The Adventure of the Empty House

The Adventure of the Empty HouseThe Adventure of the Empty House

Sherlock is dead! My life is never going to be the same. Oh, I’m going to cry. My life is over! I miss the adventures! I hate being a doctor… oh wait a minute, who is this weird guy in my office?

That’s pretty much how it happened. So Sherlock is dead, supposedly. John says that London has definitely suffered in the three years since the death of Sherlock Holmes. John has continued to be a doctor, but has followed the world of crime closely. Most recently a man named Adair has been murdered. It was known that the man was a gambler and it was assumed that he had debts. He was murdered in a small room. No one went in or out of it. No murderer can be found. It’s quite strange that this man is dead when there is no murder weapon nearby. Clearly there was a murder weapon.

John was poking around the crime scene with all the looky-loos when he bumped into a book collector. He made the collector drop his books, one of which was called The Origin of Tree Worship. John hastily helps the man on his way, but the man isn’t very nice. John went home, but then the maid said there was someone here to see him. The book collector came into John’s study. The book collector said he was sorry for being so rude; he also said he would sell John some books that would fill an empty spot on his bookshelf. John turned around to look, but when he turned back around Sherlock Holmes was in his room.

John kind of swooned at the sight of Sherlock Holmes. He had supposed him dead. Sherlock now has to tell John how he was not dead. Sherlock says that Moriarty did go over the falls, but he did not. He climbed up the cliff, where he used his powers of Baritsu on another man, but that man got away. Sherlock has waited for all of his enemies to die or be in prison before returning to London. He went to Tibet for a while; he went to Mecca. The faked death was the perfect opportunity for Sherlock to lay low for a while. Sherlock does happen to mention that he watched John have his upsetting personal moment at the falls realizing that his friend was dead.

Sherlock says Mycroft helped him out. Mycroft knew Sherlock wasn’t dead and sent him money and also kept Baker Street up. Apparently, he must have also had it remodeled because in the last story, Baker Street had been set ablaze; Sherlock makes no mention of Baker Street being a charred mess. He does say that Mrs. Hudson just went into hysterics when he showed up though.

Sherlock doesn’t waste any time. He says there is something he needs help with. John agrees to come along just like old times. It appears they’re going to Baker Street, but they’re not. They end up in an empty house across from Baker Street. There they wait in the dark, but not before Sherlock shows John something. In the window of Baker Street the distinct shadow of Sherlock Holmes can be seen. John is surprised that it looks just like Sherlock. Sherlock says he had a man make it out of wax.

Sherlock explains that he knew he was being watched. There had been a man watching him on the street. Sherlock says he claimed to be a garroter, but he was really spying on Sherlock. He also says that he was scared of air guns a while back and with good cause. John and Sherlock wait and wait and wait, for a long while, nothing happens. Finally they hear a noise. It’s in the building with them. They’re in a complete darkness and a man passes them by as if they were not there. John discovers that it’s an old man.

The old man proceeds to get out a very big gun. He takes aim at Sherlock’s shadow and shoots. After he takes his shot, Sherlock jumps on him and Lestrade rushes in the building. It turns out the old man was a former big game hunter with a very good shot. He is a colonel of the last name Moran. He is surprised that Sherlock has caught him. Lestrade wants to know what to charge him with and Sherlock tells Lestrade to charge him with the murder of Adair, as Adair had been shot with the same type of weapon. The gun was commissioned specially by Moriarty. Sherlock says he doesn’t want any mention of his name in relation to the case.

John and Sherlock go back to Baker Street, where everything was as it always had been. Mrs. Hudson was there. Sherlock asked her if she had taken the proper precautions and she tells him that, “Yes, she did. She went to it on her knees.” *Hehehe* She was talking about Sherlock’s bust. She would move it every so often as to change the shadow as a real person would change positions. She had to go to the bust on her knees in order not to cast a shadow herself.

It turns out the old man was a pretty good shot. He shot Sherlock’s wax figure clean through. Sherlock would have certainly been dead had he been sitting there. John and Sherlock remark over how Moran used to be such a fine upstanding man, but he was enticed by the dark side. Then he became Darth Vader, no, not really. Sherlock supposes that there was some sort of gambling debt between Moran and Adair and that’s why Adair lost his life. Sherlock is glad that all his enemies are put away so he can once again devote his life to solving mysteries.

The Adventure of the Empty HouseObservations

See, we knew he would be back. He’s alive. He’s fine. He just went on a soul-searching journey to Tibet and Mecca. He’s as condescending as ever.

Whist is a game I have never played before. I know it’s a card game, but I don’t know how it works. This is what Wikipedia says about it:

A standard 52-card pack is used. The cards in each suit rank from highest to lowest: A K Q J 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2. Whist is played by four players, who play in two partnerships with the partners sitting opposite each other. Players cut or draw cards to determine partners, with the two highest playing against the lowest two, who have seating rights. The players then cut for deal. It is strictly against the rules to comment on the cards in any way. One may not comment upon the hand one was dealt nor about one’s good fortune or bad fortune. One may not signal to one’s partner.

I can honestly say that I don’t really understand that. I’ve never been much of a card player. I understand solitaire and Crazy 8s and that’s about it. I don’t even know how to play poker. I can play Blackjack though.

The story says that Adair wanted to play a “rubber of whist.” So what’s a rubber? If you’re thinking what I’m thinking, then it has nothing to do with cards. I don’t know how this measurement came about, but playing a rubber of whist means you’re going to play for the best of three games. So you play three games and whoever wins most is the overall winner.

I’m not exactly Annie Oakley; I know a bit about guns, but not a ton. When I read the term expanding revolver bullet I didn’t know what to make of it, but I looked into it. An expanding revolver bullet is basically a hollow-point bullet; this means, you’re shooting to kill. Hollow-point bullets aren’t for hunting deer or rabbits; they’re for hunting people. The premise is that the hollow section of the bullet will expand once it has hit its target, this means more damage. A regular bullet may pass through your body piercing only muscle, if you’re lucky, but a hollow point bullet would expand and nick internal organs and major blood vessels making it more likely that you’re going to die from your wound.

Baritsu is not real. Arthur made the word up to describe a type of Japanese wrestling. The only type of Japanese wrestling I know about is Sumo. Trust me, I lived in Japan for three years. I even looked up the word just to be sure that there isn’t some Japanese word Baritsu that means wrestling. There’s not. Baritsu isn’t even a real word in Japanese. It could be, it has the phonetics to be Japanese, but consider that Japanese doesn’t regularly use “B” at all. “ri” and “tsu” are both Japanese letters, “ba” is as well, but it’s a lesser used letter. Essentially, Arthur made up a Japanese looking and sounding word, but it’s just that–made up.

Just for fun:





What in the heck is a garroter? Well, a garroter is someone who strangles someone else. I cannot find any other definition for this word. So Sherlock was basically saying that a strangler was watching him. If you use an object to strangle someone, that object is then a garrote.

  1. Park Lane-real
  2. Church Street-real
  3. Manchester Street-real
  4. Blandford Street-real

Sherlock mentions that he went to see the Khalifa at Khartoum. Khartoum is a real place, it’s in Sudan, so Africa; Sherlock went to Africa as well. Khalifa is a last name, but it’s also a title in Sufism. Sherlock went to see something like a priest. This journey Sherlock takes to Tibet, to Mecca, and to Khartoum really seems to have a spiritual basis, maybe Sherlock was finding himself and rethinking his life. He doesn’t go into details about it.

The word ejaculation is used one time in this story.

The Adventure of the Empty HouseThemes

Don’t mess with Sherlock Holmes. He was gone for three years on a spiritual quest but rose up from the dead to judge those who were left behind. That sounds a little familiar. I wonder if Arthur did that on purpose? Christ was dead, he sacrificed himself for the greater good, he was dead for three days, in heaven, and then he rose from the dead. Sherlock also sacrificed himself, was “dead” for a three-something, then rose from the dead, seemingly. Right, Arthur, right. Did Arthur hang out with C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien? I would understand if he did, but Arthur predates the Inklings.

You must understand that society was much more religious back in the day. Even if you didn’t outwardly express your religion, your work and life still held many references to religion. You went to church; it was your social group. You knew the priest. Everyone around you spoke about God. Arthur has made other references to God in the Sherlock stories. Sherlock isn’t overly religious, but from this story we can tell that Sherlock possesses something of a religion because he visited all these religious places to speak with all these religious people. This little blip in the story line is just a way for Arthur to sneak  just a bit of religion in his Sherlock stories. Everyone was doing it, not just Arthur, that’s why I mentioned C.S. Lewis and Tolkien, because they did a heck of a lot of sneaking religion into their works. Although, in their cases I don’t suppose it was so much sneaking as just saying how it was.

I consider myself religious to an extent, but even if I were not, I still live in an area which is overly religious. I live in the South and in the south people say, “Have a blessed day,” instead of, “have a good day,” in many instances. There are churches everywhere. The local middle-school rents out to a large church on Sundays. Even if I did not consider myself religious at all, I would still be surrounded by religion and it would still place in my life and whatever creations I might come to create.

I don’t know if Arthur was religious, but like I said, even if he were not religious, religion would still factor into his stories. It has many times. Sherlock and John mention churches in the stories. They make small remarks about God. The Sherlock stories are definitely more secular than many other stories of the day, but the idea is still there.

To sum all of that up, yes, there is a bit of religion in the Sherlock stories, and here you were, thinking it was all science and deduction, but deduction could be considered a religion unto itself for Sherlock.


Go to it on your knees, Mrs. Hudson. That’s so bad. Oh, poor Mrs. Hudson, in my interpretation of the Sherlock stories she’s getting knocked up and wobbling around on her knees.

big game hunter, john watson, mrs hudson, sharpshooter, sherlock holmes, sherlock holmes The Adventure of the Empty House, sir arthur conan doyle, The Adventure of the Empty House, The Adventure of the Empty House sir arthur conan doyle, the empty house
Doyle-Sir Arthur Conan, Sherlock Holmes


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