The speckled band is a Sherlock Holmes Investigation Written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The title does not tell us about the story so straight away the reader is left with a sense of interest and tension. The reader Wants to know what this speckled band is about, is it a band of men wearing stripy clothes or about a speckled bracelet they do not know so straight away they want to read on to find out what this speckled band is.
In the story Dr Waston is going over his notes when he notices that there are a lot of very strange cases ” I find many tragic, some comic a large number merely strange.” Why is Sherlock Holmes only accepting strange cases this builds interest in the reader.
In the story, a young lady arrived she told him that her name was Helen stoner and that she lived with her step father due to her mothers death. Her stepfather was a doctor but due to his wife’s death, which he has not been able, to cope with has abandoned his practice in London.
When she died, she had left a big amount of money to Dr Roylott “not less then a thousand a year.” But if either one of her daughters got married, then a certain amount of money must go to them. This is not good for Dr Roylott because he could loose out on a lot of money so this could be a motive for murder. He had changed a lot and never spoke to any one or makes friends. This is strange because he is becoming mentally unstable and this builds up a lot of tension in the reader because we know he is going to do something but we don’t know what. We are just receiving it bit by bit. Dr Roylott is a big man and has great strength so he looks as if he is the bad guy in the story.
Helen’s sister Julia died two years ago she was due to marry a marine but two weeks before she was due to marry him, the accident happened.
This is strange and makes us lead to that Dr Roylott had killed her so he would not have to give her any money left to her if she got married.
Dr Roylott is very strange he keeps a cheetah and a baboon in his gardens. This man is very unstable why would he keep Animals like these on his own grounds free just to do what ever they want and these animals could kill as well.
This Story is at a high point of tension and we are receiving details and wonder what is going to happen next. Helen Tells sherlock that someone has proposed to her ” a dear friend whom I have known for many years, has done me the honour to ask my hand in marriage. His name is Percy Armitage.” and is worried that it is going to happen to her. She has been moved because of repairs to her sister’s room in which she died.
This is a very high point in tension because we think that something is going to happen to Helen. Why has Dr Roylott decided to repair the house now when he has not done it for many years? This is another piece of the puzzle.
Sherlock Holmes tells her that they will visit the house and
Inspect and investigate it. As they are about to leave, they receive a visit from Dr Roylott. “Which of you is Holmes?” This does not scare Sherlock Holmes and he just laughs at him. Dr Roylott warns Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson to stay clear of his business and leave his family alone he warns that if they don’t then they will be in trouble ” I am a dangerous man to mess with.” As he left them he bent a fire poker and then walked out. But Sherlock Holmes is not scared of his strength and bends the poker back to show that he is as strong as he is.
This does not trouble Sherlock but just shows to him how dangerous he is and that he is capable of killing another person. But it builds the interest in the reader because they know how dangerous he is and know that he is going to do some thing, but what?
When they arrive they meet Helen and she tells them that Dr Roylott has gone out for the day. When they arrive, the house is very old ” grey lichen blotched stone. ” There was all boards over the windows and the roof was falling apart ” a picture of ruin. ” He asked Mrs Stoner to close the shutters. He was testing to see if the bars could have been pried open to gain access but they didn’t. They then went to examine her bedroom. It was a homely little room and the roof was very low and a gaping fireplace. There was a chest of drawers and two wicker chairs. The bed was small with a white duvet. He noticed next to the bed there was a bell pull and found out it went to the house keeping’s room but, when he pulled it he noticed that it was a dummy. It was not even connected but that it opened the ventilation shaft above her head, which does not ventilate.
This is very strange and weird we know that something terrible is going to happen in this room this is a lot of tension for the reader because all the clues are coming together but they don’t know what is going to happen still.
Sherlock Holmes then investigates Dr Roylott’s room he notices that there is a safe “have you glimpsed inside it.”
” Only once some years ago I remember that it was full with lots of papers”
Sherlock has the suspicion that there is some kind of animal in there because he notices that there is a small plate of milk. He notices that there is a dog leash on the side of his bed and it is knotted in a strange way.
This room has built up tension in the reader because they want to know what is in the safe and why there is a dog leash on the side of the bed.
Sherlock Holmes tells Helen that Dr Watson and himself must spend the night in her room. He goes on to tell them that until then they will stay in the crown and that when Dr Roylott comes back, that she must go to her room saying that she has a headache. Then when he goes to his room to turn on her lamp next to the window and then they will come whilst she goes and stays the night in the Crown.
This builds a lot of interest for the reader because they know that something is going to happen tonight but they still don’t know what.
That night Sherlock Holmes tells Dr Watson that he must come with him and tells him how the bed is fixed to the floor next to that ventilation shaft.
As they are going to the grounds of Helen’s home they find difficulty to get in. they noticed on the lawn a huge animal which ran across the lawn then they remembered that Dr Roylott kept a baboon and a cheetah there. When they enter the room they sit quietly in the dark waiting for something to happen. When they noticed a snake on the bell pulley they attacked it until it got away. Then they heard a loud scream come from Dr Roylott’s room. When they found him dead with a snake on his lap and a mysterious speckled band around his head.
Sherlock Holmes used the leash and put it in the safe and locked it.
It has happened, the tension has stopped and all the clues have been added together and they know that Dr Roylott had attempted to kill Helen but ended up killing himself.
The other story I read was called the signalman by Charles dickens.
A signalman is a person who works on a train line. So we know from the title what the story is going to be about where as in the Speckled Band we had no idea what it was about until the end. The Genre of the signalman is a ghost story and the speckled band is a murder/mystery.
The story starts, when a man hears a noise calling to him. “Halloa! Below there” when he heard the noise, he looked down the line when the person was calling up the line.
This is beginning the story with tension because straight away he hears a noise but looks the wrong way when he knows that it is coming up the line.
He calls again and the signalman looks up the line and notices him. As the man was coming down he noticed that the cutting was very deep it was very damp and nasty weather.
This builds up the scene of the story and it is a lot like the speckled band where Dr Roylott’s house is very old and nasty, so the reader feels that something is going to happen down in the cutting.
When the man got to the bottom of the cutting he noticed the signalman was a dark pale skin man with a dark beard and heavy eyebrows.
The Signalman is a lot like Dr Roylott so the reader thinks that the signalman is going to be our villain.
As the man looked he noticed a red light appearing from the tunnel and it seemed to disturb the signalman.
He took the man to his box, which was small and cold. The man notices that the signalman is clever and would not make things up.
This puts interest in the reader because they are not sure if the signalman is like Dr Roylott because he seems sane.
The man knows that the signal mane is safe and good at his job. This adds interest because we know now that the signalman is not like Dr Roylott so their first idea of him was wrong.
The signalman was speaking to the man and he noticed that twice he had turned pale and he looked towards the bell expecting it to ring but it didn’t. He opened the door and looked out towards the red light coming from the mouth of the tunnel. On both occasions he came back with a weird look on him.
This builds up tension to the reader because we do not know why he is doing this and why he is acting so suspicious.
The signal tells the man that he is having problems and needs help ” but I am troubled, sir I am troubled ”
The man asks the signalman what is his problem but the signalman urges him to make another visit.
Why does the signalman want the man to make another visit to him this is an interest to the reader because they know that he is having problems but they do not know what.
As he shows the man out he tells him that he will
Shine his white light to show him the way up but tells him, tomorrow not to callout and asked him why did he say “holloa down there”. The man tells the signalman that he knows those words well. The signalman tells him that those words were said in a ghostly way.
This builds up tension because we are first mentioned about ghosts and we are starting to know why the signalman is acting very strange.
The next night the signalman tells the man that yesterday he had mistaken him for someone else but why is he so afraid of someone he doesn’t know. He tells him that when he heard the voice he saw someone else standing by the red light waving. He ran towards him to see what the problem was and saw the figures down in the tunnel. He continues to tell him how he then ran back and telegraphed other signalman to warn them but they reported there was no problems.
The man is now clear of what the signalman’s problem is. The man tells the signalman that what he saw, was not actually there and that he was just imagining it. The signalman tells him that he heard noises as well but what is it? Wind. The Signalman tells the man that six hours after he appeared a terrible accident had happened on this line.
This creates a lot of tension in the reader because they think that the ghost warns them of something terrible is going to happen.
The next day a train came out of the tunnel and the signalman noticed someone waving so he chased after it and heard screams and noticed that a young lady had died in one of the compartments. The signalman was very distressed and asked the man to look out the door for the ghost, but did not see it.
The bell the signalman hears is a warning just like in the Speckled Band, the hissing of the snake is the warning.
The Signalman is worried because he wants to know why the ghost is here he is trapped because if he telegraphs for danger they will report that everything is ok. The signalman is pushed to his limits because he is so worried that something is going to happen but what is it going to happen to him.
The next day the man arrives to see the signalman when he notices a crowd of people in the tunnel and the danger light was not lit. He ran down there to see what the problem was. “The signalman was killed this morning” The Man was shocked and wanted to know what happened to him when he is told that an engine cut him down.
The Signalman is like The Speckled Band because there is a death in both stories and we did not anticipate either. There was no reason for the signalman’s death but Dr Roylott died because he plotted something bad but it did not work and he ended killing himself. But the Signalman and The Speckled Band are not the same story however they both use the same techniques of tension and atmosphere to hold the reader’s attention.