• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

I am going to compare and contrast the two short stories "The Speckled Band" by Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, and "Lamb to the Slaughter" by Roald Dahl, by pointing out techniques used which make it a typical or untypical detective or murder mystery story.

Extracts from this document...


Speckled Band Essay In this essay, I am going to compare and contrast the two short stories "The Speckled Band" by Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, and "Lamb to the Slaughter" by Roald Dahl, by pointing out techniques used which make it a typical or untypical detective or murder mystery story. Both "The Speckled Band" and "Lamb to the Slaughter" have parts for a detective story, i.e. they both have a murderer who is cold and calculating, and a little bit mad. On the other hand, they are presented to us very differently, making one story very typical of its genre, and making the other very untypical of the murder mystery genre. Both Conan-Doyle and Dahl use various techniques to make their stories more interesting; for example, in Dahls "Lamb to the Slaughter" the story revolves around the character of Mrs Mary Maloney, loving housewife and psychopathic killer. Whereas many stories concentrate on the detective or sometimes the victim, this story concentrates on the character of the murderer. This view helps with the telling of the murder, making it more unexpected. The story includes two major plot twists; the first is the murder itself, made unexpected by what we have seen of Mary Maloney's character, the setting, and the form the murder weapon takes among other things. The second plot twist is at the end, where the detectives eat the murder weapon. Conan-Doyle also used techniques in writing "The Speckled Band". His story revolves around the character of the detective, Sherlock Holmes, which is a preferred technique of murder mystery authors. The story, though centred on Holmes, is told as seen through the eyes of his companion, Dr Watson, providing a good example of writing in the first person. ...read more.


'It was extraordinary, now, how clear her mind became all of a sudden. She began thinking very fast. This doesn't seem like she is a housewife totally devoted to her husband, or a murderer who has just killed the husband she was totally devoted to. She seems either totally in control of the situation and trying to cover it up, in shock or totally a psychopath, as she is clearly a bit mad for doing something without any explanation. Throughout the police investigation, she acts totally innocent, unlike Dr Roylott. She manipulates the detectives into having a drink of whiskey and that slows down their investigation making them not realise that when they are sat at the table, they are eating the murder weapon. She almost seems as if she has done this before. Her intelligence and the way she covers her tracks well, make her more like a murderer. Another thing, which makes the story more untypical is that, she succeeds and doesn't get caught. The character of Mary Maloney is the last person you would think of as a murderer. She is a pregnant loving housewife who 'loved to luxuriate in the presence' of her husband- the man she killed. This is why she is such an untypical and interesting character. As for victims, Conan-Doyle makes the most typical character in Helen Stoner. The typical victim in a murder mystery is a person, usually a woman, who is scared a lot and is innocent, and is usually about to come into a lot of money. This description is exactly what Helen Stoner is like, she is a woman obviously, and a scared one, terrified by her predicament. 'It is not cold which makes me shiver... It is terror'. ...read more.


This is quite a typical resolution- justice has been served, the murderer brought about his own destruction, helped along by the intelligent detective setting the means of murder against the murderer. By the end of the story the reader is left feeling satisfied with the ending. Good has triumphed, evil hasn't, the right person came out on top, and the world is a much safer place to live in, etc. In 'Lamb to the Slaughter' however, the ending follows a different. After the detectives have spent hours searching the premises, Mrs Maloney manipulates them into eating the leg of lamb in the oven, which just happens to be the murder weapon, and the story closes with Mrs Maloney giggling while the detectives talk amongst themselves. "Have some more Charlie?" "No. Better not finish it" "She wants us to finish it. She said so. Be doing her a favour" "Okay then give me some more... Personally, I think the weapon's right here on the premises" "Probably right under our very noses. What do you think Jack?" 'And in the other room, Mary Maloney began to giggle' The bit about her giggling suggests she is a bit mad. Dahl and Conan-Doyle have created the two stories well, but in my opinion, Dahls story, 'Lamb to the Slaughter', is the better of the two, for two main reasons. Firstly, Dahl it was written so that it is the exact opposite of a detective story, which makes everything in it untypical. Secondly, I particularly like the way in which Dahls characters develop as the story goes on. Mary Maloney goes from loving housewife and victim to a murderer. Patrick Maloney develops from murderer to dead victim, and as for the detectives to me they seem like typical cartoon detectives not murder mystery detectives. George Munjas11ME ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Roald Dahl section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Roald Dahl essays

  1. Analytical essay on Roald Dahl's 'The Landlady'.

    To start off with, Roald Dahl describes the weather as "The air was deadly cold, and the wind was like a flat blade of ice on his cheeks", which immediately, in the opening paragraph, creates tension and a sense of foreboding in the reader, who now expects something creepy to happen.

  2. Compare and Contrast the two short stories Lamb to the slaughter(1954) and The Adventure ...

    Even though the language is more old fashioned then the language used in 'Lamb to the Slaughter' I found it more enjoyable. Both stories had unconventional endings which I liked and made both stories more interesting. People will always like to read Murder Mysteries because they are interesting and they

  1. A comparison of two short stories from the murder mystery genre

    As their frustration increases they become weary and lazy. This is enough for them to accept drinks of whisky. 'I might take just a drop to keep me going'. They start to get too relaxed and lose concentration on what they are supposed to be doing, which is to solve a suspected murder case.

  2. Compare and contrast the two short stories

    She doesn't want to be caught because she would be executed with the baby inside her, she doesn't care for herself, "in fact, it would be a relief", but she doesn't want the baby to die. This is her motivation for avoiding capture.

  1. In this wide-reading piece I will compare two murder mystery stories: 'The Speckled Band' ...

    However there does seem to be something suspicious going on, especially about the murderer; "There was a slow smiling air about her, and everything she did. The drop of the head as she bent over her sewing was curiously tranquil."

  2. In this essay I will be comparing and contrasting the stories of the Vendetta ...

    The widow then disguises herself before she carry's out her main objective. At the end of the story we see the widow as ruthless, but we remember her as a loving mother that is determined to carry out a promise she made to her son, whatever the cost.

  1. Compare and contrast two murder mystery stories to assess how typical they are of ...

    I think that the "Speckled Band" has a typical setting because the murder was committed in an Isolated, lonely setting in the countryside. This is because Doyle wants the reader to be jumping out of their seat when something happens.

  2. Consider the conventions of murder mystery and examine the uses that Conan Doyle and ...

    Just as they come in she falls into their arms crying hysterically. This is also an evil deed as she really doesn't mean the sad feeling of loss for her husband and she is deceiving the policemen into thinking that she really loves him.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work