1. Typically an atmosphere of Expectation pervades the opening scene which finds Sherlock Holmes and his blustering companion, Doctor Watson, esconced in their Baker Street rooms and engaged in idle conversation. The usual topic of discussion is of past cases illustrating Holmes' superior analytical ability.
2. There is a knock at the Baker street doorstep and the visitor is escorted up the stairs to the rooms by Mrs. Hudson. Holmes scrutinizes the visitor, as he or she gives an account of their problem, often in the form of backstory, while Watson takes notes.
3. At this point clues are introduced into the story and Holmes visits the scene of the crime, which he does so with rapidity. Holmes is always mindful that speed in obtaining the evidence is paramount, and he arrives at the scene of a crime before important evidence, such as footprint and other clues, were obliterated. Perhaps the most famous of cluues is the omitted or negative type clue. An example of this type of clue is the dog that didn't bark. Sherlock Holmes suspected something was amiss when during a nighttime burglary the dog didn't bark when it should have. Other variations of this type of negative clue include the pet that doesn't know its master; "the baby that doesn't recognize its mother."
4. From the clues presented, Holmes, employing superior reasoning, makes some preliminary hypotheses while Watson, representing the man in the street, serves as a surrogate for the reader and misinterprets the clues.
5.The duo takes the investigation to the scene of the crime, or the site where the crime is to be committed. Often the main criminal act has yet to be committed, which is a device Doyle uses to maintain reader interest.
6. Holmes collects evidence, not infrequently with the aid of a magnifying glass, while Watson and the authorities grope about.
7. The police or other main characters in the story make erroneous conclusions or arrive at false solutions.
8. As the case progresses, the facts are established, but Watson is at a loss as to how they apply to the case. He presents his surmises, all of which are off the mark to Holmes while they are in their Baker Street rooms while the latter is most likely sitting in a wing-back chair smoking, or fiddling with chemical experiments, or playing the violin.
9. The case comes to a climax with an unanticipated denouement, frequently, with Holmes intervening a crime attempt by the villain.
10. Holmes furnishes an analysis of the facts and explains how the denouement emerges out of them.