Ronald Dahl wrote Lamb To the Slaughter. Arthur Conan Doyle wrote the Speckled Band. Both stories are both murders, but differ in many ways. The author Ronald Dahl is more associated with children stories such as ‘James and the Giant Peach’ being one of many. Arthur C Doyle is well known because he is the author of the famous Sherlock Holmes, murder, and mystery novels. The Speckled Band is a Sherlock Holmes plot. You know from the beginning it is a murder mystery. With a plot, weapon and victims.
It is very descriptive, as it describes the rooms in detail so it can be visualised, as though you are actually seeing it. Sherlock Holmes is known for catching his man. The suspense in these novels is trying to work out who has committed the crime. It is written in the 19th century, and it is using grammar that is concurrent with that era. Lamb to the Slaughter gives the suggestion of murder through the title of the novel. It is a suspense novel, as in you can’t guess what will happen next or whether the murder will be caught. It also has a sense of humour wove into it.Order now
This novel is set in the modern 20th century and can be seen by the grammar used and also the fact that cars are used in the narrative writing. The Speckled Band is a pre-conceived murder plot in that it is pre-planned, well thought through. Lamb to the Slaughter wasn’t pre-planned it happens because of a domestic argument, but the events after the murder are calculated and well planned in a rather sick way. The murders in the novels are very difficult. In Lamb to the Slaughter Mrs Maloney is portrayed as a diligent housewife. She is happy and contented with domestic life; she is also pregnant.
She is quiet and peaceful, happy to cook, clean and sew. She was happy to look after the house and her husband. An example of this is ‘Darling, shall I get your slippers? ‘ When he tells her he wants to leave her, her personality changes, like when you switch a light switch off. She uses the leg of lamb that she has just taken from the freezer for dinner as the murder weapon. She uses all her force and smashes it down on the back of her husband head. She has killed her husband in a fit of rage. But she shows no remorse or regret.
She proves she has conceived a plan now as she goes to the grocers shop. This gives her an alibi on her return she phones the police. She in the meantime reapplies makeup and practises her smile and behaviour with the aid of a mirror. She is calculating and cold in her manners. She then proceeds to cook the leg of lamb and whilst the police are there, she offers them dinner. She wasn’t really a suspect and the murder weapon is eaten. Her cold personality is shown at the end when the policemen are eating their meal discussing that the evidence could be under their noses and she laughs.
In the Speckled Band, it is more typical as in the murderer fits the part. The author describes the killer as ‘A large face, seared with thousands wrinkles, burned yellow by the sun and marked with every evil passion, was turned from one too the other of us, while his deep set, bile shot eyes and the high thin fleshiness nose, gave him somewhat the resemblance to a fierce old bird of prey’. He is portrayed as an unhinged man as in he is unbalanced in his mind, big and strong, violent and moody yet he is also very clever. His murders are pre-conceived and well thought through.
This is shown in the way he killed his stepdaughters so he wouldn’t have to pay a dowry on there marriage. The murder weapon in this novel was an exotic snake. In Lamb to the Slaughter the victim is a policeman. He’s portrayed as being molly-coddled, his wife being more like a mother than a wife. As in she”s at his beck and call. He feels suffocated by her affections and care. His conversation when he returns from work indicates that he has something that he wants to tell her that is important. He is off-hand with her telling her he doesn’t want dinner and to sit down.
It never stated why he wants to leave it is left up to the readers own conclusions. The author shows now the husband is stressed by his short sentences and the wording he uses, his description of ‘ a little muscle moving near the corner of his left eye’ and also ‘but there needn’t really be any fuss. I hope not anyway. It wouldn’t be good for my job’. In Speckled Band the victim is quite stereotypical of a victim in that they are weak, defenceless, scared and distraught, ‘her face all drawn and grey, with restless eyes, like those of a frightened animal’.
There is also a second victim not a lot is wrote regarding her apart from the fact that she is Helen Stoner’s sister and they way in which she dies which is repeated through out the novel. In both novels they are police, again they portrayed in different ways. In Lamb to the Slaughter there are numerous policeman, they are depicted as slightly stupid, as they fail to question the wife thoroughly or look for the weapon, they even have an empathy with her. They do check out her alibi and when it is proved true she is dismissed.
They show their stupidity by way that at the table as they are eating they say that the weapon has to be under there noses, which of course it is. In Speckled Band it is Sherlock Holmes and Watson who are the police. Sherlock Holmes is renown for having good problem solving techniques, an insight into the criminal mind. He has solved numerous murders from using these techniques. He also has a knowledge of how the victims travelled which is shown when he states ‘You had a good drive in a dog-cart’ he shows now he know this information by going on to say ‘There is no mystery my dear Madam.
The left arm of your jacket is splattered with mud. There is no vehicle save a dogcart, which throws mud in that way’. In the Lamb to the Slaughter Mary gets away with the murder. She gives the impression of putting on a brave face on the situation, making the best of it. Her breaking point to commit the murder of her husband was the fact he wanted to leave her. In Speckled Band Dr Roylott kills his stepdaughters for money. His wife dies and leaves him with an inheritance and two stepdaughters. He plots to murder them so he won’t have to pay a dowry when they get married.
So he keeps the wealth himself. What he doesn’t expect is the murder weapon that he used to actually kill him. This is what I would class a just desserts. I enjoyed Lamb to the Slaughter the best as it is set in modern times and quite funny. The grammar was easier to read and understand and you also had an empathy with the two main characters. The Speckled Band had good description but wasn’t as easy to read as the grammar used was significant of the 19th century when it was written. Previous123