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A good detective story Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 12 October 2017

A good detective story

What makes the story of ‘The Speckled Band’ by ‘Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’ a good detective story? “… A story that tells of crime and the detection of criminals. ” The dictionary definition of a detective story – but this isn’t all we expect from a detective story. We expect atmospheric settings, interesting characters, mysterious crime, suspense, an evil plot and a hero that saves the day right at the eleventh hour, accompanied by a faithful companion. These are a few factors that mould together to make a good story.

In this essay I will explore some of these factors and decide whether ‘The Speckled Band’ has enough good features. Sherlock Holmes is the hero. He is the well-spoken detective that never ceases to amaze the reader with his extensive knowledge of the world he lives in. “The left arm of your jacket is splattered with mud… the marks are perfectly fresh… There is no vehicle save a dog-cart which throws up mud in that way… “. He is the perfect gentlemen and in my imagination is immaculately dressed in only the finest of clothes.

However, I have seen illustrations of him that may have influenced this image. He doesn’t seem to fear anything; he handles the most dangerous situations with the calmest of attitudes. An example of his fearless attitude is when Dr Roylott confronted him and aggressively bent a poker out of shape. Holmes casually straightened it back out again and didn’t lose his temper in the slightest. He gathers clues and even though they are mentioned to us, his intelligence allows him to see perfectly ordinary objects in a way we can’t. For instance, a leash with a knot tied in it, or a saucer of milk.

Holmes reveals that her knew they were part of the crime but how, we may never know. He seems to be able to piece together hidden clues and build up to the final picture before the reader has even had chance to fathom out the first set of clues! He’s quick, smart and can follows clues like a bloodhound on a scent trail. Helen Stoner is the sister of the victim. She goes to Sherlock Holmes in confidence that he will solve the mystery and let her live in peace again. The death of her sister, Julia Stoner, shook her up so much that she shivers in fear. She was in a “… pitiable state of agitation…

” her face was “all drawn and grey” and her eyes looked like those of a “… hunted animal”. The death had caused her visible stress and she had become restless which in turn had affected her health. She is in a dangerous position and if Holmes doesn’t act quickly, she too may suffer the same fate as her beloved sister. Dr Roylott is the father of Helen and Julia. His aggressive, violent nature does him no favours and if anything only confirms Holmes’ suspicions. An example of his frightful temper would be during his confrontation with Holmes: “see that you keep yourself out of my grip”.

Holmes, undeterred, carried on his investigations later to find Dr Roylott victim of his own crime… dead. Julia Stoner, the initial victim, was engaged to a half pay major of the marines. We do not learn anything about her fianci?? other than this information. However, it is made clear that Julia getting married would leave less inheritance for her father, Dr Roylott. This is the proposed motive. There is little information about Julia in the text but enough to start building ideas about the crime. The narrator, Dr Watson, an enthusiastic supporter and faithful friend of Sherlock Holmes, follows all Holmes’ investigations.

He is quick to learn and very eager to do so: “me dear fellow, I would not miss it for anything”. We are not given much information about him in the story, because he is telling it. All these characters make the story an enjoyable read. As to the original question, what makes the story a good detective story, I think it is all the components such as the characters and their individual personalities; a motive; a crime; the suspense; and the settings. All these fit together to make the final picture, a good story!

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  • University/College: University of Arkansas System

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 12 October 2017

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