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Compare and contrast 'Lamb to the Slaughter' and 'The Speckled Band.' To what extent are they typical of murder mystery stories?

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Introduction

Compare and contrast 'Lamb to the Slaughter' and 'The Speckled Band.' To what extent are they typical of murder mystery stories? In my opinion a typical murder mystery is one where it keeps you reading in anticipation wanting to know who has committed the well planed out murder, the whole way through. Until the end where the clever detective (who is usually quite an old man, dressed in a smart tweed suit) goes through one by one all of the suspects telling them exactly why they could have committed the murder, but then why they didn't. He then confronts the real murderer who is normally the one everyone least suspects. This all takes place in a large country manor where lots of people would have been busying round but for the murderer, conveniently there are never any witnesses to the crime. The murder is most often well planed out, with a devious reason behind it. The two stories are both very different and mainly the only similarities are that they are both about murders that are done by people that are close family to the victims they murder in there own homes.7 The settings in both of them are very different; in lamb to the slaughter the setting is in a normal home in a small village, where normal family life goes on. ...read more.

Middle

He easily losses his temper 'in a fit of anger' 'absolutely uncontrollable in his anger.' Even his daughter describes him as 'shutting himself up in his house, and seldom coming out save to indulge in ferocious quarrels with who ever might cross his path' at the start of the story. She also admits he became 'the terror of the village' This makes you immediately think he would be the one to have committed the murder, whilst usually in a story of a murder mystery genre a character like him would only be in the story to take the detective off the sent. The author makes it even more obvious when he finds out his daughter had been to see Holmes, so he goes round to tell Holmes to keep his nose out, in a rage. But this doesn't affect the need to keep reading the story the reader has, because after that they keep reading to find out how he did it. The only time you are taken off the sent is when a speckled band is spoken about by the dying girl whom her sister thought was a band of local gypsies. ...read more.

Conclusion

It makes you realise everything is done for a reason, and most murder mysteries wouldn't be a mystery if they were told like this, so it isn't conventional at all. This also shows in the ending of the story, instead of the detectives finding out the murderer and locking them up, it finishes with them eating the murder weapon whilst saying 'the weapon is probably right under our noses.' and with the murderer laughing 'Mary Maloney began to giggle.' This is all designed to add to the humour of the story, instead of having an usual ending which would be quite boring for the reader as they have known who killed him all the way through any way. The Speckled band ends in an average murder mystery-ending sort of way, where the murderer is found and the way he murdered is also found out. The one difference is that he is killed with his own weapon, the Indian snake he had brought especially over to England as it's poison wasn't recognised by doctor here. Unlike in Lamb to the Slaughter it ends with the end of the case as Lamb to the Slaughter ends really before the case had really began but just when you know they will never catch her as they have eaten the weapon. ...read more.

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