“The Adventure of the Speckled Band”

Note: the tab marked "Explanation" reveals the ending of the story. Do not view that if you are reading the story for the first time and do not want to spoil your enjoyment.
Title: The Adventure of the Speckled Band Collection: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
Year published: 1892 (February) Year set in: 1883
Mystery: What killed a woman in a locked bedroom?
Apparent crime: Murder Actual crime: Shown below (possible spoiler)
Summary: Twin women live alone with their violent stepfather. One of them dies in her locked bedroom with no apparent cause. A few years later, the other sister fears that she will suffer the same fate.

Dr Grimseby Roylott is a powerful man with an uncontrollable temper and shortage of money. His stepdaughters live with him and contribute money from their inheritance. One evening, one of the sisters dies mysteriously in her locked bedroom, complaining of a whistle and a "speckled band".

A few years later, the other sister moves into the same bedroom and also hears the whistle in the night. Fearing for her life, she visits Sherlock Holmes.

Actual crime
Explanation (spoiler alert)

The sister had been murdered by Roylott because she had threatened to marry and leave with her inheritance. He had trained a venomous snake to pass through a ventilator in the wall, down a rope and to bite the woman.

Holmes and Watson stay in the room when he tries to kill the other sister. They drive the snake back into Roylott's room where it bites him.

Quotations in this story (3)
"...You are Holmes, the meddler."
My friend smiled.
"Holmes, the busybody!"
His smile broadened.
"Holmes, the Scotland Yard Jack-in-office!"
"You speak of danger. You have evidently seen more in these rooms than was visible to me."
"No, but I fancy that I may have deduced a little more."
"I had," said he, "come to an entirely erroneous conclusion which shows, my dear Watson, how dangerous it always is to reason from insufficient data..."

Characters in this story (4)
Surname First name Title
Holmes Sherlock
Roylott Grimseby Dr
Stoner Helen
Watson John Doctor

Locations in this story (2)
Location Town/City County
221b Baker Street London
Stoke Moran Surrey

Other notes


Doctor Grimesby Roylott Stoke Moran Helen Stoner Julia India baboon cheetah bell rope gipsy gypsy gipsies gypsies band Armitage ventilator snake swamp adder safe