illustration of Sherlock Holmes in profile looking across a cityscape with a magnifying glass in the distance and a speckled band visible through the glass

The Adventure of the Speckled Band

by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Start Free Trial

What reason does Helen Stoner give about why she and her late sister had locked their bedroom doors at night?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Helen Stoner and her late sister, Julia, lived on an estate with their stepfather following their mother's death. According to Helen, the men of their stepfather's line had a long history of mania bordering on hysterics, and she believed that the amount of time he had spent in India had aggravated this condition; working in the tropics had a reputation of creating or worsening medical ailments. Helen's stepfather would stir up trouble with anyone and everyone, and began acting eccentrically and irrationally, to the point that he imported a cheetah and a baboon from India. These animals were free to roam the grounds, and it was only with the bedroom door locked that Helen and Julia felt safe from them.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team