The speckled band is a fiction story about a well known detective called Sherlock Holmes working solving crimes or investigations. This particular investigation is about the death of lady called Julia Stoner, just weeks before her wedding, her sister Helen believes she was either frightened to death or killed by gypsies, not knowing the exact truth for her sister’s death; she went to Sherlock Holmes to seek for advice as she is concerned what the future awaits.
Dr Roylott who lives with Helen Stoner, the stepfather of both girls is one of the main characters in this story, who may be the villain however with the gypsies living in the same area and wild animals roaming freely, the suspect cannot be for certain. The main mystery of this story is how Julia stoner died and what does the speckled band actually mean as these were the last words that Julia actually said, as the title has a great importance in the story, The adventure of the speckled band was published in 1892, and is widely admired as one of the best written and most exciting Sherlock Holmes stories.
Queen Victoria reigned over Britain at this period. Urban city life was hard as people had to live in cramped conditions. The average life in the Victorian times was to live up to forty years. Crime was rife at the time as this was the time of Jack the Ripper the mass murderer, killing many prostitutes. The Victorians feared crime as they thought that the police were no good as Jack the ripper was on the loose. His victims were women who were prostitutes and his murders were brutal.
Victorians believed in Sherlock Holmes as the stories began to make the Victorians trust the police. It was the way hr solved the crimes and always caught the right suspect. It showed people if one man can catch the villain then the police certainly can. Arthur Conan Doyle involves the reader from the beginning of the story, as the story begins the weather is stormy and rain reflects the beginning atmosphere of the adventure, this builds tension for the reader as they instantly get a feeling like something terrible is about to happen.
“The wind was howling outside and the rain was beating and splashing against the windows”, This is an example of pathetic fallacy; this sentence contains adjectives, showing negative signs like something is ready to happen. Before the description of the setting when Julia Stoner died, Doyle talks about Sherlock Holmes meeting Helen Stoner and Helen as a normal yet slightly depressed. From the opening it reveals that Sherlock Holmes us a clever and has sharp thinking which is essential for a detective, “You have come in by train this morning I see”, (Sherlock)
“you must know me then,” (Helen) “No but I observe the second half of a return ticket in the palm of your right glove… the left arm of your jacket is splattered… ” in these sentences it exposes Sherlock as n intelligent and observant person, as any average person would not observe a person and take in much detail. In the beginning of the story Sherlock is portrayed as smart as he is well dressed. In the story it reveals him as a professional detective and shows he is admired for solving mysteries, a quote that supports this is,
“I had no keener pleasure than in following Holmes… ” this quote is praising Sherlock for the work he does, this may create tension to the reader as this gives a hint to the reader that the mystery in this story will definitely be solved with Holmes’s help. Helen Stoner is portrayed as a weak unattractive and scared woman. “Her face all drawn an grey with restless frightened eyes like those of some hunted animal,” This sentence reveals to the reader that she has a lot occupying her mind and is in need of help.
Helen is fearing her future as she is about to get married in a couple of weeks and just weeks before her sisters wedding, she died, however, now she is being forced to stay in her sister’s room, the very room that Julia died in. Doyle uses a lot of descriptive writing in the quote explaining her appearance brings more tension to the reader as it is clear that Helen is distressed and in fear therefore the reader is engaged and wants to read on to understand how she ended in this state. In the story it reveals Sherlock as a calm and rational person,
“Sherlock Holmes ran her over with one of his quick comprehensive glances, you must not fear… ” In this sentence it shows him as a comforting person, and is sure to reassure her, he sounds confident that he will solve everything, this puts the reader at ease as, Sherlock comforts her therefore the reader feels a sense of comfort. At the same time he also makes sure he does not miss out on any detail. This creates tension for the reader as they will be engaged in the story, trying to figure out everything Helen is saying and hopefully finding clues to solve the mystery, and wondering what Holmes would be thinking is his position.
As Helen is telling her story, it creates more tensions and mystery to the reader as she introduces Dr Roylott as a violent and aggressive man. Instantly as his character is revealed he becomes on of the prime suspects. A quote which supports his character is, “In a fit of anger, he beat his native butler to death and narrowly escaped a capital sentence,” in this quote it shows that he is even a criminal and has not learned from his lesson as he continues to harass and attack people.