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

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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.

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