The Lack of Evolution in the Detective Genre

Such small and seemingly irrelevant clues can lead to two possible reactions from the reader. The reader might notice these clues, resulting in a feeling of satisfaction when the detective finally reveals them. On the other hand, the reader might overlook the clues and enjoy seeing all the facts in retrospect. This however, shows one of the few contrasts between the two stories. In Doyle’s, the story is written from Watson’s point of view. Because of this, the reader sees Watson’s opinions and suspicions and almost inevitably agrees with them.

For example, at the beginning of “The Hound of the Baskervilles” when Watson assumes that the letters “CCH” stand for “Something Hunt”, the reader is inclined to agree with him as it seems so logical. On the other hand, “Hercule Poirot’s Christmas” is written from a third person perspective. This allows the readers to form their own suspicions and come to their own conclusions. The relationship between the killers and their victims was also quite similar, as both of them murdered relatives.

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Stapleton murdered Sir Charles and tried to Sir Henry, to whom he was related for the family fortune “which he might… claim from South America” thereby hiding the fact that he had ever been near the scene of the crime. On the contrary, Sugden’s motive for killing Simeon Lee, his illegitimate father, was not money, but simply because he “resented the wrong your (his) father did you (him)”. The similarity is that both killers were not suspected up till the end. Being a police Superintendent, Sugden was not suspected.

However, there were hints at the similarity between him and Simeon Lee as I have mentioned before. Stapleton appeared to be the harmless friend of Sir Henry. I believe that this makes the story more exciting and keeps the reader interested until the end of the story. The final similarity is that both murders are “remarkable”. As he was killed in a room that was locked from the inside and nobody was even near the room at the time, Simeon Lee’s murder was considered “unreal”.

Sir Charles Baskerville was killed by a hound, “but not such a hound as mortal eyes have ever seen”. “Fire burst from its open mouth” and “its eyes glowed with a smouldering glare”. This clearly shows how unnatural the hound was, if not supernatural. Although the crimes seem unreal, the authors give reasonable explanations. For example, the Hound’s ability to glow in the dark is explained in a single word by Holmes, “Phosphorus”. In Christie’s novel, Sugden visited the house twice on the day of the murder, once before, and once after.

Poirot explains how he “killed him (Simeon Lee) before you (Sugden) left the house the first time” and “turned the key from the outside”. Despite being quite strange both explanations are plausible. In conclusion, I believe that all these similarities between the two stories, such as the similarities between the two detectives, the way in which clues are revealed and the way in which the author keeps the reader interested, show how similar Agatha Christie’s novels are to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s. Therefore, I believe that the detective genre has evolved very little over the years.

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