Wexford and Burden both have stable marriages and family backgrounds. Wexford is married to Dora, and Burden to Jenny. We can see that the two couples are on good terms with each other as the two police officers often go out for drinks together and are on good terms with each other. Also, we know from the text that their wives are friends with each other, which shows that their relationships aren’t just a professional one.
The relationships between the two sets of detectives (Holmes, Watson, Wexford and Burden) are different. In The Adventure of the Speckled Band Holmes is considered as the main character. He is the potentate, whilst Watson plays the role of his “faithful sidekick.” From all of Conan Doyle’s past works involving Sherlock Holmes, we see that Watson is not as clever as Holmes and this one is clearly no exception.
Watson is actually very smart, but when he is working alongside Homes, Holmes’ intelligence overshadows his. Although Watson is not working on the same level as Holmes, one can see that they are extremely close. This closeness between the two characters can be seen from the fact that Holmes and Watson are living on the same premises. Watson’s purpose is partly as a dramatic device in which he is the narrator. This helps to keep the suspense because Holmes doesn’t tell Watson anything he discovered. Although Watson is the narrator, he doesn’t dominate the narrative and we can see that Holmes is the leader and he takes control.
In Bloodlines, as mentioned before, Wexford and Burden’s relationship is mostly a professional one although they are friendly enough towards each other to go out for drinks with each other. As said before, Wexford and Burden do not work together, where as Holmes and Watson do in the stories. Due to that fact, we cannot really compare the relationships of Wexford and Burden’s with that of Holmes and Watson’s. Although Burden is a police officer, he does not work with Wexford. Burden’s opinions about characters and situations underline Rendell’s view of society.
The crime and the way the facts are revealed to the reader are different in the two stories even though they are both murder crimes. In The Adventure of the Speckled Band the reader can tell who had committed the crime, but not how it was done. On the other hand, in Bloodlines, one knows how the murder was accomplished, but not who had done it. Both of the crimes involved in the two stories are murders and both stories feature stepfathers and money.
In The Adventure of the Speckled Band, it is the stepfather that commits the crime. Dr. Roylott then dies at the end of the story. In Bloodlines the stepfather is already dead. Both of these men are portrayed as the enemies as Dr. Roylott killed Julia Stoner and he had planned to kill her sister, Helen Stoner as well. The reader finds out in the end of Bloodlines that Tom Peterlee was murdered by Carol Fox (his mistress), but he is also considered a bad character as he abused his wife badly. In both stories, we see that there are a lot of violence and brutality, all involving women.
In the Holmes story, the reader has been given enough facts to determine who had killed Julia Stoner, but the method of the murder was not clear. Holmes knew how the crime was done but because the story is a first person narrative, from Watson’s perspective, we did not find out until the end when Holmes tells Watson this. Bloodlines is different because the narrative is an omniscient one, and it tells the reader what is going on, but the person that had committed the crime is not revealed until the very end.
The time and the location of The Adventure of the Speckled Band allow Dr. Roylott to be more calculating and devious about the way he commits the crime. The murder in Bloodlines was more of a spontaneous reaction to the events that precede it. The murderer in the first story premeditated the murder very carefully and the story was started before a second murder took place. The fact that Holmes was trying to prevent a second murder, without the reader actually acknowledging it creates more tension and suspense in the story. In Bloodlines, the detectives were investigating a crime that has already taken place, instead of trying to prevent another murder from taking place (like in The Adventure of the Speckled Band). This gives the story less tension and it is less dramatic.
The stories reflect the time in which they are set through superficial details as well as details with more profundity in them. The Adventure of the Speckled Band was set in the 19th century; this can be seen in a number of ways. In the opening paragraphs of the story, the narrative actually said: “It was early in the year ’83 …” Holmes pointed out to Helen Stoner that she had ridden in a dogcart, but now they don’t exist anymore. The language in which the story is presented in is very formal and nobody talks like that anymore. The story suggests that quite a lot of people lived in India at that time. “When Dr. Roylott was in India…”
This is evidence that India was still a part of the British Empire and it also suggests that the story was set in the 19th century. The difference in monetary values was mentioned in the story as well. One thousand pounds is hardly worth calling a fortune now but it was considered as quite a sum of money in the 19th century. The way that the story portrayed women as inferior to men also shows the reader that the story was set in the 19th century. Helen Stoner and her sister’s money was placed in the trust of her stepfather until marriage illustrates to the reader that women were regarded as inferior to men at that time. The sentences in The Adventure of the Speckled Band tend to be longer and there are a high number of clauses in the sentences.