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In this essay I' am going to compare & contrast two detective stories. A pre-twentieth century story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle called 'The Speckled Band' & a modern story by Colin Dexter called Neighbourhood Watch.

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Introduction

By Michael McFarlane Year 10 In this essay I' am going to compare & contrast two detective stories. A pre-twentieth century story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle called 'The Speckled Band' & a modern story by Colin Dexter called Neighbourhood Watch. I will describe the language, characters, social and historical context, Style, the plot, similarities and differences between the two. I will also state which I prefer & why. The Speckled Band starts off with Miss Stoner going to Sherlock Holmes's house and asking for his help. She tells him of her sister's death and of how her sister had heard a whistle at night for the past week or so. On the night of her death there was a loud scream of terror and just after a whistle Miss Stoner went to inspect quickly but as she neared her sisters room she stumbled out and said silently a 'speckled band'. Miss Stoner was quite worried because her sister was soon to be married and now so is she. As soon as she left Dr Roylott came barging in wanting to know what Miss Stoner had come to see Holmes for. Holmes tried to put off answering Dr Roylott and answered with something about the weather. In disgust Dr Roylott picked up Holmes's poker and bent it then he left. Once Dr Roylott left Holmes picked up his poker and bent it back as straight as possible in one go. Holmes and Watson soon left for Stoke Moran which is the home to DR Roylott and Miss Stoner who live with one servant. But they told the dog cart driver that took them there that they were archaeologists and were interested in the building itself. They got off the dog cart near the plantation that was on Dr Roylott's land. He let some gypsies live there and often used to go with them on voyages and trips. ...read more.

Middle

These types of stories need a lot of descriptions so the reader could at least take a guess at who they think is the villain by using clues that are described. It's like describing a room; if you miss something out that is really obvious then the reader is going to be a little annoyed with the author missing something really simple. The main characters in The Speckled Band are Sherlock Holmes who I think uses his head and always tries to put an explanation with an answer; Dr Watson who I think is very sensible because he always carries his gun with him where ever he goes; Dr Roylott who I think is a coward and behaves in a barbaric and violent way when really I think he wishes to be left alone and keep his income; Miss Stoner who I think is very scared and clever to go to Holmes and Watson because of what happened to her sister. The main characters in Neighbourhood Watch are Inspector Morse who is more interested in alcohol and drink than he is in his job; Sergeant Lewis who goes with whatever Morse says and does; Dr Ullman who I think is very clever to think about going to Morse's home and watching his house while Morse was at Dr Ullman's; Millie who must have thought of that idea as good because a thief that gets away once gets away twice in most stories. In the Speckled Band both Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson are both friends and partners, equals, no rivalry between them. Inspector Morse and Sergeant Lewis don't have quite so close a relationship as Holmes and Watson. All they have is a work relationship. They don't see much of each other out side of working hours. I know this because Holmes says Watson is his 'intimate friend and associate'. Morse on the other hand works with Lewis as a job whereas Holmes and Watson don't get paid for doing what they do best, solving crimes. ...read more.

Conclusion

Most of the people today have cars, like in the TV series of Inspector Morse he has a Jaguar. It doesn't stop there. We even now have planes they might not work all the time but we do have planes. Since Morse's job is an inspector he has to do everything by the book otherwise its wrong and he could lose his job. Instead of writing all these cases up Morse and Sergeant Lewis have to type them up using a computer. Using a computer is a lot easier to keep than paper when you've done loads of cases. Disks are easier to store. At home we have lots of things that they never had in The Speckled Band like TV, Video and CD players. These would have been mysteries to the people then. One thing that has changed is the way women are treated. They can now do what they want when they want as long as it isn't against the law. This would have changed the event in The Speckled Band because Dr Roylott wouldn't have had control of Miss Stoners money. To come to the point, I think that The Speckled Band is the better story of the two because it had the most suspense by using the weather and darkness. I didn't think that any of the stories were original but I think The Speckled Band was the one with the most gripping line. The part I didn't like was when they were sitting in the dark room supposed as Morse sitting in a van waiting for anything. I don't think that a crime like The Speckled Band could take place nowadays because forensic help would easily tell that the first sister was poisoned and that would have started a big case. If you look at the difference in language between the 19th century and 20th century then there is going to be a whole new language by 30th century because words go out of fashion when nobody uses them. Lots of new words are also being made all the time. ...read more.

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