How does Arthur Conan Doyle create an atmosphere of mystery and build
suspense in The Speckled Band? To what extent are his methods
typical of all the other stories in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes?
The story ‘The speckled band’ was written by Arthur Conan Doyle in
1982 and is one of the many stories in the large Sherlock Holmes
series of stories. As known the stories are based on inquiries and
investigations, because of course Sherlock Holmes is an investigator,
this in itself gives a sense of excitement to the story because you
know that there will e a constant thrill throughout the story,
especially seems as it is likely that it will be based on something
like a murder, or an affair, etc.
As soon as the story starts, Holmes gets straight into the action, as
a poor victim comes round to his home and asks him for help. She is
portrayed to the reader as being in a very poor and vulnerable
position by “her face (being) all drawn and grey, with restless,
frightened eyes, like those of some hunted animal”, she is also
shivering from fear and so now the reader knows that there is a
vulnerable victim, that something is wrong, and that something unjust
will be done against her, and so it builds the excitement and suspense
in the readers mind. This same scenario is presented in A case of
Identity when Miss Sutherland comes to Sherlock Holmes in a similar
vulnerable state, frightened. As usual straight away Holmes picks up
on all the little details, such as the mud stains on the victim’s
clothes, and manages to create a clear picture in his mind of the
The victim is called Miss Helen Stoner. When she first came into the
story she was wearing black, veiled and grey haired. She was
shivering and terrified, which creates a scary if not intriguing scene
leaving the reader asking “why is she in this state?!”, the lady also
gave a violent start, by saying “It is fear Mr Holmes, It is terror.”
The story then goes on and Holmes is told about the lady’s step
father, who instantly Holmes recognizes as the murderer.
We can make out from the story, that her step father Doctor Grimesby
Roylott was a violent man who had a bad and short temper, and after
his wife dies he shut himself up at home and became very violent, and
we are told that “he is a man of immense strength, and absolutely
uncontrollable in his anger”.
The suspected murderer is described as being a very strong and
powerful person, and extremely dangerous, this adds suspense and
excitement to the story because from this description you can
instantly tell that something out of the ordinary has got...