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 does Julia do to explain the speckled band in the story?

Expert Answers

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In "The Adventure of the Speckled Band," Julia is the deceased sister of Helen Stoner, a lady who seeks the help of Sherlock and Dr. Watson. Julia was killed at the family home just a few weeks before her wedding day and, in her last moment, cried out about the speckled band:

'Oh, my God! Helen! It was the band! The speckled band!'

As Helen did not understand what she meant by this phrase, Julia tried to explain with a physical gesture:

"She stabbed with her finger into the air in the direction of the doctor's room."

Unfortunately, Helen still did not understand and Julia could not explain any further because she experienced a convulsion, fell unconscious and then died.

It takes the help of Sherlock Holmes to finally unravel the mystery of the speckled band and to reveal that it was, in fact, a poisonous snake which accessed Julia's room through a ventilator hole.

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