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

Why would the author of "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" want to choose a "stepfather" instead of a father?

Expert Answers

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

I would say in order to make more possibilities for motives.  A step-father in the picture might indicate that there is tension in the family and it could give any number of people in the family a motive for murder.  It could be that the step-father resents the children because they would keep him from inheriting the money (as in this case) or in another story the presence of a step-father could also give the children a motive to want to kill him.  Maybe he treats the mother badly.  Maybe the mother has left all the money to him and not to the children or maybe the mother trusts the step-father to manage the money for the children when she shouldn't trust him. 

 There are any number of variables in choosing to make a character a step-father rather than a natural father.  In short in a detective story the purpose would be to offer various motives and to increase the tension. In another kind of story to maybe make the emotional relationships between characters more complex and deeper.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial