Comparing Lamb To The Slaughter To The Speckled Band

1465 words - 6 pages

Comparing Lamb to the Slaughter to The Speckled Band

'Lamb to the Slaughter' and 'The Speckled Band' are both murder
mysteries. Like most murder mysteries each of the stories have a
murderer, a victim and characters acting in a suspicious or unusual
way.

'Lamb to the Slaughter' is a 20th century story about a woman called
Mary who kills her husband, Patrick Maloney, using a leg of lamb. This
seems quite surprising at first as she seems quite loving and devoted
to him- 'she loved to luxuriate in the presence of this man.' However
a lot of Mary Maloney's behaviour in the first scene does seem quite
worrying and peculiar. It seems that she is almost obsessed with her
husband and this is shown by the way she is constantly trying to
please him. Although the murder is a crime of passion Mrs Maloney
manages to deal with it quite well. She is very calculating when
realising quite what she has done and providing herself with a
convincing alibi. When the detectives arrive to investigate the murder
they seem to be taking it very seriously, however they don't really
seem to consider Mrs Maloney as a real suspect. There is one point in
the story where one of the detectives says

'acted quite normal very cheerful impossible that she' but this is
an idea which is soon discarded. After a while the attitude of the
detectives becomes more relaxed and not so professional. Mrs Maloney
takes advantage of this by asking the detectives to stay for dinner.
She then goes on to feed them the leg of lamb thus destroying the
evidence. There is a moment of irony towards the end because when
talking about the murder weapon one of the detectives says

'Probably right under our very nose' just as they are eating the leg
of lamb. The story finishes with the line ' And in the other room, Mrs
Maloney began to giggle'. I think the author left the story with an
open ending because he wanted the reader to think twice about the
story and what sort of character Mrs Maloney really was. It's also
very different from other murder mysteries, such as ' The Speckled
Band' because the murder is usually caught so it is quite surprising
to find that Mrs Maloney gets away with the crime.

One of the main distinctions between 'The Speckled Band' and 'Lamb to
the Slaughter are the narrative styles. 'Lamb to the Slaughter' is
told from a third person perspective where as 'The Speckled Band' is
told from Dr Watson's point of view.

'The Speckled Band' is a 19th century story. The two detectives
investigating the murder are Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson. The murder
they are investigating is that of Julia Stoner. Her sister, Helen,
goes to Holmes to report the death. She claims that she heard her
sister scream in the night and when she went to see what happened
Julia screamed " It was the band! The speckled band" and pointed to Dr
Roylott's, their stepfather's, room. It is later revealed that the
'speckled band' is actually a snake. Dr Roylott had...

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