The Adventure of the Speckled Band Study Guide
The Adventure of the Speckled Band: Themes
The Adventure of the Speckled Band: Characters
The Adventure of the Speckled Band: Analysis
The Adventure of the Speckled Band: Questions & Answers
The Adventure of the Speckled Band: Introduction
The Adventure of the Speckled Band: Biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Introduction to The Adventure of the Speckled Band
“The Adventure of the Speckled Band” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is one of Doyle’s many stories about the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. It was originally published in Strand Magazine in 1892, and it is now included alongside the other Holmes stories in collected volumes. The story was later adapted for the stage by Doyle himself, and it is consistently regarded as one of Doyle’s best works. Sherlock Holmes and his unique methods of solving mysteries have become defining features of the detective genre, and no discussion of the genre is complete without a discussion of Doyle’s works.
“The Adventures of the Speckled Band” is an early example of the locked-room mystery trope, which is often said to have originated with Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” This trope relies on a setting in which a criminal would have a difficult time committing the crime and escaping undetected. It was often a means by which more outlandish theories and criminal efforts could be introduced to otherwise realistic fiction. In Doyle’s story, Holmes and Watson assist a bride-to-be in discovering how her sister died. As the investigation goes on, themes surrounding moral and physical decay, greed, and violence emerge, and it is up to Holmes and Watson to solve the mystery before their client meets the same fate as her sister.
A Brief Biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859–1930) was a British writer and physician. His father’s alcoholism led the family to disperse at one point, though they later reunited in relative poverty. Doyle’s education was funded by wealthy relatives, and he would go on to study medicine, serving as the resident surgeon aboard several ships. He later unsuccessfully tried to establish his practice on land, only to end up pursuing writing. Much to Doyle’s chagrin, his best-known and best-loved stories were those about the now-famed fictional detectives Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. On several occasions, Doyle attempted to kill off Holmes or price out his publishers from buying more stories, but the demand was high enough that they were willing to pay large sums. Doyle became one of the highest-earning authors in England as a result. In addition to Holmes, Doyle also wrote historical fiction, of which he was significantly more fond and proud. His non-literary interests included architecture, spiritual mysticism, and politics.