Originally posted by Roger007Yes, that was the clue that eluded me the longest. For some reason I had it in my head that the leaders were literal people. In the story, some seeming madman is going around shattering wax busts of Napolean. He had hid a black pearl in one of them to avoid a police search, and was keen on recovering the prize.
'six French leaders' refers to another short story 'The Adventure of the Six Napoleons'.