I am going to be going through two short stories and then writing a short conclusion at the end comparing the two stories showing the differences. The two stories are the “landlady” and “the speckled band” they are both murder stories, murder stories are so popular these days because I think that people get gripped and addicted to the stories as they read on. My favourite murder story is probably Jonathan Creek because the story lines are so good. The features of a traditional murder story are the characters in it like the pretty woman (next on the murder list), the detective and the murderer.
Someone reading a murder story tends to expect that the murder is a mystery and a detective has to try and find the murderer. This part of the essay I’m going to be writing about the short story the landlady so all my answers refer to the landlady in less it is stated. The landlady is about a landlady who kills her visitors you have to work out if he dies or not but we assume he does, we are given hits and clues not explanations telling us Billy weaver has died.
The story is written in 1959 and it affects the style because of the amount of technology. But you can tell that the story is a twentieth century short story as the language used is so modern for example “dame” this is a American influence on the story. The transport and items in the story are also modern like in the speckled band they just turn up to places they don’t know anything about.
Billy goes to bath to stay in a hotel but he ends up in an old women’s bed and breakfast house, which he says he got dragged into.
He sees a sign saying “bed and breakfast” and he says “each word was like a large black eye staring at him through the glass, holding him, compelling him, forcing him to stay where he was and not to walk away from that house”. He goes to the B&B not knowing that the woman is going to kill him by poisoning him. There is a narrator telling us the story so there isn’t a detective, so we have to act as a detective and you can pick up clues during the story. The suspected murderer is the landlady as it is Billy and the two dead men who have stayed in the B&B and Billy recognises the two men’s names and he thought that they had gone missing.
Then in the story it says “the tea tasted of bitter almond, and he didn’t much care for it”. This is a hit that the landlady was putting poison in the tea. The landlady is very deceiving the way she gets around questions sneakily. I say this because when Billy asks the landlady where the “others” are she replies “they’re upstairs, when she knows that they are dead upstairs may be in the walls. She be tends that she is being nice but she is being horrid. Especially when the landlady asks politely “would you like a cup of tea” so Billy thinks that she is looking after him but really she is poisoning him, but Billy rejects the offer, luckily.
Mostly the guests wouldn’t guess that the landlady was a murderer, as she doesn’t sound like a bloodcurdling type of person as she only asks the guests questions in a polite manner. When the reader analyses the story they see numerous clues and there is only one person to be in the direction of and that’s the landlady. The victim is awfully young at seventeen and is probably inexperienced in travelling alone. So he is going to have to be exceptionally courteous while he is the guest. So he has to take up the offers, I find this the main cause of the problems he got interested in like, how he got into the place of stay.
Billy is unaware and totally fooled by the fact that the landlady is a murderer, as he thinks that she is just doing her job correctly, this is also down to inexperience. Billy is a traditional victim for the reason that he is young and native however typically victims are women. The Bed and Breakfast being run down and unpleasant brings tension to the story since it make it spooky and mysterious. This quote backs up this idea “There were no shops on this wide street that he was walking alone, only a line of tall houses on each side, all of them identical”.
However the B&B inside seems pleasant and extremely welcoming to make Billy seem at home and make him feel he’s unthreatened. The suspense is created by the way that only a few people had stayed in the B&B and Billy had thought that the same men had gone missing. The story ends opened which means that the story has unanswered questions, the landlady has lots of unanswered questions like “Will Billy die? ” and “How did the two men die? ” I would prefer the story if I know the ending as it gets me curious and keeps me wondering for couple of days. So I think the story would be better if I knew the ending as it satisfies our curiosity.
There is a lot of informal talking, as the landlady and Billy don’t really know each other that well and they want to make a good first impression. Part Two The Speckled Band The Speckled Band is about someone trying to kill his relatives to get lots of money. Sherlock Holmes has to solve who the murderer is, as he is the detective. The case is in the year 1883, and the story is Victorian somehow someone has killed Julia Stoner and Holmes has to find out how he tries to kill Helen. Sherlock is the detective so we don’t need to work everything out unlike the landlady. Dr Roylott is the suspected murderer as he is a violent man.
I back this up with an extract for the story “But a terrible change came over our stepfather” so he can go out of control and go dreadfully aggressive and violent. I feel that Dr Roylott’s character is exceedingly greedy and he only thinks of himself, I think this because otherwise he wouldn’t be killing other people for their money for him. Dr Roylott is a typical murderer for the reason that he can be really nice then just flip and got aggressive and out of control. The quote above tells you that he goes out of control, as this quote comes from his stepchildren. Also he is just thinking of him self inside like other criminals.
Most of the reader would think that the murderer is Dr Roylott as he is so unpopular. At the beginning there’s a lot of unanswered questions but as the story progresses Sherlock Holmes answers them for us as he is the detective and in this short story you get to find out what happened in the end. There are two victims in the story as Dr Roylott dies at the end when his plan backfired. The main victim Is Helen Stoner it says she’s “thirty, but her hair was shot with premature grey, and her expression was weary and haggard. ” She is a stereotypical victim as she is a young female who is frightened.
The setting is traditional given that it is set in a mansion but it is run down which makes it daunting. This ads tension to the story seeing as its unpleasant and it makes it spooky. The suspense is helped built up by the plot because its all down to the last night its make or break for Holmes. But Holmes gathers the glues together and he works the plot out. The story ends closed as Holmes has answered the questions and we know how Roylott killed Julia. So Holmes then backfires the plot to kill Dr Roylott. That how the ending works well with the story otherwise Dr Roylott would still be alive.
I find this ending better that the Landlady ending, as you don’t have to do as much working out. The language used by Holmes is very informal, as Sherlock just wants to find some answers and get to the foundation of the murder. Conclusion There is an assortment of aspects to compare between to the two short stories. The two stories are incredibly like chalk and cheese and are dissimilar in many ways. The first point you have to conclude is the endings. The endings were different in the aspects that one was open which was the Landlady, and one was closed which was the Speckled Band.
The Landlady practically leaves it up to you to work out. Does Billy die? What ever happened to the two other men who had stayed two years ago? Will the Landlady ever be arrested? Personally I would prefer it if the story was closed like the Speckled Band so you can just read and find out what happens in the end, as I think that’s what murder stories are about, and that’s what keeps you reading, to find out what happens in the end. The detective role is another point to compare as the Landlady hasn’t got a detective and the Speckled Band has Sherlock Holmes as the detective.
Again I have to be on the Speckled Bands side given that having a detective closes the story as you find out what happens when the detective finds out the murderer depending on his success. Not having a detective leaves you solving the case and ends the story your self, and I don’t think that’s right. So overall I preferred to read the Speckled Band, as it is more enjoyable to read for me. So if I was going to pick between the two it would be the Speckled Band and if I had to choose another murder story I would pick one with a detective and with a closed ending.