AND THEN THERE WERE THREE COFFINS

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Postby moonflee » Wed Jun 08, 2005 1:12 am

I saw the '65 movie version of Christie's book when I was around eight and read it for the first time around twelve. Still my favorite.

Concerning The Three Coffins I really liked Fell's discussion on how the normal person will always overestimate short time intervals.

Fell's talk about Ghosts in literature was also fantastic:

"Of course it should always be malignant. The more malignant," thundered Dr. Fell, screwing his own face up into a tolerably hideous leer, "then the better. I want no sighing of gentle airs round my couch. I want no sweet whispers o'er Eden. I want BLOOD!"

"There is an unfortunate tendency nowadays to sneer at old libraries or ancient ruins; to say that the really horrible phantom would appear in a confectioner's shop or at a lemonade stand. This is what they call applying the 'modern test.' Very well; apply the test of real life. Now, people in real life honestly have been frightened out of their five wits in old ruins or churchyards. Nobody would deny that. But, until somebody in actual life really does scream out and faint at the sight of something at a lemonade stand (other, of course, than that beverage itself), then there is nothing to be said for this theory except that it is rubbish."

You just have to love that Dr. Fell - moonflee
Nothing’s so loud
As hearing when we lie
The truth is not kind
And you’ve said neither am I
- toad the wet sprocket
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Postby Starra » Sat Jun 11, 2005 7:38 pm

*throws her $0.02 down in The Well*

When it comes to "The Three Coffins", I was baffled. Totally and completely baffled. When I got to Chapter 17 to read the "Locked Room Lecture", I knew it had to be the choice of "it looked like it happened in the room, but it didn't", but for the life of me, I couldn't figure out how.

I'd read "And Then There Were None" in Grade Nine, so reading it now brought back to me my first lessons on "red herrings". I also remembered the feeling I had when I read "Ripper" for the first time. I had the sense that I had somehow "read" that story before.

Reading the two of them back to back this time really helped me understand Slade's mindset when they wrote "Ripper". I will say that the Slade novel was a lot less "cozy" than it's inspirational stories.

I liked both books, and I will add them to my personal collection. I can only hope that the rest of the reading list is just as inspiring.
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Postby Slade » Sat Jun 11, 2005 10:36 pm

Starra,

I wondered when you were going to weigh in. You said you were reading the books...then silence. I'm glad you liked them.

As The Well develops, ("The Well" is the title of the first story I wrote, back in elementary school), we're going to dip into a lot of different books, both high-brow and low-brow, but all having an influence on the creation of Slade.

Give me puzzles. Try to trick me. That's what I want from a mystery.

A mystery should be a game of mental chess between the author and the reader. If not, then the story doesn't fit the definition: "Something that is secret or impossible to understand. Something that arouses curiosity through its obscure nature."

Carr, Christie, Queen. Those three tricksters are WHY Slade writes whodunits.

Slade
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Postby Starra » Sun Jun 12, 2005 3:15 am

I flew to meet the future in-laws in Ohio on May 31, thus missed the first week of The Well postings. Interesting discussion, so far.

I love a good mystery. I like puzzles, I like problems to figure out. Christie, "And Then There Were None" specifically, was the first mystery I'd ever read after cutting my teeth on Nancy Drew. It's funny, but I guess I dropped out of the mystery genre after finding that many of the more contemporary mystery authors just weren't up to that kind of puzzling.

Though, in re-reading Christie, I did come to realize another influence she's had over the whole genre, including you, Slade.

It's always the guy you least expect who did it. Though, with Christie, there's often 3 or 4 you'd least expect.

It's kind of like having a well respected Member investigating her own crimes, mais non?
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Postby Slade » Sun Jun 12, 2005 5:01 pm

Well-Dwellers,

Carr's favorite detective creation wasn't Dr. Fell. It was H.M., "the Old Man," Sir Henry Merrivale, the sleuth who tackles impossible crimes in the books that Carr wrote under the pen name Carter Dickson.

Though H.M. wasn't inspired by Churchill, he took on some of Winnie's traits in the later years. H.M. is loud, vulgar, and shouts obscenites. He's bald-headed, pigeon-toed, barrel-shaped, and scowls as he chomps on his cigar.

Fell's THE THREE COFFINS is Carr's most famous book - aided by "the locked-room lecture" - but many fans prefer H.M.'s THE JUDAS WINDOW.

So if I've made a JDC connoisseur out of you, that's the next one to hunt down.

They don't write 'em like that anymore.

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Postby Slade » Tue Nov 13, 2007 6:42 pm

Two and a half years since the last post, so let's scramble into the Time Machine and take another trip. Whenever I travel through time to the lost years of yesterday, I imagine myself in that cool machine in the George Pal version of Wells's tale:

http://www.colemanzone.com/Time_Machine_Project/

Enter, and check out the miniature model of the Time Machine.

So now we're going back, back, back in time, and - What's this? - let's make an unscheduled stop. There's a huge crowd gathered around a theater in 1961, trying to get in to see...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Reveen

Reveen! Now is that the perfect name for an Impossiblist, or what?

I wish we could stay and catch the show, but - to bend the poet - we've "got years to go before we sleep," so it's back into the machine for a journey to 1944.

No, we're not after Morlocks. We've after the Windigo. So that means our destination is two snowbound ski lodges on the...

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Postby Slade » Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:48 pm

...RIM OF THE PIT.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rim_of_the_Pit

http://www.ramblehouse.com/rimofthepit.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mapback

http://www.dell.bookscans.com/dell.htm

Recently, I was asked to speak to Grade 8 students at a private boys' school. One of the boys asked the question. "What preparation should I do to become a criminal trial lawyer like you?"

My answer?

"Join the drama club. Haunt the big murder trials at the Law Courts. And sharpen your mind by trying to solve the classic novels in the Golden Age of Detective Fiction."

"Why?" he asked.

"Because..."

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Postby Slade » Thu Nov 15, 2007 6:28 pm

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Postby WaywardSoul » Thu Nov 15, 2007 8:33 pm

Slade wrote:No, we're not after Morlocks. We've after the Windigo. So that means our destination is two snowbound ski lodges on the...
Slade


I guess I went and dusted off my reading copy of CUTTHROAT for nothing! :twisted:
"Remember, there's a big difference between kneeling down and bending over." - Frank Zappa
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Postby Slade » Thu Nov 15, 2007 8:59 pm

WS,

Astute again. CUTTHROAT will feed into the discussion.

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Postby Slade » Sun Nov 18, 2007 12:29 am

Detective fiction breaks down into three subgenres:

1/ the Golden Age puzzle;
2/ the hardboiled private eye;
3/ the police procedural.

The hardboiled school concerns itself with "an unsentimental portrayal of crime, violence, and sex." Delve into it and you'll get a good grounding in real-life motives for murder.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hard-boiled

The police procedural concerns itself with how to build a case: ferret out the facts until the crime makes sense. Delve into it and you'll get a good grounding in how to prosecute.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Police_procedural

The Golden Age puzzle concerns itself with showing why clues should not be accepted for what they seem to prove, but instead point to a different explanation. Delve into it and you'll get a good grounding in how to defend.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Age ... ve_Fiction

http://www.geocities.com/hacklehorn/

For example...

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Postby Slade » Sun Nov 18, 2007 10:00 pm

Tomorrow will see the start of closing arguments in the Pig Farm Case.

This from The Canadian Press:

NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. - After almost a year of testimony, lawyers for the Crown and the defence in the trial of accused serial killer Robert Pickton will begin delivering what's sure to be one of the most complex and crucial final arguments of their careers Monday.

Pickton's defence lawyer will try to remind jurors his client is a simple pig farmer, a bit too dim to get jokes, and living on a farm with all manner of friends and strangers coming and going, including some that had connections to the six women Pickton is accused of killing.

The Crown lawyer will attempt to knit together the gruesome findings of police who combed Pickton's farm, the 22 hours of taped conversations in which Pickton appeared to confess to the killings, the macabre testimony of a woman who said she saw Pickton with one of the dead women, and days and days of dry scientific evidence.

They'll each get a day and a half to sum up their view of one of the longest criminal trials in Canadian history.

The defence has to prove nothing; they must only convince the jury that there is a reasonable doubt in order to get an acquittal. "The point of a closing argument is to bring together all the evidence that supports that side's theory," said a defence lawyer...


"Evidence" is a trial lawyer's term for a Golden Age detective's word "clues."

Slade's theorem: "The best lawyer is the lawyer best trained at explaining away troublesome clues."

I once defended a particularly gruesome double murder...

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