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Sherlock Holmes & The Speckled Band / Lamb To The Slaughter.

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Introduction

Sherlock Holmes & The Speckled Band / Lamb To The Slaughter "Lamb to the slaughter", by Roald Dahl, and "The Speckled Band" by Arthur Conan Doyle share many features, despite the difference in eras in which they were written. Each story has its own distinctive style when creating both tension and an atmosphere of suspense. "The Speckled Band" has a sense of urgency about it, yet manages to build up suspense until the climax of the story. "I have reasons to know....which tend to make the matter even more terrible than the truth." This quote, found in the first paragraph, immediately begins creating an atmosphere for the story, and intriguing the reader as to what the narrator (Dr. Watson) is talking about. The reader will now want to continue reading to find out the truth. Doyle also uses other character's speech to add to the tension: "It is not cold which makes me shiver...it is fear, Mr. Holmes. It is terror." At this point, the events have not been explained - this character (Miss Stoner) ...read more.

Middle

"In a fit of anger...[Dr. Roylott] beat his native butler to death." The character of Dr. Grimesby Roylott is introduced, and he is described as an angry, violent man - creating a significant element of danger about the situation. The idea that Sherlock Holmes may have met his match produces an unpredictability about the story, again making the reader want to continue and find out what happens. "Your sister is dead, then?" As the story now tells the reader that it contains death, it immediately adds interest - the person reading it can now identify the murder mystery the story is based on. "...he was unable to find any satisfactory cause of death." The fact that there is an unknown cause of death adds to the tension - it means that there is foul play involved in the story...and even more enigmatic, the idea that the cause of death has been unidentifiable. "But what then, did the gipsies do?" "I cannot imagine." Sherlock Holmes admitting he does not yet know the answer increases the suspense and mystery in the story, as the reader is expecting Holmes to know straight away. ...read more.

Conclusion

The author uses the situation well though - using the murderer's own weapon against him brings the story to a successful climax. Thw twist in "Lamb To The Slaughter" also involves the murder weapon - in this case, the disposal of it. The author here also manages to end the story in a fitting manner, by having the investigating officers eat the murder weapon. The atmosphere and overall tone changes at the climax - from a serious murder story to a black comedy, using the line: "Personally, I think it's right here on the premises." "Probably right here under our very noses." The irony is that the men are being unknowingly correct - they are actually eating the leg of lamb used to kill one of their colleagues. The two stories also differ in the way they use sympathy. In "The Speckled Band", the audience is supposed to express sympathy towards the victim, Helen Stoner, and is expected to be against the killer, Dr. Roylott. In "Lamb To The Slaughter", it is written so that it appears the killer is actually the true victim - that she was driven to killing her husband by the man himself. ...read more.

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