Not only did Arthur Conan Doyle write great story lines but he made sure the whole scene was set for a mystery by placing the crimes in eerie locations. In ‘The Speckled Band’ it says; “The manor house is now very old and only one wing is now inhabited. ” This gives the impression that the house is decrepit and the fact that parts of the building are uninhabited means anything could be going on in there. A sinister atmosphere is created. Additionally, the two curving wings like ‘crab claws’ thrown out on each side are mysterious and give the impression that the house is alive.
Also in ‘The Speckled Band’ a baboon and a cheetah were allowed to roam freely around this house. This is odd for many reasons, firstly why would he have such weird animals as pets, and secondly why let them freely roam around the house. ‘The Speckled Band’ is away from the busy inner city life and so anything can go on, but Doyle can also make completely contrasting locations just as good setting for a mystery. He makes London out to be a very seedy place and sets a story around an opium den in London. In addition with all the swarms of people in the town crime may often have gone unnoticed.
Throughout all the stories in ‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes’ the reader is able to get a clear idea as to how both Holmes’ and Watson’s characters are the perfect double team for solving crimes, and although Dr. Watson often seems side-lined, there are several moments in which Sherlock Holmes states the importance of Dr. Watson in his adventures. You have a grand gift of silence Watson . . . It makes you quite an invaluable companion. ” This shows that even though Watson seems inferior to Holmes, and is much quieter than Holmes is, Sherlock considers help ‘invaluable’. Also, Dr.
Watson is the narrator of all the stories and so he may be a very modest man and gives all the praise to Sherlock Holmes for the mysteries they solve however this is never said. Holmes’ methods of solving a mystery are exceedingly clever and interesting. Although he is a very observant character, he always gets very involved in all the cases he had to solve. In ‘The Man with the Twisted Lip’ Holmes disguises himself as a drug dealer in the opium den. His disguise is so convincing that Watson fails to recognise his colleague. ” . . . and grinning at my surprise was no other than Sherlock Holmes.
” Holmes also shows how observant he is in ‘The Red Headed League’ when he could tell Mr. Jabez Wilson had done manual labour in the past from the size of his hands. This event happens near the start of the story and really grabs the reader’s interest. If he can tell that much by just looking at someone what else can he do? These are several reasons that the stories are still popular today, because even though times have changed, grabbing the readers interest early on in a story, and reading a very intelligent and observant man solve a complex crime will always be entertaining to say the least.
Motives are always of interest to a reader. Motives give people a reason for doing something, no matter how valid. Often motives can provoke sympathy amongst the reader but in Doyle’s stories, he creates little sympathy for the culprits. In most the stories the motive is greed. Greed for money. In ‘The Speckled Band’ Dr. Roylott kills a daughter and attempts to kill a second one in order to save his wife’s inheritance for himself and not have to give it to his step – daughters.
In ‘The Red Headed League’ John Clay is simply greedy and has no reason to rob a bank, he just wants as much money he can get and has no consideration for anyone else. Finally in ‘The Man with the Twisted Lip’ no crime is committed, however one man is too lazy to earn an honest living, so even though he is not in debt, and he takes to the streets and begs. These motives create little or no sympathy with the culprits. Sherlock Holmes is not paid for solving crimes, as it is not his job. He just gets satisfaction from helping others and putting his brilliant brain to work.
He says, ‘They are my natural prey. ‘ Referring to criminals. The motives show that Victorian society relied heavily on money and people were willing to go to great lengths to become richer. In the Victorian era lots of corruption was going on and Doyle’s stories had morals. In ‘The Red Headed League’ Jabez Wilson was ignorant and gullible and so was taken advantage of. Con artists are common today and so the themes of the books are relevant to modern day situations. In the Victorian era as the books were so hugely popular, they often were taken as a lesson for what could happen in real life.
Holmes says, “Violence does, in truth, recoil upon the violent. ” And ” . . . the schemer falls into the pit which he digs for another. ” These morals both mean, ‘Crime doesn’t pay’ and Arthur Doyle was aiming that at the society in which he lived. Mr St. Clair in ‘The Man with the Twisted Lip’ learnt that greed is an overpowering aspect of personality, which makes matters take a turn for the worse. However he had his best interest at heart and although he did not get imprisoned Mr St. Clair had to live with all the personal disgrace.
This shows that there is a consequence for all actions and that the truth will always be exposed. Doyle’s stories hold your interest right until the very last word because he cleverly lets you know when Sherlock Holmes has solved the crime, however he doesn’t tell Watson there and then, and you are left in the dark with Watson. Watson is a character which the reader can really relate to as he is often clueless as the reader is. He doesn’t understand what Holmes is saying until it is revealed to him step by step.
The fact that Sherlock Holmes will go to such great lengths to solve the mysteries shows great determination and dedication which is why Victorians idolised him. He would have been the perfect policeman for their time. In ‘The Scandal in Bohemia’ Holmes disguises himself as an old man to enable him to get into a house to inspect evidence. This skill of trickery shows he is a master detective able to deceive the criminals he is after. Modern day detectives also disguise themselves, although Holmes puts himself in his own league by being so peculiar.
In conclusion, Sherlock Holmes is still popular today for many reasons. The story would appeal to modern readers because crime still goes on, and although times have changed, crimes haven’t as much. This means that many stories can still be related to modern times. Also morals have been adapted into recent stories and so will always be popular as it teaches people valuable lessons. Furthermore, people enjoy the fact that all the crimes eventually are solved with all loose ends being tied and they like to pursue the challenge of working out the storyline before Holmes does; although it’s almost impossible.
Finally, readers like how Conan Doyle has intelligently made Watson the narrator because they can relate to him because the reader is pretty much as clueless with all that’s going on as he is. Personally, I preferred the story ‘The Speckled Band’ because I found it very interesting and I enjoyed the fact that the book sustains edginess from its induction to its denouement. The narratives unpredictable conclusion was also intriguing and surprised me.