The Adventure of the Speckled Band by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle A Sherlock Holmes short story
A distressed, and of course beautiful young woman, Helen Stoner, comes to Holmes early one morning. She confesses a vague feeling of dread and enlists Holmes’ assistance. She tells how her twin sister died of no apparent cause two years earlier. Her sister’s death was preceded by mysterious incidents in their step-father’s country manor. Now, with the advent of similar incidents, Helen is in fear for her own life.
I don’t suppose it will be a spoiler to reveal that a “speckled band” plays an important part in the mystery.
I am certain that I read this story many years ago, because I had a very specific idea of what the speckled band referred to, which proved to be correct. It will certainly mystify a reader unfamiliar with this tale.
Doyle thought The Adventure of the Speckled Band was his best Sherlock Holmes story. It is certainly the best I’ve read thus far, though I’m not very far into the canon. In the three stories that precede this, Holmes solves mysteries, but there is no criminal brought to justice, nor innocent who is saved. In this story a villain is indeed brought to justice and the terrified woman is saved from certain doom by Holmes' extraordinary powers of deduction.