai parallels the period of Victorian London.

The original story involves a group of red-headed males however there are no native Chinese with this hair color. To suit the purposes of the story, we changed “red-headed” to “curly haired” since Chinese with curly hair are about as uncommon as red-heads are in the Western world.

The following is a list of the characters from this Chinese story followed by their corresponding English names from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original Sherlock Holmes story. The names below aren’t translations; they’re new Chinese names used for the Chinese versions of the original characters. Think of them as all-new characters in a Chinese story.

  • 高明 (Gāo Míng) – Sherlock Holmes
  • 赵亮 (Zhào Liàng) – Doctor Watson
  • 谢先生 (Xiè Xiānsheng) – Jabez Wilson
  • 刘路飞 (Liú Lùfēi) – Vincent Spaulding
  • 卷发公司的老板 (Juǎnfà Gōngsī de Lǎobǎn) – Duncan Ross/William Morris
  • 万经理 (Wàn Jīnglǐ) – Mr. Merryweather
  • 老王 (Lǎo Wáng) – Peter Jones

Study Resources

Sample of Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Curly Haired Company.

“谢先生,你能告诉我们你在新新卷发1公司的工作怎么样吗?”高明问。

“从第一天开始2,我就觉得很奇怪3。”谢先生又拿起桌子4上的茶,喝了一点。“我第一天去上班5的时候,发现6他们的办公室只有两个人。一个是那天面试7我的老板8,还有一个人我不认识。办公室里什么都没有,只有那个大桌子和几个椅子9,桌子上有很多书。老板告诉我,‘从今天开始,你就坐在这里工作。你是助理10,你的工作就是看这些书,然后写一些你的想法11。还有,你写的想法应该12卷发有关13。’”

“真奇怪!”赵亮说。

“还有更奇怪的事。”谢先生说,“那个老板又说,‘你不能走出这个办公室。上班的六个小时里,你都要在这里,不能出去。如果你出去了,你就没有这个工作了。’我问他,‘那我吃午饭怎么办?’没想到老板告诉我,那个我不认识的人会和我一起在办公室里,他会帮我买午饭。”

听到这里,高明又笑了,他说:“我相信14从来没有15人做过这样的工作。你不觉得这个公司有问题吗?”

“我早就觉得有问题了。” 谢先生有点生气16,他不想让别人觉得他不聪明17,他说:“所以那天下午回到茶馆18以后,我很不开心。我告诉刘路飞,我觉得那个公司一定19有问题。没有公司会给一个助理那么多钱,让他每天坐在办公室里,只看书、写没用20的东西。但是刘路飞让我不要想太多,他说那么多人去面试,只有我一个人有这个机会21。他还说七22块钱真的不少。我觉得他说得对,因为对我来说,我真的需要23那些钱。”

“那你为什么告诉我们?”赵亮问。

“我以为我可以一直24在那个卷发公司工作,每个月拿七百块钱。”谢先生看起来很难过25,他说,“可是就在昨天,我去上班的时候,发现公司已经关门了。门上有一张纸,上面写着:

新新卷发公司已经关门!

  1. 卷发 (juǎnfà) n. curly hair
  2. 开始 (kāishǐ) v. to start
  3. 奇怪 (qíguài) adj. strange
  4. 桌子 (zhuōzi) n. table, desk
  5. 上班 (shàngbān) vo. to go to work
  6. 发现 (fāxiàn) v. to discover
  7. 面试 (miànshì) v. to interview
  8. 老板 (lǎobǎn) n. boss
  9. 椅子 (yǐzi) n. chair
  10. 助理 (zhùlǐ) n. assistant
  11. 想法 (xiǎngfa) n. idea, way of thinking
  12. 应该 (yīnggāi) aux. should, ought to
  13. 跟…有关 (gēn… yǒuguān) phrase about…, related to…
  14. 相信 (xiāngxìn) v. to believe
  15. 从来没有 (cóngláiméiyǒu) phrase to have never (done something)
  16. 生气 (shēngqì) adj.; v. angry; to get angry
  17. 聪明 (cōngming) adj. smart
  18. 茶馆 (cháguǎn) n. teahouse
  19. 一定 (yīdìng) adv. surely, certainly
  20. 没用 (méiyòng) adj. useless
  21. 机会 (jīhuì) n. opportunity
  22. (bǎi) num. hundred
  23. 需要 (xūyào) v. to need
  24. 一直 (yīzhí) adv. all along, continuously
  25. 难过 (nánguò) adj. sad, upset

Fantastic, genius, best and most satisfying study tool I’ve ever bought. I’m studying to take the HSK 3 at the moment and this series of books are just the best thing, I know about 700 characters but have found nothing that I can really read with interest, books like these are the glue that hold the pieces of the Chinese language puzzle together. WHEN IS LEVEL 2 COMING OUT?

– AJ Godhard

The story was engaging, I couldn’t put the book down until I finished reading it. It also gave me a lot of questions and discussion material for my language exchange sessions. Of course the book isn’t exactly a translation word for word of the original book but that’s not the intention of this series, as the main purpose is to provide beginners material to read and it has accomplished this successfully. I was intimidated by delving into reading materials including graded readers because I had the impression that they were way beyond my level of understanding, and I pictured a messy image of laboriously flipping through pages of a dictionary every few words or so just to translate the current sentence I was reading. But it wasn’t like that at all. I read it at a good even pace and it’s not like the sentences were dumbed down too much. In the end, you just have to give it a try, then you’ll know if you can do it. I figured I won’t know til I try and I’m so glad I did !

– Patrina

Mandarin Companion’s graded readers have been incredibly helpful in providing extended, comprehensible input at an elementary Chinese reading level. I can’t recommend these series of books enough for anyone serious about developing and reinforcing their Mandarin reading skills.

– Gary

We purchased this for our 12-year-old son who has been studying Mandarin for about 6 months. He loved it. So much better than traditional graded readers which he finds a little boring. It’s often difficult to find materials that are age appropriate but at the same time, language level appropriate — not to mention truly entertaining and fun. This title (and the entire series) definitely hits the mark – a great resource for hanzi and developing reading fluency. We can tell our son loved it because he’s already asked us to purchase two additional titles from the series (the Washington Irving & H.G. Wells books) for him to read next. For lower intermediate, Mandarin level learners and above — of any age – (and of course, or fans of Sherlock :), we could not recommend this series more highly.

– Amy

Really well-made and thoughtfully written, works great on Kindle. Terrific resource, wish there were dozens like this!

– Alistair

I read this book to evaluate it for use with my Chinese classes and am planning to use it next school year. I liked that it took a familiar (to me!) story and re-told it in a Chinese context. 1930’s Shanghai was a nice pick, and the story makes several references to major landmarks still well-known today. From the perspective of a teacher, the book provides a good opportunity to talk about and compare historical and modern Shanghai. The plot also involves giving directions, which would provide a natural spin-off to make sure students are able to ask and follow directions. I found the story and characters interesting and wanted to read it to the end for that reason, not merely because I wanted to review it for my class. The illustrations were nicely done, too.

– Anonymous Chinese Teacher

I really liked the fact that this book kept me excited the entire time to keep reading. Whenever I read in Chinese I get bored after several minutes because it’s sometimes annoying to look up characters while reading, but this book is super exciting and with basic characters so I am learning characters while enjoying the book. Overall I would highly recommend this book to someone who is learning Chinese characters and wants to learn them In a fun and efficient way.

– G23

This is a great series of Mandarin readers! I have been studying Chinese for 4 years now, both in and outside of China. Following very slow progress, I began reading the academic research on second language acquisition and came away with an understanding of “extensive reading” for grammar and vocab acquisition and consolidation- the best method for intermediate learners. (Extensive reading consists of reading works in another language where you comprehend roughly 98% of the content without having to stop and consult the dictionary or grammar reference). The only problem- there are very few good sources in Chinese that facilitate an extensive reading program.

I prefer the Mandarin Companion series for several reasons.

The most important is their presentation of new vocabulary. When there is a word you likely have not come across in the course of your introductory studies, they provide a reference in the back to define these words- most books do this. But with the Mandarin Companion eBook format, you can quickly tap the word to get its meaning without having to flip a few pages. Importantly, the authors have taken care to continue to present the same words several times to further concrete them in your brain (all with links back to the word’s definition).

Of less importance, but still nice- the books include illustrations and fairly compelling stories, things that will keep you interested and reading each day.

I am glad we are getting more and better resources for extensive reading in Chinese! And I would recommend this series to anyone interested in this approach to language acquisition.

– Collin Baffa

Easy to read even for beginners, interesting, better than any of the texts in textbooks. The level of Chinese is not intimidating, I am not overwhelmed with too many new characters. In addition with All Set Learning Chinese Wiki Grammar page for the book it gives me new words and grammar patterns, not to mention pleasure from reading my first book in Chinese. So I highly recommend it for every Chinese learner. I also recommend using this book not with Kindle device but with Kindle app on a smartphone or tablet cause there is a Chinese dictionary available this way and that makes reading even more easy and comfortable.

– Alex

This is the second Mandarin Companion book I’ve read. The first was their adaptation of “The Secret Garden”. I’m finding it easier to read through Chinese books this level, because I’m also reading works from two other publishers.

John Pasden has the academic and instructive chops to help the Chinese learner improve on an existing foundation. Kudos to him and his team! Look forward to my next purchase. I hope they expand their collection of works well beyond what currently exists!

– Dave

I read this book to evaluate it for use with my Chinese classes and am planning to use it next school year. I liked that it took a familiar (to me!) story and re-told it in a Chinese context. 1930’s Shanghai was a nice pick, and the story makes several references to major landmarks still well-known today. From the perspective of a teacher, the book provides a good opportunity to talk about and compare historical and modern Shanghai. The plot also involves giving directions, which would provide a natural spin-off to make sure students are able to ask and follow directions. I found the story and characters interesting and wanted to read it to the end for that reason, not merely because I wanted to review it for my class. The illustrations were nicely done, too.

– Anonymous

With this book, you’ll be able to practice your Chinese reading – while reading a great story. This is a brilliant way to improve your language skills. I especially like how the book comes with a grammar guide to explain all the sentences you might not understand.

You might worry that this amount of simplification would lead to a very basic plot – and very boring reading. However the translation has been done very well so that not too much of the depth is lost. When starting Sherlock Holmes I actually felt like I was reading the proper novel in English.

I really recommend this book – both to improve your Chinese and just to enjoy.

– Oliver Guest

At last, something to read just for fun without having to resort to a dictionary! The adaptation is excellent, the reading level is low, sentences are short and clear. It doesn’t hurt that this is one of my favourite Holmes stories, too. There are several beautifully detailed illustrations throughout the book. It’s quite short, but I don’t really mind that – it gave me such a feeling of accomplishment to be able to easily finish a book on my own.

Will be anxiously awaiting the next few levels!

– Krytes

Easy to read even for beginners, interesting, better than any of the texts in textbooks. The level of Chinese is not intimidating, I am not overwhelmed with too many new characters. In addition with All Set Learning Chinese Wiki Grammar page for the book it gives me new words and grammar patterns, not to mention pleasure from reading my first book in Chinese. So I highly recommend it for every Chinese learner. I also recommend using this book not with Kindle device but with Kindle app on a smartphone or tablet cause there is a Chinese dictionary available this way and that makes reading even more easy and comfortable.

– Alex

Like many of the other reviewers of this reader, I’ve largely been using a combination of text books and Skritter, as well as other learning resources, for my Chinese studies.

This book offers another way to enhance and solidify your learning in a much more relaxed manner.

As a general guide my Chinese is probably about HSK 3 level (600-800 words) and I was able to read this fairly comfortably, with maybe around 20 or 30 new words to look up and add to my Skritter list.

The kindle text is also great if you download a Chinese dictionary and translator, as this allows you to double check your learning as you go by merely highlighting individual characters or a series of characters. This is much more convenient than a paperback book where cross referencing can be time consuming.

I’m going to check out a few of the other books in the series and hope for some level 2 and 3 books soon.

– JBT

This is just the right level for me at the moment and is a wonderful tool alongside the other methods I am using to study Mandarin. Unlike some of the other Chinese Kindle books, the text is beautifully clear (ie. it has not just been scanned in as a photo) and there are already notes and you can create your own. More like this please! All we need now is an interactive Chinese-English dictionary to go with it!

– D.J. Thornton

This book is good for my confidence. I get bored just studying all the time, or having to read kiddies’ stories. This book uses the most common words and also gives translations of some more difficult words.

I would love to have more books like this.

– S. Vlondie