The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Characters

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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Summary & Study Guide Description

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle.

Sherlock Holmesappears in All

Sherlock Holmes is the key character in all of the stories in this collection. He is a "consulting detective," what we would today call a private investigator. Apparently, not long after the started his career as a detective, he needed more money and took Watson on as a roommate in his apartment. He lives and works out of 221B Baker street, a small but well furnished apartment with 17 steps leading up the the room from the street. Although he may have needed money at one time, by the time of these stories he is comfortably well off. So much so that he often doesn't charge at all for his services.

Holmes's chief characteristic and his most useful trait is his cold, calculating mind and his method of deduction. He is able to devise theories to explain crimes with the smallest amount of evidence. He, as he constantly tells Watson, sees what other do not see. He believes that the details of a case are all important and he will often question a client about the most, seemingly, irrelevant detail of their account.

Happiest and most contented when on the track of a criminal or when trying to solve a tricky case, Holmes becomes agitated when his mind is not occupied with some tough problem. He habitually injects cocaine ot improve his moods in the downtimes and also uses Morphine somewhat frequently. Both of these drugs were legal in England at the time of these stories. He smokes a pipe and loves music, even going so far as to play the violin after he has solved an important case or when he is thinking.

Dr. John Watsonappears in All

Dr. Watson is Sherlock Holmes's intimate friend and partner. Watson narrates all of these stories and acts as something like Holmes's biographer in that he writes many of the interesting cases into stories that he publishes. Holmes's is very fond of Watson though he believes that Watson has ruined his stories by making them too sensational and sentimental. Originally Watson was Holmes's roommate, but the too men became fast friends and began to solve mysteries together.

Watson was originally a military doctor who served with the army in colonial Afghanistan. He still keeps his military revolver which Holmes's asks him to bring on several of their investigations. Watson is intelligent, but lacks the power of Holmes's skills of deduction. Holmes tries to instruct Watson, but his methods seem beyond the doctor. A bachelor for many years, Watson married Mary Morstan, a character from The Sign of Four before the beginning of most of these stories.

Although Holmes has no interest of skill with women, Watson has a keen interest in the fairer sex as he shows in several of these stories. Watson effectively functions as Holmes's side-kick and as the everyman foil to Holmes's more cold personality. More than once, though, it is an observation or a brave act by Watson that saves the day. Although Watson moves out of Baker street once he is married, he constantly stops back in to see his friend and many of these tales begin with a chance visit to Sherlock Holmes.

Inspector Lestradeappears in The Boscome Valley Mystery, The Adventure of the Noble Bachl

Lestrade is a well-repsected and able Scotland Yard detective that Holmes often works with on cases. Lestrade thinks that Holmes's method is suspect and Holmes finds Lestrade a little bone headed, but the two work together well and Sherlock will often give the credit of the case to Lestrade.

John Clayappears in The Red-Headed League

Clay is the noble born mater criminal in the "Red-Headed League" who pretends to be an assistant before Sherlock finds out his true identity.

John Turnerappears in The Boscombe Valley Mystery

Turner was originally an Australia highway robber who eventually left Australia to settle down in the English countryside. He murders Mr. McCarty because McCarthy is trying to force Turner's daughter into a marriage with McCarthy's son.

John Openshawappears in The Five Orange Pips

He is the nephew of Elias Openshaw who returned from Florida after the Civil War to return to the English countryside. His uncle incurs the wrath of the KKK which kills his uncle, his father, and eventually him.

Isa Whitneyappears in The Man with the Twisted Lip

Educated husband of a friend of Watson's wife. An opium addict, he often spends days at a time in opium dens.

Mr. Neville St. Clairappears in The Man with the Twisted Lip

Although St. Clair is a somewhat successful business man, he has taken to disguising himself as a beggar to make more money on the streets of London. Fearing that his wife has found out his secret, he fakes his own disappearance and is then accused of his own murder.

Inspector Bradstreetappears in The Adventures of the Engineer's Thumb

Another Scotland Yard detective that sometimes works with Holmes. Like Lestrade he sometimes looks down on Holmes's methods though he will often also look the other way when Holmes circumvents the law.

James Ryderappears in The Adventure of the BLue Carbuncle

The thief of the Blue Carbuncle. Holmes catches his by subterfuge and then, convinced that the man will not commit anymore crimes, Holmes releases him without telling the police.

Helen Stonerappears in The Adventure of the Speckled Band

She is the stepdaughter of Dr. Roylott who holds an inheritance from her mother's death. Dr. Roylott kills her sister Julia and he aims to do the same thing to Helen to prevent her marriage and the loss of her inheritance before Holmes and Watson save her.

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