Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's short story, The Red-Headed League, features his most famous characters-- Mr. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson. In this installment of the adventures of Holmes and Watson, a man named Jabez Wilson hires Mr. Holmes to look into the mysterious disappearance of an organization known as "The Red-Headed League," or the "League of Red-Headed Men."
A plot diagram is made up of the following parts.
- The exposition, which sets the scene for our story and introduces us to the necessary characters and events.
- The rising action, which builds tension or excitement.
- The climax, which culminates the tension that has been building and is typically the most exciting part of the narrative.
- The falling action, which de-escalates any excitement or tension towards the resolution.
- The resolution itself, which brings the story together and ties up any loose ends.
I would consider the following points from The Red-Headed League to fulfill the points of a plot diagram.
- Exposition- When Dr. Watson comes in to Sherlock Holmes' apartment to find him in discussion with Mr. Jabez Wilson, who goes on to tell about his predicament.
- Rising action- From the time that Mr. Holmes begins contemplating the mystery at hand, to their visit to the pawnbroker's and the concert hall, and on to the moment when Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson are hiding in the basement of Mr. Wilson's business. In these events, we can feel excitement rising as Holmes seems to be coming closer to understanding the mystery but does not clearly reveal to Watson or the reader what is occurring.
- Climax- When Holmes confronts the criminal John Clay in Mr. Wilson's basement.
- Falling action- As Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson talk over a drink, Holmes reveals that he had a suspicion that someone wanted to keep Mr. Wilson busy, outside of his home or business, for extended periods of time. Because his business was near enough to a bank, Holmes realized that whoever was trying to get Mr. Wilson out of the way was trying to dig a tunnel to enter the bank. Here, all of the information starts to fall into place, giving us a better "picture" of the events that have transpired.
- Resolution- Holmes states that he knew the bank-robbery would be attempted tonight, because the Red-Headed League no longer needed to keep Mr. Wilson out of the way. The story is resolved with Holmes explaining everything clearly to the admiring Dr. Watson. Doyle closes the story with a quote meaning, "the man is nothing, the work is everything," which really sums up Holmes' perspective in sorting out this case. He was not as much concerned with what made Wilson special, or who might be targeting him, but what reason they had to employ him in the menial work of copying the encyclopedia.