Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories - Sample Essay
Although some readers may argue that the consistent structure of Doyle’s stories would make them predictable and rather dull, this is not actually the case. In fact Doyle’s stories are full of the kind of mystery and suspense that is typical of detective fiction. The mystery and suspense captivates the reader and compels them to be a part of the story by involving them in the crime scene. In ‘The Beryl Coronet’ Doyle creates mystery and suspense by adding sudden horror and abruptness. ‘Arthur! ‘ I screamed, ‘you villain! You thief…
‘ The heavy use of punctuation adds an element of drama and creates tension as Alexander Holder explains to Sherlock Holmes what he believes happened. Alexander Holder in this situation is confrontational and tends to jump to conclusions. Due to Arthur’s gambling past, his father does not give him the benefit of the doubt. Doyle tends to be predictable as the role of the author, as the audience from this know that the first person who has been accused most of the time cannot be the person who really committed the crime. As, it would be too boring and conventional.
The readers are left with the question, who really did commit the crime? From this the readers start to take on the role of the detective. The challenge with detective fiction is always for the readers to try and solve the clues themselves before the sleuth does. As, the information is provided early on in the stories. So, early on in ‘The Beryl Coronet’ Arthur Holders first reaction on stealing the beryl coronet is ‘Stolen! ‘ His language shows the audience that he himself is surprised at being accused for stealing the beryl coronet. Arthur is shocked and cannot believe his own flesh and blood does not believe him.
As such, the audience feel sympathetic and compassionate towards him, and want Holmes to investigate the crime scene to prove Arthur Holders innocence. In each of Doyle’s stories the characters are all so different in many ways. For example, in ‘The Beryl Coronet’ as said before Arthur Holders gambling as lead his father to believe he was the guilty party in the crime. ‘The Pince Nez’ Professor Coram he was seen as the innocent man whose trusted secretary had just been murdered. This is misleading to the readers, because nearer to the end, find out that it was down to him why his died secretary died.
Thereofre, in order for Doyle to maintain his readers, he had to make sure the characteristic of each character had to be different, mysterious and odd. In ‘The Beryl Coronet’ when Mary Holder realises that Arthur Holder has been accused of stealing the beryl coronet, tries to divert the attention and suspicions of Arthur Holder onto the maid. By doing this, the character covers up for Arthur. By mentioning the maid when Mary knows, the maid is innocent, shows that she is not entirely a good character. However, in Alexander Holders eyes she is his ‘right hand’, and it is difficult for him to accept her part in the crime.
In ‘The Speckled Band’ it is the character of Dr. Roylott, which comes under scouting early into the story. Doyle describes the features of the character of Dr Roylott as being, ‘A large face, seared with a thousand wrinkles, burned yellow with the sun, and marked with every evil passion, was turned from one to the other of us, while his deep-set, bile-shot eyes, and his high, thin, fleshless nose, gave him somewhat the resemblance to a fierce old bird of prey. ‘ The use of strong descriptive adjectives like burned, evil, and fleshless makes the reader feel, fear and fright due to the horrific simile used to describe Dr Roylott.
Doyle cleverly uses the simile of a fierce old bird of prey to describe Dr Roylott as he preys on his innocent stepdaughters. This is ironic due to the fact that Dr Roylott’s deserved death comes by a snakebite, the bite that was supposed to kill Helen Stoner. The readers are left with shock and horror as to what this man is capable of doing. Yet it is not until the end of the story that the mystery is unravelled and the readers are left to question whether this character is yet another red herring created by Doyle to engage the reader. Furthermore, when Doyle describes Dr Roylott’s appearance, he says,
‘His costume was a peculiar mixture of the professional and of the agricultural, having a black top-hat, a long frock-coat, and a pair of high gaiters, with a hunting-crop swinging in his hand. So tall was he that his hat actually brushed the cross bar of the doorway, and his breadth seemed to span it across from side to side. ‘ From this the modern readers can tell that the stories are dated, and the vocabulary such as ‘black top-hat’ and ‘long frock-coat’ put the stories into an historical context. The readers can see that Dr Roylott is a well dressed man, but with an evil side to him.
Once the readers find out that Dr Roylott has a history of violence their suspicions are aroused. The reference to Helen Stoners description of her stepfather’s violent temper, reassures the readers, that they have a perfect suspect, but now all the readers require is the proof. ‘Violence of temper approaching to mania has been hereditary in the men of the family, and in my stepfather’s… A series of disgraceful brawls took place, two of which ended in the police-court, until at last he became the terror of the village, and the folks would fly at his approach, for he is a man of immense strength, and absolutely uncontrollable in his anger.
‘ Every character in Doyle’s stories are different and this compels the reader into reading more of ‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’. It allows them to discover and further their understanding of these individuals. Throughout the fifty-six stories of Sherlock Holmes that were written and published between 1887 and 1902 you got a further glimpse into the character of Sherlock Holmes and all other individuals. Aside from the compelling characters created by Arthur Conan Doyle, one of his most important achievements was felt to be the creation of atmosphere, especially of London in the fog.
Even today, people still address letters to 221B Baker Street where Sherlock Holmes was supposed to have lived, asking for help in solving mysteries! This proves that Doyle’s stories became apart of everyday life in Victorian times and even now, in the millennium they have an important impact on readers. Many authors, after Doyle followed his type of writing. Writers such as Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot, and Ruth Rendell’s Inspector Wexford are examples of well-written detective genre stories.
Soon after detective genres became one of the most written genre types. However, one big difference in Doyle’s detective writing compared from later writers is that later writers seem to have been more concerned with finding more and more difficult problems to be solved, whereas Doyle concentrated on writing about interesting characters and entertaining tales, and overall Doyle’s stories were far more entertaining, then those that came after him…