Conan Doyle´s The Speckled Band vs Visitor´s by Brian Moon
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This essay will examine both "The Speckled Band" by Conan Doyle and "Visitors" by Brian Moon and will look at how each one conforms to or diverges from the conventions of the detective story and also how each story is representative of the century it was written in by how it presents the woman, the hero and the villain.
The conventions of the detective story were mostly established in the early twentieth century yet "The Speckled Band" was written in the late nineteenth century. However, it still conforms to most of the detective story conventions, therefore I conclude that it deserves to be called a detective story
One of the conventions of the detective story is that the detective if frequently an amateur. In "The Speckled Band" Holmes does not work for any official body, like the police, for example. He is not, however, an amateur in the sense that he solves crimes for a hobby, he says, “as to my reward, my profession is my reward.'; Holmes is an amateur in the root sense of the word “someone who works simply for the love of it'; However the way that Holmes uses the word “profession'; shows that he does not consider himself to be an amateur.
Another convention of the detective story is that the detective will have a confidant through whom he can explain his reasoning to the reader. Holmes has a confidant, Watson, who is the stereotypical gentle doctor who is plain and uninteresting so as not to draw attention away from Holmes. “I had no keener pleasure than in following Holmes in his professional investigations'; this implies that Watson lead an uninteresting life, without many interesting hobbies or pastimes.
Another convention of the detective story is that the detective is in competition with the police, however, in "The Speckled Band" Holmes is not in competition with the police. Holmes does, however, express his disgust with the official police force “ fancy his having the insolence to confound me with the official detective force'; this line shows that Holmes considers the police force to be incompetent and ineffective.
A convention of the detective story is that it has a variety of suspects for the detective to choose between, "The Speckled Band", however, does not have many suspects, only Dr Roylott and the gypsies. Roylott is a suspect for the murder as he is violent “uncontrollable in his anger'; and the local...
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...tray a hero and a criminal, the difference is that in ‘The Speckled Band’ they are different people while in ‘Visitors’ they are arguably the same person. In ‘Visitors’ the police are expected to act the heroic role but don’t look or sound the part, in this way ‘Visitors’ appears not only to fail to comply with the conventions but also to be a paradoxical story.
My essay has shown that both stories conform to a certain extent to the conventions of the detective story. Both show views of the woman, hero and villain, and in ‘The Speckled Band’ this highlights the complacent, satisfied attitude of the Victorians, while ‘Visitors’ shows the less complacent, worried, changing attitude of the late twentieth century, influenced by the social devastation of two world wars.
After looking at ‘Visitors’ and ‘The Speckled Band’ I have come to the conclusion that ‘Visitors’ does not really deserve to be called a detective story as it does not really have a detective in it or even a crime to solve, however I still think that ‘Visitors’ is an exceptional story in its own right and a better story than ‘The Speckled Band’ because of how the important issues it brings up are dealt with.