How far is 'An Inspector Calls' by JB Priestley like a conventional detective story .
In what important respects is it different?.
'An Inspector Calls' by JB Priestley is like a conventional detective story or 'whodunit' in many ways.
All detective stories and 'whodunits' always contain stock characters. The stock characters in An Inspector Calls are Mrs. Birling, the stubborn type who never accepts the truth. There Eric, the quiet shy type who lacks confidence and is easily intimidated. There's also Mr. Birling who is a hard headed business man who only thinks about money and his self.
A 'whodunit' also consists of dramatic devices. A dramatic device is when something happens in the play which is unexpected and happens when a character is vunerable. For example on page 9 Eric says 'yes i remember(checks himself)'. This is a dramatic device because it gives the audience the impression that Eric knows something about the girl that has just died or suggests that he holds an important secret. Another use of dramatic device was when the Inspector showed Mr. Birling a photograph but would not let anyone else see. This is daramtic because it immediately gets the audience thinking that Gerald and Eric may also be involved.
All 'whodunits' also consist of cliff hangers. A cliffhanger is when a part of the play ends leading the audience to guess what happens next. For example in 'An Inspector Calls' the telephone rings at the end of the last scene. Mr. Birling finds out that a girl has just died and an inspector is on his way round to ask some questions. This is a cliffhanger because just before the phonecall you found out that it was just a hoax, and you would like to know the family's reactions to the new inspector who is on its way.
The impression we get of the inspector in 'An Inspector Calls' was that he is a mysterious man, and he is puposeful.
One thing that make him seem mysterious is his name. His name, 'Goole', sounds closely related to Ghoul.