The Speckled Band by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, which was written in the
late 19th century, and Lamb to the Slaughter by Roald Dahl, which was
written in the 20th century are both detective stories in which
readers have different expectations of them. This essay will compare
and contrast the two.
Dr Watson, who is the detective's companion, narrates the 'Speckled
Band'. The story is about the mysterious death of a young woman, Julia
Stoner, stepdaughter of Dr Grimesby Roylott. The mysterious thing
about the death was that there was no mark on the body and so the
death was unexplained. The victim's twin-sister, Helen Stoner, comes
to Sherlock Holmes seeking help and answers to the cause of her
sister's death. She firstly tells Holmes about her stepfather's life
and violence and then about her sister's extraordinary death and fears
the same fate since she has to move to the room Julia died.
They arrange to meet in Helen's old mansion where Holmes and Watson
inspect the room in which Julia died. There they spend a tense, nerve
racking and an anxious night investigating the mystery.
'Lamb to the Slaughter' is narrated in third person. It is about the
death of a detective called Patrick Maloney, husband of Mary Maloney.
Patrick comes home from work and is tired so he sits down. Patrick's
wife Mary who is 6 months pregnant hassles Patrick and insists on
eating his dinner. Patrick refuses and confesses something shocking,
but Mary is still willing to cook dinner. Mary goes to the kitchen and
pulls out a piece of lamb from the freezer. She goes b...
... middle of paper ...
... clues and Sherlock
Holmes also gives his conclusion during which he explains how he
arrived at the mystery's solution. In addition to the 'Speckled band',
it has more suspense and tension. When Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson
stay for the night in Julia's room, the atmosphere is very intense. In
the story the author creates a tense and suspense atmosphere by
describing the feelings of Dr Watson, the choice of words and the
description of what he is hearing. For example, when Holmes and Dr
Watson sit in the dark, Dr Watson describes the outside noises of the
birds and the whining of the cheetah. Furthermore the choice of words
used to describe the suspense and tension makes the scene unexpected,
tense and suspense.
In conclusion, I think the 'Speckled Band' fulfils my expectations as
of a classical detective story.
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