Lamb to the slaughter

Topics: Books

Dr Watson is not as observant as Holmes when studying the clues because Sherlock is in deep concentration when studying Stoke Moran whereas Dr Watson is just watching him and not looking at anything for clues.  “We had walked several times up and down the lawn, neither Miss Stoner and myself liking to break in upon his thoughts before he roused himself from his reverie.” When Sherlock and Watson are sitting in the room where Julia died waiting for something to happen Dr Watson is quite tense and when something does happen Holmes keeps his cool and hits the snake whereas Watson doesn’t really have a clues what is going on.

Watson is blinding by the sudden change from complete darkness to sudden light. He only finds out what has fully happened when Holmes and himself enter Dr Roylotts room.

When we read ‘Lamb to the slaughter’ and studied the detectives in it that we found that they were very unlike Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson.

Detective Noonan is from the regular police force and comes to the crimes scene and doesn’t investigate every possible suspect because he doesn’t interrogate Mrs Maloney and therefore does not come across as a very good policeman who suspects everybody unlike Sherlock Holmes. Detective Noonan also doesn’t come across as professional as Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson. You can tell this because Noonan excepts some whisky which is very wrong because if he had been found out he would most likely been fired.

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Noonan also has some food, which is also wrong and it is also the murder weapon so there would be no chance of finding out that Mrs Maloney killed her husband.

The detective come across as being gullible because it doesn’t take much questioning for the detective to believe Mrs Maloney that she didn’t kill her husband, which again shows that Noonan isn’t very intelligent. Also it doesn’t take much questioning to the green grocer to rule Mrs Maloney out. The detective was only at the green grocers for fifteen minutes and that was it. ‘In fifteen minutes he was back with a page full of notes.’ Detective Noonan was exceptionally nice to Mrs Maloney, which show yet again that they are not very broadminded and don’t suspect everyone. The police should fully investigate Mrs Maloney.

Sherlock Holmes is very polite towards people who ever they are. Detective Noonan doesn’t come across as being very polite because he belches when he is eating the leg of lamb, which is very rude and impolite, Holmes, would never do this. There is another detective in ‘Lamb to the slaughter’ named Detective O’Malley. This detective is not much different to Detective Noonan and totally different as Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson. He also doesn’t come across as very intellectual, unlike Holmes. You know this because he eats the murder weapon and is saying that he thinks the murder weapon is right under their noses, which it is. He also doesn’t appear to be professional at his job because he also eats the murder weapon and he drinks the whiskey. He is also exceptionally nice to Mrs Maloney, which means that he also isn’t inspecting every angle of the case.

There are more detectives on the case in ‘Lamb to the slaughter’ than in ‘The speckled band’ which is an advantage. They have a photographer and forensics to help the case. They could get time of death what instrument killed Patrick and so on, this would have helped to solve the case but they didn’t. Sherlock Holmes didn’t have any of these but still managed to solve the case. This shows that the detectives are no where near as clever as Holmes and Watson. When we looked at each storey we studied the crime and the motive in each story and compared them to each other, we found that the crimes and motive were very unfamiliar whereas in each story there was a murder involved.

In ‘The speckled band’ the murder was very carefully planned, an air vent was installed so the snake could pass through into the next room from Dr Roylotts room. Bell pull was put in next to the vent so that the snake could climb down onto the bed where Julia was sleeping. The bed was clamped down to the floor so the girl was unable to move the bed away from the vent and bell pull. ‘The bed was clamped to the floor… the rope was there as a bridge for something passing through the hole, and coming onto the bed.’  There was no way in which the girl could prevent her death unless she moved rooms. There was also a saucer of milk in Dr Roylotts room to lure the snake back. The poison in the snake would not show up on any tests so the death could not be linked to the snake so no one would suspect the doctor. The crime was so well done that no one suspected Dr Roylott and nothing was said for years until Helen began to hear the same whistling sound and clanging sound as Julia.

This crime was no where as neat the same as the murder in ‘Lamb to the slaughter’ because the murder was not planned whereas in ‘the speckled band’ it was. The murder was out of jealousy and madness. It was out of jealousy because Mrs Maloney couldn’t face her husband with another woman because she loved him so much. It was out of madness because she couldn’t believe that he was leaving her after what she has done for him. The murder in ‘The speckled band’ was out of greed for money, which I will describe later. Mrs Maloney didn’t mean to kill him she was just so mad and confused she just hit him with what she had in her hand. Mrs Maloney was also quite clever at covering up the crime because she put the murder weapon in the oven and cooked it and made the policemen eat it. She also went out to the grocers and acted very cheerful and told the grocer that she wanted to treat him and cook him a nice tea and pamper him because he was tired.

‘She heard a few of the whispered phrases – “…acted quit normal…very cheerful…wanted to give him a good supper…peas…cheesecake…impossible that she…” Mrs Maloney also told herself that when she set off from her house Patrick was alive and when she got back and found him dead that it would be a great shock to her so that she wouldn’t have to fake her emotions. Mrs Maloney was very good at covering up the murder, acting very shocked and using the grocer as an alibi. This is similar to ‘The speckled band’ because both murders were cleverly covered up.  When we studied the crimes we looked at why the murders would kill those people and we found out some motive of why they killed them. Once we had done this we compared them.

In ‘The speckled band’ Dr Roylott had an obvious motive, money. Money linked to inheritance. Julia, the girl who was murdered was due some money so if she died it would go to Dr Grimsby Roylott. Helen was also due some money linked to inheritance and again it would go to Dr Roylott if she died. His motive was money and greed. Julia was a typical victim as Dr Roylott was a typical villain. Julia was a young woman, innocent and venerable. Dr Roylott was a typical villain because he was violent, aggressive and had a previous record.

“What has she been saying to you?” screamed the old man furiously.The doctor had a very unusual method of murder, snake, whereas in ‘Lamb to the slaughter’ it was not as unusual. In ‘Lamb to the slaughter’ the motive was Mrs Maloney’s husband was leaving her for another woman. Mrs Maloney was confused, jealous and angry. Mrs Maloney was and unusual victim because she was pregnant, the wife of a policeman very happy to be married to Patrick. The murder was impulsive and it maybe was manslaughter.

When we had looked at the crimes and motives we then looked at the clues and red herrings which were given throughout the two stories. In ‘The speckled band’ quite a lot of clues and red herrings are given. For instance when Helen Stoner came to Sherlock she describes that Julia was complaining of whistling and metal clanging sounds in the last few nights that she was alive. Also when Helen was forced to sleep in the room where Julia died she heard the whistling and clanging of metal sounds.

‘”Tell me, Helen,” said Julia, ‘have you ever heard anyone whistle in the dead of the night?’ This shows that the whistling sounds and the metal clanging sounds are linked to Julia’s death. Some more clues, which were linked to Julia’s death was the vent which didn’t leave outside it lead straight through to Dr Roylotts room. There was also a bell pull, which lead to no bell. The bell pull ran straight down to the bed, which was clamped to the floor. Helen also described that Julia always locked her door every night because the doctor kept a cheetah and a baboon. There was also bars in the chimney so no one could come down from the roof and the windows were very small and had shutters on which could not be forced open from the outside.

‘After a careful examination through the window, endeavoured in every way to force the shutter open, without success.’ Another clue given to you in ‘The speckled band’ was that when Julia was found she was holding a match, which had been lit, in one hand and in the other hand she held a matchbox. Also just before she passed away she said, “O, my God! Helen! It was the band! The speckled band!” She pointed in the direction of the Doctors room after she said this. When Holmes was examining Dr Roylotts room he noticed that he kept a large metal safe, a saucer of milk on top it and on the wall a dog lash. All these were very peculiar.

‘A large iron safe was the principle thing that met the eye… He took up a small saucer of milk which stood on top of it… the object which had caught his eye was a small dog lash hung on the corner of the bed.’ There are not just clues in ‘The speckled band’ there are red herrings, things which send you in the wrong direction of solving the case. For instance a red herring in ‘The speckled band’ are the peculiar pets which the doctor keeps, the cheetah and baboon. Another red herring is the gypsies, which camp on the Stoke Moran property. When Julia say that it was the speckled band Helen told Holmes that the gypsies wear head bands which are speckled so Holmes thinks that the gypsies have something to do with the death of Julia. This again is leading Holmes and Watson off the case.

We then compared ‘The speckled band’ clues and red herring with the ‘Lamb to the slaughter’ clues and red herrings we found that they were very different. There were very little clues and red herrings in the story because the murder was unplanned and the story is a short one. Although there was some clues and red herrings within the story. The leg of lamb was the murder weapon but the police failed to notice this whereas Holmes found every clue there was in ‘The speckled band.’ Already there are differences between the stories because the police didn’t find any of the clues linked to Jack Maloney’s death whereas Holmes found them all. As I said there were very little clues but there are quite a few red herrings, as there was in ‘The speckled band.’

A red herring in the ‘Lamb to the slaughter’ was that when Mrs Maloney went to the groceries acting very cheerful and happy as if there was nothing wrong. This is leading the police off from blaming Mrs Maloney for Patrick’s murder because she wouldn’t be acting cheerful if she had just killed her husband. Mrs Maloney uses the grocers for an alibi, which suddenly throws the blame off her. Another red herring is the way Mrs Maloney acts in front of the police. When she was talking to the police she put on innocent eyes and an innocent face and tilted her head, which gave the impression that, she would never hurt anyone let alone her husband.

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Lamb to the slaughter. (2017, Oct 16). Retrieved from

Lamb to the slaughter
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