Welcome! Like the book of the same name, this blog is an eclectic collection of Sherlockian scribblings based on more than a half-century of reading Sherlock Holmes. Please add your own thoughts. You can also follow me on Twitter @DanAndriacco and on my Facebook fan page at Dan Andriacco Mysteries. You might also be interested in my Amazon Author Page. My books are also available at Barnes & Noble and in all main electronic formats including Kindle, Nook, Kobo and iBooks for the iPad.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

What I Learned from Teaching A Holmes Class

Students loved "The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans"

A week ago today, I moderated the last of eight non-credit classes for senior citizens (age 50 and older) on Sherlock Holmes. I learned a lot from the experience. For instance: 

  • Sherlock Holmes is really popular. The class reached the maximum size of 20 the day registration opened. Some had never read a Holmes story before, and some could have led the course. 

  • All the TV shows, movies, and various cultural appropriations of Sherlock Holmes didn’t stop newcomers to the Canon from loving the real thing. 

  • Despite the greatness of the 1939 Rathbone-Bruce Hound of the Baskerville (which we watched in class), everybody seemed to agree the book is better. 

  • One reason for that is that Arthur Conan Doyle is a great writer, not just a great storyteller. The students loved the way he describes people and weather, as well as the sparkling dialog. 

  • My own personal tastes aren’t unusual. The students joined in me in loving “The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans,” “His Last Bow,” and The Valley of Fear. 

The class was built around stories significant to the biography of Sherlock Holmes, not necessarily the best stories. In addition to those already mentioned, we read A Study in Scarlet, The Sign of Four, “A Scandal in Bohemia,” “The Gloria Scott,” “The Musgrave Ritual,”
“The Greet Interpreter,” “The Final Problem,” “The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier,” and “The Adventure of the Lion’s Mane.”

Several class members approved the story selections in their evaluations. What next? I don’t know! But I would like to do another class. The students were engaged and fun to be with.


  1. I envy you. That would be so much fun. I would enjoy the chance to have such interesting exchanges of ideas about our ever expanding ways Sherlock is presented.

  2. I don't mean to impose, but would you be willing to share your syllabus/class materials? Thanks. joe allegretti

    1. Sure. Send me an e-mail and I will attach it in a response by the end of the day. (Go to "Contact" at the top of this page.)