The Speckled Band by Arthur Conan Doyle Essay

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

The Speckled Band by Arthur Conan Doyle

Which is the better Detective story, The Speckled Band by Arthur Conan Doyle or Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie? Detective stories remain as popular now as they have ever been. The fan base for detective stories is huge. This demand for the genre has contributed to the large number of detective stories being broadcast on T. V. , but the stories almost always originate from books, which have a far deeper history than the T. V series. Conan Doyle started to write his short stories about Sherlock Holmes in the 19th century.

They were published in the Strand Magazine and were an immediate success, for the simple reason that there was very little for people to do in their spare time other than read. Holmes’ fans enjoyed stories that could keep them entertained for a long time. Sherlock Holmes became so popular that when Conan Doyle tried to kill him off there was a public outcry and Conan Doyle was forced to continue writing. In contrast “Murder on the Orient Express” by Agatha Christie is a more modern story set in the early 1930’s. The book is one of many following the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot.

Many different T. V. series and some films have been made based on the books. Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes are alongside others such as Inspector Morse and Miss Marple as the greatest fictional detectives ever. Conan Doyle uses an individual style in his writing using Holmes’s “sidekick” Dr. Watson as the narrator in the majority of his stories. This proves to be a good technique as Watson’s viewpoint can communicate Holmes’ brilliance as a detective. This is what happens in the beginning paragraphs of The Speckled Band.

Watson says that Holmes makes “rapid deductions, as fast as intuitions” but always on a “logical basis”. Doyle wants the reader to see the admiration Dr. Watson bears for Holmes and his abilities. Holmes is an eccentric. He can play the violin beautifully but he is also a drug addict, a crack shot and fearless in a fight. At the start Watson describes the cases he has seen Holmes work on he says he has seen” none commonplace” which encourages you to read on as you feel guaranteed you will get an interesting story. The reader’s opinion of Holmes’ abilities is also raised.

Watson says Holmes works “for the love of his art rather than for the acquirement of wealth” and even Holmes states “my profession is my reward,” making him seem far more righteous as he solves crime for his interest in the problem and not for financial reasons. Hercule Poirot is similar in this way. He says ” I have made enough money to satisfy both my needs and my caprices” and “I only take such cases as interest me. ” Poirot is a small man with “an egg shaped head” who does not have the physical energy of Holmes in fact his technique is “thinking out the truth.

” He has a large moustache and a pink pointy nose and looks like “the sort of person you can never take seriously. Poirot’s stories are written in the third person so compliments and admiration about him have to be spoken by other characters, which is not as effective as when the “sidekick” narrates. Poirot does not have a constant companion; he has new helpers in every book. In Murder on the Orient Express Poirot has two, a doctor and the managing director of the train he is on.

They follow the same pattern as Watson with Holmes, never working out the answers before the detective does. This is one of the techniques used to make him seem interesting. Another is to give a snippet of an interesting problem that Poirot has solved at the start of the story which immediately makes the reader trust in his abilities. Both characters have strong points from a writing perspective, but in a story, I think that Sherlock Holmes is the more interesting of the two because of his natural abilities.

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  • Date: 12 October 2017

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