Lamb to the slaughter by Roal Dahl Essay
Lamb to the slaughter by Roal Dahl
Detective mystery fiction started in England in the 1790s. Then later in the 1850s to 1860s authors started writing melodramatic thrillers known as sensation novels perhaps one of the best known of the melodramatic thrillers is the stories written by Wilkie Collins who wrote “The woman in white”. By the late 1800s Conan Doyle wrote stories featuring Sherlock Holmes, this type of story was called mystery fiction, and is undoubtedly the most influential mystery fiction novel of the 1970s.
These mystery fiction novels were based on Sherlock Holmes who is a detective in murder cases and has a side kick called Watson who very much admires Sherlock Holmes as being very clever in solving crimes by gathering the evidence. In the book he narrates the story and makes clear He’s admiration for Sherlock Holmes, this is what influenced other writers in the 20th century to writing mystery fiction stories based on the structure of the Sherlock Holmes.
And you can still see the work of Conan Doyle being used as structure for modern day stories and film series, such as the well known “CSI crime” which is set in America and involves a group of homicide detectives who have an important role in using state of the art forensic techniques in order to work out the murders and accomplices, with a twist to the story to make it more interesting. However in replacement to where Conan Doyle uses cunning detective work the makers of CSI use the forensic science more as the way of catching the murderess. “Law and Order” uses the same concept as “CSI crime” but is set in a different part of America.
“The Bill” is a popular TV series about a police force that use cunning police work by working together to solve all crimes. Unlike in the stories of Sherlock Holmes or “CSI crime” “The bill” uses more then one detective just like in Sherlock Holmes. Another detective story based on the stories of Sherlock Holmes is the TV series called “Colombo” who is a homicide detective and is very cunning just like Sherlock Holmes. Colombo however unlike other modern detectives is a very unconventional detective because when he’s on a case he acts very senseless and seems as though he isn’t a very good detective, however towards the end he solves the murder very cunningly.
Another modern but unconventional detective story is the TV series “Diagnoses murder” the main character of this series is a doctor who works at the hospital and like Sherlock Holmes has nothing to do with the local police so he works alone solving murder cases, which are brought in buy the people he treats at the hospital where he works this therefore makes this detective story very unconventional and is not like Sherlock Holmes in that respect.
The detective story “The Speckled band” is conventional as the settings are normal for a murder story if you take in to account the detective who is cunning with a side kick Watson and the victims you can see that the setting and atmosphere are very conventional for a murder detective story. However Holmes is responsible for the death of DR Grimsby Roylott which is unconventional. However the structure is conventional, the readers realize this as the “The Speckled band” works backwards from the discovery of Mrs. Helen Stoner’s death. Helen stoner’s sister goes to meet Sherlock Holmes and Watson to bring to their attention the murder of Mrs. Helen Stoner.
Then later we read about the investigation that Holmes and Watson undertake at Stoke Moran. The narration in “The Speckled band” is two linear which we find out when Helen stoners sister tells Holmes and Watson about the murder “It is of her death that I wish to speak to you”, and when Watson narrates “I was early….fair play. However in the story “Lamb to the slaughter” the settings are very unconventional and instead seem like an ordinary family’s life but the story has a cunning twist and Mary Maloney (the wife) murders her husband (Mr. Maloney) who is a detective.
This is most unusual for a murder detective story and so is unconventional considering a detective got killed, the atmosphere and settings along with the detectives who are the police but in the story seem very half-witted and ironic as they eat the evidence and drink the whiskey in the middle of the murder case whilst Mary Maloney gets away with the murder. The structure of the “Lamb to the slaughter” is unconventional because the pinnacle of the story is when Mary Maloney kills her husband. This makes the storey we read about the crime being committed and not very much of the investigation as we had seen earlier in “The Speckled band”.
The story “The Speckled band” begins with Watson (Sherlock Holmes’s side kick) narrating, he brings in to account the case of the Surrey family of the Roylotts of Stoke Moran, the story continues to the murder of Mrs. Helen Stoner who had just recently been engaged but before her death she said that “It was the band! The Speckled band”. However the readers are kept in to suspense of the murderer’s identity, but Sherlock Holmes is called in he finds later long thin marking on Mrs. Helen Stoner indicating that if an animal is involved then it must be long and thin.
When Sherlock Holmes was first called in for the case he proved to be a very observant detective and starts to suspect that Mrs. Julia Stoners recent engagement is a threat to her life and that the murderer of Mr. Helen Stoner will kill her as she also like Helen is engaged, so the murder of Helen must be linked to her recent engagement, During the story Watson continues to narrate, later Sherlock Holmes and Watson check out the house were the murder took place and Watson’s narrative tells the reader how observant Sherlock Holmes is and creates an image of him as being a detective who never leaves a stone unturned.
As Sherlock Holmes checks the house he find out that DR Grimsby Roylott had added some peculiar things about the house like a ventilator and a dummy bell rope. After a while Sherlock Holmes pieces up the clues and realizes that there is something wrong about the crime scene. Sherlock Holmes arranges with Mrs. Stoner to shine her lantern through the window from her bed room at the house in Stoke Moran when DR Grimsby Roylott gets in to his bed room at night, when Sherlock Holmes and Watson saw the signal from outside they climb in to the house through the window through to Mrs. Stoners bed room.
After a while in Mrs. Julia Stoners bed room they finally hear a dark lantern being lit later they hear what Watson describes as a “Soothing sound” and then a cry which Watson explains was a “The most horrible cry I have ever listened”, Sherlock Holmes tells Watson that they should go into DR Grimsby Roylott room where they had heard the sound, when they entered DR Grimsby Roylott room they find that he is dead and appears to be wearing a sparkling chain around his neck but when Sherlock Holmes approaches him they find that it is a live snake which bittern DR Grimsby Roylott and caused his death, Its a “swamp adder” Sherlock Holmes explains, and then continues to say that “.
It is the deadliest snake in India” and comes to the conclusion that the snake was the speckled band which Helen Stoner said just before she died. So in the end it becomes apparent to Sherlock Holmes that DR Grimsby Roylott was the murderer and his motive was greed over money which his daughters would inherit from him in the event of their marriage which is why Mrs. Helen Stoner was killed as she was engaged. It becomes apparent to the reader that DR Grimsby Roylott was trying on that night to kill Mrs. Stoner but failed as the snake he put through the ventilator was blocked so the snake turned round and attacked DR Grimsby Roylott.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 4 October 2017
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