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What features of Arthur Conan Doyle's stories make them typical of the detective genre?

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Introduction

What features of Arthur Conan Doyle's stories make them typical of the detective genre? During the era of Queen Victoria, when flickering gas lamps lit the squalid streets casting an eerie shadow, a soon to be well known compilation of stories belonging to Detective genre were being published. They were the first of their kind, and were created by Arthur Conan Doyle. His stories became so well known, that soon after writing his stories, Arthur Conan Doyle was knighted by Queen Victoria herself. Doyle's stories called 'The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,' became legendary, as Doyle had created an original fictional pipe-smoking character, called Sherlock Holmes, whose job, it was to solve crimes. This was ironic at the time, due to the simple fact, an infamous murderer, Jack the Ripper, was loose on the streets of London, attacking women. He knifed and ruthlessly murdered many prostitutes. Unfortunately, the police could not catch him and their methods were seen as inefficient. Conversely, when Sherlock Holmes, surfaced in 1887 many of the Victorians 'fell for' the fictional character, as he became the perfect detective, by cracking every case bought to him. Many believe that Sherlock Holmes was the answer to their problems as many Victorians held a deep resentment towards the police, as they did not appear to be protecting the public. The time in which Doyle published his creations was very important to his great success, as the nation was developing and many more people were soon become wealthier. Furthermore, the introduction of compulsory schooling in the 1870 meant that many people soon became literate which meant even more Victorians had a great chance to read Doyle's work. Also, as for the developing middle class, they had much more leisure time and more time to read, at free libraries as they were being established in many towns and cities in Britain. This offered more reading material to entertain the Victorians. ...read more.

Middle

So when Sherlock Holmes steps in, his role is to gain the publics confidence. Furthermore, Doyle tends to raise Sherlock Holmes's profile by making other characters praise his judgement and skill, as when Helen Stoner in 'The Speckled Band', near the beginning of the play clearly says, '...I have heard of you, Mr. Holmes; I have heard of you from Mrs. Farintosh, whom you helped in the hour of her sore need. It was from her that I had your address...' From such dialog the readers clearly know that the characters in the story have belief in him. Additional, when Dr Watson who is Sherlock Holmes's sidekick states, in 'The Beryl Coronet', '...firm faith in his judgement.' Dr Watson has every bit of confidence in Sherlock Holmes to solve the case and because of this the readers also have more reason to believe in him. As the reader reads on they realise that Watson's judgement is justified since Holes manages to deduce who the culprit is, through various techniques. This inevitably takes time and Holmes must go through certain stages to find clues and solve the case. As such the structure of the story is important in keeping the reader engaged and adding suspense. Many of the stories are split into three different sections. The stories begin with an exposition, when the crime is committed and explained to the detective. Early on in 'The Beryl Coronet' the readers read about a man who is 'tall, imposing, massive, strongly marked, sombre yet rich. This adds mystery to the description as the readers gain a visual picture of the character. The readers are lead to ask questions, like, why is a well dressed man, in neat brown gaiters and well cut pearl-grey trousers running towards the house? Holmes's first reaction to Arthur Holder is, 'You have come to me to tell me your story, have you not?...' ...read more.

Conclusion

The reference to Helen Stoners description of her stepfather's violent temper, reassures the readers, that they have a perfect suspect, but now all the readers require is the proof. 'Violence of temper approaching to mania has been hereditary in the men of the family, and in my stepfather's... A series of disgraceful brawls took place, two of which ended in the police-court, until at last he became the terror of the village, and the folks would fly at his approach, for he is a man of immense strength, and absolutely uncontrollable in his anger.' Every character in Doyle's stories are different and this compels the reader into reading more of 'The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes'. It allows them to discover and further their understanding of these individuals. Throughout the fifty-six stories of Sherlock Holmes that were written and published between 1887 and 1902 you got a further glimpse into the character of Sherlock Holmes and all other individuals. Aside from the compelling characters created by Arthur Conan Doyle, one of his most important achievements was felt to be the creation of atmosphere, especially of London in the fog. Even today, people still address letters to 221B Baker Street where Sherlock Holmes was supposed to have lived, asking for help in solving mysteries! This proves that Doyle's stories became apart of everyday life in Victorian times and even now, in the millennium they have an important impact on readers. Many authors, after Doyle followed his type of writing. Writers such as Agatha Christie's Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, and Ruth Rendell's Inspector Wexford are examples of well-written detective genre stories. Soon after detective genres became one of the most written genre types. However, one big difference in Doyle's detective writing compared from later writers is that later writers seem to have been more concerned with finding more and more difficult problems to be solved, whereas Doyle concentrated on writing about interesting characters and entertaining tales, and overall Doyle's stories were far more entertaining, then those that came after him... By Sonali Patel Sonali Patel 10wa Sherlock Holmes 1 ...read more.

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