I have been thinking for some time about what I can blog about that would be fairly unique among the many tutors on this site. Seeing that I work at a library and do large amounts of reading, I thought I could put my literary knowledge to good use and post book talks that I have written. My hope is that parents and children who are looking for reading ideas may find this blog entry somewhat useful.
The Adventure of the Speckled Band
By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Reading Level: Grades 7-9
It is early in the morning when a frightened young woman, named Helen Stoner, arrives at 221 Baker Street, home to Sherlock Holmes and his associate Dr. Watson. Fearing that her life might be in danger, she hires the great detective to discover who it is that might want to kill her. Whoever, this person is, the woman concludes, they are responsible for the mysterious death of her twin sister two years earlier. The only clues she can provide for Holmes are the whistling sounds that her sister heard in the middle of the night just before her death, and the dying girl’s utterance about a “speckled band”.
Intrigued by the case, Holmes and Watson journey to Stoner’s rundown manor, where she shares residence with her scheming, brutal, and eccentric stepfather, whose peculiarities include allowing gypsies to live on his land, and allowing his pets (a cheetah and a baboon) to roam the grounds freely.
Is it the stepfather who wants Helen dead? What about the gypsies? Did Helen have something to gain by her sister’s death? Join Dr. Watson as he follows the great Sherlock Holmes as the sleuth pieces together the clues that will take the mystery out of The Adventure of the Speckled Band!