Where can I find some of the investigations that Holmes made of Stoke Moran's rooms in the story "The Adventure of the Speckled Band"?

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William Delaney eNotes educator| Certified Educator

If you click on the reference link below you will get the whole text of the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Speckled Band." The story opens with the early-morning visit of Helen Stoner. She tells Holmes and Watson a very long backstory involving herself, her sister Julia, her stepfather Dr. Grimesby Roylott, and her deceased mother. Helen is afraid her life is in danger. She thinks someone may be trying to kill her in the same way that an unknown person killed her sister Julia two years ago when Julia was sleeping in a room with the door locked and the window securely covered with a bolted shutter. Now Helen is occupying that same room. She keeps the door locked and the window shuttered, but still she is afraid that someone is trying to get at her. Holmes promises to come down to Stoke Moran to examine the premises.

Holmes' inspection of the bedrooms at Stoke Moran is the only important part of his examination of the premises. There are three bedrooms all in a row, all opening onto a corridor. Holmes declines to inspect the bedroom at the far end which is temporarily unoccupied because of repair work being done. The inspection of the other two bedrooms begins with the following paragraph, which is to be found about midway through the story and is here quoted in full.

A small side door led into the whitewashed corridor from which the three bedrooms opened. Holmes refused to examine the third chamber, so we passed at once to the second, that in which Miss Stoner was now sleeping, and in which her sister had met with her fate. It was a homely little room, with a low ceiling and a gaping fireplace, after the fashion of old country-houses. A brown chest of drawers stood in one corner, a narrow white-counterpaned bed in another, and a dressing-table on the left-hand side of the window. These articles, with two small wicker-work chairs, made up all the furniture in the room save for a square of Wilton carpet in the centre. The boards round and the panelling of the walls were of brown, worm-eaten oak, so old and discoloured that it may have dated from the original building of the house. Holmes drew one of the chairs into a corner and sat silent, while his eyes travelled round and round and up and down, taking in every detail of the apartment.

This is Julia's former bedroom, where she died. It is temporarily being used by Helen while her own bedroom is being repaired. Directly next door is Dr. Roylott's room. Holmes inspects that room next. Conveniently, Roylott is in London and not expected back until evening.

Dr. Grimesby Roylott's chamber was larger than that of his stepdaughter, but was as plainly furnished. A camp-bed, a small wooden shelf full of books, mostly of a technical character, an armchair beside the bed, a plain wooden chair against the wall, a round table, and a large iron safe were the principal things which met the eye. Holmes walked slowly round and examined each and all of them with the keenest interest.

These two paragraphs are quoted in full and should be easy to find in about the middle of the story. What Holmes sees in these rooms is crucial to his solution of the mystery. He explains the most puzzling problem, which is how a girl could be killed while sleeping in a room with the door locked and the window tightly shuttered. This is an early example of the so-called "Locked Room Murder Mystery" which has inspired many other versions over the years. The prototype was probably Edgar Allan Poe's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue."

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The Adventure of the Speckled Band

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