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Sherlock Holmes and The Speckled Band.

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Introduction

Sherlock Holmes and The Speckled Band Conan Doyle's' 'The Speckled Band' is a classic Sherlock Holmes mystery narrated by his long time companion Dr Watson. A client Miss Helen Stoner visits Holmes and Dr Watson, she is the stepdaughter of Dr Roylott who lived in India and in a fit of rage killed his butler. He then married Miss Stoners' mother and moved to England but his wife soon died. Helen is concerned by the death of her sister Julia in totally enclosed room 'we could see that she was indeed in a pitable state of agitation'. Holmes a flamboyant showman then begins to solve the case along with his sidekick Dr Watson. They discover that a poisonous Indian Swamp Adder, which left no visible marks, killed Julia. The snake then turns on his master in anger and kills him. In a typical murder mystery the reader expects to find a group of suspects to an immoral act of gruesome murder. There is also a murder scene, a weapon and clues which are given out along the way. The detective, police, investigator or amateur sleuth then sets out along the trail of clues. ...read more.

Middle

When Helen Stoner comes in and tells Holmes about her family it is slow paced and little or no tension at all. Then she tells of her sister's death, which makes the tension rise. In the story there two lulls before the storm which is when everything is quiet happy and slow paced but then the action breaks out and the pace and tension rise 'But we shall have horrors enough before the night is over for goodness sake let us have a quiet pipe and turn our minds for a few hours to something more cheerful.' There are four main high points in the story, the last being the climax. This is where Dr Roylott dies. Sherlock Holmes was the first real fictional detective and is still very popular today. He was a private detective, not a member of the police force because in those days the police weren't held in high regard. He was put on a pedestal by the people who read about him because he was fulfilling everything the police weren't. Many of today's TV detectives are based on Holmes including Colombo, Jonathan Creek, Poirot and Morse. ...read more.

Conclusion

When she comes to see Holmes her appearance is old and worn out. 'Her face all drawn and grey, with restless frightened eyes, like those of some hunted animal'. She has aged before her time 'her features and figure were those of a woman of thirty, but her hair was shot with premature grey and her expression was weary and haggard'. The stereotypical view of women has changed a lot over the last century. In the times that 'The Speckled Band' was written women were seen as frail people who needed help from big strong men. In the 1920s Agatha Christie wrote books where a woman solved murder cases but people still thought she was stupid. Now in the year 2003 there are women who command entire police forces. In my opinion I don't think that 'The Speckled Band' is very effective as a murder mystery because it is too obvious that Roylott is the killer. It is very good as a how-dun-it because it's frustratingly hard to workout how Roylott killed his stepdaughter. Conan Doyle included a red herring into the story to try and throw us off course but I don't think it works at all. It's almost as if he just put it in at the end as a rushed job. Graham Dessington ...read more.

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