Thursday 29 Sep 2016

Speckled Band
Jennifer Ramirez

“The Adventure of the Speckled Band” is a short Sherlock Holmes story written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. It was published in “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” collection.

“The Adventure of the Speckled Band” is about a cruel stepfather with an intention of murdering his stepdaughters to acquire their property.

It starts when Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson rise unusually early one morning to meet Helen Stoner, a young woman who fears that her life is being threatened by her stepfather, Sir Grimesby Roylott, a doctor who practiced in India and who was married to Helen’s mother there. Helen’s sister has died almost two years earlier, shortly before she was to be married. Helen had heard her sister’s dying words, "The speckled band!" but had been unable to understand their meaning. Now Helen, too, is engaged, and she has begun to hear strange noises and to observe strange activities around Stoke Moran, the estate where she and her stepfather live. Sir Grimesby Roylott does keep strange company at the estate. He befriends a band of Gypsies on the property and keeps as pets a cheetah and a baboon.

For some time, he has been making modifications to the house: Before Helen’s sister’s death, he had modifications made inside the house, and now he is having the outside wall repaired, forcing Helen to move into the room where her sister died. Holmes listens carefully to Helen’s story and agrees to take the case. He plans a visit to the manor later in the day. Before he can leave, however, he is visited by Roylott, who threatens him should he interfere. Undaunted, Holmes proceeds, first to the courthouse, where he examines Helen’s mother’s will, and then to the countryside. At Stoke Moran, Holmes inspects the premises carefully inside and out. Among the strange features that he discovers are a bed anchored to the floor, a bell cord that does not work, and a ventilator hole between Helen’s room and that of Roylott. Holmes and Watson arrange to spend the night in Helen’s room. In darkness they wait; suddenly, a slight metallic noise and a dim light through the ventilator prompt Holmes to action.

Quickly lighting a candle, he discovers on the bell cord the "speckled band"; a poisonous snake. He strikes the snake with a stick, driving it back through the ventilator; agitated, it attacks Roylott, who had been waiting for it to return after killing Helen. Holmes reveals to Watson that Roylott plotted to remove both daughters before they married because he would have lost most of the fortune he controlled when the daughters took with them the money left them by their mother.

“The Adventure of the Speckled Band” is creepist of all the Sherlock Holmes stories i've read. The language is older and lovely not only ipso facto, but in the difference of expression that it embodies in relation to today's modern, stiffer, and more compact language. Just as the writings of Jefferson or Madison are so very eloquent, so too is the prose surrounding Sherlock Holmes stories, though they are less to woo political minds, and more to the aim of psychological examination.

Jennifer Ramirez, known as Jenny, has reviewed and edited for 5+ years. Originally from Toronto, she grew up performing and competing in rhythmic gymnastics. Jenny enjoys reviewing movies, books and music albums. She describes herself as funny and righteous, with a 'go that extra mile' attitude. Her philosophy is quite simple: try to live life to the fullest Jenny writes that hr passion is books. She reads and reviews current and back-list literary fiction, crime fiction, thrillers, occasionally science fiction, and narrative nonfiction. She also loves music. She's a huge fan of The Maine and All Time Low! Joy is her favorite word and creativity is something she can't live without.

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