The Adventure of the Speckled Band: Plot Summary & Analysis

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: The Adventure of the Speckled Band Setting

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
 Replay
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:04 ''The Adventure of the…
  • 3:17 Analysis
  • 3:49 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Timeline
Autoplay
Autoplay
Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Celeste Bright

Celeste has taught college English for four years and holds a Ph.D. in English Language and Literature.

Have you ever watched a seemingly innocent object turn into something terrifying? We'll learn about the plot of ''The Adventure of the Speckled Band'' and analyze this Arthur Conan Doyle adventure.

''The Adventure of the Speckled Band''

In ''The Adventure of the Speckled Band,'' a terrified lady named Helen Stoner visits Holmes and Watson. She explains that she lives with her stepfather, Dr. Grimesby Roylott, who belongs to an old English family. Roylott became a doctor and opened a practice in Calcutta, India. There, he married a young widow, who brought considerable wealth to the marriage. The couple had twin girls, Helen and Julia, who would receive most of the money when they married. Roylott had a violent temper. Once, angry about some theft from the house, he blamed the butler and beat him to death. After a long prison sentence, Roylott brought his family to London. Soon after, his wife was killed in a railway accident.

Roylott brought his daughters to his family estate at Stoke Moran. He forced them into a reclusive life and attacked the locals. He liked Indian animals, and bought a baboon and a cheetah to live on his property.

Despite all this, Julia eventually became engaged. As the wedding date approached, she began hearing a strange low whistle at 3:00 a.m. One night, Helen heard Julia screaming in her bedroom, then a low whistle and a metallic clang. Julia ran out and died in Helen's arms, shrieking: 'It was the speckled band!' The sisters locked their doors at night, and the windows were heavily shuttered inside, so it was impossible for anyone to have entered Julia's room.

Two years later, Helen became engaged. Roylott began construction on her room, forcing her to stay in Julia's bedroom. Helen began to hear the whistle her sister mentioned just before her death. Terrified, Helen decided to ask Holmes for help.

Holmes arranges to visit Helen at the estate with Watson the same day while Roylott is out. After she leaves, Roylott (who has followed her) bursts in and threatens them if they investigate. Holmes and Watson go anyway. During their investigation of the house, Holmes finds a dummy (non-functional) bell pull and ventilator in Helen's room. A Victorian bell pull, or a vertical rope attached to a bell, was used to summon servants; a ventilator is a vent. The ventilator connects with Roylott's bedroom, and the bed is bolted to the floor so it can't be moved away from the vent. In Roylott's room, they find an iron safe, a dog lash (leash) with a loop at the end, and a saucer of milk. On a hunch, Holmes insists that Helen sleep in her previous bedroom while he and Watson secretly camp out in Julia's.

Holmes and Watson return that night and quietly hide in Julia's room. After 3:00 a.m., they see a light through the ventilator and hear a hissing sound. Holmes strikes a match and attacks the bell pull with his cane. Moments later, there's a yell from Roylott's room, and the two find him dead in a chair with a brown-speckled yellow snake wrapped around his head. Holmes identifies it as a swamp adder, the deadliest poisonous snake in India.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account
Support