How does Mr. Wilson learn of the newspaper ad in "The Red-Headed League"?
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Mr. Wilson learns about the newspaper ad from his new assistant Vincent Spaulding.
When Mr. Wilson comes to Sherlock Holmes to ask him for help in finding out what happened to the Red-headed League, Holmes asks him how he first heard about the advertisement.
The first thing that put us out was that advertisement. Spaulding, he came down into the office just this day eight weeks, with this very paper in his hand, and he says: “‘I wish to the Lord, Mr. Wilson, that I was a red-headed man.’ ”
Spaulding turns out to be the notorious criminal John Clay, as Holmes deduces after talking to Mr. Wilson. He goes to confirm and sees that he is indeed the man he thought, and realizes also that the man is planning to rob the nearby bank and was just trying to get Mr. Wilson out of the shop long enough to dig a tunnel.
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