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Study five of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes mystery stories.

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Introduction

Year 11 Prose Study Coursework I have studied five of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes mystery stories. A mystery story is a piece of fiction writing where crime of some kind is central to its plot. By that I mean the crime is a significant part of the story, to the point that if you remove the crime from the story, the plot has no meaning. Sherlock Holmes made his first appearance in 'A Study of Scarlet', published in Beeton's Christmas Annual in 1887. Conan Doyle was paid �25 for this. Its success encouraged Conan Doyle to write a full-length novel, and two years later, Micah Clarke was published to critical acclaim. Doyle added to this success with a series of Holmes stories for The Strand Magazine in 1891. Although his stories were popular, Conan Doyle felt that he had yet to make a lasting name in English literature, and he referred to Holmes as taking his mind 'from better things'. The Holmes Stories were all set in the Victorian city of London, which was a city of startling contrasts. New building and affluent development went hand in hand with horribly overcrowded slums where people lived in the worst conditions imaginable. The population surged during the 19th century, from about 1 million in 1800 to over 6 million a century later. ...read more.

Middle

This makes the reader feel more involved with the story because it is even as if Watson is just talking to you e.g. 'In glancing over my notes of the past seventy odd cases in which I have during the last eight years studied the method of my friend Sherlock Holmes...'. Doyle gets the reader to read on by giving hardly anything away about the plot in the first two pages e.g in 'The man with the twisted lip' there is a totally different story for the first three pages this story is of Kate Whitney's Husband Isa Whitney. He has been taking the drug Opium and has not come home, Dr. Watson was sent out to find him at the Opium den. Watson did find Isa and sent him home only to then to find Sherlock Holmes and go out to solve the mystery of the disappearance of Neville St. Clair. This makes the reader want to read on because it gets them guessing about what the mystery is and whodidit? The settings used in Arthur Conan Doyle's mystery stories are very typical of the settings used in other mystery stories. E.g. In the Engineers Thumb, Mr Hatherly (the engineer) was taken into a dark house, where he was asked to wait in another room by himself. ...read more.

Conclusion

always a twist towards the end of the text so that that person who is found guilty is never who you think it will be E.g. In 'The Man With the Twisted Lip' you never think that the man who is found in the room above the opium den is Neville St.Clair right until the end of the text so Arthur Conan Doyle has kept you guessing. Endings are very important to mystery stories because the whole of the mystery story is focussed to the end, so if the end of the story is not entertaining and does not leave you surprised then the whole of the story will seem pointless. The story that I preferred most was 'The Man With the Twisted Lip' because at first glance the mystery seemed so easy to solve, then there was some strange clues that did make sense until then end when we found out that the man with the twisted lip was Mr. Neville St.Clair. There are many underlying meanings in the stories, which are supposed to teach you a lesson or maybe just to make you think about your own situation. I think Arthur Conan Doyle's use of language is what makes these stories interesting and easy to read. There are lots of different emotions used and portrayed throughout the text from sadness to happiness and from nervous panic to humour. ...read more.

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