Snakes would have been rare in England at the time. The snake turned on him and bit him causing him to die. This would have been shocking and exciting for the reader. The central figure in the story entitled Silver Blaze is a famous racehorse, who was the favourite for the Wessex Cup, a very important horse race. The story begins after the disappearance of Silver Blaze and the death of its trainer John Straker. The story takes a twist as originally we think the horse has been stolen to fix the race, but Holmes finds out that Straker has a mistress and needs money to pay for her dresses.
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He had a plan to make Silver Blaze lame and have a large bet on the second favourite for the Wessex cup. John Straker has been found dead in a ditch out in the moors. A man named Fitzroy Simpson has been arrested because John Straker was found dead with his scarf at his side.
Fitzroy Simpson also turned up at John Strakers house that night. But later on into the story Sherlock Holmes solves the case ands finds out that it was not Fitzroy Simpson who murdered John Straker but Silver Blaze.
Sherlock Holmes works out that John Straker took Silver Blaze out into the moors at night to make an incision into the horses leg but the horse is frightened by John Straker and it kicks out. John Straker then took a blow to the head instantly killing him. In the Adventure of the Engineer’s Thumb the readers may be slightly shocked because two men are waiting in Dr Watson’s waiting room one is a railway guard and the other has had his thumb hacked off and his hand wrapped in a blood stained handkerchief. What is unusual is that he has forgotten who he is or how he became injured or anything beforehand.
The railway guard found the gentleman slumped in a carriage on a morning train from Reading. He had two business cards in his pocket one was from Mr Victor Hatherley and the other from Colonel Lysander Stark. He also had two train tickets in his possession one was from the night before and was for the 11. 15pm train to Eyford from Paddington. The other ticket is for that morning leaving at Eyford at 6. 05am. The man also had fifty guineas and his silk handkerchief had the initials V. H. on it. The combination of the missing thumb and the mystery of his identity would have been both shocking and unusual for the readers.
The Sherlock Holmes stories have both mystery and crime which combined ensure that readers are so intrigued and engaged in trying to solve the mystery that they keep on reading. I think that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle chose to write about crime and mystery because of all the crime in London at the time and not many detective stories had been written before. In The Speckled Band when Helen Stoner speaks with Holmes and Watson she starts to tell them about her mother marrying Dr Grimesby Roylett, then dying and leaving her and her sister money for their wedding.
She also tells him that Grimesby Roylett is running out of money and about her sister getting engaged and then not long before the wedding dying mysteriously with no evidence of violence or poison used. Helen Stoner tells Holmes and Watson about her sister hearing a whistling noise in the night and on the night of her sister’s death Helen heard a metallic sound before Grimesby Roylett left his room that night. This gives us enough detail to indicate Dr Grimesby Roylett as the prime suspect.
Before we read any of the Sherlock Holmes stories we already know that Watson will be narrating the story, we know that Sherlock Holmes will solve the crime, we know that Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson share a flat together and are very good friends. We know that the story will start in Holmes and Watson’s flat or Dr Watson’s surgery. This makes the reader feel secure and they know they will enjoy the story. Before we start to read we know that Watson will help Sherlock Holmes to crack the case. We already know that Sherlock Holmes is a very eccentric but also very clever character we also know he will solve the crime.
In the story line of The Speckled Band the family in it are called the Royletts of Stoke Moran who were a very famous family at the time. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote the story which suggests that the reader already knows who the Royletts of Stoke Moran are. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle draws the reader into the story by using unusual characters. In The Speckled Band Helen Stoner is introduced at the very start which draws the reader in because she is wearing all black and a veil that hides her face. When she takes her veil off to talk to Holmes and Watson she is young but looks old.
Her hair has turned grey because she is so terrified. She then starts to tell Holmes and Watson about what has happened to her and about her stepfather Dr Grimesby Roylett. At the start of each story it always starts in Holmes and Watson’s flat or in Watson’s surgery. Which the readers will be familiar with from other stories. The Speckled Band is set in an old gloomy and dingy manor house with gypsies, a baboon and a leopard roaming the grounds around the house to make the readers curious about what happened when Helen Stoner’s sister died.
Only one wing of the house is used which makes the house look unused and abandoned. In Silver Blaze the story is set at the Kings Pyland Stables in the moors of Dartmoor which is very remote. Out of all the stories that I read the story that I enjoyed the most was Silver Blaze because it was very unusual and unpredictable. When Fitzroy Simpson was arrested I thought he had murdered John Straker because John Straker was found dead with Fitzroy Simpson’s scarf. He was at the Kings Pyland Stables that night, he wanted to talk with the stable boy and he was believed to have put opium in the boy’s food.
But i was pleasantly surprised when Sherlock Holmes revealed that it was not Fitzroy Simpson who killed John Straker but Silver Blaze. I think the stories are so popular even now because people from nearly all ages can read them. English Coursework Page 1 of 1 Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Arthur Conan Doyle section.