Charles Augustus Milverton


Basic information

Abbreviation: (J. F. Christ, 1947): CHAS
Word length: (C. E. Lauterbach, 1960): 6,775
First published: Collier's Weekly, March 26, 1904; Strand Magazine, April 1904

Discussion Questions

  • This is not Holmes and Watson’s only case which involves blackmail. What makes Milverton “the worst man in London” in Holmes’ eyes?
  • What is Watson’s reaction upon finding out the nature of Holmes’ recent engagement? Do you agree with Watson? Why or why not?
  • Both Holmes and Watson express a thrill at acting outside of the law. Why do you think Holmes chooses to use his intelligence to solve crimes rather than commit them?
  • Holmes rationalizes robbing Milverton by calling the action “morally justifiable, though technically criminal.” He later throws all of Milverton’s blackmail material into a fire. What might Holmes’ motivation for these actions be? Is he being altruistic? Or simply besting a nemesis?
  • Do you think Holmes should have taken on the case of Milverton’s murder? Why or why not?