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The short stories I have read in, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, all seem to follow a similar trend. There are lots of similarities in each story, and ‘The Speckled Band’ is one of the most typical of the stories. After reading through the book, I noticed the constant similarities, and noted them down. At first, I noticed that Holmes and Watson, who are the two main characters throughout the stories, are never in any real danger. In The Speckled Band, Holmes and Watson are waiting in a dark room where there is potential danger of getting poisoned by a swamp adder.
They are both unaware of the snake, but due to Holmes already knowing what will happen, he scares the snake away when it attacks them, before it has a chance to bite them. In ‘The Copper Beeches’, when the large hound is loose, Holmes and Watson are yet again in the similar sort of potential danger. They discover the dangerous hound, but Watson has his pistol at the ready, and shoots the dog until it lay dead. Again, Holmes and Watson were in danger, but not for long at all, and the suspense of danger in the short stories never lasts long.
I also realised that Holmes always seems to know the answer to a case before he reveals and proves that he is correct. In The Speckled Band, Holmes knows that he and Watson should hide in the room where the death of a woman had taken place. He also knew that the way the woman died was by means of using the ventilator leading from that room, into the next. That way, Holmes was ready for a surprise attack. In ‘The Beryl Coronet’, Holmes already knows who had the coronet stones, and dressed up as a vagabond, and apprehended Sir George Burnwell.
This shows, that Holmes had already pieced together all of his findings and clues, and knew who was to blame before anybody else. One of the main similarities I noticed in the stories was the victims. Nearly all of the victims in the stories are family relations. In The Speckled Band, the victim of the story is Miss Stoner, and she is in danger of her father, Dr. Roylott. He wishes to kill his remaining daughter, like he killed his other daughter. If Dr. Roylotts’ daughters die when they are unmarried, he will get a larger sum of inheritance, as opposed to having to share it with a son-in-law.
In ‘The Beryl Coronet’, Mr. Holder has to look after the precious jewel, and conceals it in his private home bureau. It is his niece, Mary, who steals it and gives it to her lover, Sir George Burnwell. Again, another family related crime that is typical of most of the short, Sherlock holmes stories. Another similarity that made ‘The Speckled Band’ typical to most of the other short stories is the title. Most of the short story titles are dramatic and link to the crime of the story. The speckled band was in fact the deadly swamp adder, which played a key role in the story.
It was the danger and mystery in the story, and is what makes the title dramatic, as it is only nearer the end of the story, that the reader will find out what the title means. The title, ‘The Beryl Coronet’, is not so dramatic, but does link very much to the crime in the story. The coronet is the most featured item throughout the short story, and seems so precious. As the title is called, ‘The Beryl Coronet’, it is looked at as an obvious title that links strongly to the story. In ‘The Speckled Band’, this title is an item of the story, the serpent.
Similarly in, ‘The Beryl Coronet’, this title is also an item of the story, the precious coronet jewel. So, both titles are similar, as they are both named after featured items in their stories. The final similarity I noticed in ‘The Speckled Band’ is that the murderer, Dr. Roylott, died by means of his own ‘weapon’. In this story, the ‘weapon’ is the deadly serpent. When Holmes scared the snake back through the ventilator, into the room where Dr. Roylott was, he was bitten by the snake and died.
This is similar to ‘The Copper Beeches’, where Mr. Rucastle gets attacked and severely injured by his large, un-fed dog. Similarly, as I said in, ‘The Speckled Band’, the dog is like the serpent, a weapon, and a way of killing’. As a result of the criminals getting injured and killed by their own means, they resultantly punish themselves, instead of a prison sentence, although we do not know if Mr. Rucastle survives after the case of ‘The copper Beeches’ is closed. A surgeon was on his way at the end of the story, but Mr. Rucastle could still have died.