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Explain what makes a good mystery story, based on your understanding of "The Red Room" by H.G. Wells, "The Speckled band" by Arthur Conan Doyle and "The Signalman" by Charles Dickens.

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Introduction

EXPLAIN WHAT MAKES A GOOD MYSTERY STORY, BASE ON YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF"THE RED ROOM"BY H.G.WELLS, "THE SPECKLED BAND" BY ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE AND "THE SIGNALMAN" BY CHARLES DICKENS. In this essay I will be explaining what makes a good mystery story. I will do this by analysing and commenting on the three stories: "The Red Room" by H.G Wells, "The Speckled Band" by Arthur Conan Doyle and "The Signalman" by Charles Dickens. The three stories have a few things in common; they were written at the same period of time, therefore follow the same type of writing style, they are mystery stories and as in most mystery stories the mystery is solved in the end. The fact that, the reader is supposed to be caught up in the stories and is supposed to be made to read on makes it important that tension and suspense are built up properly. It is extremely important in "The Red Room" that the reader is made to keep his attention on what is happening in the story. This is because it does not have a strong plot. Tension is built up superbly by the author by the usage of words such as "spiritual terrors' and `echoes'. ...read more.

Middle

I think one of the characters in The Speckled Band is perhaps the most important, Watson. He represents the reader in the story as he asks questions that the reader would want answers to. This makes it easier for the reader to understand the story and enables him/her to get the proper feeling of the tension and suspense that the characters would feel in the story. I noticed one more difference between The Speckled Band and the two other stories. This is that women are only shown as the main characters in The Speckled Band however Helen Stoner is on the receiving end of the bad actions and she goes looking for Sherlock Holmes to help suggesting she is not capable of taking care of herself. It is not surprising that she is given a passive role because it is typical Victorian stereotyping. This can perhaps be explained by the time the story was written. Once again the sentence structure is similar to that in "The Red Room". It helps build up suspense. Words such as fantastic have different meanings to what I would understand them to be e.g. "fantastic" means strange. Although at the time that the story was written the readers would have understood the meanings, for me it added to the mysteriousness. ...read more.

Conclusion

It has a similarity to the other two stories in the sense that the writing style is similar with the usage of long sentences helping to build suspense. The mystery is solved as the narrator tells us that the ghost in fact was the train driver warning the signalman off the track. In a sense the signalman foresaw his death; this makes the story more mysterious. I believe that a good mystery story does need a strong plot but character development is not as important because the characters in the above stories do not develop; yet the stories are full of mystery. I think the main thing is the description of the setting and the use of imagery. The vocabulary plays a major part in this, rather than giving a simple sentence; the author uses a complex structure and therefore creates a much clearer accurate picture. This is proof of the authors' good writing skills. I found "The Speckled Band" the most mysterious as it had a complex plot, Sherlock Holmes threw in the red herring about the gypsies and we as the readers got to find out a lot about the characters. The description of the settings was also helpful. All the factors mentioned above are evident in the three stories which I believe to be very good mystery stories. Shazib Bin Zaman 11K ...read more.

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