Posts from 30th November 2007

Nov 07

The Locked-Room Lecture

FT2 comments • 3,752 views

pb_three_coffins.jpgTwo coffins of the way through The Three Coffins(aka The Hollow Man) the author, John Dickson Carr, breaks into the narrative through the words of his serial detective Dr Gideon Fell. Fell responds to a question:

“Because … we’re in a detective story, and we don’t fool the reader by pretending we’re not. Let’s not invent elaborate excuses to drag in a discussion of detective stories.”

He then let’s the reader know what counts as contravening his/her rights regarding the possibilities in solving a locked-room mystery:

“the low … trick of having a secret passage … so puts a story beyond the pale that a self-respecting author scarcely needs even to mention that there is no such thing. We don’t need to discuss minor variations of this outrage: the panel which is only large enough to admit a hand; or the plugged hole in the ceiling through which a knife is dropped, the plug replaced undetectably, and the floor of the attic above sprayed with dust so that no one seems to have walked there.”

Then proposes a taxonomy of locked-room solutions. First where there was no murderer in the room:
1. It is not murder, but a series of coincidences ending in an accident which looks like murder. eg a crack on the head from a piece of furniture. “the most popular object is an iron fender”
2. It is murder, but the victim is impelled to kill himself. Gas, poison, induced hysteria.
3. It is murder, by a mechanical device. Mechanical trap, concealed guns, hidden poisoned needles, “Even” says Fell ” a glove is electrified”. Er, ok.


Chocolate Filled Fruit : Om Nom Nom Ugh

FT + Pumpkin Publog9 comments • 1,685 views

Quick eyeball – saw in my own shop Fruit Tella Choc Filled. Ugh I thought. Who wants the tasty fruit flavoured chew with a completely unwarranted burst of what is almost certainly some sort of chocolate flavoured glucose syrup centre? No-one, that’s who. And indeed our rack is kind of full. But then a closer examination of the product showed that these Fruit Tella’s are caramel flavoured.

From – one assumes – the caramel fruit.
(Picture stolen from SnackSpot as ever)