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To what extent are the three/four stories we have investigated typical murder mystery or detective stories? (The Speckled Band, The Man with the Twisted Lip, A Scandal in Bohemia and The Final Problem)

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Introduction

To what extent are the three/four stories we have investigated typical murder mystery or detective stories? The stories that we have looked at are all by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the adventure of "The Speckled Band", "The Man with the Twisted Lip", "A Scandal in Bohemia" and as an extra "The Final Problem". Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (22/05/1859 - 07/07/1930) was a Scottish author most noted for his stories about Sherlock Holmes however he was a prolific writer whose other works include science fiction stories, historical novels, plays, romances, poetry, and non-fiction. In The Speckled Band, Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson help out Helen Stoner who lives with her stepfather Dr Roylott. Helen's sister Julia has just died in suspicious circumstances. In The Man with the Twisted Lip, Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson help out Mrs. St. Clair whose husband has recently disappeared, presumed murdered. However in a turn of events, Mrs. St. Clair is convinced that she had seen him in a window of a house. In A Scandal in Bohemia, Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson come to the aid of the King of Bohemia. A feisty ex-lover of the King has an uncompromising photo of them which she is threatening to publish on the King's wedding day. In The Final Problem, we see the end of Sherlock Holmes as he takes his equal Dr Moriarty down over a cliff. There are things that mark out a novel in the detective genre, for example a typical setting. An old house, isolated and dilapidated is certainly a good setting for a good mystery. The isolation and no way of getting help adds an air of tension to the story. A good villain will help too. Typical ones are either very clever, rich men or nasty poor murderers. The typical structure of the story is usually the detective listening to the problem (the beginning), then the search for clues (middle). Gradually more and more clues are revealed until the detective catches the villain (climax). ...read more.

Middle

To create the sympathy, he used makeup to disfigure himself. This is important because at the time, maimed and disabled people were shunned out of society, they were the underclass. It is because of this that Hugh Boone earnt so much money because people felt sorry for him. With Hugh Boone being so repellant looking he is also highly noticeable. He is described by using plenty of negative adjectives, "the grime which covered his face could not conceal its repulsive ugliness" and "three teeth were exposed in a perpetual snarl". The words repulsive and snarl conjure up a very ugly character as the words are at the height of unattractive English words. The villain in A Scandal in Bohemia is atypical, as it is a woman! This is interesting because at the time of the stories, the role of women was very much under that of men. Women stayed at home to bring up the kids, rarely having jobs. They had very few rights and virtually the possessions of men. So for a woman to be the one Sherlock Holmes is against is unusual. We are made aware that this woman is not an ordinary woman, her name is Irene Adler, with Dr Watson describing her significance to Holmes as "to Sherlock Holmes she was always the woman". In fact in the end, the great Sherlock Holmes is beaten by her and Sherlock Holmes respects this. However Sherlock Holmes was not in love with her, as many were, "she is the daintiest thing under a bonnet" he says. This again suggests that she is highly noticeable. Dr Watson says that to Sherlock Holmes "all emotions and that one particularly, were abhorrent to his cold, precise but admirably balanced mind". Irene Adler is also a victim in his story, she has been victim to the King of Bohemia's messing around with love and as a result has been hurt and simply wants to pay him back. ...read more.

Conclusion

Sherlock Holmes is a noble man in this scene and tries to protect Dr Watson from the pain of his death. However Dr Watson is left clearly upset saying he will forever regard Sherlock Holmes was "the best and the wisest man whom I have ever known". This did choke me up a little as I read the last words of the story. I think overall the 1st person narrative by Dr Watson really works. There are a few problems but they have been solved by the way that the stories are written. For a setting to be typical of that of a detective story it needs to be a little scary and quirky, with the most successful murder mysteries taking place in dilapidated and isolated old houses. There is one striking resemblance of all the villains in the stories we have studied, they are all very noticeable. Dr Roylott and Dr Moriarty both tall and imposing, Irene Adler is beautiful and dainty and Hugh Boone is ugly and repulsive. The two most evil villains, Dr Roylott and Dr Moriarty it says have both inherited their evil tendencies. The literary pairing of Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson works well because they are different, two vivid characters, so different in their functions and needs and as all partnerships should be, based on a great friendship. I think generally there is only one story which we have read which could be described as a typical murder mystery or detective story and that is The Speckled Band. This is the only one with a typical setting, villain and story sequence. The others are not so, with A Scandal in Bohemia not having a typical setting, The Man with the Twisted Lip having a villain who is the same person as the victim and The Final Problem resulting in the death of the detective. So I think that you can categorize stories into genres but it is much harder to say "this is a typical detective story" or "this isn't because ..." In the end each story is different. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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