The Adventures of the Speckled Band and The Lamb to the Slaughter

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Comparing the two stories The Adventures of the Speckled Band and

The Lamb to the Slaughter

Within this essay I will be comparing and contrasting the two

detective stories 'The Adventures of the Speckled Band' and 'The Lamb

to the Slaughter', referring to the structure, language and

characterisation. 'The speckled band' was written in 1892 by Sir

Arthur Doyle, he was qualified as a doctor which gave him a medical

perspective for all his stories. 'The lamb to the slaughter' was

written in 1952 by Roald Dahl most famous for writing children's

stories although he did write adult material such as the book 'The

lamb to the slaughter featured in 'The tales of the unexpected'.

Detective stories mainly base themselves around solving murder cases;

the reader is taken on a journey to find who is guilty and their

motive which is normally along the lines of greed, loneliness and


'The speckled band' is written in 1st person and the story is narrated

by Dr Watson, Sherlock's partner and dear friend. The story begins

with Dr Watson looking over his old notes and introducing us to his

views and feelings on Sherlock Holmes and his amazing talent for

solving murder mysteries. We are taken back eight years to a case they

solved. They were visited by a lady called Helen Stoner who explained

her story from the moment her mother died to the most recent events.

From there the story is slowly built up until the climax at the end

when the case is solved. Conan Doyle is able to engage the reader by

the affect of drama and atmosphere using short staccato sentences to

convey excitement, movement and speed. Dynamic verbs such as 'rush'

and 'groping' emphasises this. He is able to make the reader want to

carry on by uncovering each clue one by one putting together the

puzzle. The further you read the more clues you will get until you

have the full picture. The story ends with the uncovering of the whole

murder mystery; Sherlock explains that he is in 'no doubt' that he is

'directly responsible for Dr Grimsby Roylott's death' but it will not

'Weigh heavily' on his mind. He solved the case and prevented from

anyone else becoming a victim. This story is an extremely typical

detective story as it has the hero/ maverick and his apprentice crack

the case (which they always do), saving the lives of innocent people.

It contains vital ingredients for a detective story, suspense,

atmosphere, tension and so on.

'The Lamb to the Slaughter' is written in third person told by an

onlooker. The story begins in the home of Mr and Mrs Maloney, the room
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