a WoMan haS BEEn MYSTERiouSlY MuRdEREd. cAn The world's

Readers Theater Play
a story appeal
as Dr. Wats
all Photo Illustrations by Tom Garrett; Imago/Future Images/Newscom (Will Smith); Pacific Photos/Newscom (Daniel Radcliffe); Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic/Getty
Images (Miley Cyrus); Guillaume Horcajuelo/EPA/Newscom (Brad Pitt); Steve Granitz/Wireimage/Getty Images (Taylor Swift)
Miley a Stoner
as Juli
Brad Pi lott
as D
Circle the
character you
will play.
as Helen Swift
l Smi
*Wil ock Holmes
as She
1, 2, 3
jor rol
ed cha
A woman has been mysteriously murdered.
Can the world’s most famous detective solve
the case before the killer strikes again?
to perform this mystery play.
www.Scholastic.com/Scope • SEPTEMBER 24, 2012
What methods does
Sherlock Holmes use to
solve the crime? What
does this tell you about his character?
N2: The tragedy takes place at Stoke Moran. The
bedrooms are next to one another in a long hall. Julia’s
is in the middle, between Helen’s and Dr. Roylott’s.
N3: One stormy night, Julia knocks on Helen’s door.
Julia: I can’t sleep. The past few nights, I’ve heard the
Old WatsoN: Over the decades, I assisted the legendary
most dreadful whistle. Have you heard it?
detective Sherlock Holmes with dozens of cases. Some
HeleN: No—perhaps it’s those Gypsies.
were tragic, some comic. Most were strange—but none
N4: Julia goes back to her room. A few hours later, a
was more bizarre than the Case of the Speckled Band.
bloodcurdling scream, followed by a low whistle and a
metallic clanking sound, wakes Helen. She runs to
Julia’s room and pounds on the door.
Holmes and Watson. She is shivering.
Holmes: You are cold. Let me get you some tea.
HeleN: It’s not cold that makes me shiver.
Holmes: What then?
HeleN: It is terror, Mr. Holmes. Terror.
Holmes: Please, tell us everything.
HeleN: My name is Helen Stoner. I live with my
stepfather, Dr. Grimesby Roylott. He worked as a
HeleN: Julia! Julia! Are you all right?
Holmes was
created by
Sir Arthur
Conan Doyle
He wrote
4 novels and
56 stories
Julia (opening the door): It was the band! It was
the speckled band!
N1: Julia falls into her sister’s arms, dead.
Old WatsoN: At this point, Helen fell silent.
Holmes: Both your and your sister’s doors were
doctor in India, where he met and married my
HeleN: Yes. The windows too. With the cheetah
mother, a young widow with two daughters.
and the baboon on the grounds, we never felt safe.
Old WatsoN: Miss Stoner went on to describe
Holmes: What did the coroner find?
how her stepfather had served time in an Indian
HeleN: Nothing. There wasn’t a mark on her
prison for beating a man to death.
body. And there was no evidence of poison either.
HeleN: After my stepfather’s release, we returned
Holmes: So what do you think killed your sister?
to England to live in our family home, Stoke Moran. But
HeleN: Pure fright, I suppose.
he had changed so much! And after my mother’s death,
Holmes: What do you think she meant by “the
he went to pieces. Now he has no job and no income.
speckled band”?
Holmes: How do you survive?
HeleN: Maybe a band of people, like the Gypsies? They
HeleN: My mother left money to my stepfather, with
often wear spotted scarves.
the provision that a percentage of it go to my sister and
WatsoN: It seems to be a dark and sinister business.
me, if and when we got married.
HeleN: Indeed. And you see, now I am engaged. A few
Holmes: Does Dr. Roylott have friends?
days ago, renovations began in my room, so I moved
HeleN: Only groups of Gypsies, who camp out on our
into my sister’s old room. Last night, I heard that
lawn. And he keeps a baboon and a cheetah from India.
whistle. Whatever killed Julia is after me now.
WatsoN: Wild animals running free on the grounds?
Holmes: These are very deep waters. Watson and I
HeleN: Yes. They often give me quite a fright.
must inspect the rooms.
Holmes: Where is your sister now?
HeleN: My stepfather is spending the day in town.
HeleN: That is why I came. Two years ago, Julia met
Holmes: Excellent. Go home as if you suspect nothing.
a strange and terrible death, just two weeks before
We’ll be on the two o’clock train.
her wedding. . . .
HeleN: Thank you, Mr. Holmes.
14 Scholastic Scope • SEPTEMBER 24, 2012
General Photographic Agency/Getty Images
N1: Early one morning, a young woman comes to visit
N2: Helen leaves.
board our train. If we don’t get to Stoke Moran by
WatsoN: What do you make of Miss Stoner’s story?
tonight, our dear client could very well be dead by
Holmes: I believe our young friend is in grave danger.
N3: There is a sudden knock. Watson opens the door.
Roylott: What did Miss Stoner tell you?
WatsoN: I beg your pardon! Who are you?
N1: When Holmes and Dr. Watson arrive at Stoke
Roylott: I am Dr. Roylott.
Moran, Helen greets them at the gate.
Holmes: I’m afraid we can’t tell you what she said.
HeleN: My stepfather won’t be home until dinner.
N4: Dr. Roylott runs to the fireplace and grabs a large
Holmes: Good. We can investigate without
metal poker. He bends it in half.
interruption. Miss Stoner, would you go into Julia’s
Roylott: I am a dangerous man to fall afoul of!
bedroom and lock the shutters?
Holmes: Your words are most entertaining. See that
N2: Helen does so. Holmes tries to open the
you close the door on your way out. There is a draft.
shutters from the outside. They won’t budge.
Roylott: See that you keep
yourself out of my grip!
N1: Dr. Roylott throws down
the poker and strides out.
Holmes: He seems a very
amiable person.
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images (Taylor Swift); Jason Merritt/Getty Images (Miley Cyrus); Moland Fengkov/Starface/Polaris Images (Brad Pitt)
WatsoN: It would take 10 men
to bend that poker!
N2: Holmes picks up the poker
and casually bends it back into
Holmes: Meet me at the train
station, Watson. There is
something I must check. And
bring your revolver.
N3: Holmes leaves. Watson
picks up the poker and tries to
bend it, but to no avail.
N4: Watson and Holmes meet
at the train station.
Holmes: I’ve seen the will of
Miss Stoner’s late mother. Had
Helen and Julia both married,
Dr. Roylott would have been
left with nothing.
WatsoN: So he had a motive
for murder.
Holmes: Precisely. Now, let’s
www.Scholastic.com/Scope • SEPTEMBER 24, 2012
N4: Next, Helen shows them the doctor’s room. It has a
N3: Inside, Helen leads Holmes and Dr. Watson
bed, a chair, and a large iron safe.
through the mansion. First, she shows them her room.
Holmes: Have you ever seen inside Dr. Roylott’s safe?
Holmes: These renovations could have easily waited
HeleN: Just once, years ago. It was full of papers.
until after your wedding.
N1: Under the chair, Holmes spots a small whip. The
N4: They go to Julia’s room next. On the wall shared
end of the whip is formed into a loop.
with Dr. Roylott’s room is a small hole, near the ceiling.
WatsoN: A common item, but why tie it in this loop?
Holmes: Some foolish builder cut this ventilator hole
N2: Holmes, lost in thought, puts the whip back.
into the next room. He should have cut it into the
Holmes: I’ve seen enough. Miss Stoner, my friend and
outside wall for fresh air.
I will spend the night hiding in Julia’s room. When
HeleN: That was done a few years ago when the bell
your stepfather returns, tell him you are ill. Pretend to
rope was hung.
retire to Julia’s room, but instead, sneak into your old
N1: She points to a long rope that hangs from above the
room and lock the door.
ventilator down to the corner of the bed. It is the type
N3: Helen agrees and leaves.
of bell used to summon servants.
Holmes: Watson, don’t feel any obligation to stay. This
N2: Holmes tugs it.
may be quite dangerous.
Holmes: Why, it’s a dummy! It’s just hanging on a hook
WatsoN: I saw everything you saw, and I don’t sense
on the wall.
any danger.
N3: Holmes circles the room on his hands and knees,
Holmes: There are too many curious coincidences. Did
inspecting the floor.
you notice Julia’s bed?
Holmes: Very curious. A bell rope that signals no one
WatsoN: No. What about it?
and a ventilator that doesn’t ventilate.
Holmes: It’s clamped to the floor.
Pacific Photos/Newscom (Daniel Radcliffe);
Imago/Future Images/Newscom (Will Smith)
Holmes: Hmm. No one could get these open.
16 Scholastic Scope • SEPTEMBER 24, 2012
band with brown speckles is wrapped around his head.
N4: Late that night, Holmes and Watson wait.
Helen (rushing in): The speckled band!
Holmes (whispering): Stay alert, Watson. Your very life
N1: The doctor’s strange headgear starts to move.
might depend on it.
WatsoN: Is that . . . a snake?!
N1: Watson grips his revolver. The clock passes slowly
Holmes: It’s a swamp adder. Deadliest snake in India.
from 12:00 to 3:00. The room is pitch-black.
N2: Holmes reaches for the whip. With the looped end,
N2: Suddenly, a dim light appears from the ventilator.
he carries the serpent to the safe. Placing the snake
Then they hear a sound like steam from a kettle.
inside, he slams the door with a loud clank.
Holmes strikes a match.
HeleN: How did you know?
Holmes: Do you see it, Watson?
Holmes: We proved the danger had not come from
N3: The light from Holmes’s match blinds Watson.
outside the window, so it couldn’t be the Gypsies or the
WatsoN: No!
wild animals. It had to come from Dr. Roylott’s room.
N4: Holmes begins beating the bell rope with
his cane.
N1: Watson hears a low whistle. Holmes stops.
N2: Moments later, a terrible scream pierces
the silence.
WatsoN: What can it mean?!
Holmes: It means it’s all over.
N3: They run into Dr. Roylott’s room and find
This is the
moment in the
story after
the climax
when all the
loose ends are
tied up.
Once I saw the ventilator, the bell rope, and the
bed, I knew the rope was there to provide a
bridge between the hole in the wall and
the bed.
WatsoN: You knew it was a snake?
Holmes: Knowing the doctor kept exotic
animals, a snake was a logical guess. Its poison is
not easily detected during an autopsy.
the doctor sitting on a wooden chair—dead.
WatsoN: So how did he do it?
N4: A look of horror is on his face, and a strange yellow
Holmes: He stood on the chair and fed the snake
through the ventilator. He must have trained it to
return at the sound of the whistle. Then he used the
whip to get the snake back in the safe. When he closed
the safe, it made the clanking sound Miss Stoner heard.
WatsoN: How did he know it would kill Miss Stoner?
Holmes: If he did it every night, eventually it would
find its victim. This time, I was waiting. I attacked it
with my cane.
WatsoN: Then it went back through the ventilator . . .
Holmes: I aroused its temper, and it attacked the first
person it saw. I suppose I am indirectly responsible for
Dr. Roylott’s death. I don’t think I’ll lose sleep over it.
Old WatsoN: A few hours later, Holmes and I were on a
train, headed home. I remember Holmes sat quietly,
brooding over the case. Finally, he spoke.
Holmes: There’s a valuable lesson to remember from
the Case of the Speckled Band, Watson. Violence always
recoils upon the violent, and the schemer falls
into the pit that he digs for another.
www.Scholastic.com/Scope • SEPTEMBER 24, 2012
fictional article
February 24, 2012
Indiana Gazette
Nathaniel T. Necklace’s
mansion (right) was the first
home hit by the Masked Men.
on Wrenwood Street was robbed
last night. According to police,
the thieves stole a 200-yearold vase worth thousands of
dollars. The theft was the latest
in a string of robberies that has
rocked the town of Culpepper
and left residents feeling
The crime wave started on
January 29, when the so-called
Masked Men hit the biggest
house in town, a mansion
recently purchased by Nathaniel
T. Necklace.
“My moving van had just
might have helped police. Since
then, 18 other homes have been
burgled. The thieves have stolen
computers and televisions, as well
as valuable heirlooms, including
paintings, pottery, and small
pieces of furniture.
Before January, Culpepper
hadn’t had a robbery in nearly
two decades. It was recently voted
one of the safest places to live in
the United States.
Necklace, a millionaire, is
the owner of Home Protection
Alarms. “It’s ironic,” said Police
Chief Bellamy Greenslade.
“Necklace moved to Culpepper to
retire, but he’s busier than ever.
Everyone wants his alarms now.”
Although all 18 of the burgled
houses were equipped with
brand-new alarm systems from
pulled up when a group of armed
Necklace’s company, the police
men wearing masks suddenly
never arrived in time to catch
appeared out of nowhere and
the thieves.
hijacked the van,” Necklace
Greenslade urges residents
reported. He said he felt grateful
stay calm, lock their doors,
that the truck carrying his
and call 911 if they see any
collection of priceless
suspicious activity. “We
antiques hadn’t arrived
will catch the Masked
yet. “It was delayed by
Men,” he declared. “We
bad weather,” he said.
won’t stop until they are
A blizzard blew
to justice and
in on January 30 and
of Culpepper
covered the burglars’ tracks,
destroying evidence that
Write a Scene
Imagine that Sherlock Holmes has been hired to solve the crimes in
Culpepper. Write a scene, following the format and style of our play, in which Sherlock goes
to Culpepper and solves the mystery. Send your scene to SHERLOCK CONTEST. You can
send it in writing, or you can act it out and send us a video. Five winners will each
get Eye of the Crow by Shane Peacock. See page 2 for details.
Get this
18 Scholastic Scope • SEPTEMBER 24, 2012
www.istockphoto.com (crime scene,
mansion, burglar)