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Vincent Ho Professor Lynda Haas Writing 37 15 March 2014 Scientist of Crime People go watch a horror movie for a good

scare, to a comedy act for a laugh, or read a romantic novel to stir up some passionate emotions. Within all these different types of genres horror, comedy and romance, there are certain elements that are expected from each genre known as conventions. A genre convention for a romance novel is two people falling in love with each other while a convention for a horror movie is usually a gory death of a victim. Conventions are also apparent in the mystery genre, where a detective has to get to the bottom of a mystery that usually occurs in an unusual setting (Oracle). One important mystery genre convention is that a detective makes a conclusion based on facts and evidence. This convention is supported by S.S. Van Dine in the article Twenty rules for writing detective stories: The method of murder, and the means of detecting it, must be rational and scientific. During the mystery genres classical stage, where the genre is at the peak of its popularity, the convention of a detectives evidence-based conclusion was developed in Sir Arthur Conan Doyles stories such as The Sign of the Four, published in 1890. In the novel, detective Sherlock Holmes assists his client, Mary Morstan, in solving the mystery of her fathers disappearance. During that process, Holmes meets Thaddeus and encounters his brothers, Bartholomew, death which leads Holmes to use his rational expertise to discover the cause behind Sholtos death. Holmes scientific approach to criminology, seen through his unbiased perspective and keen observation, became a

Ho 2 fundamental convention of the mystery genre because it serves as a method for detectives to solve mysteries logically. Holmes unbiased perspective is a key element to the mystery genre because his perspective allows him to focus on the facts and evidence that leads to the solution of a mystery, rather than make assumptions. When Detective Athelney Jones arrives at the murder scene, he makes a claim that Thaddeus had murdered Bartholomew because of their dispute the night before. Holmes then states that Jones does not have all the facts in place to make that claim (41). Unlike Jones, Holmes formulates his conclusions after he examines all the evidence and draws connections upon them with his extraordinary reasoning powers (PBS). Due to Holmes unbiased perspective, he does not let Bartholomew and Thaddeus fight influence him to suspecting Thaddeus as the murderer. Being able to keep his mind free from influences allows him to find the absolute truth behind a mystery and solve it. Holmes scientific approach to criminology is also seen through his character. Holmes character has keen observation; he has the ability to spot little, key details that are critical clues to solving a mystery. After entering Bartholomews lab and finding him dead, Holmes examines the crime scene. He observes the obvious clues such as the thorn in Bartholomews head, a letter on the table, a rope in the corner of the room, and the spillage of the creosote. However, Holmes keen observation allows him to see past the obvious clues and at the little details such as the blood on the rope and the footprints covered in creosote leading up to the roof. He then pinpoints a significant clue that leads to the solution of the mystery: You see here on the sill is the bootmark, a heavy boot with the broad metal heel, and beside it is the mark of the timber-toe (Doyle 36). The wooden stump print that Holmes finds is a crucial piece of evidence because the clue reveals that there was a wooden-legged man in the room on the night that Bartholomew died.

Ho 3 Through Holmes observant character, he has developed a scientific approach to criminology because he looks at all the evidence carefully to come up with a logical explanation of what has happened at the crime scene. His logical explanation allows him to truly solve a mystery, rather than just make a claim. The way Holmes approaches a crime scene as a scientist serves as a foundational convention to the mystery genre because the goal of a mystery is to solve it. In order to solve the mystery correctly, one cannot assume but must take all evidence and clues into account to come up with the most reasonable conclusion. This mystery genre convention is important to how readers read a mystery genre text because the readers should use the evidence and clues given to them to foreshadow the solution to the mystery instead of settling for a false conclusion. The readers can also experience the mystery genre better knowing that there can be false suspects. Since the creation of Sherlock Holmes during the Victorian Era, to today, the 21st century, the mystery genre convention of Holmes scientific approach is still seen in texts such as the television series Elementary, where modern-day Sherlock Holmes still has a scientific approach to every single case.

Ho 4 Works Cited "Anatomy of a Mystery." ThinkQuest. Oracle Foundation, n.d. Web. 02 Feb. 2014. Dine, S.S. Van. ""Twenty Rules for Writing Detective Stories"" Gaslight. Mount Royal College, n.d. Web. 02 Feb. 2014. Doyle, Arthur Conan, Sir. The Sign of the Four. London: Lippincott's Monthly Magazine, 1890. Sherlock Holmes. Kindle. "Masterpiece Theatre." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 02 Feb. 2014.