Students can be assigned the task of writing a mini mystery story. This activity can be tailored to the ability level of the group by supplying characters, crime, motive, weapon, setting, etc., to those less able; while more proficient writers can be left to their own devices. As an alternative, a small group of students may work cooperatively on this assignment where those of varying abilities can be assigned to work together.
Using the information on the standards of detective fiction, the students can either work independently or in small groups to identify and match elements of the short stories they have read with the conventions of the genre. The teacher may want to construct a chart on the board or on a ditto as a guide for the students which they can fill in.
An additional activity may be a visit to Gillette Castle State Park in East Haddam, Connecticut. The park was the former estate of William Gillette, the American actor and playwright who was renowned for this portrayal of Sherlock Holmes. The castle was built from 1914-1919, and is patterned after medieval castles in Germany. Nineteen of its twenty-four rooms are open to the public. They contain unusual furnishings and belongings of the actor.
Finally, film versions of Sherlock Holmes’s adventures and “And Then There Were None” are available for rental from most video stores. It would be interesting to compare and contrast the original versions with the screenwriters’/ directors’ versions of the same material.