A Certain “Type” of Mystery A Certain “Type” of Mystery | Shades of Crimson

A Certain “Type” of Mystery

by Davina on August 22, 2010

Writing Challenge #5

On August 5th, Hilary from Positive Letters shared her rendition of this 100-word creative writing challenge in the comment section. Like everyone else, she used the nine words that by now, most of you have probably memorized, lol:

Fly, Magnitude, Timothy, Typography, Death, Closet, Swell, Rena, Jerome. Hilary’s version went like this:

Who done it?

The fly buzzed around Timothy, death was not far away; the swell of the closet curtains in the evening breeze showed the air circulating, keeping it fresh for now.

Rena and Jerome worked happily on with their typography, the magnitude of their father’s project keeping them fully involved – forgetting about his ‘temporary’ absence.

Joe, the typesetter, Amanda, the glyph modifier, Andrew, the art director, worked nearby. Cluedo has a new room, new death and new murderer. Who murdered Timothy in the closet with a typesetter’s lead-based alloy?

A discussion ensued whereby I failed to guess who the murderer was and how Timothy had died in the closet.

Hilary, bless her heart, has since written a delightful “who-done-it” feature to reveal the mystery behind this typographic caper. She has done a brilliant job. This is a longer post than usual, so grab a coffee, sit back and enjoy. Thank you, Hilary. This has been such a treat. You’re a dear.

The Typographic Caper

Mr. Marchant, the old boy from the Gatehouse, seemed to be around rather more than necessary, asking the Cluedo mansion residents more questions than they felt were necessary. They noticed that he too was in and out of the industrial units questioning all and sundry about Timothy’s unseemly death.

Natural causes it seemed to them, but Mr Marchant’s nose was smelling a rat. Had the Cluedo players played too much? Had reality set in?

Marchant was an unknown. He’d been to dinner parties at the Mansion, appearing very erudite and interested in their goings on, while the community activities he quietly participated in. He knew the inhabitants, but they, so self-absorbed, had asked little about him – so knew little!

What had happened to Timothy? Was the typography business a goner as Allison suggested in You’re Killing Me with Typography? Was Jerome covering up for Rena while she escaped for some space?

Marchant, his unfaltering features giving little away, probed and probed. The Detective leading the case began to lean on him. DC Stevens realised lines of inquiry were being followed and Marchant was doing a fine job, leaving him the DC to establish other facts or fiction… or dare I say it, lies.

Colonel Mustard in the Conservatory had the dagger tucked into his belt as always. He stirred his Moutarde de Maeaux to keep the Pommery mustard fresh. He was stingy – no-one was allowed to share. His moustache was twitching just slightly – could anyone notice? He was a jittery fellow.

Reverend Green spent most of his time in the Library reading, researching and refuelling his brain. Most were full of envy about  it. It contained so much; a wealth of information. But the spanner, why did he bookmark with a spanner in this day and age? To keep it in his possession? Ah – now that was a question.

Professor Plum, with his bruised and rotting plum-coloured florid face, spent a great deal of time in the kitchen twiddling with his bottles and brews of sloes, damsons, plums. All well slobbered over when the alcohol went in – far too much, but did he admit that – enjoying the slurps too too much. He kept spilling the wax from the Candlestick, so that was forever present.

Ah, now the ladies – Miss Scarlett; she would need the revolver. She was of the ilk that made that instant pull the trigger decision – bang bang and you’re dead – but Timothy didn’t die that way. Bang bang, she was in the billiard room – bonging the balls around, making that dreadful unpredictable noise, buffeted between the ballroom and the hall. A muffled sound perhaps.

Mrs. White the all pristine ex housekeeper who abhorred all dirt, weaved her cleanly ways through life, or was she? The rope she used was always tattered. She unwove it to tie away dirty things, then rewove the rope when she could clear that mess away; she was thrifty, but Marchant felt there was a ‘but’ – she lounged a lot, in the lounge.

Mrs. Peacock; “Now there’s a one,” Marchant thought. All splutter and not much body; certainly not a body like Miss Scarlett, but she was a home-maker. She was always in the Dining Room setting lunch or dinner, ready for carving whatever joint might be served with the dagger at the ready. Ah, but what dagger? Colonel Mustard had the dagger, didn’t he?

Marchant pondered on; Stevens, too. They both checked out the Typographical business. Rena and Jerome were distraught by their father’s sudden demise. Why? Without warning. How? The answers didn’t immediately come.

Joe, the typesetter, was a sturdy fellow, sure in his work. While Amanda, the glyph modifier; now, there was something indecipherable about her. Did she know more than she let on about her craft? And finally, Andrew, the art director, appeared to be managing the project rather than being artistic and, dare I say it, crafty?

Various items from the Mansion were sent away for analysis.

Marchant went into the Library with the Reverend Green and they had long and quiet discursive musings, the Reverend getting up and bringing books to be referred to. What were they looking into?

The modern way of instant research via the Internet seemed the most satisfactory to the industrial unit and similar inhabitant. But to the Cluedo residents, what on earth was going on? The Mansion did not have WiFi, so connection could not be made.

Marchant and Stevens conferred at the Gatehouse, where WiFi was available – everyone was held in thrall. Suddenly a meeting was called to the community hall on the estate. Everyone was rounded up to attend. All were called away, no matter how inconvenient.

How did Timothy die?

The closet was off the Hall in the Cluedo Mansion. Why had Timothy been there at all?

Stevens began by welcoming everyone – to a murder investigation, seemed strange – while Marchant kept a wary eye. Stevens took everyone through the events,  then introduced Marchant as “Chief Superintendent Marchant of the Metropolitan Police”. Everyone’s mouths dropped and their eyes widened. Now they knew why he knew so much, but they knew so little.

Marchant summarised and then quietly looked at Colonel Mustard, the man with the feathering moustache that occasionally twitched. Could he see the dagger? Ah yes! A copy from the theatre props.

Marchant suggested that a slice had been taken off the lead pipe – that slice being left in the mustard over the years, causing Timothy a slow death. Colonel Mustard was mean, his Meaux was not to be shared, even on Timothy’s sandwiches. So, the generous offering at Christmas was not generous. It had been a poisonous threat over many years. Timothy suffered as he regularly added Moutarde de Meaux to his lunchtime sandwiches, which Colonel Mustard so generously offered to refill, thus ensuring the poisoning went on.

Where was the lead pipe? Had it ever had a slice removed? We will never know. Joe, the typesetter, said he’d recently been given the lead pipe by Colonel Mustard to make some replacement typefaces and yes, it was about the time Timothy became unwell. The lead pipe had been flattened in the process.

Colonel Mustard started blustering and blabbering, but to no avail. He’d been caught in the end, in the closet with the lead pipe. Off with his head, as the saying goes.

* * * * * * * *

When I asked Hilary what the process was like, this is what she told me:

“I mulled it over a bit as I drove back and forth to see my mother – an hour each way. Then, I just sat and wrote it using the Cluedo characters. I looked up Typography and saw that lead was a major component ‘way back when’ and having researched about the Romans using lead piping, and that glyphs had recently come into a comment on a post, I weaved the parts together.

So I weave fragments of interest together that intrigue and draw readers in – at least that’s my intention! Covering all the disciplines that I have some semblance of understanding.

Cluedo came to the fore, so the nine words became a ‘who dunnit’ in one hundred words.  I didn’t want to use my own words, that was defeating the exercise. However, the three names baffled me for a while. I think what Rebecca has done with her biblical story Acts of a Thief and Bishop, is brilliant, on top of which she full kept to the brief and wrote the whole story in 100 words.

I just had to knuckle under and write.”

Fantastic job, Hilary! I really enjoyed this. Thank you :-)

Photo credit: Misocrazy

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{ 38 comments }

Hilary August 22, 2010 at 1:41 am

Hi Davina .. I’m quite surprised at myself! Seeing as English was a struggle at school .. but with late developers – you never know .. and I’ve always liked writing letters out over the years to friends and family .. and now as you know producing woven blog posts – without the murder mystery thrown in.

I’m chuffed that you thought my contribution was worth publishing etc .. & you did throw me a ‘whammy’ when you asked me ‘who dunnit’ .. well it sure got the brain going ..

Thanks so much for the support in the process – I’ve so enjoyed everyone’s stories .. so different – it’s interesting how we reacted to the nine words …

Enjoy Sunday .. Hilary
.-= Hilary´s last blog ..Under Sea Sussex – Tompot Blenny- Piddock- Devonshire Cup Corals and Jewel Anemones =-.

Hilary August 22, 2010 at 1:51 am

& of course the most important bits .. the proof reader’s additions and post title … A Certain “Type” of Mystery! – thank you .. and the bucket of type is a brilliant picture ..

Well done … Davina .. great editing and additions … Hilary
.-= Hilary´s last blog ..Under Sea Sussex – Tompot Blenny- Piddock- Devonshire Cup Corals and Jewel Anemones =-.

Davina August 22, 2010 at 1:53 am

You’re welcome, Hilary :-D

I was tickled pink when you wrote this response to your original comment. I wasn’t sure you were serious about coming up with a who dunnit. I’m so glad you did. I loved this! You did a fantastic job. It was a delight to read… in fact, I was grinning the whole time. It’s terrific too because when you wrote your first 100 words you didn’t even have a killer in mind. This just excites me. :-)

Davina August 22, 2010 at 1:56 am

Hey, you’re up… and you’re here. :-) I should be off to bed now, as it’s almost 2 am. You’re welcome re the proofing and the post title. As for the picture, it was a lucky find thanks to Flickr. I really wanted to use your mustard shot, but figured it would give the mystery away. And nobody better read this comment before they read the post… dammit! LOL.

Alien Ghost August 22, 2010 at 4:38 am

Hi Davina,

That was a great story! Very captivating and entertaining; Hillary did a wonderful job there! It really is amazing how so many different approaches can be reached from different people using the same set of words :)

Raul
.-= Alien Ghost´s last blog ..Master of Your Own Universe =-.

Hilary August 22, 2010 at 9:48 am

Hi Raul .. many thanks .. just delighted to hear that you enjoyed it .. yes I agree our approaches are completely different .. especially use the same nine words – but with different meanings for some of them.

Appreciate your thoughts .. Hilary
.-= Hilary´s last blog ..Under Sea Sussex – Tompot Blenny- Piddock- Devonshire Cup Corals and Jewel Anemones =-.

Davina August 22, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Hi Raul,
It WAS captivating and entertaining. I was hanging on every word. Course, I used to read Nancy Drew and such. Hilary rocks!

Jannie Funster August 22, 2010 at 2:40 pm

oooo, what an EXTREME treat to witness Hilary’s fiction side. Simply brilliant!! It’s funny, fun,deep and just plain fascinating! Kelly and I have spent quite a few hours with Mr. Mustard in the library and such, so you led me along mystery lane with aplomb.

Hilary, I sure hope we’ll be reading more of these fictions? I completely enjoyed it!

xoxo to all
.-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..10 Great Mysteries of The Universe- 3 =-.

Hilary August 22, 2010 at 11:16 pm

Hi Davina .. thanks for your comment to Raul .. I enjoyed writing it and it seemed to flow .. and I guess that’s the way to write! Fiction anyway. It’s the way I write when I write letters, which are the precursor to Positive Letters. “I rock” – that’s quite appropriate .. see anon – not another WhoDunnIt!
.-= Hilary´s last blog ..Under Sea Sussex – Tompot Blenny- Piddock- Devonshire Cup Corals and Jewel Anemones =-.

Hilary August 22, 2010 at 11:17 pm

Hi Jannie .. thank you .. great to know that the characters resonated with you – as you’d played them with Kelly .. wonder what she thinks about the story? It’d be interesting to find out …

Jannie – possibly – but it wasn’t on my list, as such .. it’s another thought process and I’m not sure if I didn’t have the Cluedo base I’d do so well!! It just seemed to run along with me …

Thank you xoxo Hilary
.-= Hilary´s last blog ..Under Sea Sussex – Tompot Blenny- Piddock- Devonshire Cup Corals and Jewel Anemones =-.

Tony Single August 23, 2010 at 5:46 am

Absolutely brilliant! Seriously, what more can I say in the face of that? Strange thing, but I’ve never played Cluedo before in my life, yet I knew about all of the characters and the basic scenario. What you did here was far more entertaining than that! Bravo, Hilary! :)

Hilary August 23, 2010 at 5:57 am

Hi Tony .. THANKYOU!! Great that you obviously took to the story .. and were entertained .. that’s what it’s all about .. it’s funny how some games seep through even though perhaps we haven’t played them as such .. – glad it brought the game to life a little .. much appreciate the delight! Byeee .. Hilary
.-= Hilary´s last blog ..Under Sea Sussex – Tompot Blenny- Piddock- Devonshire Cup Corals and Jewel Anemones =-.

Davina August 23, 2010 at 8:25 am

Jannie,
It was delightfully mysterious. Yes, brilliant!

Hilary,
You’re welcome :) It’s a treat when things seem to write themselves.

Tony,
Uh huh. Agreed 100%. Encore, encore :-)

Davina August 23, 2010 at 8:26 am

Hilary,
You are doing a super job at chatting up the comment section — thank you for being such a good hostess. I wish we had crumpets and tea to hand out to everyone, lol.

But… no sandwiches with mustard, lol.

Hilary August 23, 2010 at 8:40 am

Hi Davina .. me too – I have the tea and it’s tea time .. crumpets I haven’t had for ages!

Yes ham and mustard sandwiches will never be the same will they?!

Thanks – to you too .. for being such an excellent Murder host – I’ll remember where to go next time!!?? Bye for now – the cuppa is in dire need of being consumed .. and enjoyed .. H
.-= Hilary´s last blog ..Under Sea Sussex – Tompot Blenny- Piddock- Devonshire Cup Corals and Jewel Anemones =-.

Patricia August 23, 2010 at 10:20 am

“here was something indecipherable about her. ” I had to stop reading at this line because I was laughing so hard….wow this is really something Hilary and it is just like you weave together your great blog posts…

Thank you Thank you….loved the short and the long of it :)

Hilary August 23, 2010 at 11:14 am

Hi Patricia .. the words seemed to flow and connect .. delighted that you enjoyed it .. I certainly didn’t craft the words .. they just came through .. I had to ensure that the loose ends were tied and I’d covered bases .. not as you’d have to do in a novel .. but for my first try – I just remembered the Columbo series .. and Jessica Fletcher ‘Murder She Wrote’ .. easy watching – that seem to be on in Nursing Home rooms in the afternoons – not that we watch .. but I listen – by default! & obviously I’ve enjoyed many moons ago!

Having the prompts of the nine words made a difference too …

Just delighted you enjoyed it .. thank you – Hilary
.-= Hilary´s last blog ..Under Sea Sussex – Tompot Blenny- Piddock- Devonshire Cup Corals and Jewel Anemones =-.

vered August 23, 2010 at 11:15 am

I agree – fantastic job. I was expecting to quickly skim the text (it’s a crazy day) but found myself deeply absorbed.

Hilary August 23, 2010 at 11:21 am

Hi Vered .. that’s an honour coming from you .. absolutely delighted .. would love to know what your kids’ think of the story .. if they know Cluedo… or even if not?!

Thank you – appreciate that you took the time to stay absorbed ..

Wonderful comment to receive – as they all are .. thank you Davina .. all kudos to you .. the instigator of this little plot! Hilary
.-= Hilary´s last blog ..Under Sea Sussex – Tompot Blenny- Piddock- Devonshire Cup Corals and Jewel Anemones =-.

Davina August 24, 2010 at 12:17 am

Hilary,
You’re welcome :-) Ohhhh… I remember… before my gluten-free days, going to high tea at the Empress in Victoria on Vancouver Island. Oh, that was a treat! Those little cucumber sandwiches, the egg, the salmon and whatever else, plus the desserts served on a multi-teared platter. And the tea. Oh, the tea.

Patricia,
LOL… I laughed at that part too. :-)

Vered,
Glad you found a mini break with Hilary’s post. It does have a way of capturing the reader.

Hilary,
I’m enjoying how much you are enjoying this.

“I feel my heart swell so full of life that I fly out of the closet, past Rena and Jerome, with a magnitude so great, that I have a near death experience where I hover above a field of timothy. Typography? What typography?” Hahahahaha.

Barbara Swafford August 24, 2010 at 1:54 am

What an awesome story.

I came by last night, was too tired to read the whole story, so came back tonight, a little more fresh and able to concentrate.

I agree with the other comments. Hilary, you nailed this mystery, and to think it’s your first stab at one. Simply brilliant. I like how you said the words “just came”. You’re a natural.

I also liked watching Columbo and Murder She Wrote. Of course I’d try and guess the endings, but was usually way off.

@Davina. I had to laugh at how you said “…sandwiches, no mustard”. 8)
.-= Barbara Swafford´s last blog ..Use It or Lose It =-.

Hilary August 24, 2010 at 3:06 am

Hi Davina .. it’s not just me that’s enjoying this .. you are too .. you’re becoming creative again ..?! It seems to be really good entertainment .. and everyone’s enjoying your Challenge …

Big teas .. those were the days .. went to one in the Ritz here in London – what a spread! Those were the days when you walked everywhere if you ate a tea like that .. mustard definitely will take on a different hue in future …

@ Barbara .. thanks for coming back .. I did enjoy it .. I had to make sure a few things tied in .. but in the end it worked so easily – but a proper published story teller – that would be a real challenge!

Many thanks for your support and thumbs up here .. yes – I can never guess the murderer! ..

Light relief during a busy month …

Thank you both … Hilary
.-= Hilary´s last blog ..Glyphs- Ps and Qs- Murder =-.

Claire - Gratitude Connection August 24, 2010 at 4:42 am

Hi Hilary,
I shared your story with my eldest, he loved it! I think he’ll be a fan of the murder/mystery genre. Thanks so much for sharing :)
Claire
.-= Claire – Gratitude Connection´s last blog ..Today Im grateful for =-.

Davina August 24, 2010 at 8:26 am

Hi Barbara.
I’d forgotten about Murder She Wrote. I used to watch that all the time… Quincy and those others; can’t remember their names. LOL, re the sandwiches with no mustard :)

Claire,
Thanks for stopping in. I see you weren’t disappointed by Hilary’s story. :)

Hilary August 24, 2010 at 8:34 am

Hi Claire .. that’s great – so pleased that your eldest loved the read & the genre of Cluedo & mysteries per se. & good you’ve made it over to Davina’s blog .. enjoy the rest of the week .. Hilary

@ Barbara and Davina .. those detective thrillers in one hour episodes were/are quite fun .. Kojak! etc … – we had them In South Africa because Equity (Actors) in England wouldn’t let programmes with their members in .. be seen in apartheid SA! So for relief .. we saw American series ..

Good to see everyone .. Hilary
.-= Hilary´s last blog ..Glyphs- Ps and Qs- Murder =-.

Davina August 24, 2010 at 10:28 pm

Hilary.
I just remembered the other show…. Columbo! I kinda miss those old shows. I watched Kojak as well, but not as much as the other shows.

Hilary August 24, 2010 at 10:48 pm

Hi Davina .. you’re right .. Columbo – the detective with the dirty mac?! – so distinguishing!! Kojak and his lolly .. they were light relief ..

Sleep tight .. when you get there?! Sun up for the moment, but sounds like the rain is coming in .. just hope it stays dry tomorrow for the move .. makes life slightly easier! Hilary
.-= Hilary´s last blog ..Glyphs- Ps and Qs- Murder =-.

Sara August 25, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Davina — Thank you for sharing all of Hilary’s story.

Hilary — This was so much fun. I remember playing clue and so, I really enjoyed all your characters. Most of all, I love the light tone…I get the impression you had lots of fun doing this….you even got your research in.

Marvelous, marvelous job, my dear…well chuffed:~)
.-= Sara´s last blog ..Story Photo- The Creative Mind =-.

Davina August 25, 2010 at 6:06 pm

Hilary,
We’re supposed to get rain on Thursday. Not complaining though. We’ve had a pretty dry summer. Hope everything goes well for your move…

Sara,
You’re welcome. I’ll remember this story for a while now… every time I use mustard :)

Hilary August 25, 2010 at 10:47 pm

Hi Sara .. thanks so much for commenting .. and so pleased to hear you enjoyed it .. and yes I got a some extra little bits of info in, as I like to do …

Delighted to have your positive comments .. I did enjoy the process .. and perhaps I need to lighten up a little in my own posts – but my mind is thinking future somewhat – and you might ‘know me’ .. but others will be reading them and will they be on the same wavelength as me? .. unlikely!

We’ll see .. just delighted to have the thumbs up about the story – thank you! Love your photos .. and connections everyone makes about them over on your site ‘A Sharing Connection’. Thanks so much .. Hilary
.-= Hilary´s last blog ..Glyphs- Ps and Qs- Murder =-.

Hilary August 25, 2010 at 10:50 pm

Hi Davina .. We’ve had a fair amount of rain in the last couple of days .. and today there’s due to be more – it looks Autumny out there! Hope it comes your way .. Patricia was saying (further south) she was hoping for rain too .. on your west coast.

The stories seem to be going down well .. and so many different thoughts – great challenge .. and we are blogging .. not you! Have fun .. Hilary
.-= Hilary´s last blog ..Glyphs- Ps and Qs- Murder =-.

Liara Covert August 26, 2010 at 7:07 pm

Nothing quite like the power of the limitless imagination! Using what we have brings us into closer intimacy with the expanse of true self.
.-= Liara Covert´s last blog ..How do you respond to ridicule =-.

Davina August 26, 2010 at 10:58 pm

Hilary,
We got rain AND thunder AND lightning tonight. I’m very happy about that. LOL… I feel like I am blogging. Somehow, I’m working harder and I’m NOT writing my own posts. How can that be? :-) It’s all good though… I’m really enjoying this.

Liara,
I agree. I love how everyone has stepped up to the plate with this. Every post has been SO unique. A real treat.

Jim August 26, 2010 at 11:43 pm

Hi Hilary,
I just love mysteries I still watch “Perry Mason” reruns.
I always enjoyed “Murder She Wrote” and “Columbo”.
Your storey had me on the edge of my seat. Great story…

Hilary August 26, 2010 at 11:53 pm

Hi Liara .. yes aren’t they all so different .. and those who adhered to the challenge particularly .. but I enjoyed the light relief of something different – sometimes I struggle to get out of my mode: this worked.

Limitless imagination .. love that phrase .. good to see you – Hilary
.-= Hilary´s last blog ..Glyphs- Ps and Qs- Murder =-.

Hilary August 26, 2010 at 11:55 pm

Hi Davina .. rain and storms .. looks like it’s everywhere – here too .. and still cloudy and damp today. Glad you got some good rains ..

& you are blogging, but not .. as you say! Lots of interaction and more stories to come .. good news .. enjoy the fresher air…. happy weekend ..

& PS I see Jim’s commented .. that’s lovely! Cheers – Hilary ..
Sandwich anyone?
.-= Hilary´s last blog ..Glyphs- Ps and Qs- Murder =-.

Hilary August 26, 2010 at 11:56 pm

Hi Jim .. thanks .. I’ll watch if someone else is watching .. otherwise no – I’d rather be doing something else .. but they were and the new ones are good relaxers for the odd hour.

Great to hear that you enjoyed it .. and kept you sitting down! thanks – lovely that you read it and commented .. seeing how much you dislike typing away! .. See you again soon I hope ..

Enjoy your rain!! .. have a good weekend .. Hilary
.-= Hilary´s last blog ..Glyphs- Ps and Qs- Murder =-.

Davina August 27, 2010 at 10:10 pm

LOL, Hilary… I’m off sandwiches :-)

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