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Wide Reading Comparing 'lamb To The Slaughter' To 'the Speckled Band'

1687 words - 7 pages

'Lamb to the Slaughter' and 'The Speckled Band' are both murder mysteries. Like most murder mysteries each of the stories have a murderer, a victim and characters acting in a suspicious or unusual way.'Lamb to the Slaughter' is a 20th century story about a woman called Mary who kills her husband, Patrick Maloney, using a leg of lamb. This seems quite surprising at first as she seems quite loving and devoted to him- 'she loved to luxuriate in the presence of this man.' However a lot of Mary Maloney's behaviour in the first scene does seem quite worrying and peculiar. It seems that she is almost obsessed with her husband and this is shown by the way she is constantly trying to please him. ...view middle of the document...

It's also very different from other murder mysteries, such as ' The Speckled Band' because the murder is usually caught so it is quite surprising to find that Mrs Maloney gets away with the crime.One of the main distinctions between 'The Speckled Band' and 'Lamb to the Slaughter are the narrative styles. 'Lamb to the Slaughter' is told from a third person perspective where as 'The Speckled Band' is told from Dr Watson's point of view.'The Speckled Band' is a 19th century story. The two detectives investigating the murder are Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson. The murder they are investigating is that of Julia Stoner. Her sister, Helen, goes to Holmes to report the death. She claims that she heard her sister scream in the night and when she went to see what happened Julia screamed " It was the band! The speckled band" and pointed to Dr Roylott's, their stepfather's, room. It is later revealed that the 'speckled band' is actually a snake. Dr Roylott had been planning to murder both Julia and Helen for quite some time as his plan had been carefully thought through. He had planned for his snake, a swamp adder, to slide down the bell rope, through the ventilator and onto the bed. This would result in the snake biting Julia, which would kill her. His plan worked on Julia but not on Helen as Holmes managed to work out what was going on and was just about able to prevent Helen from being killed.In actual fact Holmes was partially responsible for the death of Dr Roylott . This is because when he realised that the snake was on the bell rope he repeatedly hit the bell rope with his cane, which enraged the snake causing it to climb back up the rope and bite Dr Roylott. Although Holmes could not have been certain that the snake would kill Roylott, he would have known that he was putting Roylott's life in danger. He may well have done this to give Roylott a taste of his own medicine or because he thought that people who kill others deserve to die themselves. However if this was the case he was letting his personal moral or religious views interfere with his job and indeed the criminal system by taking the law into his own hands. It could have been that Holmes was particularly shocked or overwhelmed by the situation and so pulling the bell rope was his first instinct but this seems to be a very unlikely and foolish thing for Holmes to have done.Sherlock Holmes listened very carefully to Helen's story and in his investigation tried not to miss out any details as he realised they could be vital. I think that he was slightly suspicious of Roylott after he first met him because of Roylott's behaviour. When Holmes tried to talk to Roylott he replied with comments such as ' I know you, you scoundrel! I have heard of you before. You are Holmes the meddler.' This implied that Roylott had something to hide, as he didn't want Holmes interfering. However Holmes seemed determined not to make accusations or allegations until he had some more evidence. 'The Speckled Band' has a...

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