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‘The Speckled Band’ and ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’

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Jenny B Detective Fiction: a comparison of 'The Speckled Band' and 'Lamb to the Slaughter' Crime detective stories are very popular. Mid nineteenth century the morbid fascination crime began when Arthur Conan Doyle created Sherlock Holmes the master of detection. Since then Sherlock Holmes has been the basis of all other detectives. Stories have been based on the plot as well, because crime stroies from the nineteenth century have the same moral view of the writer, that evil is punished and murder is usually the crime, as it is in the readers mind the worst crime commitable. 'The Speckled Band' and 'Lamb to the Slaughter' written by Roald Dahl are both detective crime stories, although written very differently. I am going to write how the crime genre has changed with time. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote 'The speckled Band' in 1892. Sherlock Holmes character has set the stage for all stereotypical detectives, he is the archetypal of al detectives and the role he plays in the 'Speckled Band' is no exception. Sherlock Holmes is one of the most famous and popular detectives. Doyle's stories are always stereotypical, this increases their popularity 'The Speckled Band' is a stereotypical story. In 'lamb to the Slaughter' there is a detective but we do not know as much of him like we do Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock Holmes dresses the way the reader expects him to a tweed deerstalker hat, cape, pipe and trusty magnifying glass. ...read more.


Dahl wants you to like her he wants you to feel sorry for her and to loathe Patrick, Dahl even wants you to be fond of her even when she kills Patrick. Dahl leads the reader to believe that he deserves it because he is a cold and selfish man '...there needn't be a fuss...it wouldn't be very good for my job'. When Mary kills Patrick with a frozen leg of lamb we see him become weak and Mary strong, because Patrick never suspected Mary would stand up to him. The reader then sees a change come over Mary; she becomes clever and cunning. Something that would never have been in a Sherlock Holmes crime story as women were portrayed as weak and had to be protected. Mary proceeds to create an alibi, a trip to the green grocers, before calling the police. When she returns, she acts as if everything was normal 'mind you, she wasn't expecting to find anything' Her strange behaviour is acting, but Dahl shows Mary as slightly deranged then changes it around to sound humorous, especially when Mary returns from the grocers and knows she will find Patrick's body, but pretends she knows nothing, she begins to '...cry her heart out. It was easy. No acting was necessary' Dahl uses the humour of the situation to make it appear sarcastic. ...read more.


There is no justice; even so Mary getting away scott free is justice in its self. Dahl uses a lot of humour and sarcasm in Lamb to the slaughter, especially to do with the murder weapon, a frozen leg of lamb, hence the title 'Lamb to the Slaughter'. The title also has other significance because the phrase 'lamb to the slaughter' also means someone or something innocent is killed and lambs are small and na�ve creatures that are easy to kill. Lambs are also weak, not strong police inspectors. Right from the start then Dahl's tone is sarcastic even the title is serious. 'Speckled Band' on the other hand is completely opposite; it is serious in every sense. Dahl's style is very different from the stereotypical detective story too. His story is short and uncomplicated; the reader doesn't have time to get bored or confused, because the only question is will she get caught? The story is simpler to read as well, the vocabulary is modern and easy, and the dialogue is ver informal, Dahl uses lots of slang 'there's plenty of meat and stuff in the freezer' more evidence to show how the genre has changed with time. Doyle's style however is very serious and the language is very formal, so formal that words, which would be used then, you would not even consider to enter into modern conversation now 'the ejaculation has been drawn from my companion'. Even when people are horrible or desperately frightened their language or attitude always is formal. ...read more.

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