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Comparing Lamb to the Slaughter and the Speckled Band

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Adam Wright 15th September 2001 Comparing Lamb to the Slaughter and the Speckled Band The Two works that I am comparing for this essay are Lamb to the slaughter by Roald Dahl and the Speckled Band by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The Speckled band is a stereotypical Sherlock Holmes murder mystery written in 1892 and Lamb to the Slaughter was written some 60 years later by Rhoald Dahl in 1954. We can therefore safely expect their to be many differences in plot and language and some themes, but both share the common themes of murder. Both texts are murder mysteries but there is a single important difference. In TSB we are encouraged to find the solution to the murder by assembling our evidence from the text and drawing conclusions as we see fit. There is, though, a red herring clue included to throw the reader, the most obvious example being the presence and the close association of the Gypsies with Dr Roylott. In LTTS we know who has committed the murder and the details, but the fun is in seeing if she will get caught. Both pieces of text have unusual murder weapons but this is a norm with murder mysteries which continues to this day; the Jonathon Creek series being a popular notable example. The characters in both texts are well worth a mention. ...read more.


that her murder was more of a spur of a moment murder rather than a carefully constructed and well executed murder plot as is the case with DR Roylott. The point where I no longer feel sympathetic was when she laughed at the very end of the text. This displayed a deeper evil that had gone unnoticed before in the text. The feelings we feel for the victims are very different. In TSB we feel sorry for the victim in the text, Helen Stoner's sister, who is in the prime of her life and is about to get married. This increases our hatred of Dr Roylott. The victim in LTTS is a man who is leaving his wife who is six months pregnant. His conduct up to the point of his death is rude and arrogant. He uses monosyllabic answers to firmly 'control' his wife. Also when he leaves his wife he is more worried about the effect it may have on his job. We are not too sorry to see him go. The two pieces do have a number of similarities. They both have unusual murder weapons and they both remind us that even respectable, or in the case of Dr Roylott once respectable members of the community can kill, whether that is because of financial or personal reasons. They share common themes such as murder, murder mystery and deceit. The detectives in both texts are very different. ...read more.


LTTS ending is very important to the piece. The fact that she laughed is a twist that will have completely changed our perceptions of her up to that point. We realise that she is a nasty piece of work underneath her apparent soft motherly outside. It made me realise that maybe this wasn't a single, rash, and once of a lifetime attack. Her laugh made it entirely believable to me that she could kill again. The ending of TSB was dominated by the explanation of Sherlock Holmes. The ending before the end note is dominated by the death of Dr Roylott and the dishing out of a crude form of justice. The two texts have many similarities and differences and after studying them in the detail that I have it is only natural to have a favourite. My favourite is LTTS because it is more in touch with today's culture and language. The language requires no heavy concentration to make sense of it. It is lighter and more humorous. There is more in the way of twists and the characters a deeper and do things more unexpected. For example, the detectives, the good people in most people's books and the solvers of all crimes in most murder mysteries fail to solve the crime in LTTS. Most of the time in LTTS we feel sympathy for the heavily pregnant murderer who has just been left by the husband even if we do understand Mary Maloney's paranoia. ...read more.

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