Dr. Watson was a historian of sorts of Sherlock Holmes. He chronicled “seventy odd cases” that were solved by the consulting detective before he wrote this one. Holmes knew that Watson, who was his best friend, was writing down these adventures and invited him to his home to hear the problems of Helen Stoner the morning she arrived.
“Should it prove to be an interesting case, you would, I am sure, wish to follow it from the outset. “(pg 1)
The doctor does explain in the first paragraph of the story that he did promise secrecy concerning this matter. However, he felt he was now freed from this promise because the lady he promised has now died. He says it is best if the facts come to everyone’s attention now since there have been rumors concerning the death of Dr. Grimesby Roylett, one of the major characters in this story. The rumors are more vicious than the truth.