Mystery Factory


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Mystery Quotes

PD James Excellant Advice

pdj2“What we expect is a central mysterious death, a closed circle of suspects with motive, means and opportunity for the crime, a detective, either amateur or professional, who comes in like an avenging deity to solve it and by the end of the book a solution which the reader should be able to arrive at by logical deduction from clues inserted in the novel with deceptive cunning but essential fairness.” PD James


Master of the craft, Dame Agatha, has this to say about ‘what one sees’. Good advice for the puzzle mystery writer.

agachrt“What you have to account for is if one person did see something why didn’t that person say so? … Possibility one. The person who saw it didn’t realize what they had seen. That would mean, of course, that it would have to be rather a stupid person. some, let us say, who can use their eyes but not their brain. … It might have been a person whose action in putting something in a glass was natural. It would be quite possible, audacious but possible, for someone to pick up that glass which as soon as it was in his hand or her hand, of course, would be assumed to be his or her own drink and to add whatever was added quite openly. In that case you see, people wouldn’t think twice…it would be a gamble, a risk, but it could happen…Possibility three…Somebody saw what happened and held their tongue deliberately … if so, it’s a very dangerous thing to do. Agatha Christie (Jane Marple)

Clever Contempt

bulter3.jpg·         The exchange between Churchill & Lady Astor: She said, “If you were my husband I’d give you poison,” and he said, “If you were my wife, I’d drink it.”

      ·         A member of Parliament to Disraeli: “Sir, you will either die on the gallows or of some unspeakable disease.” “That depends, Sir,” said Disraeli, “whether I embrace your policies or your mistress.”

·         “He had delusions of adequacy.” – Walter Kerr

·         “He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.” – Winston Churchill

·         “A modest little person, with much to be modest about.” – Winston Churchill

·         “I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure.” Clarence Darrow

·         “He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.” – William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway).

·         “Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?” – Ernest Hemingway (about William Faulkner)

·         “Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I’ll waste no time reading it.” – Moses Hadas

·         “He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know.” – Abraham Lincoln

·         “I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.” – Mark Twain

·         “He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends.” – Oscar Wilde

·         “I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend…. if you have one.” – George Bernard Shaw to Winston Churchill

·         “Cannot possibly attend first night, will attend second… if there is one.” – Winston Churchill, in response.

·         “I feel so miserable without you; it’s almost like having you here.” – Stephen Bishop

·         “He is a self-made man and worships his creator.” – John Bright

·         “I’ve just learned about his illness. Let’s hope it’s nothing trivial.” – Irvin S. Cobb

·         “He is not only dull himself, he is the cause of dullness in others.” – Samuel Johnson

·         “He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up.” – Paul Keating

·         “There’s nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won’t cure.” – Jack E. Leonard

·         “He has the attention span of a lightning bolt.” – Robert Redford

·         “They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge.” – Thomas Brackett Reed

·         “In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily.” – Charles, Count Talleyrand

·         “He loves nature in spite of what it did to him.” – Forrest Tucker

·         “Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?” – Mark Twain

·         “His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.” – Mae West

·         “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.” – Oscar Wilde

·         “He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts… for support
rather than illumination.” – Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

·         “He has Van Gogh’s ear for music.” – Billy Wilder

·         “I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it.” – Groucho Marx