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

Is 'The Speckled Band' by Conan Doyle a classic detective story?

Extracts from this document...


Is 'The Speckled Band' by Conan Doyle a classic detective story? Sir Arthur Conan Doyle uses many literary devices to convey an impression of suspense and mystery, which, I feel creates a classic detective story. The impressions are placed throughout the story to ensure that the reader is always guessing as to what happens next (another important factor). The primary device that Doyle uses is a combination of startling situations and theories in his writing. The latter is used in great amounts with touches of the former to ensure that the reader is not put off at any point. Furthermore, it ensures a sense of realism which makes the mystery much more intense. Doyle's academic style can be seen from the very first sentence of the story when he states: "On glancing over my notes of they seventy odd cases in which I have during the last eight years studied the methods of my friend Sherlock Holmes, I find many tragic, some comic, a large number merely strange, but none commonplace; for, working as he did rather for the love of his art than for the acquirement of wealth, he refused to associate himself with any investigation which did not tend towards the unusual, and even the fantastic." ...read more.


Whilst this is a fairly "aggressive" way of treating the reader, it ensures that he or she sees the story in exactly the right way. It also emphasises the feeling of trust for the narrator since he's sharing so many details and revealing answers. Since the details are so unbelievable in themselves, Doyle ensures that the storyteller, Dr Watson, tells his story rationally and in a way that suits the character, which ensures its believability. In order to further amplify this image created by Doyle, conversations are short, sharp and factual this shows Holmes' intelligence and massive general knowledge also it makes sure that only facts are conveyed to the reader so that he or she can make up his or her own mind about what's happening. Doyle doesn't force his opinions on them and this makes it more realistic. An example of this type of conversation is this exchange between Holmes and Helen Stoner: "You have come in by train this morning, I see.' 'You know me then?' 'No, but I observe the second half of a return ticket in the palm of your left glove. ...read more.


As was mentioned previously, Helen's statement is lengthened as much as long as possible. It is also riddled with dramatic pauses to build up the suspense even more. It breaks up an otherwise lengthy explanation and increases the suspense by making the reader want to return to the explanation. Lastly, the character of Dr Roylott must be discussed. The name in itself gives a sense of intrigue. The reader is at once put on edge about his demeanour. One is at once reminded of a stereotypical stepparent, a cruel harsh person with militaristic cruelty at heart. He is depicted as a model villain. From the very beginning, he is described as emaciated, paranormal and above all inhuman, the image of death. In conclusion, I will say that using all these devices, Doyle successfully creates a classic detective story. Using little but heavy description, he is able to build up a powerful image that has the ability to shock the reader into submission. It is, for the most part, instantly believable and this serves the purpose of lulling the reader into a false sense of security. When the whole truth is finally revealed it is ever more vivid and much more successful in entertaining the reader. ...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 Arthur Conan Doyle 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 Arthur Conan Doyle essays

  1. Both the Adventure of the Speckled Band and Lamb to the Slaughter share some ...

    He yelled. "You see it?" This builds up suspense by the characters specking very rapidly with each other with a sense of urgency. The reader does not know what "it" is, but he obviously does. Doyle retains the information keeping the reader in suspense.

  2. In what ways is "The Speckled Band" a good example of a classic murder ...

    of making a success of both his career and his plans for murder, which we later learn, he carries out with great ingenuity. We are also told earlier on in the story that he is known to be capable of killing, following an incident where he beat his butler to death.

  1. A comparison of The Speckled band by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle & Lamb to ...

    detail Holmes detective work, "He threw himself down upon his face with his lens in his hand.........examining minutely the cracks between the boards.......Running his eye up and down the wall" Watson's use of great detail in his narration creates the clear idea of Holmes detective work which Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wants the readers the see.

  2. Sherlock HolmesHow successful is Conan Doyle in writing detective fiction that appeals to a ...

    scent, for example in 'The speckled band' the gypsies and animals were there to through the reader of the main suspect Dr Roylett. An example of a narrative hook is... Holmes finds the case very intriguing "the peculiar nature of the story makes me anxious to have every possible detail from your lips."

  1. In the beginning of my second story, written by Charles Dickens, The Signalman, the ...

    Weather; The weather can play its own role in contributing to the mood and anticipation of the reader might have, for example: the whereabouts. England/Scotland i.e.- different environments/atmospheres circumstances, for a story to become mysterious/strange... Modern society has had the convienience/opportunity of electricity as a possible means of security in the face of danger.

  2. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle uses many literary devices to convey an impression of suspense ...

    The horrific details that Doyle puts across are not dampened in any way and this makes the story seem more believable. He goes to great lengths to describe everything so that a full picture can be constructed without leaving anything to the imagination.

  1. To what extent do The Speckled Band and The Gatewood Caper fulfil my expectations ...

    These novels are typical of the late Victorian era. It's highly detailed structure makes the typical detective story one of the most interesting and popular genres in the world. It is also difficult to write high quality, interesting detective stories.

  2. Compare and contrast 'The Speckled Band' and Lamb to the Slaughter'

    I will go into this more when I talk about clues and red herrings. Sherlock Holmes is always cool and collective in dangerous situations. E.g. when he hears the hissing he lashes out at it very quickly and takes action whereas Watson sits there not knowing what's going on and he panics a bit but Holmes stays calm.

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