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Classical Childrens Books

Sherlock Holmes Summary

Help for writing a paper or literature summary of Sherlock Holmes stories
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Summary of Sherlock Holmes Stories

Are you looking for the summary of the individual books and stories of Sherlock Holmes?

General Summary

The Sherlock Holmes detective stories generally follow this pattern:
  • Introduction to the setting - You have this in every story ever written of course, but this series has a new twist to the art. Each individual story stands alone and can be read by itself and understood. However, if you read the 56 introductions, you will find an entirely different story - one which tells the story of their career and friendship.

  • The problem - The client arrives on the scene and narrates their problem for Sherlock to solve. Most of the time this occurs in his sitting room at 221B Baker St. Usually Watson is present. And most of the time the client is a victim of a crime that has been committed or will be committed. Watch for variations in this, as they add variety to the style.

  • The Hunt - The rising action occurs as Holmes begins to track down the culprit and solve the mystery. Usually this involves traveling to the site of crime - but again there is a lot of variety in how he proceeds. Sometimes imminent danger is present. Often Watson accompanies him, sometimes he travels alone and reports back, and occasionally he even sends Watson out alone.

    In general, Watson is watching him and wondering what Holmes is doing and thinking.

  • The Catch - The climax occurs as Holmes clasps the hand-cuffs on the surprised villain, or announces the victim is actually the perpetrator, or in any other fashion declares the solution of the mystery to the astonishment of Watson, the reader, and the Scotland Yard detectives.

  • Denoument - The favorite part of the stories is when the omniscient Sherlock explains his deductive reasoning to the ever patient and humble Watson.

Sherlock Holmes Projects

Writing Ideas for Sherlock Holmes Reports

1. Read three different short stories. Notice the differences in the plot formation (see Summary above.) Write an analysis of how they are the same or different.

2. Develop this thesis statement: The characters of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are actually representations of Arthur Conan Doyle himself.

3. Point of View: The Sherlock Holmes tales are excellent examples of the first person point of view. 54 of the short stories and all 4 longer mysteries were supposedly written by Watson. This is an excellent example of the narrator not being the main character. What is the literary value of the character, Watson? How would the stories have been different if they were written by Sherlock?

4. Use one of the Sherlock Holmes Quotes (see link at bottom of this page) and develop your paper around it. Tell how this quote describes the detective and the work done in that short story you are writing about.

5. Try to write a detective story yourself. First, develop the crime and reason for it. Second, develop the crime scene that is left at the end. Three, little by little have the clues found and the mystery solved. It maybe a little trickier than you think!

6. Sherlock Holmes stories take place in Victorian England. So did Charles Dickens stories. Write a short narrative of these characters meeting. Perhaps Sherlock could solve a mystery for old Scrooge himself.

7. Do a character anaylsis of Sherlock. Read a few stories, list the character qualities you discern, and develop a description and example of each. Here is an example of how to do a character sketch.

More About Sherlock Holmes Stories

Learn more about the very smart and very human Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective. See the link below for almost one hundred of the most famous Sherlock Holmes Quotes.


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