Hildred on Doctor ArcherEdit
Much of what we learn about Doctor Archer is actually more about the relationship between Hildred and the doctor. In many ways it's not even a relationship, it's a judgement.
"I had walked down that day from Dr. Archer's house on Madison Avenue, where I had been as a mere formality. Ever since that fall from my horse, four years before, I had been troubled at times with pains in the back of my head and neck, but now for months they had been absent, and the doctor sent me away that day saying there was nothing more to be cured in me. It was hardly worth his fee to be told that; I knew it myself. Still I did not grudge him the money. What I minded was the mistake which he made at first. When they picked me up from the pavement where I lay unconscious, and somebody had mercifully sent a bullet though my horse's head, I was carried to Dr. Archer, and he, pronouncing my brain affected, placed me in his private asylum, where I was obliged to endure treatment for insanity. At last he decided that I was well, and I, knowing that my mind had always been as sound as his, if not sounder, "paid my tuition," as he jokingly called it, and left. I told him, smiling, that I would get even with him for his mistake, and he laughed heartily, and asked me to call once in a while. I did so, hoping for a chance to even up accounts, but he gave me none, and I told him I would wait."
“Dr. Archer, having by some means become possessed of the secret of the Imperial Succession, attempted to deprive me of my right, alleging that because of a fall from my horse four years ago, I had become mentally deficient. He presumed to place me under restraint in his own house in hopes of either driving me insane or poisoning me. I have not forgotten it. I visited him last night and the interview was final.”
Who killed Doctor Archer?Edit
At the end of the story he is declared dead by Hildred, but we never see this ourselves. "I visited him last night and the interview was final" he declares, although the thought of the doctor "in the cellar with his throat cut open" reminds him of Vance and his knife (presumably because Vance has been assigned a similar task elsewhere, but possibly because it was in fact Vance who killed the doctor). Finally he tells his cousin Louis "You will never marry Constance now, and if you marry any one else in your exile, I will visit you as I did my doctor last night." It is almost certain that Castaigne has killed his doctor.
At one point in the story Mr. Wilde suggests to Hildred: “And Dr. Archer! But that’s a matter you can settle any time you wish.” Is he offering his services or does he mean to suggest Hildred is capable of killing the doctor himself? As we see at the end of the story Hildred is very fast with his knife, impaling Mr. Wilde's cat with it.
The Doctor appears in the Trail of Cthulhu adventure based on The Repairer of Reputations. Therein we learn that the doctor has been killed by a straight razor (which has been hidden in his bathroom along with a bloody shirt). He has been dead since, approximately, the time of Vance's suicide, which would seem to rule out Hildred, who witnesses Vance's suicide shortly after claiming his final interview with the doctor was the night before. This suggests Vance the more likely murderer in question, unless you assume Hildred to be lying (or simply deluded). And yet, if Hildred is accused of having killed the doctor, he attempts to run away!