This month the Tuesday Night Bloggers (an eclectic bunch of bloggers with a small addiction to mystery fiction) are looking at costumes and disguises in crime and mystery fiction. So far this month we have had a wide variety of posts with bloggers turning their attention to costumes and disguises in films and comic books, as well as in mystery fiction old and new. This week’s posts are no different containing a diverse range of topics.
Here are this week’s posts:
Bev at My Reader’s Block: Tuesday Night Bloggers: Death Wears A Mask
Brad at Ah Sweet Mystery Blog: The Cape and Cowl: The Ultimate Costumed Detective
JJ at The Invisible Event: The Tuesday Night Bloggers – A Plague of Flaming Phantoms
Moira at Clothes in Books: Tuesday Night Club: Harlequins and Columbines
Rich at Past Offences: Maurice Leblanc: Arsène Lupin Gentlemen Burglar
If you have missed any from previous weeks you can find them here:
My post this week is a trip down memory lane to a book of my childhood, The Usborne Detective’s Handbook, a book which takes children through the elementary aspects of being a detective and how criminals operate. It is therefore not surprisingly that there are sections devoted to detectives and criminals in disguise. Below are some suggestions for wannabe-sleuths on how to overhear criminals discussing their criminal plots:
Aside from a having a quiet snicker at these pictures, which strive to make the detective inconspicuous yet seem to do the opposite – especially in the picture entitled ‘The Lurker,’ I got to thinking about examples of fictional sleuths adopting disguises to listen in on a criminal’s plans. And it was at this point that I got a little stuck, as the only fictional moment I could think of was when the victim of Patricia Wentworth’s The Listening Eye (1955) gets killed because she has lip read a conversation held by two criminals. I also remembered the film 23 Paces to Baker Street, where the blind protagonist overhears two people discussing an up and coming sinister plot. Even after a little googling later I only found one rather obscure example where an amateur sleuth named Captain Redwood overhears two thieves who are disagreeing over their spoils in Dick Donovan’s Jim Penman: The Life Story of One of the Most Astounding Criminals that Have Ever Lived (1910). My googling skills may not be up to much, that could be one reason why I haven’t come up with more examples. But I think another reason is, is that the detectives we know and love often don’t plan to overhear criminal plots and deliberations and when they do hear incriminating phrases it can as often be from characters who are innocent of the murder, than from the murderer themselves. Appointment with Death (1938) springs to mind in this case.
The Usborne Detective’s Handbook also gives the reader a number of tasks to use the skills talked about in the book. One in particular requires you to see through a criminal’s series of disguises, a task I was not good at then or now, whilst another asks you to detect the real person out of a group of imposters. Consequently to conclude this week’s post I thought I would share these tasks with you to see if you can do better than I did (which is probably not that hard to do).
Seeing Through Disguises
‘Sidney Lurchpast, a well-known criminal, was able to escape detection for any years by using fake identities and clever disguises. Could you have spotted him?
Picture of Lurchpast
Below are pictures taken by detectives while on his trail. Some are Lurchpast in disguise. Some are innocent people. To work out which is which, think carefully about what can be disguised and what cannot.’
Which of these are really Sidney Lurchpast?
Spot the Imposter
‘Here is a photograph of Roderick Roehart, taken just before he set out to explore Brazil. Soon after, his expedition was reported lost. Years later, when his uncle died, all three below claimed the Roehart fortune. Which could be Roderick Roehart?
Answers will be posted up later this week.