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The Case Files of Sherlock Holmes: The Speckled Band Paperback – Apr 1999

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Creepy, but Clever 12 May 2000
By Janet Reeves - Published on
Format: Paperback
In this story, it's fairly obvious WHO done it right from the beginning, but HOW is the mystery. Two sisters, heiresses, are living with their stepfather. One dies tragically and mysteriously, with only enough time to tell her sister that it was the speckled band that caused her death. Now the other sisters life is in danger. Sherlock has to discover what the speckled band is in time to save her life. Soon he and Watson find their own lives in danger. The story is a fascinating mystery/adventure, with just a touch of the exotic, well-written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
By D. Blankenship - Published on
Format: Paperback
About every four or three years I develop an unyielding urge for a Sherlock Holmes fix; the sort of urge I suppose salmon get every so often when they are forced from the sea up crooked, fast moving streams. I have been going through this cycle now for over fifty years.

The Speckled Band is probably my favorite for no other reason that it is the first Holmes story I ever read. I must have been about ten or eleven years old at the time, reading as I do now, just about anything I could lay my hands on. My mother presented me with a volume by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and this happened to be the first work I chose to read. I have been hooked ever since.

Now for those that have read and are familiar with Doyle's work, you will know that he more or less followed a formula, much like many mystery writers do even to this day. First Sherlock, usually with Watson, is present with a case, usually by either the victim or relative of or friend of the victim. He then gathers evidence, or it would be better stated as "clues." He then solves the case and each story is finished with Holmes himself explaining, usually to a group, how he solved it. For some reason this formula if comforting to me.

The Case of The Speckled Band is no different. The plot here, while simple, is classic Sherlock Holms. There are two sisters, two heiresses. One of them dies a very mysterious death while they are living with the obviously evil Dr. Grimesby Roylott (I just love that name).

Now it does not take a genius to figure out right from the get-go who the dastardly killer is; but that is not the point and of little moment. How do you prove it? How did he do it? Can the great detective solve the case in time to save the terrified surviving sister?

With this short tale, we are privileged to stand I awe of the deductive reasoning and vast pool of knowledge which are the trade marks of Sherlock Holms. For me it just does not get any better than this.

If you are a hardcore Holms fan, you will no doubt have spent some time in the never ending debate over the ability to train snakes to do your bidding, even in a primitive way, and most important of and can snakes drink milk? Throughout the years I personally have tried the milk drinking thing with a variety of snakes and have found that, for at least the five species I used in my investigations, that snakes have the same opinion of milk as I is only fit to feed cats, and/or give to kids that are too young to protest and refuse, and who will hate you when they get older for making them drink the stuff.
My father made me drink milk, and goodness knows we did have our issues.

I digress....sorry.

This, along with Doyle's other works have given me a lot of enjoyment over the years. If you have never read Doyle, this is a great work to start with. It is simple and gives you an almost enlightened overview of his method of writing. Yes, there are better stories, I know, but still and all, this one is rather special to me.

Don Blankenship
The Ozarks
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