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Compare“The Adventures of the Speckled Band” and “The Affair at the Victory Ball” asexamples of detective fiction.

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Introduction

Compare "The Adventures of the Speckled Band" and "The Affair at the Victory Ball" as examples of detective fiction. Detective fiction always contain similar elements, since the Edgar Poe wrote "Murders in the Rue morgue" in 1841, and although "the adventure of the speckled band" by Conan Doyle and "The Affair at the Victory Ball" by Agatha Christie, were written many years apart, they share the same elements of those in "Murders in the Rue morgue." The genre of detective fiction is often compared to crime fiction, yet there are striking differences between them. In crime fiction much of the emphasis of the story is placed on the victim and their psychology, whereas in detective fiction there is an air of mystery to the crime. Unlike in crime fiction, detective fiction does not reveal the identity of the killer until the end; instead the story becomes based around the detective and their unravelling of the clues. The traditional elements of detective fiction include the presence of a sidekick such as Dr. Watson or Captain Hastings, a mystified police officer such as Japp, a quirky detective who often outwits the reader with their intellect and logic such as Sherlock Holmes, a list of suspects, carefully laid out red herrings and a resolution, where the detective comes to their conclusion. As both of the stories contain these traditional elements, and involve the reader, they are successful examples of detective fiction. Although both stories have visible red herrings, the detective often outwits the reader in his intellect and logic thinking, therefore often the carefully laid out red herrings do not seem important until the reader until detective unravels his thoughts at the end. This is the reason, why the crimes seem insoluble to the reader. Both of the stories deal with very difficult murders whilst, the crime in "The adventure of the speckled band" is very cunning and one which uses eastern ideas and animals, creating an almost mystical air around the murder as it almost seems impossible to solve. ...read more.

Middle

We also get the feeling that Holmes has collected a considerable amount of money for his efforts on the seventy odd cases he has solved. He is also respectful and a gentlemen and cares a lot for people, ' "You must not fear," he said leaning forward and patting her arm'. Holmes finds his work rewarding, as when Miss Stoner says she can't pay yet, Holmes lets her pay when she can. Sir Conan Doyle would have influenced Agatha Christie, as she said in her autobiography "he would have a rather grand name- one of those names such as Sherlock Holmes" and "Hercule Poirot and his Watson, Captain Hastings." As a great author, it would have been very hard for Agatha Christie not to aspire to Conan Doyle, in some way as he is probably the most famous detective fiction novelist, and this is perhaps the reason why Sherlock Holmes and Hercule Poirot share similar characteristics. Both of the detectives are egocentric and quirky but Holmes is physically and mentally stronger because he uses a more tactical method of thinking rather than Poirot because at the end of the text he catches Dr. Roylott in action and good triumphs over evil, Holmes is a more interesting character. He is very mysterious as he is a gaunt figure with deerstalker and pipe. Poirot is perhaps too eccentric and bigheaded, infact he comes of as being a little pompous. As Holmes has strength, he demands attention and concentration. The reader does not aspire to Poirot the way that they do to Holmes. Hastings is not involved in the story as much as Watson, and Poirot does not confide in him as Holmes does with Watson. Infact Poirot seems more independent and likes to take the credit of the investigation for himself "Always I have a little desire to keep the threads in my own hands up to the last minute." ...read more.

Conclusion

Poirot seems rather egocentric and conceited that he has solved the crime so quickly "The case will be complete"... "and yet you are all wrong" and "It was all very simple." Yet Holmes in "the adventure of the speckled band" keeps his dignity, reserve and decorum, even when he has solved the case "I had come to these conclusions before I had ever entered this room." I think the reader is more sympathetic towards Mrs Stoner, because we know her more than the characters such as Coco Courtenay and Lord Cronshaw, as her character had been developed more. I think that you can sympathise with Sherlock Holmes more as a detective, as he does not come across as being arrogant and egotistical, just at being good at his job and fulfilling his potential as a detective. The story of "The Adventures of the Speckled Band" is a better example of detective fiction and is more successful in appealing to its audience. No doubtly, Agatha Christie was a great author of the 20th century, but Conan Doyle is a craftsman, manipulating the structure and language of the detective genre providing a thrilling atmosphere convincing the reader to continue. Conan Doyle's "the adventure of the speckled band" is a classic and no doubt if he was alive today he would make modern day classics. The change in genre has not altered my perspective on the one story that I think is not only better constructed and uses better language, therefore more applicable to any audience. Agatha Christie, compiled a unique and first-class story, and although she was an excellent writer, she does not compare to Conan Doyle a considered genius of the detective genre. Both books use their own ways to dramatise a person's misfortune or death, they use various methods in compiling a successful and respected story. It is Conan Doyle, who does this most successfully through the simplicity, structure and language of his story, perhaps this is the reason why he is considered a brilliant author. ...read more.

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