The cryptic language, however, which many characters use and that continues throughout the story is just a facade. This front or show that Raymond Chandler uses proves to be very effective, reflecting the troublesome era remarkably. The final aspect of the two stories that I will compare is the ending. The ending in I’ll Be Waiting is very emotional. Tony Reseck receives a telephone call telling him that Johnny Ralls (the man who Tony let go, against his brother’s advice) has murdered his brother Al: “Al had a hunch you’d run him out. Tailed him and took him to the kerb. Not so good. Backfire.”
The person delivering the message is quite direct and speaks in short disjointed sentences, almost like bullet points. The lack of sympathy gives the reader the impression that the person is used to shootings on the street and that they are nothing special to him/her: The metallic voice sounded impatient, a little bored. During the decade that the story was written in, people were much more accustomed to street crime and murder than one is today: this messenger therefore, reflects the era of the story. Tony, however, does not take the news well at first. When he picked up the phone Chandler described him as cuddling the receiver close to his chest, but just before he found out about Al’s murder the description changed to: Tony held the phone very tight and his temples chilled with the evaporation of moisture.
Tony feels culpable for his brother’s murder and this provokes the raw emotions he feels when he finds out his brother is dead: His mouth made a sound that was not speech. The detective goes into a phase of denial: Tony put the phone down…very carefully, so as not to make any sound. He might be hoping that he could ignore the feeling of guilt and the depression he will inevitably feel by almost pretending to himself that nothing happened. Finally, Tony seems to begin to accept his brother’s death in the best way he can at the time: He reached the chair he had sat in before and lowered himself into it inch by inch.
The fact that Tony sits in the chair that he sat in at the start of the story indicates a theme of circularity: more simply life goes on. This attitude towards his surroundings, family and general life reflects the era superbly. In contrast, the ending in The Speckled Band is a mandatory victory for Sherlock Holmes. He manages to independently solve the case and takes the law into his own hands, by also assisting in the death of the arch-villain Doctor Roylott.
The Doctor was sending a poisonous snake through a vent into the room where his victim sleeps. The snake climbed down a rope and bit the person and then returned upon the call of a whistle. The detective however, deduced this and scared the snake, provoking it to return and kill the Doctor. Holmes’ victory only enhances his confidence and reputation and he feels no remorse for acting above the law: “And I cannot say that it is likely to weigh very heavily upon my conscience”. To conclude, both these detective stories are very different. The Speckled Band is much more of a conventional tale, using grammatically correct language and a traditional Gothic tale framework to revolve the story around. This heavily tradition based detective story reflects 19th Century Victorian Britain extremely well.
Raymond Chandler’s I’ll Be Waiting is a more original, modern story. The tale is more realistic then that of Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle’s story and has, I believe, a greater sense of atmosphere then The Speckled Band. Chandler helps to create this atmosphere by using a wide array of adjectives and descriptive phrases. However, unlike Doyle’s tale there is not much of a dynamic story line, but maybe this is just another subtle way Raymond Chandler reflects the era his tale was written in?