illustration of Sherlock Holmes in profile surrounded by various items from his many mysteries

The Best of Sherlock Holmes

by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Start Free Trial

Student Question

Using three adjectives, how would you describe Sherlock's character in "The Five Orange Pips," "The Blue Carbuncle," and "The Adventures of the Speckled Band"?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In The Adventure of the Speckled Band, Holmes is observant. Of course, this applies to him in ALL of the stories, but in this particular one, in the very beginning, he uses his powers of observation to determine that his young lady visitor has come by train. He remarks that she has just arrived by train, and she asks if he knows her. He explains:

"No, but I observe the second half of a return ticket in the palm of your left glove.

Sherlock Holmes is solitary. Other than Watson, there is never much mention that he has other friends. In The Five Orange Pips, he and Watson are sitting by the fire in Baker Street where Holmes lives. It is a depressing, rainy night, and someone rings the bell. Watson asks  Holmes if it is one of his friends coming by so late at night and Holmes replies:

"Except yourself I have none," he answered. "I do not encourage visitors."

Finally, in The Blue Carbuncle, Holmes is methodical.  When Watson arrives to wish him Merry Christmas, he sees that Holmes is studying a beat-up, old blue hat which he has hung near him to observe. He also has several items at hand to help him in his observation:

A lens and a forceps lying upon the seat of the chair suggested that the hat had been suspended in this manner for the purpose of examination.

At this point, he very methodically explains to Watson how he obtained the hat and why he is studying it.

You can go through these stories and find other examples of these adjectives. They are all ones that describe Holmes' overall personality and appear in all of the stories, I would think. You can find other events that describe his other qualities as well - such as curt, impatient, etc.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial