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STORIES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES Written by Arthur Doyle, adapted by Trevor Millum Pre-reading Pages 3 – 23 Discuss the following with your partner: Read and discuss ‘About the Author’ on Page 3. What do you learn about the inspiration of Sherlock Holmes stories? What made you choose this book to read? Did the front cover or synopsis attract you? What does ‘adapted’ mean with reference to adapted by Trevor Millum? Why has this been done? Vocabulary Work: * impulsively (p10) * inquest (p11) * deduce (p13) * venomous (p22) * acquitted (p22) STORIES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES Pages 3 – 23 DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 1. Who is the first character you are introduced to in Chapter 1? The author has used ‘I’ throughout the stated pages – what did he do at the beginning to allow him to do this? 2. What does the author do in Chapter 1? Do you want to read on? 3. There is a lot of dialogue between Holmes and Watson in the first chapters – in what way does Holmes speak? 4. What does Holmes do at the end of Chapter 2? Why do this? 5. Page 15 bombards the reader with a lot of information – what have we learned about the case and how do you think Holmes knows all of these things? 6. Explain the phrase ‘Why does fate play such tricks with poor helpless worms’. 7. Explain the phrase – ‘in ignorance of the cloud which rests upon their past’. 8. Do you think the outcome of the story is a fair one? How else could it have ended? FOLLOW-UP TASK Use the first chapters to write all the clues you learnt about the case. Use bullet points and keep your information to brief notes – enough information to keep the clue clear, but not too much description. STORIES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES Pre-reading Pages 24 – 43 Discuss the following with your partner: The title of the next short story is ‘The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle’ – what do you think it is going to be about? Can you remember what the word ‘deduce’ means from the last story? It appears in this story too. Vocabulary Work: * commissionaire (p25) * deductions (p 28) * gullet (p 42) * barred (p 42) STORIES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES Pages 24 – 43 DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 1. How did the mystery change from the way it began? (Page 28) 2. How has dialect been used on Page 33? 3. How did Holmes manage to trick the man on Pages 35 – 36? 4. Why did Holmes stay at the market when the man started shouting? (Page 37) 5. Why did ‘John Robinson’ go red and what is meant by an alias? How do you think Holmes knew that was not his real name? 6. What do you think of Holmes letting the man go? Do you think his reasons are good ones? (Page 43) 7. What did Holmes mean by, ‘Chance placed in our way a most odd problem – and I think its solution is its own reward’. (Page 43) FOLLOW-UP TASK Work in your group to write your own Sherlock Holmes style of story! You need to think of a mystery that can be solved and then give clues away so people can try to deduce what is going to happen! This is a difficult challenge so get your heads together and work collaboratively. STORIES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES Pre-reading Pages 44 – 64 Discuss the following with your partner: This short story is called ‘The Adventure of Silver Blaze’ – what do you think it is about? What or who might Silver Blaze be? Look at the chapter titles for the story – what clues do you get from these? Vocabulary Work: * unique (Page 45) * furlongs (Page47) * cravat (Page 50) * opium (Page 50) * avenge (Page 52) * resent (Page 53) * ceased (Page 53) * cataract (Page 54) * infernal (Page 57) STORIES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES Pages 44 – 64 DISCUSSION QUESTIONS 1. What does the author mean when he says ‘As ever, the newspapers only have room for some of the facts’? (Page 47) 2. At the end of Chapter 1, a lot of clues have been given – which clue changes the case from being a simply solved to a more confusing case? (Page 51) 3. What is meant by ‘He did not resent Holmes’ objections’? 4. How do the illustrations add to the story? What is your opinion of them? 5. Chapter 4 ties many of the clues together – what do you find out in this chapter? Did you expect the story to be solved in this way? 6. Why has the author included Chapter 5 – ‘Holmes Explains’? FOLLOW-UP TASK Write a summary of the short story you have just read. Remember to tell just the important points, but this is quite tricky as Holmes shares all the clues of the crime with the audience – it is your job to decide what is important and what your summary must include.
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