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'The Speckled Band' or 'Lamb to the Slaughter' - Which is the More Effective Crime Story?

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'The Speckled Band' or 'Lamb to the Slaughter'-Which is the More Effective Crime Story? The 'ingredients' of a crime story usually consist of a murderer, a villain, a victim, a weapon, a witness/alibi and clues. I will be looking at each story's characteristics. 'The Speckled Band' and 'Lamb to the Slaughter' are both crime stories but they are of different types. A 'whodunit' crime story is where a crime is committed and we along with the detectives try to solve who did it, why they did it, and how they did it. 'The Speckled Band is a 'whodunit' crime story. The adventures of Sherlock Holmes were highly popular in 1883 because Conan Doyle was the original crime writer. Sherlock Holmes was the first hero detective. He was of upper class, well educated and wealthy. The amazing mysteries with bizarre crime and complicated plots were always solved and explained by Sherlock Holmes. 'Lamb to the Slaughter', written in 1945 by Roald Dahl, is a 'murder mystery'. This type of story is where we know who committed the crime, how they committed the crime and why the crime but watch the detectives try to solve it and the murderer try to get away with it. In 'The Speckled Band', a 'distraught' woman whose twin sister dies a horrible death (two weeks before her wedding day), which is haunting her, so she approaches Sherlock Holmes for help. He visits their estate to solve the mystery. In 'Lamb to the Slaughter', Mary Maloney, a 'calm' and 'keen' housewife kills her husband unexpectedly, with a frozen leg of lamb, ...read more.


She carefully plans out, just as he carefully planned the murder of Julia. Dr Grimesby Roylott and Patrick Maloney are quite similar victims because they start of as villains and end up being killed. Mary, on the other hand starts of as a victim but then turns into a villain, but we don't really hate her, because she is a nice person. We feel sorry for Julia because she is murdered before her wedding day, and our feelings are similar towards Helen too because she doesn't know what to do and seeks help, unlike Mary. The women are different in both stories; possibly because both stories were written in different times. As 'Lamb to the Slaughter' was written about a century after 'The Speckled Band', the role of women in society had obviously changed. Mary Maloney is more cunning and bright and devious while Helen is reliant, weak, and dominated. '(Mary) certainly wasn't going to take a chance.' 'That's the way, she told herself. Do everything right and natural...'(Lamb to the Slaughter) ''It is not cold which makes me shiver...it is fear, Mr. Holmes. It is terror'' ''Oh, sir do you not think that you could help me too, and at least throw a little light, through the dense darkness that still surrounds me...I shall be married, with the control of my income...'(The Speckled Band) Sherlock Holmes and Detective Jack Noonan aren't similar at all because Detective Jack Noonan doesn't turn change roles but Sherlock turns from detective to villain. ...read more.


When Mary goes to get the leg of lamb out of the freezer, she held it in the most peculiar way. 'She carried it upstairs, holding the thin bone-end of it with both her hands.' The leg of lamb can't be that heavy. This makes us think that she's up to something. There is a contrast in both endings of the story. 'Lamb to the Slaughter' leaves you thinking about what's going to happen next. Will she get caught, or will she get away? 'The Speckled Band' didn't leave us wondering. A comparison would be that neither character showed remorse. 'And in the other room, Mary Maloney began to giggle.' (Lamb to the Slaughter) ''In this way, I am no doubt indirectly responsible for Dr Grimesby Roylott's death and I cannot say that it is likely to weigh heavily upon my conscience.'' concludes Sherlock Holmes after killing Dr Grimesby Roylott. I think that both characters think that both the murdered characters deserved to die. Both writers promote that it is fine to kill. The writers position us to side with the villains. Dr Grimesby Roylott deserved it and so did Patrick. We actually want the murderers to get away with it. 'The Speckled Band' is typical to its genre because it is spooky and dark while 'Lamb to the Slaughter isn't typical to its genre because it is a nice clean and calm house that the murder takes place in. I think that both stories have different types of effects that make it hard to choose which is the better crime story. Conan Doyle wrote the first ever, detective crime story whereas Roald Dahl wrote the first subverted crime story. ...read more.

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