Reading the four different crime stories has allowed me to take different views on each detective. In the first story, 'A Wife In a Million', Maggie Staniforth solves a strange case in which the criminal is poisoning innocent people. 'Superfluous Murder' is about a crime involving John Mansbridge and his cousin Felix which is solved by an unnamed Superintendent. During the third story, 'The Man with the Twisted Lip', Sherlock Holmes investigates the peculiar disappearance of Neville St Clair.
And finally, In the the fourth story, 'The Reluctant Detective', Fredrick Herring and his girlfriend Dawn set up their own detective agency and crack a mysterious case. I will now explore each character and decide who I feel is the most convincing detective of the four. When looking at the word 'convincing', there can be two different meanings relating to these stories. Firstly, is the character realistic in the way he/she is set out to the reader? Secondly, is the detective convincing in the way he/she solves the case i. e: is he she a good detective?
I think that both these factors have to be considered before making a final decision. Maggie Staniforth in 'A Wife in a Million' is a very realistic person as she is described in a humane manner. She feels a tremendous amount of strain as she desperately tries to put a stop to the killing spree as "lines of strain around her eyes" and "Exhausted Maggie" show. She shows her true feelings towards her job she occupies, "What a bitch of a job". She has no real love for her job and says that "she would have left the force" if she didn't need the money.
This is unlike the Superintendent and the "eager" Sherlock Holmes "who snatched it from her in his eagerness". These two detectives both love their jobs. Most of the story is focused on the private life of Maggie and her lesbian girlfriend Sarah, which seems to make her realistic. Maggie is a very hard working detective as "it was three when Maggie Staniforth closed the front door behind her". This shows that though she may not enjoy her job very much, she will still persevere out of pride to complete her task. Of the four detectives, I find Maggie one of the most realistic but I do not believe that she has the skills of some of her rivals.
One of these rival detectives is the Superintendent who doesn't work very hard but has great detective skills which help him easily solve the case. Maggie worked for hours on her case and still could not solely resolve the crime. The lead came unexpectedly from her girlfriend. But Maggie did show one good quality of a detective and that is as soon as soon as she has a lead to follow, she went onto solve the crime with determination. It was as if she was a dog chasing after a stick. I think that Maggie is a decent but flawed detective and has a very realistic and convincing character.
During 'Superfluous Murder', the crime is solved by a Superintendent who is not named and is in no way physically described. This story is different to the three other stories and for that matter, nearly every other crime story. This is because the reader knows who the criminal is before the detective does. The detective only comes into the story in the last six pages. This in my opinion makes the detective seem less realistic as he has no name, is not described and has only six pages to crack a complicated crime. This is not enough time to solve such a case.
Though the credibility of the detective can be questioned, his skills are superb. The super intendent is very observent, "You'll observe here" and he also assumes a lot, "I suggest". This is in contrast to Maggie, Dawn and Fredrick who let small clues slip by unobserved. He is not a naive detective as he doesn't accept John Mansbridge's plan and assumes what he thinks happened, "I'm afraid I can't swallow that story". The way that the Superintendent solves the case is similar to someone telling a story step by step. It seems as if he makes up what happens as he goes along and surprisingly it is exactly what occurred.
I would assume that the Superintendent has some scientific knowledge as he knows that the blow with golf club came after Felix was dead just by looking at the wound, "It was delivered after the man was dead". The super intendent can also tell that Felix had been repositioned by John by just looking a where the blow was delivered, "Considering that the blow was delivered from behind and above". The Superintendent shows that he is a great detective by the way in which he unravels every little fact concerning the case so interestingly. I enjoyed reading the intendent retelling me what had just occurred.
In my opinion, though he may be a good detective, he is a unrealistic one, because of the manner in which he resolves the crime. It makes the super intendent seem super human because he easily solves a complicated crime. He also seems to feel no strain, stress or tiredness, unlike Maggie, which makes him seem even less believable. Looking at the factors above, altogether, I think that the super intendent is a great detective but has an unrealistic character. Moving onto the third story, 'The Man with the Twisted Lip' is about the strange disappearance of Neville St Clair.
This case is solved by a detective known as Sherlock Holmes. Sherlock Holmes is easily the most famous of all four detectives and is one of the best. Holmes convincingly solves the case and shows us the skills which have made him possibly the most famous story detective of all time. One of the first things we find out upon meeting Sherlock Holmes is that he is a master of disguise. When Watson is walking in the opium bar, he sees what he thinks is an old man but to his surprise is Sherlock Holmes, "His form had filled and his wrinkles where gone…..
And there sitting by the fire was Sherlock Holmes". He also hunts down his criminals and enjoys danger, " Had I been recognised in that den, my life would not have not been worth an hours purchase". Fredrick Herring and Dawn on the other hand are less keen on danger and disguise as is shown by the title of their story, "The Reluctant Detective". Like the Superintendent, Sherlock Holmes is portrayed to be super human. Again unlike Maggie, Holmes seems to feel no stress or strain and is not once said to be tired. These factors make him an unbelievable character.