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Compare and contrast 'Lamb to the Slaughter' and 'The Speckled Band' as examples of murder mystery stories.

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Introduction

Compare and contrast 'Lamb to the Slaughter' and 'The Speckled Band' as examples of murder mystery stories. Murder mystery stories have always been very popular, ever since they first appeared. This is because people are interested in being detectives themselves, like a sort of fantasy of the mind, and people have always enjoyed the suspense, tension and mystery that form the main part of a good detective story. People like the other key elements of a good story that interests them and grips them, making them want to continue reading to find out what happens next. There are many key elements that are vital for a successful murder mystery story. Suspense and tension play an important part in keeping the reader interested and wanting to know what happens next. Mystery keeps the reader in the dark and has them guessing at things to come, sometimes without them even realising, which adds to the interest of the story. Misleading clues lead the reader along 'false paths', giving them multiple theories as to who committed the crime. Sometimes the reader will be fed one idea, then through a change of events will be presented with a second idea. The detective's skills are vital for making the story popular. A detective becomes well known for their talents or habits. They will often have a side-kick who will aid them in becoming famous in the reader's world. They provide companionship, aid in the solving of the crime, and are there as someone to explain events to, thus explaining things to the reader. Every hero has their rival, the villain. This can be either an arch enemy who is just as deadly as the hero can be, or simply the criminal in the story. They will often be nasty and aggressive in character, but they can be the complete opposite, demonstrating ingenuity and a controlled scheming mind which impress the reader. ...read more.

Middle

We are introduced to the case and Sherlock Holmes by Dr Watson, the faithful companion to Holmes. The entire first paragraph is devoted to describing the case of Dr Grimesby Roylott of Stoke Moran. The first mention we get of Holmes is when at the beginning of the second paragraph he wakes Watson up, which we find unusual as, we are told he is a late riser. 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. This is shown by the fact he is only a bachelor; but he still manages to have a maid, and he also drinks coffee which is an expensive drink; as in 1883 coffee was a recent import and so only for the upper classes. He is also a respectful gentleman and cares a lot for people, ' "You must not fear," he said leaning forward and patting her arm'. We also find that Holmes finds his work rewarding, as when Miss Stoner says she can't pay yet, Holmes lets her pay when she can. The narrative then told by Miss Stoner goes on to say she was a step daughter to one of the 'oldest Saxon families in England', this family has fallen apart as has the Saxon's. Being old as well would mean they were honourable. The estate had stretched to Berkshire and Hampshire, which are both rich areas. The Dr Grimesby Roylott went to Calcutta, which was the 'jewel in the crown, of the British Empire', and soon got a prison sentence for beating a native butler to death, but as he was white, he did not get a death sentence. This shows us that he had a huge temper and was strong enough to kill someone with a beating. While in the Indies he married Mrs Stoner who had �1000 a year, which would be given to him while her daughters resided with him. ...read more.

Conclusion

The irony of it all is that the police who were puzzled as to why they could not find the murder weapon, are actually consuming it. This was almost a sick comical twist to the ending. When she laughs it didn't seem funny but more sinister and evil. Comparing The Speckled Band to Lamb to the Slaughter, the later one is easier to work out and understand from beginning till end, than from the Speckled Band being more complicated and clever. The two stories, the Speckled Band and the Lamb to the Slaughter are both similar as they are both murder mysteries. They both deal with difficult cases but while the murder in the Speckled Band is very cunning one as it uses eastern ideas and animals, creating an almost mystical air around the murder as it almost seems impossible to solve. While the Lamb to the Slaughter murder is brutally simple, but in this case the murder is so good the murderess gets off. In the Speckled Band we want the detective to solve the murder to tell us how it was done, while in the Lamb to the Slaughter we know how the murder was committed, and we read on to see if she gets away with it. We also have two different styles as one of them was written in the 19th Century and the other in the 20th Century. So if you're looking for a challenge The Speckled Band is the one to read but I think for the younger readers Lamb to the Slaughter would be better. The Speckled Band was much more complicated and had much more twists and turns in it, and you weren't sure what was going to come next. My personal favourite was Lamb to the Slaughter, as it had a humorous twist at the end which I enjoyed reading. The whole story was good throughout and comical because of how simple and coolly everything happens. The Speckled Band was also a good story but I prefer the slightly more fun reads. ...read more.

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