In "The Man with the Twisted Lip," what's the name and job of the man with the twisted lip, and is he connected to St Clair's dissappearance?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The man with the twisted lip goes by the name of Hugh Boone, and he is a professional beggar who makes a pretense, a show, of selling matches on the street. He has a particular trait of being able to give witty rejoinders to passers-by who ridicule his beggarly profession. They'd certainly be surprised to see how much money he earns in a day, which is about the equivalent of one week of St. Clair's salary as a newspaper reporter.

Boone is directly connected to Neville St. Clair's disappearance. St. Clair was given what we'd call an undercover assignment to do a news expose on the life of street beggars and took on the persona of a beggar, a seller of matches. He was astounded to find that he had collected such a large amount of money by the end of the first day. Upon consideration, St. Clair left his news job, took lodgings for which he paid a very good rent near to where he had impersonated a beggar. From then on, St. Clair's steady work became dressing up in his beggar's clothing, putting on his facial and hair disguise, sitting in his accustomed spot and begging while pretending to sell matches.

Boone is thus directly related to St. Clair's disappearance because before Hugh Boone, the professonal beggar, can go to work for the day begging, St. Clair must remove his gentleman's clothes and put on the makeup, wig and clothes of Hugh Boone. St. Clair disappears daily at the doing of Boone's hand because they are one and the same person, as Holmes discovered with a little washing water and a bathing sponge.

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Arthur Conan Doyle

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