Short Fiction

The Adventure of the Speckled Band

First published in 1892, “The Adventure of the Speckled Band” is a classic entry in Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes series. The case begins when Sherlock Holmes is approached by a young woman named Helen Stoner. Helen lives with her stepfather, Grimesby Roylott, a doctor with a violent temper and a mysterious former life in the Indian colonies. Troubled by the perplexing death of her betrothed twin sister two years ago, Helen is now set to be married herself. Strange sounds and sights around the house arouse her suspicions and send her to 221B Baker Street. So the case begins. “The Adventure of the Speckled Band” represents an example of a “locked-room” mystery. The scene of the crime is seemingly contained, offering no avenues of entrance or exit. As is typical in Doyle’s stories, Holmes and the reader are presented with the same body of evidence, and yet Holmes solves the case well before the story’s conclusion. As usual, Holmes’s superhuman ability to draw patterns from facts is a source of great narrative tension and delight.

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