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Which is the better Detective story, The Speckled Band by Arthur Conan Doyle or Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie?

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Introduction

Which is the better Detective story, The Speckled Band by Arthur Conan Doyle or Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie? Detective stories remain as popular now as they have ever been. The fan base for detective stories is huge. This demand for the genre has contributed to the large number of detective stories being broadcast on T.V., but the stories almost always originate from books, which have a far deeper history than the T.V series. Conan Doyle started to write his short stories about Sherlock Holmes in the 19th century. They were published in the Strand Magazine and were an immediate success, for the simple reason that there was very little for people to do in their spare time other than read. Holmes' fans enjoyed stories that could keep them entertained for a long time. Sherlock Holmes became so popular that when Conan Doyle tried to kill him off there was a public outcry and Conan Doyle was forced to continue writing. In contrast "Murder on the Orient Express" by Agatha Christie is a more modern story set in the early 1930's. The book is one of many following the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. Many different T.V. series and some films have been made based on the books. ...read more.

Middle

The stories use the false clues in contrasting ways. In The Speckled Band, the gypsies who inhabit Dr. Roylott's land are offered as a possible solution to the case, as are the wild Indian animals that roam his gardens. There is, however, no evidence to suspect their involvement, and so Holmes discounts them as a possibility very early on when he visits the Roylott residence. Helen says that Dr. Roylott made an "excuse to move me from my room" which heightens Holmes' suspicions. There are a lot of false clues and suspects in Murder on the Orient Express. At the start this is interesting but as the plot progresses and every clue turns out to be false the story becomes a bit uninteresting. You just cannot work out who did it because everything seems impossible. Even Poirot says "every fresh piece of knowledge that came to light made the solution a whole lot more difficult." Of the two sets of 'red herrings', I believe that both keep the reader baffled enough to be unable to work out the solution. In The Speckled Band few alternatives are offered so the reader never formulates their own theories and in Murder on the Orient Express the reader is given lots of alternative solutions so the reader is always changing their opinion. ...read more.

Conclusion

I think The Speckled Band is interesting because the level of suspense is higher. Overall, my judgement of the two stories is quite divided, as each story had its successes and failures in my opinion. If I had to make a decision on which is the better detective story, The Speckled Band's briefness and lack of a deep plot would influence me. I would therefore choose Murder on the Orient Express as it has all the elements of a good detective novel an interesting and able detective, a mystery that seems difficult to explain, false clues and a satisfying solution. I think my opinion would have been far different if the Speckled Band was longer and had more detail and a better solution, because I think Conan Doyle's writing style is superior to that of Agatha Christie because he captures the suspense better. However, both authors have gone down in history as two of the greatest crime writers ever. Both detectives have become household names, as has Watson, because of the author's abilities to deliver stories that excite, interest and amaze us. However, Doyle has made his mark in history as one of the best detective authors ever and in fact one of the classic authors and his work will remain a textbook example of detective fiction. ...read more.

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