“In What Ways can “The Speckled Band” be seen as a classic Murder Mystery story? ” In this essay I will be analysing “The Speckled Band” by sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Arthur Conan Doyle, born in 1859 and died in 1930, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland where he studied medicine and received an M. D. It was when he was out of work due to lack of patients in Southsea, England that he started writing books, the first of which was “Study in Scarlet” which first introduced Sherlock Holmes to the British Public. People loved the style and preciseness with which Conan Doyle wrote.
Signature to Conan Doyle’s style of writing is his use of the first person narrative. He secures this through Dr. Watson, his close associate. Conan Doyle’s medical knowledge also helped him create a whole new era of writing. Conan Doyle was the writer to produce a murder Mystery story and he set many prospering writers to write in a similar way. This makes Conan Doyle a classic writer anyway and people loved Sherlock Holmes so much that when Conan Doyle devised his hero’s death in 1893 they demanded Holmes’ return. I will determine whether, and how far, “The Speckled Band” can be seen as a “classic” murder mystery story.
Before that, however, I need to explain what exactly makes up a “classic” murder mystery story. There are several essential criterions. There must be: a crime, a victim, a detective figure and his assistant, a villain and a motive, and an unexpected ending. I will be looking at all of these in further detail and collecting evidence to prove the points I make. The crime & the victim. In the Speckled Band the murder of the sister of Helen Stoner, Julia, is the crime. Helen stoner is the lady who, in a vision of distress, comes to Sherlock Holmes in order to solve the unsolved mystery of her sister’s death.
She herself is clearly distressed and terror stricken. In a picture of desperation she comes Holmes to seek help. Immediately she puts an image into the mind of the reader that creates sympathy and interest. She wakes up the great Sherlock Holmes who in turn wakes up his assistant and this creates suspense. The reader wants to know why Holmes has been woken in the early hours. She first appears at Holmes abode, shivering. Holmes inquires as to why to why she was shivering. “It is not cold which makes me shiver, it is fear, Mr. Holmes. It is terror. ”
This creates yet more suspense for the reader. Julia is already dead as the story is told and Conan Doyle very cleverly uses the past death of Julia to create suspense later when her sister Helen is under the threat of being killed. A classic victim is a distressed female, usually young and good-looking. Julia Stoner was a good-looking woman in her thirties and of wealthy descent that was distressed by family affairs. This is classic to the finest detail. She came to a mysterious death in the Roylott household inside a locked room, at night. This is the perfect crime.
In a classic murder mystery story the crime must seem completely inexplicable to everyone but the detective. The audience, the characters in the book and even the police would be bemused by the crime that has taken place. The villain and the motive. In any classic murder mystery story the villain must be, violent yet devious and must have an evil motive for murder. Doyle creates the perfect villain, the sisters’ stepfather, Dr. Roylott. He had a violent temperament and occasionally lacked in sanity. He scared the sisters to the extent that they had “No feeling of security unless our doors were locked. “