221Blog:Questioning The Canon

Sunday, February 26, 2006

From the Memoirs-The "Gloria Scott"

First published in the Strand Magazine, Apr. 1893, with 7 illustrations by Sidney Paget.

1. What makes the story of the “Gloria Scott” unique among Watson’s chronicles?

2. Who was Victor Trevor?

3. How many years did Holmes attend college?

4. Describe Holmes social life while in college.

5. What sports did Holmes favor?

6. How did he meet Victor Trevor?

7. How long was Holmes laid-up by the bite?

8. How does Holmes describe Trevor?

9. Where does Holmes go for one month of the long vacation?

10. Describe the house and property in Donnithorpe.

11. Describe Trevor Senior.

12. How did Holmes know that Trevor senior feared an attack of some sort?

13. What other facts did Holmes reveal about Mr.Trevor?

14. Which fact put Trevor into a faint?

15. How does Trevor explain his faint and what does he tell Holmes about his skills as a detective?

16. How did Sherlock explain his “J.A.” comment?

17. Who was Trevor senior’s visitor?

18. How long has it been since Hudson had seen Trevor?

19. Where has Hudson been?

20. What did Trevor do after talking to Hudson?

21. Holmes left Donnithorpe, but was called back two months later. Why?

22. What has happened to Trevor senior?

23. What had happened in the house after Hudson arrived?

24. How does Trevor senior explain himself to his son?

25. What did Hudson do when he received no ‘pology from Victor?

26. What was in the letter that caused the dad to come so agitated?

27. What happened to Trevor senior as a result of reading the letter?

28. How was the message: “The supply of game for London is going steadily up. Headkeeper Hudson, we believe, has been now told to receive all orders for fly-paper and for preservation of your hen pheasant’s life,” translated?

29. Who was Beddoes and what did Trevor senior’s papers say about the “Gloria Scott?

30. Who was James Armitage?

31. What had Armitage done?

32. Where was the Gloria Scott heading?

33. Who was Jack Prendergast? What was his crime?

34. Who was Jack’s confederate on the ship?

35. Who was Evans?

36. How did the uprising occur on the ship?

37. What happened to the “Gloria Scott?”

38. Who did the escaping seamen pull into their boat after the Gloria Scott was destroyed?

39. What tale did Hudson tell?

40. What happened to the men in the lifeboat after they were picked up by the Hotspur?

41. What did Armitage and Evans do?

42. What became of young Trevor?

43. What did Holmes surmise happened to Beddoes and Hudson?

Saturday, February 25, 2006

From the Memoirs-The Musgrave Ritual

First published in the Strand Magazine, Sept. 1893, with 8 illustrations by Sidney Paget.

1. How does Watson describe Holmes’ personal habits?

2. What are some of the things that Holmes has done that demonstrates Watson’s points?

3. How did Holmes keep the papers of his cases?

4. What was Holmes’ Commonplace Book?

5. What was in the tin box that Holmes dragged out of his bedroom?

6. What were some of the cases that Holmes fished gently from the box?

7. What was in the small wooden box? What was their history?

8. Where did Holmes say he had rooms when he first came up to London?

9. What was the case number for the Ritual?

10. Describe Reginald and his feudal keep.

11. Describe Brunton.

12. What appears to be one of Brunton’s few faults?

13. How has his fault manifested itself?

14. Who are Rachel Howells and Janet Tragellis?

15. Explain what happened to cause Brunton’s disgrace and dismissal.

16. What document had Brunton been examining?

17. What is the Musgrave Ritual?

18. What did Brunton ask Reginald Musgrave to do after the butler was dismissed?

19. How much time was Brunton given to make his excuses and leave?

20. Relate the conversation between Rachel Howells and Reginald Musgrave?

21. What are the details of Brunton’s disappearance and the clues as to his whereabouts?

22. What did Sir Reginald do to try and locate Brunton?

23. What happened to Rachel Howells?

24. What was found in the mere when it was dragged looking for Rachel Howells body?

25. Summarize the facts of the case as Holmes related them to Watson.

26. What are the couplets of the ritual?

27. Why did Brunton ask for time before he was dismissed?

28. What does Holmes say of Brunton’s behavior and insights compared to generations of Musgraves?

29. What did Brunton’s map detail?

30. Describe Hurlstone.

31. How did Holmes interpret Brunton’s behavior?

32. What did Holmes deduce that the ritual was detailing?

33. What were the two “fixed points” in the ritual according to Holmes?

34. Describe the oak and its location.

35. Describe the elm and explain its fate.

36. How did Reginald know the height of the elm?

37. Had Brunton asked about the height of the elm?

38. Explain Holmes’ measurement?

39. How did Holmes know that Brunton had preceded him?

40. Where did the measurements lead Holmes?

41. What part of the ritual had Holmes forgotten?

42. What did Holmes find, “and under.?”

43. What did Holmes find in the 7' X 4' chamber?

44. What did Holmes do next after finding Bruntin?

45. What did Holmes deduce about how Brunton ended up dead in the chamber?

Friday, February 24, 2006

A Study in Scarlet-Part 1/Chapter 1

First published in Nov. 1887 as the main part of Beeton’s Christmas Annual. First book edition by Ward, Lock & Co. in July 1888 with illustrations by Charles Doyle, father of ACD. The second edition (1889) was illustrated by George Hutchinson. – The first American edition published by J. B. Lippincott Co. in 1890.

The first of the Holmes Novels

Sherlock Holmes was introduced in A Study in Scarlet (1887), followed by A Sign of Four in 1890, but didn't really take hold of the public's imagination until Strand magazine, newly founded in 1890, published a series of short stories called "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes." From that point on the public couldn't get enough of Holmes and his always reliable confidant, John H. Watson, a retired military doctor.

It is the first story in the Canon, and we treasure it for its account of the first meeting of our beloved heroes Holmes and Watson. Yet despite its honored position as Holmes's debut, I wonder how many of us would have established our deep and longstanding passion for the adventures of Sherlock Holmes based only upon this single tale. It seems to me that the first Holmes story is actually more enjoyable when it is read over again after experiencing the full extent of Holmes's adventures and the full range of his and Watson's characters. Then indeed do we cherish the moment when it all began, long ago in the chemical laboratory at St. Bartholomew's Hospital.

Chapter 1

1. Where, and in what year, did Watson take his medical degree?

2. Can you summarize Watson’s military experiences? Include the circumstances of his wound.
a. What is a Jezail bullet?
The Jezail is an Afghan matchlock or flintlock musket (an un-rifled long gun) fired from a forked rest. The Jezail is most famous, at least in Western literature, as the weapon which wounded Dr. John Watson - the fictional biographer of the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes - in the Battle of Maiwand during his military service in Afghanistan.

3.Who saved Watson’s life?

4. Where did the Jezail bullet wound Watson? Did Watson mentioned his left or right shoulder?

5. Describe Watson’s recovery and complication?

6. What was his income?
7. Who was the man that changed Watson’s fortunes, and where did they meet?

8. What coincidence did young Stamford relate to the Doctor?

9. How did Stamford describe Holmes to the Doctor?

10. What would Holmes do with vegetable alkaloids according to Stamford?

11. What strange tests was Holmes doing in the dissecting-rooms?

13. What did Sherlock say to Watson when they met?
14. What test did Holmes say he had just perfected? What was its use?

15. How does Holmes describe himself and his habits to Watson?

16. How does Watson describe himself to Holmes?

17. What does Watson think Holmes does to make an income?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A Study In Scarlet-Chapter 2


18. How difficult was Holmes to live with?

19. How does Watson describe Holmes’ physical appearance?

20. What basic knowledge of things is Holmes lacking according to Watson?

21. Do you think Holmes didn’t know the things that Watson questioned him on, or was Holmes testing Watson’s naivete’?

22. Watson lists Holmes’ strengths and weaknesses. How accurate do you think he was in assessing Holmes’ abilities?

Sherlock Holmes–his limits

1. Knowledge of Literature


2. Philosophy


3. Astronomy


4. Politics


5. Botany

Variable. Well up in belladonna,
opium, and poisons generally.
Knows nothing of practical gardening.

6. Knowledge of Geology

Practical, but limited.
Tells at a glance different soils from each other.
After walks has shown me splashes upon his trousers,
and told me by their color and consistence in
what part of London he had received them.

7. Knowledge of Chemistry


8. Anatomy

Accurate, but unsystematic.

9. Sensational Literature

Immense. He appears to know every detail of
every horror perpetrated in the century.

10. Plays the violin well

11. Is an expert singlestick player, boxer, and swordsman

12. Has a good practical knowledge of British law

23. What was the article “The Book of Life” about and who wrote it?

24. What did Holmes say was his profession?

25. How did he know that Watson had been in Afghanistan?

26. What were Holmes thoughts on

Poe’s Dupin and Gaboriau’s LeCoq?

27. Who did Holmes say the man was who Watson saw from the window of 221B carrying a letter? Was he correct?

28. What were the clues that Holmes said assured him of the identity of the messenger?

Monday, February 20, 2006

A Study in Scarlet-Chapter 3


29. Who sent Holmes a note urging him to come to 3 Lauriston Gardens off the Brixton Road?

30.What does Holmes say about Gregson and Lestrade?

31. How did Holmes approach the crime scene?

32. Describe the dining room crime scene.

33.How does Watson describe the victim?

34. How does Holmes demonstrate his use of precedent to Gregson ?

35. Describe how Holmes’ examined the body.

36. What appeared when the body was moved?

37. What effects were found on the dead man ?

38. Who was the victim? Where was he from? What had Gregson done to get information on the man?

39. What had Lestrade found scratched on the wall?

40. Describe Holmes’ examination of the dining room crime scene.

41. Summarize Holmes’ conclusions from the clues.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

A Study in Scarlet-Chapter 4

Chapter 4

42. How does Holmes explain the carriage that arrived at # 3?

a. the height if the man?
b. the stride revealing the height?
c. the Trichinopoly cigar?
d. the long finger nails?

43. Watson summarizes all of the questions in the case. Can you?

44. What decorated Rance’s door in Audley Court?

45. How did Holmes encourage Rance to talk to him?

46. What did Holmes say that surprised Rance?

47. Why did Holmes tell Rance that he was, “one of the hounds and not the wolf”?

48. Who did Rance see at the gate of the house in Lauriston Garden?

49. What did Holmes say about Rance’s abilities as a policeman?

50. What brought the man that Rance let go back to the scene of the crime?

51. What is the ring’s importance to Holmes?

52. What is the meaning of the phrase, “a study in scarlet”?

Saturday, February 18, 2006

A Study in Scarlet-Chapter 5

Chapter 5

53. What thoughts kept Watson from sleeping?

54. What was the essence of advertisement that Holmes wrote?

55.Who does Holmes think will answer the ad?

56. How did the ring end up on Drebber’s body?

57. What were some of Holmes’ digressions while he was waiting for his guest?

58. Who was it that came for the ring?

59.What was the conversation that passed between Holmes and the woman?

60. What did Holmes do when the woman left 221B?

61. What events transpired when Holmes followed the “crone”?

62. How is it that Holmes could be fooled by the masquerade when he is a master of disguise?

Friday, February 17, 2006

A Study in Scarlet-Chapter 6

Chapter 6

63. How did the newspapers translate the the details in the case?

64. Can Lestrade or Gregson lose this case according to the papers?
“Un sot trouve toujours un plus sot qui l’admire.” A fool can always find a greater fool to admire him.

65. Who are the Baker Street Irregulars?

66. Who is Wiggins?

67. Why does Holmes use a bunch of “street arabs” as the Baker Street division of the detective police force?

68. Who has Gregson arrested? What are his reasons for the arrest?

69. How does Gregson compare himself to Holmes?

70. What tale does Madame Charpentier tell about her son Arthur’s involvement in the case?

71. How long was her son gone after following Drebber?

72. What did Arthur Charpentier say when Gregson arrested him?

73. What was Gregson’s theory of Charpentier’s involvement in the crime?

74. What message did Lestrade bring to 221B?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

A Study in Scarlet-Chapter 7

Chapter 7

75. What tale does Lestrade tell about Stangerson?

76. What did Holmes mean when he said, “the last link?”

77. What does Holmes do with the pills as a confirmation of his theory of Drebber’s death?

78. Why were there two pills?

79. What had Wiggins done?

80. How does Holmes trap the cabman?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

From the Memoirs - The Resident Patient

First published in the Strand Magazine, Aug. 1893, with 7 illustrations by Sidney Paget

1. What are Watson’s reasons for chronicling this tale?

2. How did Holmes deduce that a general practitioner had come to call?

3. Describe Dr. Percy Trevelyan

4. What does Watson know of Dr. Trevelyan’s publications?

5. Describe Dr. Trevelyan’s college career and his plans for a practice?

6. Who is Mr. Blessington?

7. What proposition does Mr. Blessington make to Dr. Trevelyan?

8. So, Blessington became a resident patient. Explain the meaning of this “resident patient.”

9. What were Blessington’s daily habits?

10. What incident changed Blessington’s demeanor?

11. How did he react to the burglary in the West End?

12. What did the letter say that Dr. Trevelyan received?

13. Describe the events associated with the visit of the Russian nobleman.

14. What treatment did Percy Trevelyan attempt to give his “cataleptic” patient? What happened to his patient?

15. What explanation did the Russian nobleman offer concerning his sudden disappearance on the previous visit?

16. What did Mr. Blessington find in his room after his walk? What explanation was offered for the footprints?

17. How did Blessington react to the intruder?

18. How did Holmes react to Dr. Trevelyan’s story?

19. How did Blessington greet Holmes, Watson and Trevelyan?

20. How does Watson describe Blessington?

21. What questions does Holmes ask Blessington?

22. What story does Blessington offer concerning his reaction to the intruders?

23. What does Holmes tell Blessington in response to his story?

24. What are the details of the resident patient affair as Holmes explains it?

25. What is Watson’s hypothesis about the case?

26. What has happened overnight on Brook Street?

27. How does Lanner assess the death of Blessington?

27. How long had Blessington been dead?

28. What did Holmes deduce from the cigars?

29. What does Holmes do in the bedroom before Blessington is cut down?

30. Where did the rope come from?

31. Holmes takes a picture of Blessington and says that he’ll find the perpetrators and know the reasons for the crime by that evening?

a. True b. False

32. What are the details of the crime according to Holmes?

33. What became of Trevelyan’s page?

34. What were the “little obscurities” that Holmes cleared up during his investigations?

35. What became of the murderers of Mr. Blessington (Sutton)?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

From the Adventures - The Noble Bachelor

First published in the Strand Magazine, Mar. 1892, with 8 illustrations by Sidney Paget.

1. How many years before Watson’s writing did the Lord St. Simon marriage occur?

2. Where had Watson spent the day?

3. What is bothering Watson during this rainy windy autumnal day?

4. Holmes received several epistles on this day. Who had sent them?

5. What affect dies the position of Holmes’ new client have on the Master?

6. How does Watson help “post Holmes up?”

7. Relate the contents of the letter from Lord St. Simon.

8. What does Holmes use as a reference to find out about Robert St. Simon?

9. Give some details about Lord St. Simon revealed by Holmes’ reference.

10. Relate the events that Watson takes from the newspapers.

11. What editorializing does Watson find in the newspapers about money and position in England?

12. Did the scheduled marriage take place?

13.What were the details of the marriage and disappearance?

14. Who is Miss Flora Miller? What do the police think she has to do with this affair?

15. How does Watson describe Lord St. Simon? How would you describe him?

16. What of the page-boy? Who would have employed him? Holmes and Watson or Mrs. Hudson?

17. Where does Holmes place Lord St. Simon in his hierarchy of cases?

18. Describe the circumstances surrounding St. Simon’s meeting and marriage to Hatty Doran.

19. How does St. Simon describe Ms. Doran?

20. How did Holmes respond to the likeness of Ms. Doran?

21. How did Hatty Doran behave as the wedding approached?

22. What incident occurred as the bridegroom and his new wife were leaving the church?

23. What did you make of the conversation between Lady St. Simon and her maid?

24. What did Lady St. Simon do after leaving the dining table?

25. How was St. Simon involved with Flora Miller?

26. Who was Hatty St. Simon seen walking with into Hyde Park?

27. What did Flora do after the wedding?

28. What does St. Simon think has happened to his new wife?

29. How does Holmes respond to the questioning of St. Simon?

30. What does Holmes appear to think of Lord St. Simon?

31. So, how is Lestrade doing with the case? Where has he been looking for Hatty?

32. What is Holmes’ response to Lestrade’s efforts?

33. What had Lestrade found in the Serpentine?

34. How does Holmes react to Lestrade’s evidence?

35. What had Lestrade found in the pocket of the wedding dress?

36. How did the evidence implicate Flora Miller?

37. What did Holmes focus on when he read the note?

38. What did Holmes tell Lestrade upon his leaving? How did Lestrade respond?

39. Describe the menu for the “epicurean little cold dinner” delivered and set out at 221B. Who had paid for it?

40. Who are the five individuals expected for dinner?

41. How did St. Simon react to the note he received from Holmes?

42. Who are Mr. and Mrs. Francis Hay Molton?

43. Relate the story told by Mrs. Molton.

44. How does St. Simon react to Hatty Molton and her husband’s story? What would you have done?

45. What does Holmes see in the future for America and Great Britain?

46. Summarize Holmes’ analysis of the case:

a. What two facts were obvious to him?
b. Who might Hatty have seen?
c. What had St. Simon told Holmes about the ceremony that brought all of the details to a conclusion?
d. How had Holmes Located the couple?