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What Are The Conventions Of Detective Fiction And How Does Conan Doyle's Story, 'The Speckled Band' Conform To These Conventions?

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Introduction

What Are The Conventions Of Detective Fiction And How Does The Speckled Band Conform To These Conventions? Detective fiction is a type of fiction revolving around the investigation of a crime, usually murder, by a detective. The genre of detective fiction has existed for a long time and had produced hundreds of well know novels, short stories, Television series and films. Adversely to popular myth, detective fiction did not begin with Sherlock Holmes. The first examples of this highly popular genre can be traced back to biblical times, whilst Conan Doyle's popular Sherlock Holmes books are just the more famous and one of the first of the books written in the 'British Golden Age of Detective Fiction'. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930) was a Scottish Author who wrote Science fiction, non-fiction, poetry and plays. Conan Doyle is most well known for his series of stories based on Detective Sherlock Holmes. Conan Doyle compiled twelve Sherlock Holmes detective fiction sort stories into one book that was known as "The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" which included "The Adventure of The Speckled band. The book was published in 1892, in late Victorian England, a prosperous time in England, the time of huge change, the industrial revolution and scientific development. These changes in society brought about an embodiment of scientific and logical thinking; the character of Holmes is a great example of this new form of logical thinking. ...read more.

Middle

The Villain turned out to be Dr. Roylott. Holmes prevents the murder of Mrs.Stoner whilst adversely killing Mrs. Stoner's villainous step-father. The basic story line is quite simple but contains much more than this brief summary. The story is very stereotypical of a detective fiction story and conforms to many of the conventions of detective fiction stories. In order to find out what the conventions of a detective fiction story were, I read another Sherlock Holmes story, a Poirot book by Agatha Christie and watched many modern detective fiction television programmes. After studying a variety of products of the detective fiction genre I discovered that many of them shared some common characteristics and included many similar conventions. Firstly, there is the most important aspect of detective fiction, the detective. In "The Speckled Band" the main character is the often celebrated detective, Sherlock Holmes. The character Sherlock Holmes conforms to many characteristics of other detectives in detective fiction literature. Most detectives are portrayed as very logical, observant and dependable whilst not necessarily likeable to the reader or viewer. The character Sherlock Holmes conforms to this stereotype throughout "The Speckled Band". Another example of a detective that conforms to this stereotype is Agatha Christie's detective character Hercule Poirot. Evidence for Holmes's consistent deduction and observational skills include when Holmes observes mud splatters on Mrs. Stoner's jacket and the train ticket in her hand and instantaneously and correctly deduced and identified Mrs. ...read more.

Conclusion

These somewhat fierce and threatening physical characteristics are stereotypical of a villainous character in any story. One of the other most important parts of a detective fiction story is a victim; after all there is nothing to investigate if there is no victim. In the case of "The Speckled Band" the victim is the sister of Mrs Stoner. Most often than not the detective investigates a murder, whether it be a past murder or recent murder though sometimes a detective may be investigating the theft of an inanimate object or money. Throughout "The speckled band" Holmes investigates a murder and the imminent threat of a repeated murder. Repetition of a crime is a regular occurrence in detective fiction novels the logic behind it is that if you can get away with a crime once, you should be able to get away with a crime o Often the celebrated detective of the story is at odds with the police and official law enforcers such as a coroner (unless of course the detective in fact belongs to the police force or is a coroner). This is often because the celebrated detective is of a better standard than the state detectives, or that their differences in levels of integrity and morals. Although there is little reference to the police throughout the story Holmes belittles the work of the official coroner's work suggesting his superiority. ...read more.

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