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The stories I have been studying are 'Lamb to the Slaughter', which was written by Roald Dahl in 1954 and 'The Speckled Band' written in 1892 by Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle.

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Introduction

Key Stage Four-Wide Reading Coursework Mary Maloney and Dr Grimesby Roylott are both murderers. Examine their similarities and differences as portrayed by the authors. The stories I have been studying are 'Lamb to the Slaughter', which was written by Roald Dahl in 1954 and 'The Speckled Band' written in 1892 by Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle. 'Lamb to the Slaughter' is about a woman called Mary Maloney who kills her husband with a leg of lamb after he tells her some bad news. She phones the police and pretends that she had come home to find that her husband had been killed so that she can raise her child and not go to prison. At the end of the story she cooks the leg of lamb and gives it to the detectives to eat. In 'The Speckled Band', a woman called Helen Stoner hires Sherlock Holmes because she believes that her stepfather, Dr Grimesby Roylott, killed her sister and also wants her dead. Holmes and Watson visit Helen's house and stay in her bedroom to try to catch her stepfather in the act. ...read more.

Middle

If he had been portrayed in another way, the story would not have been believable for audiences of the time. Mary Maloney is not a stereotypical murderer. She is a loving, caring person and above all, she is pregnant. She is almost the total opposite of the stereotypical killers we see in lots of murder mystery stories. Grimesby Roylott, on the other hand, is the perfect stereotype of a killer. He is an extremely vile person who has killed before, so it is easy to see how he could be a murderer. He is described as being '...a huge man...with a face seared with a thousand wrinkles... and marked with every evil passion.' So even his physical description is that of the stereotypical murderer. The reason for stereotypes being used or not in these stories is to do, again, with the time of writing. When 'The Speckled Band' was written in1892, in order for the story to seem realistic, it was very important that the murderer actually fitted the stereotype because generally, most people did. After all, stereotypes have to come from somewhere. ...read more.

Conclusion

When Grimesby bursts in he says 'Mt stepdaughter has been here. I have traced her. What has she been saying to you?', Holmes replies ' It is a little cold for the time of year.' This shows us that despite Grimesby being a huge, strong and obviously violent man, Holmes refuses to be put down by him at all. The detectives in 'Lamb to the Slaughter' are extremely foolish. They do not investigate properly, and had they been less blinded, they might have persued their questioning and Mary was so wobbly she may have broken under the pressure. We know that they are meant to be seen this way because at the end of the story when they are eating the murder weapon, on of them says 'It's probably right under our noses.' Which shows just how stupid they are. Sherlock Holmes on the other hand is an outstanding detective and if it weren't for him, Grimesby Roylott would not have been stopped. The attitude of the detectives effects the outcome of both stories. 'In Lamb to the Slaughter' if they had been a bit more persistent in questioning Mary, she may have confessed and would have gone to prison. ...read more.

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