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
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What was Julia Stoner scheduled to do a fortnight after she died in "The Adventure of the Speckled Band"?

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Julia Stoner was scheduled to get married a fortnight after she died.

Helen Stoner comes to hire Sherlock Holmes because her twin sister died and she is afraid that she is next.  She hears strange noises at night.  Helen and Julia live with their stepfather, Dr. Roylott.  He is a man with a violent disposition, often getting into disagreements with his neighbors.

My stepfather learned of the engagement when my sister returned and offered no objection to the marriage; but within a fortnight of the day which had been fixed for the wedding, the terrible event occurred which has deprived me of my only companion.

The reason that Dr. Roylott does not want Julia to get married is that he wants the twins’ inheritance.  Their mother left them her estate when she died, and Dr. Roylott wanted it all.  He was an unusual man with a lot of strange wild animals.  One of them turned out to be his murder weapon.

“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. …”

The swamp adder is the speckled band in the title.  After Roylott sends it out on another murderous expedition, it returns to kill the doctor himself.  Holmes considers this an appropriate punishment because when a doctor goes bad, he has the potential to do a lot of damage.

Holmes knows what is going on from the moment Helen Stoner appears in his home.  It is an interesting enough case that he goes to Stoke Moran, especially after Dr. Roylott threatens him by bending a fireplace poker with his bare hands.  The man is a menace.  Helen and Julia never stood a chance.

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