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What are the similarities and differences between the two stories? Both 'Lamb to the Slaughter' and 'The Speckled Band' are categorised as murder mysteries, but how can they be when they are both so different?

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Introduction

Both 'Lamb to the Slaughter' and 'The Speckled Band' share some characteristics of murder mysteries. What are the similarities and differences between the two stories? Both 'Lamb to the Slaughter' and 'The Speckled Band' are categorised as murder mysteries, but how can they be when they are both so different? What does a story have to include to be an effective murder mystery? Does originality make a better read than tradition? If originality works better, how original can the story be? Will it still have to include a detective, a murder, a twist, clues and a mystery that's almost impossible to solve? By taking these questions into consideration, will the differences between the two stories really be significantly different? These issues are what I will be discussing within the essay. I will review the elements that are supposedly needed in a murder mystery. I will converse about the comparisons between them both, considering all similarities and differences mentioned. I will then decide which is better and give reasons towards my hypothesis. 'Lamb to the Slaughter' has a very fresh and unusual concept. The story is about a pregnant woman who murders her husband as the result of some bad news he has told her. She kills him with a blow to the back of his head using a frozen leg of lamb. She then quickly creates a convincing alibi. This alibi, along with her charms and superb acting skills, helps Mrs Maloney to fool the detectives, so much so that they even feel guilty about suspecting her. The irony of the story is that the detectives end up eating the only source of evidence, the leg of lamb. ...read more.

Middle

'I will do nothing of the kind. My stepdaughter has been here. I have traced her. What has she been saying to you?' 'It is a little cold for the time of the year' said Holmes. 'What has she been saying to you?' screamed the old man furiously' He then goes on to insult Holmes with accusing him of meddling and associating him with the official detective force. Holmes, however, finds these remarks amusing, which undoubtedly winds Dr Roylott up even more so. Dr Roylott concludes with a threat which was undeniably provoked by Holmes saying "Your conversation is most entertaining...When you go out close the door, for there is a decided draught". Before making his exit, Dr Roylott tries to frighten them both by bending a steel poker in half. He obviously doesn't succeed as Holmes then picks up the poker and straightens it out once again, admirably proving his superiority and greatness. Even before that incident we already believe him to possess a cruel nature when we are told by Miss Stoner that he beat his butler to death and how he recently assaulted a local blacksmith. Holmes also discovers evidence of Dr Roylott laying violence upon his own stepdaughter. Throughout the story Holmes is depicted as an incredibly ingenious detective. Admired, trusted and highly respected by both his clients and co-workers. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle purposely based his stories on a character like Sherlock Holmes because he knew the general public would be intrigued; seeming as the police force in the 19th century were supposedly corrupt. This gave the public someone to believe in. ...read more.

Conclusion

I have come to this deduction as I enjoyed following the clues which ended with a summary, the historically set, sinister building gave a riveting attraction and finally I loved Sherlock Holmes. His character was so believable and comforting it made you want to read on just to find out more about Holmes, hear his humour, witness his superb expertise. I don't think 'Lamb to the Slaughter' possessed this type of 'addiction'. The characters were not as deep or passionate; perhaps this is where improvement could have been made, although the controversy of the story may have been the author's aim. I loved the suspense of not knowing what will happen seeming as it wasn't the stereotypical murder mystery where the crime is unsolved and the detectives are seen as heroes. With this story there was an air of excitement due to the unpredictable plot, which made it highly original and interesting. The two stories in comparison are obviously exceedingly different. They are as contrasting as one murder mystery can be to another. 'The Speckled Band' is long, detailed and elaborate, while 'Lamb to the Slaughter' is shorter with a simple style. 'The Speckled Band' is told by the detective as a past event while the 'Lamb to the Slaughter' narrator is of a third person. The similarities between them both are that they both provide us with an element of suspense and an atmosphere of mystery, both have killings during the stories, and neither of the stories are boring. This essay shows how different stories from the same categories, murder mysteries for example, can be, and how ambiguous a straightforward story is. Cheri.C 1 1 ...read more.

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