Teacher’s notes

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Mystery and detective story writers who followed him. One of
Sherlock Holmes’s most famous characteristics is his ability to
notice minor details of a person’s appearance and to deduce thatperson’s character and lifestyle from these details. Sherlock
Holmes immediately notices the red marks on Miss Sutherland’s
nose and arms (and deduces she is a short-sighted typist). And, in
the samestory, Holmes is easily able to look behind the most
obvious details of appearance (dark glasses and a beard) to
recognize the true identity of the man beneath.

Each of these stories has a similarstructure: Sherlock Holmes
is approached by a stranger with a problem. Holmes carefully and
quickly analyses the stranger’s character, asks questions about
their problems, and gathers a set of clues.Whilst the reader (and
Dr Watson) are led in one direction, the story develops in an
unpredictable way and ends with a surprising conclusion. This ‘twist
in the tale’ keeps the readers guessinguntil the last moment and
maintains suspense and interest. This structure is typical of
Sherlock Holmes stories and has been used by thriller and
detective story writers (such as Agatha Christie andJohn Grisham)
ever since.

The following teacher-led activities cover the same sections of text
as the exercises at the back of the Reader, and supplement those
exercises. For supplementaryexercises, see the photocopiable
Student’s Activities pages of this Factsheet. These are primarily for
use with class Readers but, with the exception of discussion and
pair/group work questions, can alsobe used by students working
alone in a self-access centre.


1 Ask students to tell you what they know about the time in
which Sherlock Holmes stories are set(end of the nineteenth
and beginning of the twentieth centuries). Then put the class
into groups and give each group a piece of paper. Students
should draw a line down the centre of the paper...
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