There are several vocabulary lists for Sherlock Holmes on the web which could be good prep before you begin reading. However, if you haven’t done so already, studying stems, prefixes and suffixes is an efficient and highly transferable investment in building vocabulary for Holmes and other purposes.
I encourage students to learn a list of 500 stems, prefixes and suffixes that pay huge dividends in deciphering new words, including GRE prep words, medical and scientific terms, and more. I’ve had a student as young as 8 master this list, and have witnessed how naturally vocabulary growth follows.
Taking a quick look at one vocabulary list of 44 words from Sherlock Holmes, I found that 11 of the 44 words could be decoded (either completely or partially) or enriched with just those 500 stems, prefixes and suffixes:
- Benevolent: BENE means good; VOL means will.
- Vacuous: VAC means empty; OUS means full of.
- Aversion: A (AB) means away; VER means turn.
- Retrogression: RETRO means backward; GRESS means step.
- Surplice: SUR means over.
- Panoply: PAN means all.
- Equinoctial: EQUI means equal. NOC (not in my list of 500) means night.
- Recompense: RE means AGAIN; COM means together or with; PENSE (not in my list of 500) means weigh or pay.
- Inexorable: IN means not, EX means out; ORA (not in my list of 500) means pray
- Compunction: COM means with together or with; PUNCT means point. That background enriches the definition of compunction as "remorse; a stinging or pricking (of the conscience)” per https://www.etymonline.com/word/compunction#etymonline_v_17290
- Specious: SPEC means look; OUS means full of. While that doesn’t get directly to “deceptive” part of Webster’s definition of “having deceptive attraction” it does convey how the deception happens.
The full list of 44 Sherlock Holmes words is at https://www.vocabulary.com/lists/92494.
I’d love to hear what methods you employ for vocabulary prep and your impressions of your experience reading the adventures of Sherlock Holmes. I look forward to reading your comments.