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Speckled Band

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Introduction

Consider "The Speckled Band" as an example of the murder mystery genre. Comment on the principal differences in "Silver Blaze", and say which of the two stories you most admire. "The Speckled Band" is a prime example of a Sherlock Holmes murder mystery, narrated by John Watson; Mr Holmes' intimate friend. The sleuth was an ingenious creation by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in the late 1800's. A typical murder mystery has several essential ingredients and other additives to enhance the story. There is usually a particularly gruesome or unique murder at a crime scene packed with clues, some of which are red herrings. These false clues help to make it more interesting for the reader, who also attempts to solve the puzzle. The plot must be developed carefully, entwining all of the features necessary for a murder mystery into one. The background in "The Speckled Band" is exotic, bizarre and seems quite unrealistic. It consists of one murder making the plot quite simple. "Silver Blaze", another of Conan Doyle's murder mysteries, has a more realistic background, making it more credible as a murder mystery. It has greater verisimilitude; one example is how the scene is set at the stables. The scene is shown with nothing out of the ordinary "the horses had been exercised and watered as usual". "Silver Blaze" has a more intense mystery factor as it has two crimes connected but both different. The setting greatly controls the levels of tension, the atmosphere and the pace of the plot. This forms a major component in a murder mystery. In many murder mysteries the crime can occur anywhere but in "The Speckled Band" the murder could only take place in one particular room. ...read more.

Middle

The veil may indicate that she is a vulnerable withdrawn person, possibly hiding herself away and that she is certainly not arrogant. She is like the prey to "a fierce old bird". Miss Stoner shows her naivety to her sister's death "It is my belief that she died of pure fear and nervous shock," it is quite clear that she does not realise how people usually die. She is in awe of the way Holmes can solve puzzles and states before the solution is even found that "My heart is lightened already since I have confided my trouble to you." Holmes is polite but patronising towards her "Pray be precise as to the details," he obviously thinks because she is female that she may forget some vital clue. This is how the population felt in this era, that women were always weak victims. A murder mystery always has a private detective, sleuth or police officer involved in solving the mystery. Sherlock Holmes is the sleuth in both "The Speckled Band" and "Silver Blaze". Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's creation of Sherlock Holmes was the first fictional detective character. He appears as a middle-aged sleuth and an illustrators view pictures him with a deerstalker, a magnifying glass, a tartan cape and spats. These are not accurate to Conan Doyle's conception, as they are not mentioned in any of his descriptions. However, people recognise this depiction as a stereotype of Sherlock Holmes. Many people admire Holmes, especially Watson who puts him on a pedestal and idolises him. He has a unique personality showing his intelligence and humour through sarcasm. Sherlock Holmes' mannerisms are crucial to the way he's portrayed, as many people believe that he would not seem the same without them. ...read more.

Conclusion

In "The Speckled Band" the snake was intended to kill, forced by Roylott. In "Silver Blaze" the horse killed its trainer accidentally. The horse did not intend to kill Straker and simply reacted to what Straker was doing. Straker was trying to lame the "Silver Blaze" as he had done to the sheep. I have looked at the detective genre to identify whether "The Speckled Band" is a typical murder mystery and then to recognise why. "The Speckled Band" has some noticeable strengths and weaknesses. I believe that the strengths are how well the puzzle within the crime scene was constructed and the use of mood and tension to make the story more credible. I was completely fooled and could not understand how Julia Stoner had died. This was an original idea and I felt it was very ingenious, if implausible. For the general public of today the weaknesses would be the red herring and the type of mystery. I think that the red herring regarding the gypsies was not very convincing. I automatically realised that it was not the gypsies who were responsible for the murder. The Victorians probably would have found this red herring more believable as they were racist towards gypsies and presumed them evil. I then analysed the prime differences between "Silver Blaze" and "The Speckled Band". I found there are differences within their plots, the characters, some conventions of the genre and the denouments. Although these murder mysteries have differences they both comply with the requirements of a murder mystery. I prefer "Silver Blaze" as I enjoy a complex mystery. I appreciated the structure of the story and especially the way Conan Doyle intertwined two mysteries into one. I found "Silver Blaze" exciting, more realistic and satisfying as a murder mystery. ...read more.

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