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1 Look at the words and phrases below and make sure you understand their meanings. Some
of them have more than one meaning.

a stepfather twin sisters India inheritance money

a ventilator a safe a whistling sound a band a rope

2 Check how much you remember from the story. Can you answer these questions?

1. What was Dr Roylott’s job?

2. Who were Dr Roylott’s friends?
3. What were Dr Roylott’s pets?
4. How did Helen Stoner’s mother die?
5. What was Helen’s sister’s name?
6. What object stood on the safe in Dr Roylott’s room?
7. Why did Helen have to sleep in her sister’s room?
8. What was strange about the bed in Helen’s sister’s room?

3 Put the events in the story in the chronological order.

Before the beginning of the story

( ) Helen’s father died.
( ) Helen’s sister set her wedding date.
( ) Helen’s mother died.
( ) Helen’s mother married Dr Roylott.
( ) Helen’s sister died.

In the story – the investigation

( ) Holmes examined Helen’s room.
( ) Holmes examined Dr Roylott’s room.
( ) Holmes noticed the false bell-rope and ventilator.
( ) Holmes and Watson travelled to Stoke Moran.
( ) Helen came to talk to Sherlock Holmes.
( ) Dr Roylott came to see Holmes.
( ) Holmes found the safe.
( ) Holmes examined Julia’s room.

In the story – the final night

( ) Holmes and Watson found Dr Roylott in his room killed by the snake.
( ) Holmes and Watson heard a loud scream.
( ) The snake came through the ventilator and down the rope.
( ) Holmes and Watson stayed in Julia’s room at night.
( ) Holmes hit the snake with a stick.
( ) The snake returned to Dr Roylott’s room.

4 Choose the correct answer.

Why is Helen Stoner afraid of her stepfather?

a Because he wants to marry her.
b Because he wants to kill her.
c Because he is mad.
d Because he wants to sell her mother’s house.

How does Helen’s stepfather die?

a He falls off the roof.
b He is shot.
c He is bitten by a snake.
d He hangs himself.
What is the ‘Speckled Band’?
a Helen’s mother’s scarf
b Helen’s stepfather’s snake
c Helen’s hair ribbon
d A small group of musicians playing music together

5 The story includes many meaningful details which help Sherlock Holmes solve the mystery. See
how many of these questions you can answer.

1) What was the arrangement of bedrooms at Stoke Moran? Label the picture below.


2) What are the interpretations of ‘the speckled band’ – a line Julia says just before she dies?
3) What is the significance of Dr Roylott’s pets – the cheetah and the baboon?
4) How were the bell-rope and ventilator ‘false’ according to Sherlock Holmes?
5) Where did the whistling sound come from?
6) Examining Dr Roylott’s room, Holmes saw a stick with a rope tied into a noose lying on the
man’s bed. What was this stick there for?
7) On the night of Julia’s death Helen heard the sound of ‘metal clanging against metal’. Where did it
come from?

6 Use the key phrases below to retell the story.

 Helen’s visit
 Helen’s story:
 Helen’s mother’s second marriage
 Helen’s mother’s death
 Dr Roylott’s character and interests
 The night of Julia’s death
 Dr Roylott’s visit:
 Investigation of Stoke Moran:
 Helen’s bedroom
 Julia’s bedroom
 Dr Roylott’s bedroom
 The final night:
 Helen’s lamp signal
 Holmes and Watson in Julia’s bedroom
 The snake’s arrival
 Holmes scaring the snake away
 Dr Roylott’s death

7 Read this part of the story on pages 7 and 8 and mark the sentences true (T) or false (F).
“On the night of Julia’s death” said Miss Stoner, “my stepfather” … “Her face was
white with terror. Her eyes were staring wildly. She was swaying from side to side, like a drunk person.”

1. Helen and Julia went to their rooms before Dr Roylott.

2. Helen was surprised by Julia’s question.

3. Julia was very upset about the noises she heard at night.

4. Helen couldn’t sleep that night because of the weather.

5. Helen heard the same noise as Julia.


1 Here are the pictures from this story.

(a) Number the pictures from 1 to 4 in the correct order.

(b) Explain who the people are in each picture.
(c) Explain what is happening in each picture. DON’T look at the book!

2 Choose the correct words and fill in the blanks.

(1) on Another _____ is _____ _____ someone _____ to become a member of the League.
(2) red-headed
(3) for Salary: four pounds a week. All _____ men, over 21 years old, should come _____
(4) vacancy Monday _____ 11 a.m. to this address:
(5) at
(6) wishing Duncan Ross, The Red-Headed League,
(7) open
7 Pope’s Court, Fleet Street, London

3 Choose the correct answer.

What crime was going to take place?

a murder
b bank robbery
c jewellery robbery
d kidnapping
How does Holmes know when the crime is going to happen?
a He sees that the League’s office is closed.
b He sees a truck parked on the corner of the street.
c He sees John Clay with dirty clothes.
d Someone tells him in a secret phone call.