How does Arthur Conan Doyle maintain the readers interest in his story “the speckled band” I am writing about how Arthur Conan Doyle keeps the reader’s interest in the story “The Speckled Band” from “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” It follows the story of Watson, Sherlock Holmes’ friend and associate, as he helps with cases investigated by Holmes. “The Speckled Band” starts with Helen Stoner a young woman about to be married who is distressed and asks Holmes to investigate her sister’s death two years previously. Helen thought it was fright her sister, Julia, had died of but she wasn’t sure what of apart from her last murmurs which repeated “The Speckled Band”. Holmes was interested in this case and asked if he could investigate her family home owned by her step-father, Dr Grimsby Roylott, who later stormed in on Holmes and threatened him shortly after Helen had left.
At the House Sherlock Holmes noticed many things about the mansion. There had been works done to the house which involved a vent going into another room and a bell rope which didn’t work. He also saw a milk bowl in Dr Roylott’s room which he found quite suspicious as they didn’t have a cat but had a cheetah and a baboon outside, he also found a curled dog-lead which was also very suspicious as they didn’t have a dog. After this Sherlock Holmes had come to a conclusion but didn’t tell Helen or Watson what it was, instead he asked whether Helen could stay in her room (as she was staying in her sisters room as there was building work going on in hers) without notifying Roylott and whether Holmes and Watson could stay in her room for a night to prove Holmes’ theory.
That night Holmes did prove his theory as a swamp adder, the deadliest snake in India, came through the vent and slithered down the bell rope but Holmes hit it away and it went back through the vent and following that there was a horrible scream as Roylott had been bitten by the snake, he died shortly afterwards.
It turned out that Roylott would lose a lot of money if Helen got married as that was what was stated in Helen and Julia’s mum died so that is why Roylott killed Julia when she was about to get married and tried to kill Helen when she was in the same situation. The story was based on an article which was printed in ‘Casell;s Saturday Journal’ Published in 1891′ about a man who stayed with a Portuguese merchant and was woken to hear a slight creaking noise and noticed a boa constrictor slithering down his wall
Sherlock Holmes was very clever by introducing a few characters quite mysteriously so we may think that the murderer was someone other than Dr Roylott. The first of these were the gypsies who I was first suspicious about them when Watson refers to the speckled band (Julia’s last words) and accounts that gypsies have spotted head-scarves on. The other characters I was suspicious of were the baboon and cheetah which is kept in the garden by Roylott. Helen seemed very scared of them and she locked her doors and windows to keep them out so they were obviously quite dangerous.
The first character I will analyse is Watson, the person who is written to be telling the story. Watson seems to really respect Holmes and almost be in awe of him. He also seems to know him quite well at one point referring to the case “You would, I am sure, wish to follow it from the outset” the words I am sure seem to show he has an understanding of him. I think also that Watson feels privileged to be with Holmes and doesn’t mind being bossed around by Sherlock Holmes.