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Comparison of 'Lamb to the Slaughter' and 'The Speckled Band'.

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Comparison of 'Lamb to the Slaughter' and 'The Speckled Band' In this essay I am going to compare the similarities and differences in 'The Speckled Band' and 'Lamb To The slaughter'. I will focus on key points of murder mysteries such as; the plot, characterisation, setting, and how the author creates suspense for the reader. Typical ingredients of a murder mystery is that there's the murder, the murderer, the victim, suspects, detectives and or police men, clues; some of these will maybe be red herrings to try and throw the view off the scent, and the motive. One of the short stories I am comparing is 'The Speckled Band'; this was written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and was published in 1892. A brief synopsis of the story is that the female protagonist (Helen Stoner) sister (Julia Stoner) has died is suspicious circumstances with no clues left. The main suspect is her step father (Dr Roylott) who is trying to inherit the money left to the by their mother. Sherlock Holmes is hired to investigate. The other story is 'Lamb to the Slaughter'; this was written by Roald Dahl and published in 1954. A brief synopsis of the story is that the female protagonist (Mary Maloney) being the stereotypical housewife, and waiting for her husband (Patrick Maloney) ...read more.


The victim in 'Lamb to the Slaughter' is Patrick Maloney. He comes across as though something is worrying or bothering him. Then we find out he has to tell Mary something which we presume is that he's leaving her. His agitation is shown in short abrupt sentences "sit down" "sit down for just a minute sit down". As he is answering Mary in such a manner, I don't think the readers sympathise with Patrick because he is portrayed as uncaring for presumably leaving Mary and her unborn child. This makes him seem like the villain more than the victim. The detectives of 'The Speckled Band' are Sherlock Holmes and his assistant Dr Watson. Compared to 'Lamb to the Slaughter' Holmes takes a more professional role than the officers in 'Lamb to the Slaughter'. Holmes thinks about his duties as a detective first, always thinks methodically about evidence and facts and he takes every little event and clue into account making him very precise. He often goes out of his way to solve the crimes and uses his knowledge as well. "It would be a sharp eyed coroner indeed to distinguish the two dark punctures". He acts very calmly and tries to calm down the other people by being gentle and caring towards them. "Soothingly bending forward and patting her forearm". ...read more.


'The Speckled Band' on the other hand ends with no unsolved pieces, this is a more traditional ending probably appealing to Victorian audience because he solved the case, beating the evil villain making him the hero and the perfect detective. The ending of 'lamb to the Slaughter' would appeal to a more modern audience because Mary is portrayed as a nice person and has her reasons for murder; she tries to escape jail and the crime of passion. It may not be such a bad thing that Mary may get away with the killing because she is pregnant and was in a state of shock so maybe she didn't know what she was doing. This type of ending leaves it open to your own imagination. In my opinion 'The Speckled Band' was a better story because it had more of a mystery to it, although in 'Lamb to the Slaughter' it was a mystery weather or not Mary would get away with it, I preferred the mystery of the murder trying to be solved. 'The Speckled Band' has more twists of story and more suspense in my opinion. I did like the part in 'Lamb to the Slaughter' when the police ironically ate the murder weapon I think this was very clever. Overall I enjoyed both stories but I preferred 'The Speckled Band'. Nick Papadopoulos 11SP ...read more.

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