Black Peter


Basic Information

Abbreviation: BLAC (J. F. Christ, 1947)
Word length: 8,181 (C. E. Lauterbach, 1960)
First published: Collier's Weekly, February 27, 1904; Strand Magazine, March 1904

Discussion Questions

  • In the beginning paragraphs, Watson refers to Holmes’ career as “art,” and to Holmes as “an artist.” How can something as seemingly black and white as the law be perceived as art?
  • Watson states that Holmes doesn’t often serve the rich and wealthy. How does this characterize Holmes?
  • Holmes mentions to Inspector Hopkins multiple times throughout this story to “not lose sight of the alternative.” What other implications could this advice have?
  • When they find the culprit, the culprit states “you say I murdered Peter Carey, I say I killed Peter Carey.” In the eyes of the culprit, what is the difference?
  • What significance does the ship’s name, the Sea Unicorn, hold?
  • By Holmes’ explanation of how he solved the crime at the end of the story, it seems that he had it mostly solved from the very beginning, and still allowed Inspector Hopkins to arrest the wrong man. Why do you suppose Holmes let him do this?
  • What role does money play this story? What does this suggest about the characters?