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Compare The Speckled Band with Lamb to the Slaughter

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Introduction

Compare The Speckled Band with Lamb to the Slaughter In my essay I am going to compare the two above named stories. Both are murder mysteries but are from very different cultural contexts. The stories both involve murders who are committed by close relatives to the victim. They both have detectives trying to assess the case and find a motive. Both stories have bizarre murders and vulnerable females, also both the stories are typical of the time they were written. In the 1880's Sir Arthur Conan Doyle popularized Sherlock Holmes with superhuman powers of deduction, this was for the benefit of a middle class audience who wanted entertaining by a genius. In the 1950's the stress was now on the characters and heroes, victims and villains are learnt about. The hero is flawed, not a super-reasoning machine and the villains are driven by forces which maybe explained, but if not forgiven or condoned. The Speckled Band is written in first person narrative and told by Doctor Watson, this is typical of all Sherlock Holmes stories. A young woman called Helen Stoner turns up at Sherlocks office in London in fear for her life as her sister Julia had died recently. ...read more.

Middle

Dr Grimsby Roylott from the Speckled Band dresses darkly, he is physically huge giving him an advantage over most people, he portrays anger with an evil expression on his face and he is also an ugly man. All Dr Roylotts characteristics are comparable to the building in the story. He is also a very stereotypical murder suspect; He has a violent and unpredictable temperament and is threatening in action. Mary Maloney from Lamb to the Slaughter only had her husbands and her unborn babies best interests at heart, but this does change as the story goes on, we can see that when her husband says that he is leaving her she reacts with violence. She turns into a completely different person, then she changes again when the detectives turn up at her house, she acts as if she is innocent and she also does not show much emotion. Sherlock Holmes is a middle, upper class man. He works as a detective and enjoys it very much, he is also cunning, arrogant and pompous but he can be as he has a first class brain. ...read more.

Conclusion

"Alright, she told herself. So I've killed him". Dahl doesn't want the audience to judge the characters or their situation. Both authors have very different techniques to build suspense and hold the readers interest Conan Doyle uses great attention to detail. He describes everything in really close detail, Conan Doyle writes the stay in a very stereotypical way, Conan Doyle uses 'Red Herrings' such as the gypsies that Mr Roylott lets live in his grounds and the baboon and cheetah that he also lets walk round the grounds. In the Speckled Band the murder weapon is very unusual and Conan Doyle makes the reader not even expect the murderer to be an exotic snake, you also don't expect the murder weapon to kill its owner. The step father is set up as the murderer from the start but Holmes just needs to find out he does it. Dahl doesn't pay great attention detail and does not hold the readers suspense using puzzles and mysteries. Dahl doesn't use red herrings because he doesn't want the reader to guess who the murderer is because he tells you from the start. The murder weapon is unusual as Mary Maloney gets the frozen leg of lamb from the freezer and ends up beating him to death with it which is very unpredictable. ...read more.

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