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Both "Lamb to the Slaughter" and "The Speckled Band" share some of the same characteristics of murder mysteries. Compare the murderers, victims and motives between the two stories.

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* Both "Lamb to the Slaughter" and "The Speckled Band" share some of the same characteristics of murder mysteries. Compare the murderers, victims and motives between the two stories. A stereotypical view of a murder mystery usually includes a killer, a victim, detectives, weapons, and alibis. Other important features are the language used, the suspense contained within and maybe twist in the tale. A good murder mystery would keep the reader interested and guessing what is to happen next. Obviously, each 'murder mystery' has to have a killer. Conan Doyle has made the character of Dr Roylott to be a typical traditional murderer. From the descriptions given by the characters in the book, the reader may already notice that he is capable of doing such crimes. '...a huge man', 'A large face seared with a thousand wrinkles and marked with every evil passion', '...deep-set, bile shot eyes', ...'high thin fleshless nose, gave him the resemblance of a fierce bird of pray' '...violence of temper approaching mania' He lived an isolated life once he moved. Instead of being friendly and sociable 'he shut himself up in his house, and seldom came out, save to indulge in ferocious quarrels with whoever might cross his path.' ...read more.


It seemed like there was a stable relationship and that she was happy to follow the same precise routine everyday. "When the clock said ten minutes to five, she began to listen, and a few minutes later, punctually as always, she heard the tyres on the gravel outside." She is able to stay calm about the crime she has just committed. Instead of panicking she is in control of the situation. 'Alright.' 'So I've killed him' She covers up perfectly by getting an alibi and cleverly disposes of the murder weapon which is the twist in the tale. She needs the alibi because she is bearing a child and doesn't want to be put in prison. This furthermore adds to the unlikely ness of her being the killer. Unlike Dr Roylott she has the ability to act innocent whilst the police were investigating. It is as though Mrs Maloney has done this before and the highly intelligent mother-to-be even thinks of giving them whiskey beforehand to slow down their thinking. Dahl develops the character of Mrs Maloney. ...read more.


Conan Doyle sticks with the traditional approach and uses an unstable, terrified woman. 'It is not cold which makes me shiver... It is terror'. The victim of 'The Speckled Band', Helen Stoner is also just about to come into some money. So there is a reason why she has been targeted, she is innocent and can't defend her self, as she would like to. However, unlike Helen who is a typical victim, Patrick Maloney is different. The reader wouldn't think at first that he was going to be the murdered. This is because if he were killed there would be nothing much gained, like the money involved with 'The Speckled Band'. Whilst reading 'Lamb to the Slaughter' the characteristics of Mr Maloney could suggest that he was the murderer instead of the victim, with his aggressive stance, drinking of whiskey and short monosyllabic answers. So it is a shock when he is killed instead of the other way around. Overall, 'Lamb to the Slaughter' and 'The Speckled Band' are both thought provoking, appealing murder mysteries but each in their own distinctive techniques. The murderers in each story both have their different motives and methods and the victims have been targeted for a specific reason. Russell San Felipe ...read more.

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