Near the beginning of "The Adventure of the Speckled Band," the first-person narrator Dr. John Watson recounts how he came to join Sherlock Holmes in helping Helen Stoner solve a mystery. This particular investigation took place in the early years of Watson’s association with Holmes. At the time, both men were unmarried and were sharing a suite of rooms in Baker Street—Holmes remained a bachelor, but Watson later married. Watson further indicates that the woman involved had recently died, so he now felt it was not unethical to share this fantastic story. He wants to recount this particular case because he considers it as having the most “singular features” of all the cases in which he participated with Holmes.
The case in question took place in 1863. Watson indicates that on one April morning, he woke up to find Holmes in his room:
I woke one morning to find Sherlock Holmes standing, fully dressed, by the side of my bed.
Looking at the clock, he could see that it was only 7:15 am. Both the fact that Holmes was already dressed and the early hour made an impression on Watson, who usually got up earlier than Holmes did. Watson admits that he was not only surprised but also a bit resentful. Holmes quickly communicates that their landlady, Mrs. Hudson, had awakened him because a new client had knocked on the door; this young woman is awaiting them in the sitting room.