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Category Archives: WIST

Adventure of Wisteria Lodge

Data! Data! Data! – Wisteria Lodge

Data! Data! Data! – Wisteria Lodge

“‘Data! Data! Data!‘ he cried impatiently. ‘I can’t make bricks without clay.’”

– The Adventures of The Copper Beeches (COPP)

There was a face looking in at me through the lower pane. ~ Illustration by Arthur Twidle in The Strand Magazine – September 1908

This column is composed of material (Data!) developed for a short course called Appreciating Sherlock Holmes that I taught twice a year in the Community Education Life Enrichment Program for a local community college.  It is composed of “points of information” that are common to many / most / all of the 60 Canonical stories.

HERE GOES….. The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge


“Grotesque was the word that always put Holmes on the alert.  When Mr. J. Scott Eccles telegraphed that he had a grotesque experience Holmes was eager to hear the details.  When Mr. Eccles went for an overnight visit with Seňor Garcia, why did he find the house deserted in the morning?”


“When Mr. John Scott Eccles accepts an invitation from his new friend to visit Wisteria Lodge, little does he know what he’s getting himself into.  By morning, his host is dead, and he’s a wanted man.”



The 41st of the 60 stories. First published in Collier’s Weekly, August 15, 1908, Originally The Singular Experience of Mr. John Eccles.

In England, The Strand Magazine, September & October 1908 issues. Originally as A Reminiscence of Mr. Sherlock Holmes: The Tiger of San Pedro

Part of His Last Bow collection as The Adventure of Wisteria Lodge) by John Murray, London, 1917 and George H. Doran, New York, 1917

British Illustrator was Arthur Twiddle and the American Illustrator was Frederick Dorr Steele.


Baring-Gould places the dating of the story at Monday, March 24 to Saturday, March 29, 1890 making it 28th of the 60 stories.  This means that Holmes is 46 and Watson 50.


At 11,591 words WIST has the 55th most words (#1 is VEIL – 4,499, #56 if NAVL – 12,701)


This case is one of 23 classified as a MURDER where the perpetrator Holmes solved the case but one of 5 where the perpetrator escaped justice.  The others were FIVE, GREE, MUSG, and RESI.


1999 – The Baker Street Irregulars voted it 37th of the 56 short stories.

1999 – The Sherlock Holmes Society of London voted it 34th of the 56 short stories.


  • Roberts replaces Buller in South Africa; relief of Ladysmith, Mafeking, Kimberly; Boer leader Kronje surrenders at Paardeberg; Transvaal and Orange Free State annexed by Britain.
  • Royal Niger Company’s territories are taken over by the British government.
  • Central London Railway (Central Line) opens; London’s tubes electrified.
  • Labour Representation Committee, beginning of the Labour Party.
  • School made obligatory until age 14.
  • Birmingham University founded.
  • Davis Cup presented for men’s international lawn tennis.
  • Boxer Rebellion ended by military relief of besieged foreign legations.
  • Franco-Italian Treaty concerning North African colonies.
  • Tirpitz induces German Reichstag to pass Navy Act, to double the navy by 1920.
  • Assassination of King Humberto of Italy, accessions of Victor Emmanuel III.
  • Socialist Revolutionary Party formed in Russia, advocates terrorism.
  • Russia occupies Manchuria, massacres 45,000 Chinese.
  • Working day in France is limited to 10 hours.
  • Conrad publishes Lord Jim.
  • Theodore Dreiser publishes Sister Carrie.
  • Puccini debuts La Tosca.
  • Max Planck proposed Quantum theory.
  • E. Brandenburger invents cellophane.
  • First Zeppelin is built.
  • Escalator, invented in the U.S.A., exhibited in Paris Exhibition.
  • Hugo de Vries publishes The Mutation Theory, leading to the modern
    evolution theory.
  • Benjamin Holt invents the caterpillar tractor.


This story finds both gentlemen still living at 221B.


  • SCOTT ECCLES, brought the case to Holmes.
  • ALOYSIUS GARCIA, a freedom fighter for the people of San Pedro.
  • THE MULATTO, cook and housekeeper for Garcia.
  • INSPECTOR BAYNES, of the yard
  • INSPECTOR GREGSON ”    ”     “
  • LUCAS aka SIGNOR RULLI, secretary and confidant of Henderson.
  • MISS BURNET, aka SENORA SIPORA VICTOR DURADO, governess of Henderson’s children
  • JOHN WARNER, former gardener for Henderson. Hired by Holmes to keep watch on his house.
  • MELVILLE, a retired brewer who introduced Eccles and Garcia.
  • CONSTABLE WALTERS guarded Wisteria lodge and was frightened by the cook staring through the window.
  • CONSTABLE DOWNING had his thumb severely chewed by the cook as the latter was being captured.


  • “My mind is like a racing engine, tearing itself to pieces because it is not connected up with the work for which it was built.”
  • “Life is commonplace; the papers are sterile; audacity and romance seem to have passed forever from the criminal world.”
  • “Well, we can only possess our souls in patience until this excellent inspector comes back for us.”
  • “I have not all my facts yet but I do not think there are any insuperable difficulties.  Still, it is an error to argue in front of your data.  You find yourself insensibly twisting them around to fit your theories.”
  • “Our difficulties are not over.  Our police work ends, but our legal work begins.”
  • “There is but one step from the grotesque to the horrible.”


  • The Case of Colonel Carruthers


  • 1921 The Tiger of San Pedro with Eille Norwood.  The National Film and Television Archive at the BFI has viewing copies of this film, but it has not been released
  • 1968 Wisteria Lodge with Peter Cushing as part of his Sherlock Holmes series  This episode is lost.
  • 1988 Wisteria Lodge with Jeremy Brett as an episode of his 43 episodes as Sherlock Holmes on the Granada series


In this tale, John Scott Eccles almost faints.


  • “quarter-day is at hand” Are the traditional days in England and Scotland for the division of the year when quarterly payments such as rent, payment of taxes, etc. take place.  Are associated with Christmas, Lent, Mid-Summer (June 24), and Michaelmas (Sept. 29)
  • “a remand” A judicial order for recommittal.
  • “Inspector Gregson” only here and in STUD and GREE
  • “dog-grate” a detached fire-grate standing in a fireplace on supports called dogs
  • “sleeve-link” a cuff-link
  • “spud” a small spade used for digging out weeds,  possible source of slang for potato
  • “baize” green cotton or woolen material imitating felt
  • “Jacobean”   during the reign of James I
  • “Assizes”  trial sessions, civil and criminal, held at periodic times and locations by moving  judges and courts


  • Old-Fashioned, Pin-Fire Revolver – Found in the home of Aloysius Garcia.
  • Firearm(s) – Which Don Murillo, the notorious “Tiger of San Pedro,” had Victor Durando shot with.
  • Firearms – Which Garcia and two confederates had fired at Murillo and Lopez, his secretary, in an attempt to end their evil lives.
  • Knives – Which Murillo and Lopez were ready to thrust into Signora Vivtor Durando (alias Miss Burnett), and which they later used to torture her.
  • Blunt Instrument (thought to be a sandbag by Gregson) – Which Juan Murillo used to kill Aloysius Garcia.
  • Opium – Used to drug Signora Victor Durando (alias Miss Burnet) by Murillo and Lopez.
  • Teeth – Of the Mulatto savage, with which he bit Constable Downing, who was in the act of arresting him.
  • Fists (presumably) – Which Murillo and Lopez used to beat up Signora Durando.
  • Dog Whip – The use of which got Henderson (Murillo) into trouble with the townspeople several times.
  • Starvation – Of Signora Durando, used as a means of torture by Murillo and Lopez.
  • Weapons – Which were used in the successful assassination of Murillo and Lopez.

Frank Mentzel, aka Merridew of Abominable Memory, is a past Gasogene of the Six Napoleons of Baltimore.



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British Coins Central To Holmesian Stories (1993)

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