McMurdo’s Camp


The Adventure of the Speckled Band

Published in (collection, year): The Strand Magazine February 1892

Time frame of story (known/surmised): Early April 1883 given

H&W living arrangements:  H&W sharing Baker St. quarters

Opening scene: At 221B.  Watson awakened early by SH.  Client visited early, with no appointment.

Client: Helen Stoner, stepdaughter of Dr. Grimsby Roylott. She had restless frightened eyes, like those of some hunted animal. Her features and figure were those of a woman of thirty, but her hair was shot with premature gray, and her expression was weary and haggard.

Crime, suspicion, concern: Stepfather acted strangely, client felt concerned for her safety.     Julia her twin sister haddied mysteriously 2 yrs previously.  The client feared murder.  It was determined later that Julia was murdered by a snake (speckled band) bite, Helen’s murder was attempted but did not succeed.

Villain/crime: Stepfather, Dr. Grimsby Roylott of Stoke Moran.  Murder, attempted murder.

Motive: Money.  Roylott needs to prevent step-daughter’s marriage to maintain control of wife’s capitol.

Logic/clues used to solve: Cigar smoke was smelled by victim through ventilator, fake bell-pull, bed fastened to floor.  Fake building repairs forced Helen to move into Julia’s old room.  Saucer of milk on safe, looped whipcord.  Financial arrangements (see motive above).

Policemen: None

Holmes’ fees: Client stated “in a month or six weeks I shall be married, with the control of my own income, and then at least you shall not find me ungrateful”.   Holmes replied “I shall be happy to devote the same care to your case as I did to that of your friend. As to reward, my profession is its own reward; but you are at liberty to defray whatever expenses I may be put to, at the time which suits you best”.

Transport: Client took dog-cart from home, first train from Leatherhead to Waterloo (station).  H&W then took a cab to Waterloo, the train  to Leatherhead, and a trap back 4 or 5 miles through  the Surrey lanes to Stoke Moran.
Food: Holmes ordered a cup of hot coffee for Ms. Stoner on the cold morning.  Mrs. Hudson had lit the fire.
Drink: / Vices: none

Other cases mentioned:  The case of Mrs. Fairintosh, involving her sore need related to an opal tiara.

Notable Quotables:   SH:  “Mrs. Hudson has been knocked up.”

SH:  “I cannot think.”      JW:  “I cannot imagine.”
Roylott:  “You are Holmes the meddler.  You are Holmes the busybody!   You are Holmes the Scotland Yard Jack-in-office!”
SH:  “An Eley’s No. 2 is an excellent argument.”

Other Interestings:    “Well, there is at least a curious coincidence of dates. A ventilator is made, a cord is hung, and a lady who sleeps in the bed dies. Does not that strike you?”

SH addresses client (incorrectly) as Miss Roylott while at Baker St., then later at Stoke Moran  calls her Miss Stoner.


  1. who is the victim?

    Comment by mysterious — October 10, 2012 @ 2:06 pm

    • The client’s sister, Julia, was killed by the band, and the same crime was attempted against the client, Helen Stoner, but did not succeed due to Holmes’ effort.

      Comment by Matilda — October 10, 2012 @ 4:35 pm

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