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What clues allow Sherlock to solve the case?

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raykee2 | Student | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 5, 2010 at 1:07 AM via web

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What clues allow Sherlock to solve the case?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted June 5, 2010 at 1:17 AM (Answer #1)

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There are at least three things that Sherlock Holmes would notice that would make him think that Roylott is the one who has killed Julia and is trying to kill Helen.  These are all things that Roylott has done that do not make a lot of sense if he is not the murderer.

  • Why does he have Helen move into the room where Julia died?
  • Why did he have this vent constructed that does not lead to the outside?  It just goes to another room -- that makes no sense.
  • Why does he put in this bell pull that is not attached to a bell?

All of this stuff makes no sense so it must be connected to the murder.


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copelmat | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted June 7, 2010 at 12:20 AM (Answer #2)

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The first clues that help Holmes solve the mystery are derived from his investigation into the estate of Helen and Julia's mother. From this, Holmes determines that if either Helen or Julia marries, Dr. Roylott's finances would be severely impeded; if both were to marry, he would be in financial ruin. This clearly gives Dr. Roylott a motive for the murder(s).

Next is Dr. Roylott's demand that Helen move into a particular room in his home, Stoke Moran. This seems a strange request and leads Holmes to believe that this room must, in some way, present Dr. Roylott with the opportunity to carry out his crime. Now, motive and opportunity have been established, Homes and Watson only have to infiltrate the room and await for the details to reveal themselves.

From the seemingly pointless ventilation shaft and the equally useless bell rope, Holmes is able to deduce that these two elements must be involved in the murder attempt in some way--why else would they be there? From the other details of of the whistling sound, the metallic clank, and the exotic pets that Dr. Roylott keeps on the grounds, Holmes deduces that some sort of animal must make its way through the vent and down the rope toward its victim.

Holmes only has to await the arrival of the swamp adder to confirm his theory.

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