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

Both 'Lamb to the Slaughter' and 'The Speckled Band' share some of the characteristics of murder mysteries.

Extracts from this document...


THE SPECKLED BAND - SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE AND LAMB TO THE SLAUGHTER - ROALD DAHL Both 'Lamb to the Slaughter' and 'The Speckled Band' share some of the characteristics of murder mysteries. Explain the similarities and differences between the two stories and say which story you think is more compelling to read. 'T he Speckled Band' was written in 1892 during Queen Victoria's reign over Britain. At the time the aristocratic society was paranoid about crime and rumours and myths about murderers such as 'Jack the Ripper' did not help. The squalid chaos of a city (London) that hadn't changed much since Tudor times, with it's dark narrow alleyways and badly lit streets created a haven for murderers, rapists, prostitutes and petty thieves. The arrival of a 'super sleuth' character was obviously going to appeal to the literary clique. Sherlock Holmes was the solution to all their problems although in reality the Police Force was failing badly. In contrast 'Lamb to the Slaughter' was written in a completely different era - post-war, Elizabethan Britain, a period where attitudes and the Police Force had developed considerably from Conan Doyle's Victorian London. The nation's feeling had changed and had become more tolerant of women and including them more in a previously male world. ...read more.


However in Lamb to the Slaughter women were allowed a much freer role and so the idea of them becoming murderers was 'accepted' by the readers. In both of the stories the villains (Dr Roylott and Mary Maloney) control the people around them, Dr Roylott controls people by threatening them with physical violence whereas Mary Maloney uses subtle emotional actions to convince the Police that she's innocent. Mary Maloney is the physical and emotional opposite of Dr Roylott, she is a pregnant wife to a high ranking Police Officer, and is a quiet, gentle pregnant doting housewife who is unselfish and thinks only of her husband. This fits in with the 'perfect housewife' image that was still the norm at that time. '...each minute gone by made it nearer the time when he would come...' and '...enjoying his company after the long hours...in the house...' The only reason she is pushed towards a psychotic episode is because of Patrick Maloney's (her husband) affair and plans to break up their marriage. We, the readers, have absolutely no idea at the beginning that she is the murderess to be, in fact we are lulled into a false sense of security by the quiet atmosphere of the house. ...read more.


In contrast Mary Maloney just uses conversation to manipulate the Policemen to seeing her version of the story without thinking about the other ways: 'Well...here you are, all good friends of dear Patrick's too, and helping to catch the man who killed him. You must be terribly hungry by now...and I know Patrick would never forgive me...if I allowed you to remain in this house without offering you decent hospitality.' The endings of the stories are very different, Sherlock Holmes solves the case and kills Dr Roylott thus closing the case forever. In contrast 'Lamb to the Slaughter' does not finish and leaves much for the reader's imagination to do, Mary Maloney is not even suspected of killing her husband and will never be brought to court as the Policemen have eaten the evidence. I think that 'The Speckled Band' is more compelling to read, although it is more difficult to follow and understand as the language is complex, the story is much better and as I like them, has an air of finality at the end. Many people will find 'Lamb to the Slaughter' more compelling to read as it has a comical side to it and as attitudes had changed, people would not be so surprised to see the author let the murderess get away with it. Peter Atkin 01/05/07 ...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 Arthur Conan Doyle 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 Arthur Conan Doyle essays

  1. Compare and contrast the Characters of Professor Moriaty with that of Dr Roylott.

    The manner of the two characters is very different. Dr Roylott is a more aggressive man, whereas Professor Moriarty is a more rational man, and talks about something rather that acts like a violent boisterous person. Dr Roylott shows his extreme impatience and violent tendencies when he met Sherlock and Dr Watson, in Sherlock's home.

  2. Diary of Helen Stoner

    Julia went through this night after night after night until she met her end. For all I knew this could have been happening to me every night, until I was to move and that would be my end. So I could have been close to encountering death every night for

  1. Coursework-The Speckled Band How does Conan Doyle present Dr. Grimesby Roylott as a typical ...

    The money is from the mother of Helen. It is left to Roylott but with conditions should the twins get married. If Julia was to marry then Roylott would have to give a third of the money to her. If Helen was also to marry then she would also get a third and that would leave Roylott with the other third.

  2. How Is Tension Created In The Speckled Band?

    Roylott, he did not tell his companion what to expect, so he could of easily been caught in the midst of a snake Vs cane fight to the death. Because of the un-stuck characters behaviour the reader gels better with the loyal Dr.

  1. The Speckled Band and Lamb to the Slaughter comparison

    This doesn't make the introduction particularly compelling to read, and doesn't leave us wanting to read on. Usually, an author would want to write an introduction that would grip the reader, which would be done by making an important,

  2. Compare and contrast 'The Speckled Band' and Lamb to the Slaughter'

    "There is no vehicle save a dog-cart which throws up mud in that way." Holmes also notices that Helen is shivering and orders her a cup of hot coffee. When Sherlock is observing the 'Stoke Moran' notices a lot of clues, which no one else had seen before.

  1. Explain what you learn about the roles of women and the differences in lifestyles ...

    that if she stands the strain much longer then she will 'go mad'. Conversely, Helen Stoner must have good self-control as she has lived with a brutal stepfather for more than two years. When Helen Stoner arrives at Sherlock Holmes' house, she is 'dressed in black and heavily veiled'.

  2. The Classic Murder Story

    friends down at the precinct knows, presumably, how police investigations are carried out & what the police are looking for, also she knows how to act after committing murder. However she does love her husband just to be near him was bliss for her "She loved to luxuriate in the presence of this man".

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