The Sign of Four: Chapter 7

Chapter 7: “The Episode of the Barrel”

Summary: Watson goes to get Toby the dog to try to track down the peg-legged man’s accomplice. After trekking through the city, they finally end up at a barrel instead of a person.

Reaction: Toby! I didn’t know he was a real Sherlock Holmes character! One of my favorite Disney movies has always been The Great Mouse Detective, and Toby was the mouse Sherlock’s faithful hound, just like in the real stories! And I love how Sherlock relies on the most eccentric help. There’s Mr. Sherman and his house of strange animals, and even Toby is an unusual dog–a mutt and not a real bloodhound or anything like that.

Why This Book Is a Classic: Weird stuff like creosote is commonplace enough to be just sitting around in barrels and on the floor. I don’t even know what that is…okay, it’s tar from burning stuff, commonly found in chimneys, thanks Wikipedia. I’m still not sure why it was in a barrel, though.

Detective Story Convention: Tracking criminals following a mysterious trail–and the detective’s mistake or red herring–every detective, even Holmes will make a mistake or be led off track, otherwise the case won’t last long enough to make a good story.

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