The Resident Patient


Basic Information

Abbreviation: RESI (J. F. Christ, 1947)
Word length: 7,355 (C. E. Lauterbach, 1960)
First published: Strand Magazine, August 1893; Harper's Weekly, August 12, 1893
Karen Murdock writes: I adore the little textual variants between one version of the Canon and another! In the original published version of "The Resident Patient," in the Strand magazine, Holmes and Watson return from an evening stroll and notice a strange brougham at their door. "Hum! A doctor's—general practitioner, I perceive," said Holmes. "Not been long in practice, or had much to do. Come to consult us, I fancy!"

In the Doubleday Canon, the second line is rendered as "Not been long in practice, but has a good deal to do," which changes the meaning completely. In the John Murray (and Baring-Gould Annotated) version, the line reads, "Not been long in practice, but has had a good deal to do"—yet a third meaning.

Discussion Questions

  • Do you think Dr. Trevelyan made a good decision by agreeing to work for Mr. Blessington on his terms? Why or why not?
  • Why did Dr. Trevelyan get “in the way of late of holding as little communication with [Mr. Blessington] as possible?”
  • What do you think Dr. Trevelyan meant when he said “I passed over the grossness of his language?” 
  • Had Mr. Blessington told Holmes and Watson of his true identity, do you think it would have saved his life? Would it be worth it to reveal his identity and risk going back to prison in exchange for his life?
  • How did the cigars found in Mr. Blessington’s pocket help Holmes solve the case?
  • If Mr. Blessington knew who was after him and why, why didn’t he pack up and leave town? Was he being arrogant or foolish? Both?
  • Think about the police inspector’s confidence that Mr. Blessington’s death was a suicide without doing any real investigation. Is this commentary on police? What does it mean? Was the police inspector being negligent by taking everything at face-value?