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In the story “Lamb to the slaughter” written by Roal Dahl there are two detectives; Sergeant Jack Noonan’s and O’Malley Just like in “The Speckled band”. However in “Lamb to the slaughter” Sergeant Jack Noonan’s and O’Malley are very unconventional detectives as they prove to be very incompetent and unprofessional. At the beginning of the story however the two detectives act conventional but further in to the story; Roal Dahl’s reveals his intentions to illustrate the two detectives as vain. Roal Dahl achieves this by revealing their idiocy when in the story the narrator explains that one of the detectives asks Mary Maloney “Do you know of anything in the house that could’ve been used as a weapon” this shows the detectives unprofessional behaviour to trust Mary Maloney in her position in a murder case, and for the detectives to trust someone instead of suspecting every one is idiocy in itself.

Later in the story Mary Maloney convinces Sergeant Jack Noonan’s to have a drink and he replies “I might take a few drops to keep me going”, this shows the reader that Jack Noonan’s is very unprofessional and lacks in detective knowledge. Towards the end the story takes an ironical twist when Mary Maloney asks the detectives Sergeant Jack Noonan’s, O’Malley and their fellow police officers to eat the leg of lamb, which she had cooked in the oven to get rid of the evidence, the narrator explains that “There was a great deal of hesitating………..but in the end they were persuaded to go in to the kitchen to help themselves”. Here Roal Dahl clearly demonstrated the detective’s futility as a result of the detectives abandon a serious murder investigation to eat a leg of lamb.

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Roal Dahl again illustrates the ironical situation when the detectives and their fellow officers have a conversation about the murder weapon whilst they stuffed themselves with meat, “They’re not going to be carrying a thing like that around with them longer then they need it…..Personally, I think its right here on the premises….probably right under our very noses” here Roal Dahl has clearly exposed the ironical situation which the two detectives have caused due to their idiocy and lack of detective techniques. So the murder investigation in “Lamb to the slaughter” goes unsolved because the detectives prove to be very unconventional unlike in the story “The Speckled band” where Holmes unravels the mystery of the murder.

In the mystery fiction story “The Speckled band” DR Grimsby Roylott is a typical 20th century conventional villain who has a common motive for murdering Mrs. Helen Stoner. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle illustrates Roylott as a conventional villain in the use of Watson’s narration, which describes Roylott’s appearance on the train to Stoke Moran. “His costume was a peculiar mixture of the professional and of the agricultural………with a top-hat…..long frock-coat”

Roylott is also described as being “Tall” and a very “Wide”. Watson also portrays Roylott as having a “Thin fleshless nose” and his “Seared with a thousand wrinkles”, which suggests to the reader that Roylott’s is a conventional villain. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle also uses metaphors in Watson’s narration to describe Roylott’s resemblance as a “Fierce old bird of pray”. The conversation which follows between Sherlock Holmes and DR Grimsby Roylott suggests to the reader that Roylott is a very ruthless, antagonistic and paranoid man. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle also suggests to the reader that Roylott is a very demanding man this is portrayed when in the conversation Roylott shouts furiously at Holmes “What has she been saying to you?”. So with the use of Watson’s narration Sir Arthur Conan Doyle shows that

DR Grimsby Roylott Is a conventional pre 20th century villain. In “Lamb to the slaughter” Mary Maloney is an unconventional villain. From the start the narrator explains that Mary Maloney is pregnant “Her skin-for this was her sixth month with child” This puts Mary Maloney in a venerable position and appears as though she isn’t the villain. The narrator continues to describe Mary Maloney of having a “Slow smiling air about her” and “placid eyes” and “Curiously tranquil” which is unconventional for a villain. Roal Dahl uses the narrator to explain to the readers that Mary Maloney isn’t a villain. Mary Maloney is also portrayed as being obsessed with her husband Mr. Maloney who is a detective which is very unconventional.

The readers realise that Mary Maloney is obsessed; when the narrator explains that “She loved to luxuriate in the presence of this man” another clue that Mary Maloney is obsessed is when she asks him “I’ll get you supper” but only to be replied by “No!” all the time. Then she keeps insisting to cook for him but only to be replied by “No!” this all seems like Mary Maloney is obsessed because she loves him and seems unconventional if she killed him; which is what happens. But Roal Dahl makes Mary Maloney obsessed because she becomes an unconventional villain. Mary Maloney However gets away with murder at the end; and the narrator explains “She began to giggle”. So Roal Dahl uses the narrator to illustrate Mary Maloney’s soft nature who then turns out to be the villain which is unconventional.

The detective mystery fiction story “The Speckled band” is a very conventional story partly due to the settings of the crime scene at Stoke Moran manor house. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle uses Watson to narrate in great detail the appearance of the manor house. Watson’s use of metaphors grabs the reader’s attention while it demonstrates the gothic type house the manor is, which Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is portraying. “With a high central portion and two carving wings, like the claws of a crab”. Watson’s narration paints a clear picture in the minds of the readers of the gothic manor house which has the classic atmosphere of a murder scene.

Watson continues to describe the setting of the manor houses corridor “A small side door led into the whitewashed corridor”. Watson’s use of the word ‘whitewashed’ gives the reader a perception of an old and battered house which is common for a murder to take place in, later Watson uses the some technique to show the readers that the manor house is old and falling apart “Panelling of the walls were brown, worm-eaten oak”. Watson’s use of words creates a perfect conventional atmosphere and setting for a murder. Watson also creates the atmosphere of a conventional murder house by describing the fireplace “With a low ceiling and gasping fireplace,” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle includes a fireplace as it’s relevant to creating the spooky atmosphere as old fireplaces are related to old gothic houses. Watson’s narration describes that the house is gothic and so is therefore a conventional setting for a murder.

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