The Speckled Band by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Lamb To The Slaughter by Roald Dahl

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A comparison of two short stories from the murder mystery genre The

Speckled Band by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Lamb To The Slaughter by

Roald Dahl

A comparison of two short stories from the murder mystery genre

"The Speckled Band" was written in 1892 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

"Lamb To The Slaughter" was written in 1954 by Roald Dahl

A murder mystery is a narrative about a murder and how the murderer is

discovered. The following things usually happen or are present in a

murder mystery: murder, mystery, investigation, red herrings, tension,

detective (seeks a solution and unravels the mystery), resolution and

justice.

Both 'Lamb to the Slaughter' and 'The Speckled Band' are detective

murder mysteries. They share some resemblance to the genre but have

many differences. In my essay, I will talk about these and say how

they affect the story.

By reading both stories it is easy to say that the language styles

have changed over the eras. 'The Speckled Band' was written in the

Victorian period. It uses complex words such as 'defray' and

'dog-cart', which you would not use in the twenty-first century. Some

of the sentences are very verbose and stretch from three to four lines

long, which is unusual in modern stories. There are phrases like 'said

he' which nowadays would be 'he said'. Another example is 'But have

you told me all?' A modern way to express this is 'But have you told

me everything?' He also uses archaic language as the setting develops.

In contrast the language Roald Dahl uses is more modern. He does not

use many complex words. The sentences are fairly short and direct

compared to the ones of Sherlock Holmes. They are more to the point

and are easy to understand.

'The Speckled Band...

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'Lamb to the Slaughter' as a mystery because usually the detective

catches the murderer. The title of 'Lamb to the Slaughter' is also

linked to the murder and the victims. It is both a pun and a warning.

Lamb means both the piece of meat used for slaughter and an innocent

victim.

Although both stories have many differences, one thing I managed to

find out was that they both use irony to make their final point. In

'The Speckled Band' Dr. Roylott is killed by his own weapon. Similarly

in 'Lamb to the Slaughter' the detectives eat the evidence.

All these differences are due to the fact that the stories were

written one hundred years apart by different authors with different

styles and had different expectations.

If Holmes had been the detective investigating Mr. Maloney's death,

would he have consumed the evidence or would he have drunk the

whisky?
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