CAT OF MANY TAILS - Chapters 1 - 5
- My thoughts on the first six chapters:
A good introduction, if slightly pretentious - "Weltanschauung! they cried. The old oblate spheroid was wobbling on its axis, trying to resist stresses, cracking along faults of strain..." Interesting to see how newspapers and radio are blamed for immorality and dangerous thinking - this is of particular interest to me because my honours thesis on the BBC in the 1960s and Mary Whitehouse is due in a fortnight, so interesting to see similar ideas of popular media being responsible for behaviour.
First victim's initials ADA - a nob to The ABC Murders? (Alice Ascher in Andover)
Three things strike me about the victims. Firstly, there are two identical letters (often l's) in each victim's name - Archibald Dudley Abernethy, Violette Smith, Rian O'Reilly, Monica McKell, Simone Phillips and Beatrice Willikins. Secondly, the victims are getting younger - 44, 42 (-2), 40 (-2), 37 (-3), 35 (-2), 32 (-3). Thirdly, pink silk for a woman and blue silk for a man.
A few random things which caught my attention:
"An opposition newspaper which was incapable of subordinating dirty politics to the public interest".
Siblings helping detective - this is obviously a nod to ABC Murders
Jimmy McKell's political views
Murderer opens a telephone directory "let's say, to 7 different pages at random, determined to kill the 49th person listed in the 2nd column of each page" - isn't this rather like the railway guide mentioned in the ABC Murders?
Ellery's four categories: 1) victims getting younger (tick), 2) all women unmarried, 3) pink silk for a woman, blue for a man (tick) and 4) all had telephones (something that passed me by as these days most people have at least one phone although I still don't have a mobile)
ABC theory of multiple murder - clearly ABC Murders
"Do you know like we were saying, about the Earth revolving? It's like when you're a kid, the first time they tell you that the world's turning and you just can't quite believe it because everything looks like it's standing still? I can feel it. The turn of the earth. The ground beneath our feet is spinning at a thousand miles an hour, and the entire planet is hurtling around the sun at 67,000 miles an hour, and I can feel it. We're falling through space, you and me, clinging to the skin of this tiny little world, and if we let go... That's who I am."
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>women unmarried, 3) pink silk for a woman, blue for a man (tick) and
> Ellery's four categories: 1) victims getting younger (tick), 2) all
4) all had telephones (something that passed me by as these days most
people have at least one phone although I still don't have a mobile)*
>These are actually very fair clues to the ABC solution that comes
halfway through the book. EQ is really playing fair with this one.
Think gynecologist! Although the filing system by date of birth rather
than alphabetical seems somewhat eccentric.
Note: only single women are likely to retain their surnames in a
* I refuse to have one too. The use of these devices in public is
obnoxious (although it would make sense to have one if you are on a
long car trip with potential of breaking down in the wilderness).