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Why do you think the Conan Doyle crime stories have been so popular

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Introduction

Why do you think the Conan Doyle crime stories have been so popular? Even today the Conan Doyle crime stories possess high popularity amongst people who have read them. 3 of his most successful crime stories have been the Specked Band, The Red Headed League and The Adventures of Black Peter. The Adventure of Black Peter is a tale in the collection, 'The Return of Sherlock Holmes', but was published originally in 1904 in the 'Strand Magazine' and 'Colliers'. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is regarded as 'the father of crime fiction' and the first great writer of detective fiction because he has defined the ingredients of a good crime story to make it so interesting. These ingredients are: building up of atmosphere, mystery, suspense, tension, descriptive and evocative language to illustrate events, action so that imagery can be built and humour to make it engaging. The reader gets hooked on the mystery at the start and tries to solve the crime themselves before the detective reveals the solution at the end. To make this work the reader knows that the writer has planted clues within the story which can be used to solve the mystery. In this essay I will be discussing the 3 crime stories that I mentioned. The plot structures of the 3 crime stories are structured in similar ways. There is always a victim and a villain, and someone has always gone to Sherlock Holmes for help. A situation is set up (exposition), a conflict takes place (complication), the main events of the story unfold (climax), and some sort of resolution is reached (resolution). The speckled band which was written in 1891 started the popularity. The exposition is that Helen Stoner went to Sherlock Holmes for help about Dr Roylott and the death of Julia; here the reader gets hooked because of the mystery of the death. In those days females were regarded as weak so that is why Conan Doyle used a woman. ...read more.

Middle

the quote, 'so tall was he that his hat actually brushed the cross-bar of the doorway, a thousand wrinkles burned yellow with the sun, bile shot eyes'. He spoke fearlessly and threateningly to Sherlock Holmes, from the quote, 'we heard the hoarse roar of the Doctor's voice and saw the fury with which he shook his clenched fist'. Dr Roylott is important to the development of the plot because he brings the mystery and suspense to the play as to how Julia died, this contributes to the popularity. Julia was a woman so in those days females were seen as weak and vulnerable, and Helen Stoner the victim's sister also seemed vulnerable that is why Holmes was protecting her. In the red-headed league Jabez Wilson the victim is seen as obese. He began as a carpenter and works as a pawnbroker; he was the employer of Vincent Spaulding. He joined the red-headed league because he needed quick money and he turned out to be the catalyst for the action because they were using him to rob the bank. His character was seen as an 'easy to fool person', which created humour and subsequently contributed to the engagement of the audience. Vincent Spaulding was Jabez Wilson's assistant and his character was described as 'young, clean shaven and bright'. He was involved in the bank robbery and was quoted to have 'dirty knees while climbing through the tunnel'. John Clay the villain was known to have 'royal blood' and he was known as 'a con-man'. He went to oxford and was posh and privileged; he was young and looked like a boy. He leaves the trail and cannot be found until Sherlock Holmes steps in. His pompous and dodgy character creates tension and engages the audience; this engagement contributes to the popularity of the red-headed league. In the Adventures of Black Peter, Peter Carey the victim and eventually the villain, was seen as an unpleasant man, especially when he was drunk. ...read more.

Conclusion

Also, as the police force had only been set up in 1814, and the detective division in 1842, the methods used in solving real cases were still very basic. Consequently, the readers would not have had much knowledge of ways of deduction and so often the plots of the stories were seen to be quite technical, and the way the crimes were solved even more so. It is a genre, which allows the reader to feel that they are indirectly participating in the process of deduction and possible solution of a mystery. The methods which Holmes uses to solve problems he encounters are quite extraordinary. For example in "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle", Holmes studies a stranger's hat: " 'He is a man who leads a sedentary life, goes out little, is out of training entirely, is middle-aged, has grizzled hair which he has had cut within the last few days, and which he anoints with lime-cream.' Many readers find this skill fascinating, which in turn encourages them to read other stories of the detective. The popularity of the genre today, like the 'whodunit' element and police and forensic element is also why the stories have been so popular because it seems like modern crime fiction. Finally, I suggest that the nostalgic appeal of Sherlock Holmes draws people to the books, particularly older readers who find pleasure in reading about times past. In recent years stage plays, films and television adaptations have reinforced people's appreciation of the great detective and his world of mystery and crime. A further reason for the stories' success is that people just like to relax and enjoy a good book, slipping into a fictional world where the stresses of modern life are not present. A poem entitled "What is it that we love in Sherlock Holmes?" by Edgar Wadsworth Smith suggests this in the first stanza: "We love the times in which he lived. The half-remembered, half-forgotten times of snug Victorian illusion, of gaslit comfort and contentment, of perfect dignity and grace." ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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