Wisteria Lodge


Basic Information

Abbreviation: WIST (J. F. Christ, 1947)
Word length: 11,591 (C. E. Lauterbach, 1960)
First published: Collier's Weekly, August 15, 1908 ("The Singular Experience of Mr. John Scott Eccles"); Strand Magazine, in two parts, September and October 1908 ("The Singular Experience of Mr. John Scott Eccles" and "The Tiger of San Pedro")

Discussion Questions

Part One

  • How do Holmes and Watson’s definition and use of the word “grotesque” impact the story from a reader’s perspective?
  • How would you define the word “grotesque?” Do you agree with their definition What do you think was Holmes’ reasoning for insisting that “No woman would ever send a reply-paid telegram. She would have come?”
  • How do you think Garcia’s “perfect English” lends to Mr. Eccles’ impression of him?
  • As Holmes points out, Mr. Eccles was chosen by Garcia to be an honest witness based on his outward appearance and presentation. What parts of Mr. Eccles interaction with Holmes, Watson, and Baynes make it clear that Mr. Eccles is regarded as a reliable source despite the preposterousness of his story?

Part Two

  • Watson repeatedly refers to Baynes’ eyes as “tiny.” How does this impact the readers’ perception of the character, both physically and in terms of personality or characterization?
  • There is a great deal of language used to describe characters that is not “politically correct” by today’s standards, from labels to accusations of unflattering behavior. To what extent do you think racial prejudice plays into the plot, the characters, and the telling of the story?
  • Why would the murder of Miss Burnett be so dangerous?
  • How are the colors green and white incorporated into the story? How are they used as a method of foreshadowing?
  • It is rare that Holmes encounters another detective or policeman who is of the same deduction skills as he. Often, the officials Holmes work with are portrayed as bumbling and always a little in the dark. Were you surprised by Baynes’ intellect and portrayal? Why or why not?
  • When Holmes asks “why did you arrest the mulatto?” it is quickly explained away as a red-herring, then dismissed without any mention of letting him go or clearing his name. How does this treatment of the man reflect racial prejudices of the time?