"There are several questions which arise from the report of Dr. Watson on the activities of Sherlock Holmes in connection with the case that grows out of the death of “Black Peter” Carey.
First, Watson tells us that at the time of this case Holmes had “an immense practice.” However, the facts appear otherwise. If Holmes had an immense practice, why did he spend most of a week investigating this case when he was not employed to do so and before he was ever consulted?
We know he was brought into the case by Insp. Stanley Hopkins a full week after Peter Carey (aka Black Peter), a retired sea captain, was found dead, impaled to his cabin wall by a steel harpoon. But before Holmes even met with Hopkins he had already begun, and partly completed, his investigation.
We are compelled to ask why Holmes, if he had such an immense practice, found time to undertake an investigation in a case in which he had not been employed or consulted. His investigation must have begun several days before he was consulted by Stanley Hopkins. We are told that, following an evening telegram, Hopkins met next day with Holmes to discuss the case. The death of Black Peter had occurred seven days prior..."