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By what means does Conan Doyle create and maintain an Atmosphere of Suspense and Mystery in ¡®The Adventure of the Speckled Band¡¯

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By what means does Conan Doyle create and maintain an Atmosphere of Suspense and Mystery in 'The Adventure of the Speckled Band' This short tale shows all the formulae that Conan Doyle uses to create suspense. It adheres to Conan Doyle's previous successes by using his familiar way of building and prolonging suspense. The ways in which he achieves this are numerous. In this account he uses the description of buildings and objects to create suspense. For example, there is a description of the Roylott Mansion, Stoke Moran. Both Miss Stoner and Watson tell us of a large house, grey, two curved wings 'like a crab', in disrepair, blue smoke curling out of the chimney, and boarded over windows (to promote a sense of secrecy maybe). This description of the house forms suspense solely by creating an image of an eerie house, one that epitomises the stereotypical haunted house. Therefore one is thinking that something thrilling and exciting, but also sinister, is going to happen in this house. ...read more.


It must always be in the same relative position to the ventilator and to the rope...". These references build suspense because even after Holmes has done a long examination of them and asked himself a few questions, these questions are left unanswered: Whoever designed the room in this way must have calculated a need for it to be so, but who would have done so, and why. It makes you question, it makes you think, it makes you feel uneasy - it creates suspense. The most obvious thing that one notices is the way that Conan Doyle describes and uses characters to produce and sustain the suspense. There are many examples of this, such as; the gypsies being used as a 'red herring' to the investigation. As a reader one thinks that the title 'Speckled Band' could refer either to the gypsy 'band' or to the curious marks found on the dead woman of a speckled band. The description by Watson of Grimesby Roylott bursting into the room, a man so broad and burly that he nearly fills the doorway, wearing big leather boots and carrying a crop, tanned, deep-set staring eyes, and a long thin nose. ...read more.


The opening is rather abrupt, which quickly and easily draws one in because nowhere in this opening is there a lapse of interest, the reader cannot relax. Then just as one thinks that one has reached a climax, as we think we are going to be told short and quick who the killer was and what exactly it did, Conan Doyle changes the subject to another curiosity; from Watson's intriguing build-up to Helen Stoner demanding that they come to meet her step-father immediately. "There are widespread rumours as to the death of Dr Grimesby Roylott which tend to make the matter even more terrible than the truth", then "...it seems a young lady has arrived in a considerable state of excitement, who insists on seeing me". Why does a lady want to see him? Why is she in that "considerable state of excitement"? Even more curious a question, What could be more terrible than the truth? Conan Doyle has created urgency, he has created unease, and thereby he has created suspense. ...read more.

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