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The two short stories 'The Landlady' and 'A Terribly Strange Bed'
create fear and tension in two very separate ways. For example, A
Terribly Strange Bed is a detective story where a man wins money at a
gambling house, spends the night somewhere and when he lies in bed the
canopy lowers trying to suffocate him. But he gets away and wants to
find out why the people have made up such a machine when they could
just smother him themselves and throw him in the river with no
complications. Whereas The Landlady is more of a horror story because
this lady seems perfectly normal and then as more evidence builds
Billy Weaver then realises that the parrot, Daschund and possible
recent guests have been murdered and stuffed by this friendly
There are also similarities between the two stories 'The Landlady' and
'A Terribly Strange Bed' because they are both about male narrators
staying away from home. Both stories have conclusions built up to that
both main characters in the stories could possibly be murdered and
stuffed or thrown in the river. Also both narrators in the two stories
got to the guesthouse or gambling house because it is cheap and they
wish to try something new. Both main characters in the stories should
be suspicious of what is happening because Billy Weaver is staying at
a bed and Breakfast at such a good price and seems to be the only
guest there. The character in A Terribly Strange Bed should be wary
because of the amount of money he has to look after from winning at
the game 'Rouge et Noir'. In the Landlady the things that should be
inanimate are now animate for example the bed lowers which creates
tension to the short story.
In The Landlady Billy has every right to be suspicious because who
wouldn't be with The Landlady saying how selective she is with her
guests as he is only her third, because she has also had the guests Mr
Temple and Mr Mulholland.
Another piece of evidence that should create tension to Billy Weaver
in The Landlady is that she said 'there wasn't a blemish on Mr
Temple's body' and how would she know? In my opinion this is an
unusual and a scary thing to say, as it doesn't seem to make sense and
sounds like she has had a relationship with Mr Temple. She also says
to Billy a lot, how perfect his teeth are and how good looking she
found him to be.
As the plot thickens more evidence suggests that she is in fact a
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with the animals. That could possibly be why both names sounded
familiar to Billy, they had probably [IMAGE]been mentioned in the
newspaper for going missing and tension gets built as he [IMAGE]mentions
to the landlady the names sounded familiar and she quickly changes
the subject. It also looks as if she has been using poison in
Billy's tea as it smelt strangely of 'bitter almonds' which is not
I do feel that the landlady has been stereotyped as a murderer just
because her pets are stuffed but I can see how Billy got scared at the
end. Although no evidence was proven in the story that Mr Temple and
Mulholland were in fact stuffed also because she didn't admit to it.
But this makes the story more effective and surprising. The story's
impact at the end is a big one because it is left on a cliffhanger.
Had she also stuffed recent guests? And had she poisoned Billy Weaver
and stuffed him also? Does she ever get found out?
I think that in A Terribly Strange Bed the main character is very
lucky that he notices the picture disappearing, otherwise he could
have been murdered when the canopy came down lowering on the narrator.
Luckily the man escaped by rolling over, climbing through the window
and sliding down the drainpipe, this creates tension in the story, as
it is scary thinking how the character will escape without being
suffocated in his sleep.
Motives for murder in both stories is different in A Terribly Strange
Bed the motive for murder is so the criminals get the money. Whereas
in The Landlady the motive is more than certainly psychological. I
find both stories ironic in The Landlady Billy's first impressions of
the landlady is that she is 'off her rocker' in a sinister way and is
not as 'harmless' as he thought. In A Terribly Strange Bed it is
ironic that the old soldier tries to encourage the victim to break the
bank to win it big time, and then makes himself the victim.
More contrasts between the two stories are that the gambling house and
Bed and Breakfast have attractions to both characters. In A Terribly
Strange Bed the character gets a determination to enter the gambling
house as he has never been in one before and Billy in The Landlady
gets attracted to the sign saying 'Bed and Breakfast' and then gets
compelled to ring the bell.
In A Terribly Strange Bed the narrator ignores the advice from the Old
Soldier to be suspicious and cautious of everything. Billy in The
Landlady doesn't feel like he should be suspicious and cautious until
evidence builds up when she says 'there wasn't a blemish on Mr
Temple's body' and that she was 'just a teeny weeny bit choosy and
particular when she chose her guests'. This was made obvious when he
read the guest book that revealed she had only two guests before him
and they were years ago!
[IMAGE]One conclusion is almost certain for the ending that Billy will
die in The Landlady who would never be suspected of doing such a crime
and luckily the gambler escapes his ordeal in 'A Terribly Strange
The place A Terribly Strange Bed was set in Paris and The Landlady was
set in Bath. The fear and tension in both stories is incredible and
have a lot of connections with each other as 'A Terribly Strange Bed'
is seen as a detective story and 'The Landlady' is a horror story.