• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

A comparison of two short stories, "Lamb to the Slaughter" by Roald Dahl and "The Speckled Band" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle which considers the ingredients of a good murder mystery and the similarities and differences between them.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

A comparison of two short stories, "Lamb to the Slaughter" by Roald Dahl and "The Speckled Band" by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle which considers the ingredients of a good murder mystery and the similarities and differences between them. There are several primary ingredients that should be present in a good murder mystery. These are a death, a motive, an alibi and a suspect. The main component is suspense, this is very important because the whole idea of a murder mystery is that the reader doesn't know an extremely important detail. For example, in "The Speckled Band" Conan Doyle chooses to make the murderer and their method the mystery. Whereas in "Lamb to the Slaughter" Dahl chooses to hold the reader in suspense as to whether Mary Maloney is going to be caught. In a stereotypical Murder mystery, the reader usually expects the murderer to be caught, usually after being outwitted by the detective and then facing a climactic showdown. In 'Lamb to the slaughter" we learn that Mary Maloney is pregnant and that she is looking forward to starting a family with her husband. ...read more.

Middle

Grimesby Roylott was suspected of the crime by the local coroner, which shows that he has a history or a tendency to commit violent or malicious acts. The reader is not told how Dr. Roylott reacted after the death of his step-daughter but judging from his character traits and the fact that he carried out the murder, one can assume that he probably didn't react with too much sadness. The murderers both attempt to hide their weapon; Roylott's is unimaginatively in a safe (the first place Holmes thinks to look; "What's in here?"). Mary Maloney hides her murder weapon in an ingenious way. The Police officers are searching for something solid, but by the time they see the meat, it has changed state and is soft. The officers then proceed to eat the lamb which disposes of the weapon for her. The detectives investigating the murder in "Lamb to the Slaughter" start making their conclusions with pre-conceived ideas of the precise details of the murder, some of which are constructed by Mary Maloney. For example 'She fell into Jack Noonan's arms, weeping hysterically.' ...read more.

Conclusion

This kind of comment leaves the reader in suspense as to whether the detectives will figure out that the murder weapon is actually in the oven cooking. This suspense is turned into humour at the end of the story with the comment "The weapon's probably right under our noses". This is said whilst the lamb is literally where they metaphorically predict, this is unusual in a murder mystery because the story ends in Humour. Conan Doyle builds up tension in "The speckled band" by using night time as a way to provoke feelings of tension and suspense. For example, when Holmes and Watson are sitting in the dark in Roylott's house Watson refers to the situation as "dreadful". I preferred "Lamb to the Slaughter" more than "The Speckled band" because I found it an enjoyable alternative to the format usually found in Murder Mysteries. The main suspense was not placed within the boundaries of who the killer was, or how they committed their crime. I found the story a well written and intelligent tale. I enjoyed the way that Dahl left the question open to the reader as to whether Mary Maloney had planned slightly in advance to murder her husband. 1 Chris Dales 10D ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Roald Dahl section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Roald Dahl essays

  1. Comparing the Build up of Suspense in "Lamb to the Slaughter" and "The Speckled ...

    We are told he only takes cases that "tend towards the unusual, and even the fantastic." This suggests that the story will be unusual and maybe fantastic. This is emphasised by Dr. Watson further as he says, "Of all these varied cases however, I cannot recall any which presented more singular features."

  2. Compare and contrast the two short stories

    Another exciting part is just before the dark twin gets killed, the reader is expecting her to do something heroic and kill the Captain. "And that day month, she rolled the pie crust out..." but Dickens then creates an anticlimax - "and Captain Murderer cut her head off, and chopped her in pieces".

  1. Explain the main similarities and differences between the two murder mystery stories "Lamb to ...

    But once the murder has been committed Lamb to the Slaughter's mood and plot changes drastically. Being witness to the murder adds the need to read on to see if she will get caught, whereas The Speckled Band's picking up of clues adds more complexity.

  2. A comparison of two short stories from the murder mystery genre

    Maloney and her feelings toward her husband. This causes the reader to feel relaxed without any suspicion that events such as a murder would occur but it might make you think, is it too perfect. He uses this kind of homely image to shock the reader later on.

  1. In this wide-reading piece I will compare two murder mystery stories: 'The Speckled Band' ...

    The reader becomes witness to the criminal straight away, as opposed to 'The Speckled Band' and many other stereotypical murder mysteries where the reader first meets the detective. 'The Speckled Band' starts off in a completely different way to 'Lamb to the Slaughter'.

  2. Both The Speckled Band and Lamb to the Slaughter share some characteristics of the ...

    themselves and also want to read on to find out what happens at the end of the story "I should prefer to have clearer proof before I speak." In the Speckled Band Sherlock Holmes solved the mystery, which was because he used his powers of deduction and always checked his ideas thoroughly before speaking them to anyone else.

  1. What are the main characteristics of the traditional murder mystery story? To what extent ...

    In 'Lamb to the Slaughter', the murderer, Mary Maloney gets away with killing her husband Patrick Maloney. She wasn't suspected whatsoever. At first she was sad but eventually got over it. This doesn't usually happen in murder mysteries. I think she was clever how she managed to get rid of the evidence.

  2. Consider the conventions of murder mystery and examine the uses that Conan Doyle and ...

    He finds that Dr Roylott is a very bad-tempered person and he wonders to whether Dr Roylott could have any association to the murder or Mrs Helen stoner. He goes to Miss Stoner's house and finds many unusual clues that may or may not help him in the future.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work