The Adventure of the Speckled Band

by

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Sherlock Holmes Character Analysis

The eccentric hero of the story, Sherlock Holmes is a detective with hypersensitive abilities of observation and deduction. As this story comes after the publication of dozens of other popular stories starring Holmes, Doyle is assuming that the reader already has some familiarity with the biographical details of Holmes life. In this story, Doyle gives only passing hints about Holmes’s life: he shares an apartment with Watson, he tends to be a late riser in the mornings, he has a sharp sense of humor, and is rather strong despite his slim build. He is also prone to reverie, as he frequently stares off into space or takes quick naps throughout his investigation. Most importantly, though, he is an excellent detective. In his chosen profession, he works more “for the love of his art than for acquirement of wealth” and he only takes cases that “tend towards the unusual, and even the fantastic.” His dedication to the job goes above and beyond what a typical detective might be willing to do in order to solve a murder.

Sherlock Holmes Quotes in The Adventure of the Speckled Band

The The Adventure of the Speckled Band quotes below are all either spoken by Sherlock Holmes or refer to Sherlock Holmes. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Exoticism Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Dover Trade Editions edition of The Adventure of the Speckled Band published in 1986.
The Adventure of the Speckled Band Quotes

…working as he did rather for the love of his art than for the acquirement of wealth, he refused to associate himself with any investigation which did not tend towards the unusual, and even the fantastic.

Related Characters: Dr. Watson (speaker), Sherlock Holmes
Page Number: 396-397
Explanation and Analysis:

He must guard himself, for he may find that there is someone more cunning than himself upon his track.

Related Characters: Sherlock Holmes (speaker), Dr. Grimesby Roylott
Page Number: 411
Explanation and Analysis:

There are one or two very singular points about this room. For example, what a fool a builder must be to open a ventilator into another room, when, with the same trouble, he might have communicated with the outside air!

Related Characters: Sherlock Holmes (speaker)
Related Symbols: Stoke Moran Manor
Page Number: 413
Explanation and Analysis:

When a doctor does go wrong he is the first of criminals. He has nerve and he has knowledge.

Related Characters: Sherlock Holmes (speaker), Dr. Grimesby Roylott
Page Number: 417
Explanation and Analysis:

“It is a swamp adder!” cried Holmes; “the deadliest snake in India. He has died within ten seconds of being bitten. Violence does, in truth, recoil upon the violent, and the schemer falls into the pit which he digs for another.”

Related Characters: Sherlock Holmes (speaker), Dr. Grimesby Roylott
Related Symbols: Swamp Adder
Page Number: 421
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Adventure of the Speckled Band PDF

Sherlock Holmes Character Timeline in The Adventure of the Speckled Band

The timeline below shows where the character Sherlock Holmes appears in The Adventure of the Speckled Band. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Adventure of the Speckled Band
Fate and Justice Theme Icon
...Watson, the story’s narrator, noting that, of the nearly seventy cases that he and Sherlock Holmes have embarked on together as a detective duo, the one that he is about to... (full context)
Isolation and Powerlessness Theme Icon
...events that Watson recounts start early one morning in April of 1883, when he and Holmes were living as roommates in an apartment on Baker Street in London. Watson wakes up... (full context)
Isolation and Powerlessness Theme Icon
Fate and Justice Theme Icon
Holmes notes that young women would only be wandering the streets of London at such an... (full context)
Isolation and Powerlessness Theme Icon
Fate and Justice Theme Icon
...a young woman, clad in black and wearing a veil, is sitting near the window. Holmes notes that the woman is shivering, and he says she should sit next to the... (full context)
Isolation and Powerlessness Theme Icon
Fate and Justice Theme Icon
Holmes makes the quick observation that she must have started her travels early that morning (he... (full context)
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Fate and Justice Theme Icon
Helen tells Holmes that he was recommended by an acquaintance who had used the detective’s services for an... (full context)
Greed, Desperation, and Decline Theme Icon
Helen then recounts the incidents that led her to seek Holmes’s help. She lives with her stepfather, Dr. Grimesby Roylott, the sole remaining descendent of the... (full context)
Exoticism Theme Icon
Greed, Desperation, and Decline Theme Icon
Helen tells Holmes and Watson that Roylott has no friends aside from the group of wandering gypsies who... (full context)
Greed, Desperation, and Decline Theme Icon
Isolation and Powerlessness Theme Icon
Two years ago, Helen tells Holmes and Watson, her sister got engaged. Roylott had no objection to the marriage, but Julia... (full context)
Greed, Desperation, and Decline Theme Icon
Isolation and Powerlessness Theme Icon
...convulsions, Julia said, “It was the band! The speckled band!” and then died. Helen tells Holmes and Watson that she saw a charred match and a match box in her sister’s... (full context)
Exoticism Theme Icon
Isolation and Powerlessness Theme Icon
...windows and door were locked up, Julia’s death is a mystery to Helen. She tells Holmes that she assumed the “speckled band” had something to do with the band of gypsies... (full context)
Greed, Desperation, and Decline Theme Icon
Isolation and Powerlessness Theme Icon
By the time she comes to visit Holmes and Watson, Helen herself has become engaged. Soon after she made the announcement to Roylott,... (full context)
Isolation and Powerlessness Theme Icon
Fate and Justice Theme Icon
...described. Thoroughly disturbed, she decided to make the long trek to London to see how Holmes could help her. (full context)
Isolation and Powerlessness Theme Icon
Fate and Justice Theme Icon
Holmes notices that Helen has five bruised marks on her wrist, which she says came from... (full context)
Greed, Desperation, and Decline Theme Icon
Isolation and Powerlessness Theme Icon
Fate and Justice Theme Icon
...threatening demeanor enters the room. He announces himself as Dr. Roylott, Helen’s stepfather. He tells Holmes and Watson that he’s been tracing Helen’s movements, knows that she has just paid them... (full context)
Greed, Desperation, and Decline Theme Icon
Fate and Justice Theme Icon
Before leaving, Holmes runs errands and makes some calculations about the state of the inheritance that Mrs. Stoner... (full context)
Isolation and Powerlessness Theme Icon
Fate and Justice Theme Icon
Holmes and Watson begin their journey from London to Surrey, first by train and then by... (full context)
Isolation and Powerlessness Theme Icon
Holmes and Watson then begin to inspect the manor with Helen’s help. Watson notes how the... (full context)
Isolation and Powerlessness Theme Icon
...the shutters are essentially impenetrable. Inside the manor, they go to Julia’s former room, where Holmes examines every surface and notices that the bed is bolted to the floor and that... (full context)
Isolation and Powerlessness Theme Icon
Holmes also remarks on the strangeness of the bell-pull, supposedly installed to call the housekeeper upstairs,... (full context)
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Back outside, the three hatch a plan for the evening. Holmes and Watson will take a room on the second floor of the inn across the... (full context)
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At eleven, Holmes and Watson see from their room at the inn that Helen has lit the lamp... (full context)
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Holmes instructs Watson to sit silently in the dark and not fall asleep. With a cane... (full context)
Exoticism Theme Icon
Isolation and Powerlessness Theme Icon
...the ventilator and they smell oil, telling them that Roylott is stirring about next door. Holmes and Watson continue to sit in silence until they hear a hiss come into their... (full context)
Exoticism Theme Icon
Greed, Desperation, and Decline Theme Icon
Fate and Justice Theme Icon
...low whistling sound. The glare of the light makes it so he can’t see what Holmes had been beating at with his cane, but the detective’s face has paled and a... (full context)
Exoticism Theme Icon
Greed, Desperation, and Decline Theme Icon
Fate and Justice Theme Icon
...with the looped leash in his lap and a snake curled tightly around his head. Holmes immediately remarks on the speckled bands around the snake’s skin and identifies it as a... (full context)
Fate and Justice Theme Icon
...moves in with her aunt. A slow official inquiry gets underway. The story closes with Holmes telling Watson what he took away from the investigation, namely how important it is to... (full context)
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At the conclusion of the story, Holmes tells Watson that he knows he is at least partly responsible for Roylott’s death, but... (full context)