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Hi. I am suppose to write an essay based on a Sherlock Holmes short story. Our teacher wants us to pick an image from the story and explain why that image is important in the story. The image I selected it "Cooee!" and it is an important part of the story because it helps Sherlock Holmes solve the Boscombe Valley Mystery. The teacher told me that my image ("Cooee!") is consider an image in the story. Therefore, I would like to know if my analysis, thesis, and examples are good or need work. I would also like my grammar proofread please. Thanks.

Also, for our essay conclusion, my teacher wants us to conclude it by emphasizing on the importance small things can have. How something small can make a difference.

In the “Boscombe Valley Mystery” by Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes successfully unravels the truth behind the murder of Charles McCarthy. The murder that takes place in Boscombe Valley revolves around secrets. The murderer in this story wants to protect his secrets by killing off the one person that knows all of his shames. Throughout the story Holmes carefully analyzes the scene of the crime and the stories told by witnesses. Each clue takes him closer to the real suspect and reveals secrets along the way. The “Cooee!” in the story is an important clue which helps Holmes narrow down the key suspect.

The first prime suspect in the story is James McCarthy, the son of Charles McCarthy (the victim). James McCarthy was the last person to see his father alive. He told Holmes he had an argument with his father before his death. He had left the Boscombe Pool, were both his father and him were arguing. He told Holmes, “When about a hundred yards from the pool I heard a cry of ‘Cooee!’ which was a usual signal between my father and me” (Doyle 94). Since his father’s cry of “Cooee!” was a usual signal between him and his father, James believed his father was calling him from the Boscombe Pool. James assumed that the expression of “Cooee!” was something his father had made up when he was a child. He did not know that “Cooee!” had any significance. As a result, Charles’s McCarthy’s cry of “Cooee!” misleads James and made many believe James was involved in the death of his father; leading him to be the key suspect of the murder of Charles McCarthy.

Holmes on the other hand, did not believe James’s was responsible for his father’s death. He believed James was telling the truth. Holmes took it upon himself to investigate the meaning of “Cooee!” Throughout his investigation he unraveled the significance of the word “Cooee,” and told Watson, “‘Cooee’ is a distinctly Australian cry and one which is used between Australians” (108). He also discovered another Australian word called, “Ballarat.” James had mention to Holmes that his father’s dying words were “a rat.” Throughout Holmes’s investigation of the meaning of “Cooee,” he discovered that the word “Ballarat” was also Australian and it meant thief. James had mistaken “Ballarat” for “a rat.” Therefore, “Ballarat” was perhaps the last word Charles’s McCarthy had mumbled to James. These new pieces of information lead Holmes to believe that the killer of Charles McCarthy had to be Australian.

Holmes believed the key suspect had to be someone who was Australian, who knew Charles McCarthy and greeted him with a “Cooee!” James McCarthy had told Holmes his father was expecting a visit from someone at the Boscombe Pool. This piece of information made Holmes suspect that the person whom Charles McCarthy was meeting at the Boscombe Pool might have been Australian. He also assumed that the “Cooee!” was not meant for James, since he probably thought his son was in Bristol by then, and according to James, Charles’s McCarthy had a surprised look on his face when he arrived at the Boscombe Pool. As a result, these assumptions lead Holmes to investigate the scene of the crime more thoroughly. After careful examination of the evidence in the crime scene, Holmes concluded that the murderer was a man who knew Charles’s McCarthy, who had an Australian background, and who was once a Ballarat in Australia. This man was Mr. Turner, an acquaintance of the McCarthy family.

In conclusion, the clue of “Cooee!” helps lead Holmes to the true killer of Charles’s McCarthy. The word “Cooee!” was a mystery itself which brought forth many useful clues that helped Holmes narrow down the key suspect. If James McCarthy had not mentioned this small information to Holmes, he could have had a more difficult time solving the mystery of Charles’s murder. Since this piece of information in the mystery was an Australian word, this leads Holmes straight to down the path of Mr. Turner. After his conclusion he later understands why Mr. Turner decided to kill Charles’s McCarthy. The “Boscombe Valley mystery” is yet another example of how a small clue can lead to the end of a mystery.

  • English (please read) -

    Thank you for using the Jiskha Homework Help Forum. Only speaking of the grammar in the essay, the use of "shames" in the plural seems strange. In "Boscombe Pool, were " the last word should be "where." Also "father and him were arguing" should be "he and his father." In that same paragraph, "Charles’s McCarthy’s cry" it's "Charles McCarthy's cry." "key suspect of the murder" flows better with "key suspect in the murder."

    "Holmes on the other hand," = Holmes, on the other hand." No hyphen in "James’s was responsible" = "James was, etc." "James had mention to Holme" = "James had mentioned, etc." No hyphen again in "last word Charles’s McCarthy" = "Charles McCarthy." There is no possession again in " Charles’s McCarthy had a surprised look " = "Charles, etc." "a man who knew Charles’s McCarthy" = "Charles McCarthy."

    In the last paragraph, "rue killer of Charles’s" = "Charles, etc." This is a bit cumbersome = " straight to down the path " = "straight down the path."

    You might want to rework a few sentences but essentially, the above will cover the grammar.


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