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The Detective Genre

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The Detective Genre When many people think of a novel from the detective genre, they think of a dark and stormy night, a large sinister house, gunfire heard by everyone however seen by no one, and the expression "you're probably wondering why I called you all here", "The butler did it", and the phrase associated with Sherlock Holmes "elementary, my dear Watson". In the end, the intellectual and ever vigilant detective solves the case, and justice, occasionally through the magistrates is served. Both "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" and "Lamb to the Slaughter" has factors that are frequently used in detective genre, for example, they both include a killer who is cold and cunning, and perhaps a little angry. On the other hand, they are shown to us extremely differently, showing one story which is very distinctive of its genre and the other which is very untypical of the detective genre. That is why I have chosen these two contrasting stories as the basis for my essay. In this paper I have decided to examine the comparisons of the setting, characters, weapons, victims and plot from the 'The Adventure of the Speckled Band' by the author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and 'Lamb to the Slaughter' by the renowned child author Roald Dahl. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novel 'The Adventure of the Speckled Band' is based upon the famous fictional Detective 'Sherlock Holmes' and his investigation into the murder of Julia Stoner of Stoke Moran. ...read more.


While many other stories focus on the investigator or sometimes the victim, this story centres on the nature of the murderer. This perspective assists with the telling of the murder, making it more unanticipated. The story comprises of two main plot twists; the first being the murder itself, made it unpredicted by what we have perceived of Mary Maloney's character, the setting, and the form the murder weapon. The second plot twist is as the story concludes, where the officers devour the murder weapon. Conan-Doyle uses a method in writing "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" as well. His story centres on the character of the detective, Sherlock Holmes, which is a favoured method of murder mystery authors, possibly because it leaves a place for development. This story, though centred on Holmes, is told as seen through the perspective of his colleague, Dr Watson, providing an excellent example of writing in the first person scenario. Unlike Dahl's story, "The Adventure of the Speckled Band" is a classic 'whodunit', and so, like many 'whodunits' there is always an element of suspense. The weapons used in both these stories are rather unique to the genre. Roylott's snake was used to poison his victims with its venomous bite; this was is purpose when its master sent it through the ventilator to kill his step-children. This cunning plan was constructed in an attempt to avoid losing his money over his stepdaughter's marriage. ...read more.


Harsh punishments were placed upon convicted murders in Victorians times, including there own deaths. The 'Lamb to the Slaughter' is set in the 1970's in a more realistic setting. Patrick Maloney was murdered in his own home, after a tense discussion with his wife, which resulted in his murder. This story is much closer to reality, and relates with situations and emotions revolving round divorce and betrayal. In conclusion, I have learnt that the setting and time period constitute to the outcome of the story, and its characters morals and methods. Standards have changed, and means of punishment have altered greatly between the settings of each story. Also the process of investigation has changed through the 19th Century, having a more orderly and functional procedure, which is shown in 'Lamb to the Slaughter', instead of the mysterious conduct of unravelling clues during the plot of 'The Adventure of the Speckled Band'. Over time the audiences who read these novels has changed there principles and level of expectance, so the crime performed by Mary Maloney would be seen as a 'crime of passion' executed through the unstable emotions of a pregnant women who's grasp on reality had been shattered through her husbands cruel words. When 'The Adventure of the Speckled Band' was written during Victorian times, mystery and murder was a popular aspect in books. The Victorians were renowned for there love of literature because it was a method of escape from gruelling life in the Victorian age, this was because a reader could become completely emerged in a different reality, indulging in fantasy and anticipation. ...read more.

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