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Detective stories have been very popular from the mid 1900's.

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Introduction

Detective stories have been very popular from the mid 1900's. The main thing that makes the detective genre so appealing is the fact that the author creates an addictive suspense so the reader has to read on to find what happens in the end. It doesn't matter if its traditional like the Sherlock Holmes series or modern like the X- Files they all have that build up of suspense. All the detective stories seem to have this sense of mystery. The most popular stories now are modern detective stories which relate to realistic events or just the absolute abnormal. The atmosphere of a detective story is unique as it uses a lot of description and the reader is able to create a picture from the writing. I will be comparing and contrasting two detective stories which I have read. The first story is 'The Speckled Band' written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the second 'The Gatewood Caper' written by Dashiel Hammett. I will be discussing how the two are similar or are different and whether they fulfil my expectations of a traditional detective story. The main points, which I will be focussing on, are: the plot, the characters, the setting, the structure of the stories, the style of writing and the theme of the stories. We expect a traditional detective story's plot to be full of dramatic events which have a great deal of description and interesting vocabulary which enables you to picture the dramatic events. There must be a crime or else it wouldn't be a detective story. The crime could involve violence, a murder or a kidnap. There must be an evil motives for the villain, to make the story more dramatic, and there could be a chase or some sort of mystery for the reader to solve. In this case we also have two cultures involved 'The Speckled Band' is English and 'The Gatewood Caper which is American. ...read more.

Middle

Holmes was the more traditional one as he did the job for the love of the art unlike 'The Gatewood Caper' detective who was more modern and was in the job for the money. Both the detectives had confrontations with the villain and 'The Gatewood Caper' one was more traditional as it had violence unlike 'The Speckled Band', which was more of a mind game. Both the detectives had assistants, but Holmes was more traditional as he worked alone unlike 'The Gatewood Caper' detective who was working for an agency. I strongly feel Sherlock Holmes was the more classic detective. He was the fascinating detective who couldn't do a thing wrong. He would do the unexpected and like a classic detective he would solve the mystery before anybody else. Sherlock Holmes would comfort and sympathise with the victim and help them just like a heroic classic detective would. The victim in 'The Speckled Band' was Helen Stoner and the victim in 'The Gatewood Caper' was Audrey, even though she kidnapped herself. Both the victims in the two stories were women and they had a problem with their fathers. Audrey's grudge was mainly due to the loss of her mother. Both of their fathers had towering figures for example Harvey Gatewood is described as: "He was a big bruiser of a man, something over 200 pounds of hard red flesh and a czar from the top of his bullet to the toes of his shoes" From this description we can see why Audrey had problems with her father, like when he lost his temper what could Audrey do with a man with that physique this also applied to Helen Stoner as Dr Roylott had the same temperament and physique. However, Dr Roylott was a stepfather. Ms Stoner was completely innocent unlike Audrey who took the law into her own hands instead of seeking help which Ms Stoner did. ...read more.

Conclusion

In every category 'The Speckled Band' obeyed the rules applied to a classic detective story. The themes raised by 'The Speckled Band' were identical to themes raised by a classical detective story. Like a traditional detective story 'The Speckled Band' identified the hero, villain, and victim very clearly and they were very simple to follow. 'The Gatewood Caper' was unable to do this even at the end of the story I was struggling to identify the villain and victim in the story, as there were two possibilities. For some people this is an enjoyment and they like reading this type of story, but for me I was lost in finding the villain or victim that I couldn't understand the story. I personally preferred 'The Speckled Band' rather than 'The Gatewood Caper', and there are multiple reasons for this. I found the plot of 'The Speckled Band' extremely entertaining and that it was wrapped up at the end. This is because events such as the snake built up suspense which made me eager to read on. The plot events were enjoyable to read because it was easy to build up a picture from the description. There were far more dramatic events full of suspense and drama in 'The Speckled Band' rather than 'The Gatewood Caper' which had a lot less description. The main reasons I believe I personally preferred 'The Speckled Band' was better because the story had the ability to include interesting characters by using great description. It included many exciting events which built up suspense making me eager to read on and find out what happened. It also included puzzles and mysteries for me to solve during the story. All these factors fulfilled a description of a classic detective story. 'The Speckled Band' was like a classic detective story which is why I preferred this story to 'The Gatewood Caper' story. To what extent did 'The Speckled Band' and Gatewood Caper match the expectations of a traditional detective story ? Centre No: 10548 Izzazur Rahman 2627 Page: 1 ...read more.

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