The Empty House


Basic information

Abbreviation: EMPT (J. F. Christ, 1947)
Word length: 8,761 (C. E. Lauterbach, 1960)
First published: Collier's, September 26, 1903; Strand Magazine, October 1903

Discussion Questions

  • What is the significance of the gun and the bullets used by Colonel Sebastian Moran?
  • How was Watson’s work ethic and dedication affected by Holmes’ presumed death? What kind of toll did Holmes’ presumed death have on Watson, both emotionally and in terms of his desire to find answers to questions that arise?
  • Throughout the story, characters are described with very specific wordage, depicting features such as “a thin, projecting nose” and “his face was… scored with deep, savage lines.” How do these descriptions contribute to the reader’s perception of each character? 
  • Do you agree with the way Watson reacted to discovering that Holmes was alive? Why or why not?
  • Do you think it was unfair for Holmes to neglect to inform Watson that he was alive? Did he have a good reason for not doing so?
  • What is the significance of capitalizing the word “Fate” in the text?

Film Adaptations