The Sleuth is a good-natured gentleman; wearing a deerstalker hat, smoking a pipe, and using a magnifying glass, he is an obvious parody of Sherlock Holmes, Mickey basically playing the part of Dr. Watson. Like his literary counterpart, he also plays the violin (albeit horribly). Unlike Sherlock Holmes, however, he is totally hopeless as a detective, being sometimes unable to figure out crimes that happen right in front of his eyes. Nevertheless, he always manages to solve his cases - hence ensuring a reputation as a great detective - either by sheer luck, or thanks to his foes' own incompetence, or simply because Mickey Mouse does all the actual detective work for him.
The Sleuth's constant foes are Professor Nefarious (a parody of Professor Moriarty), a London-based "teacher of crime", and his three henchmen-pupils Fliplip, Sidney, and Armadillo. Their hideout is a rundown townhouse with the words "University of Criminal Sciences" written on its front door. While Nefarious is reasonably smart (although his own megalomania sometimes hinders his plans), his three accomplices are thoroughly inept comical villains. Mickey and the Sleuth imprison the gang at the end of each story, although Nefarious himself generally manages to escape.
Apart from Mickey - and of course, the reader - no one seems to be aware of the Sleuth's utter incompetence. Nefarious considers the Sleuth - not Mickey - as his greatest enemy. Why Mickey would keep being the assistant of such an inept detective is never explained.
Mickey and the Sleuth stories were produced up until the late 1980s.
A puppet version of the Sleuth appeared in episodes C-105 and C-106 of The New Mickey Mouse Club (airdates: October 26 and 27, 1977). In the two-part story, Mouseketeer Mindy Feldman is kidnapped by Professor Nefarious and his assistant, Flip Lip (Mouseketeer Scott Craig) and is rescued by Sleuth and his niece (Mouseketeer Lisa Whelchel).
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