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Last Updated on May 5, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 210

In "The Adventure of the Speckled Band," Sherlock Holmes is his usual self: cold, abrasive, and demanding. Watson notes that Holmes "refused to associate himself with any investigation which did not tend towards the unusual, and even the fantastic." This passage promises that "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" will be good reading, because Holmes eagerly takes the case brought by Helen Stoner. His companion Dr. Watson is his usual courageous but somewhat confused self.

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Their client, Miss Stoner, is in "a pitiable state of agitation, her face all drawn and gray, with restless, frightened eyes, like those of some hunted animal." In spite of her miserable appearance Holmes sees in her the courage to fulfill a daring plan to trap the villainous Roylott. Her stepfather is so tall "that his hat actually brushed the crossbar of the doorway, and his breadth seemed to span it across from side to side." He has a "large face, seared with a thousand wrinkles, burned yellow with the sun and marked with every evil passion." Later, Holmes notes of Roylott, a physician: "When a doctor goes wrong he is the first of criminals, He has nerve and he has knowledge." Helen Stoner is a worthy client, and Dr. Roylott is a frightful opponent.

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