Lamb to the Slaughter’ was written by Roald Dahl in 1954. Roald Dahl is famous for writing children’s stories, like George’s Marvellous Medicine and James and the Giant Peach, which I have read and enjoyed. Roald Dalh also writes stories for adults. They are usually about ordinary people doing strange things.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote ‘The Speckled Band’ in 1892. His stories are about the famous detective Sherlock Holmes. Before reading this story I knew that Sherlock Holmes was a famous detective, working with fellow colleague Doctor Watson and Scotland Yard.
The victim in ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ is Patrick Maloney. He was married to Mary Maloney. He was killed when Mary Maloney hit him over the head with a leg of lamb. We started to suspect something was wrong when I quoted “on the evening of his death Patrick Maloney did an unusual thing. He finished his drink very quickly and then poured himself out another, very strong one.” Another clue, which would suggest that something is wrong, is that he took a long time to reply to his wife, “he didn’t answer”, “Her eyes waited on him for an answer, a smile, a little nod, but he made no sign.” “He had finished the second drink and was starring down into the glass, frowning.”Order now
In the ‘Speckled Band’ the victim is Miss Helen Stoner. When we first see her in the story she was wearing black, and had a veiled on her face and grey haired. She was shivering and terrified “we could see that she was indeed in a pitiable state of agitation, her face all drawn and grey, with a restless frightened eyes, like of those of some hunted animal”, “the lady gave a violent start”, “It is fear, Mr Holmes. It is terror.”
In ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ the murderer was Mary Maloney. She was married to the victim Patrick Maloney. Mary Maloney was pregnant and looked beautiful “Her motive for murdering her husband was because he told her he was leaving her for someone else, “Of course I’ll give you money and see you’re looked after. But there isn’t for any fuss. I hope not anyway. It wouldn’t be very good for my job.” Mary Maloney didn’t want to get caught because she didn’t want her or herself or her child to be killed .So she wasn’t going to take any chances “What were the laws about murderers with unborn children? Did they kill them bothâ€¦mother and child? I feel sympathy for her because her husband was going to leave her for someone else. He thought that money could solve the problem but I think Mary Maloney over reacted to the situation.
The murderer in ‘The Speckled Band’ was Doctor Grimesby Roylott. He was a violent man who had a bad temper “In a fit of anger, however, caused by some robberies which had been perpetrated in the house, he beat his native butler to death”. After his wife died he shut himself up and became very violent “But a terrible change came over our step-father about this timeâ€¦”he is a man of immense strength, and absolutely uncontrollable anger”. His motive for trying to kill Miss Helen Stoner was money. His deceased wife left money for her daughters, but if they die he would receive the money. He is also very selfish, a very dangerous man. He should have got capital punishment when he murdered his butler in India.
In ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’, in the scene of the crime there was a very calm and relaxed atmosphere “The room was warm and clean, the curtains drawn, the two table lamps alight â€“ hers and the one by the empty chair opposite. On the sideboard behind her, two tall glasses, soda water, whisky. Fresh ice cubes in the Thermos Bucket.” Although there is calm and relaxed atmosphere, it is a little too calm which creates tension. I understand why her husband left her because she created too much tension and she fussed over him too much.
In the scene of the crime ‘The Speckled Band’ was in an old house. The house is described as “The building was of grey, lichen â€“ blotched stone, with a high central portion and two curving wings, like the claws of a crab, thrown out on each side. In one of these wings the windows were broken and blocked with wooden boards, while the roof was partly caved in, a picture of ruin.” This creates a spooky and scary atmosphere. The atmosphere makes me feel very cautious because it’s a typical description of a haunted house where anything could suddenly happen. You could relate this atmosphere to a typical atmosphere of a murder mystery. To add to the fear and horror were both a baboon and cheetah which were in the house.
In ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ the detective did not suspect Mary Maloney, they didn’t suspect a women .They should have questioned mary instead of drinking and eating the evidence Eating the lamb. The detectives were very sloppy with the investigation “She could hear them speaking amongst them self’s,and knew they wouldn’t solve the crime.
Hoverever in ‘The Speckled Band’ Sherlock Holmes suspects Grimesby Roylott, treats the case as urgent, treats Helen Stoner kindly, spots all the clues, recognises red herrings, takes personal risks and solves the crime. He does this by spotting all the clues “My attention was speedily drawnâ€¦to this ventilator, and to the ropes which hung down to the bed. The discovery that this was a dummy and that the bed was clamped to the floor, instantly gave rise to suspicion that the rope was there as a bridge for something passing through the hole and coming to the bed.”
The idea of a snake instantly occurred to me. Initially I had an idea that Doctor Grimesby Roylott had something to do with the murder, but when Sherlock Holmes revealed it couldn’t be Roylott I had a suspicion that it was an animal because there was a cheetah and a baboon in the house. Sherlock Holmes is a good detective because he is very observant and picks up on clues very quickly. He also thinks very logically.
In ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’, the murderer, Mary Maloney gets away with killing Patrick Maloney. She wasn’t suspected. At first she was sad but eventually got over it. This doesn’t usually happen in murder mysteries. I think she was clever as she managed to get rid of the evidence. What else is unusual is that the murderer was a pregnant woman. I would think that not many pregnant women would do this.
In ‘The Speckled Band’ the snake kills the murderer, Doctor Roylott. I think he deserved to get killed because he is sick and twisted and does not care for any one apart from himself. I like my murder mysteries to have a twist at the end tail.
The most exciting part of ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ was when Mary Maloney hit her husband over the head with a leg of lamb “At that point, Mary Maloney simply walked up behind him and without and pause she swung the big frozen leg of lamb in to the air and brought it down as hard as she could on the back of his head.” The part which made me carry on reading the story was when Patrick Maloney was going to tell Mary the bad news “This is going to be a bit of a shock to you, I’m afraid’ he said ‘but I’ve thought about it a good deal and I’ve decided the only thing to do is to tell you right away. I hope you won’t blame me too much.”
The most exciting part of ‘The Speckled Band’ was when the snake killed Doctor Grimsbey Roylott. “His chin was cocked upwards, and his eyes were fixed in a dreadful rigid stare at the corner of the ceiling. Round his brow he had a peculiar yellow band, with brownish speckles, which seemed to be bound tightly round his head. As we entered he made neither sound nor movement.” Another part, which made me want to read on, was when Doctor Roylott followed Miss Helen Stoner to Sherlock Holmes office “Don’t you dare meddle with my affairs. I know Miss Stoner has been here-I traced her! I ‘m a dangerous to fall foul of! See here.”
‘The Speckled Band’ is set in Victorian times. We know this because it uses old -fashioned language, difficult words, women wore long dresses and gloves. We also know this because dogcarts were around in this time. “There is no dog cart which throws up mud in that way”. You can tell the ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ is set in the 50’s because the language used is modern. In the story there is also a car “tyres on the gravel outside”, and a thermos bucket “Fresh ice in the Thermos Bucket.” They both show that the story was set in the 1950’s.
I don’t think it is unusual that there are no female detectives because both before and after the 1900’s and during half of the 20th centaury women were only thought of as house wives, who only listen to their father who would have no say in anything.
‘The Speckled Band’ went into detail with the investigation, unlike ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’. Which was a snappy story and a quick investigation. Even though the language is more old fashioned then the language used in ‘Lamb to the Slaughter’ I found The speckled band more enjoyable. Both stories had unconventional endings, which I liked and which made both stories more interesting.
People will always like to read Murder Mysteries because they are interesting and they make you think about what could happen, and you have to work things out using clues, which you have been given. A good work for your mind.