Monday, May 12, 2014

Ngaio Marsh : Death in a White Tie, 1938


Ngaio Marsh : Death in a White Tie, 1938

In my opinion one of the best Ngaio Marsh novels I've ever read!
It 'easy to say , so to speak : a novel sumptuous , not a pure mystery , with a plot and an atmosphere that completely change and continually ; a great novel , full-bodied, almost three hundred pages, when the mysteries classics that reach are the minority ; a novel that knows how to combine the detective story to the stories of the various characters , at least to some, with great psychological insight, and together with extreme care; a novel, in which even the men , they cry like women.
The story is set in high society, what commonly happens in the mysteries classics pre-war: a blackmailer has seized incriminating secrets, and in exchange for their non-disclosure, blackmails noblewomen . The first is the fatuous young wife of General Halcutt - Hackett, who looks very naively by the police asking for help, " for his imaginary friend" ; the second is Lady Evelyn Carrados, wife of Sir Herbert Carrados .
To direct the investigation is Roderick Alleyn , the son of Lady Alleyn , and then he, too, of noble lineage . The blackmailer wants some blackmailed to leave her evening bag with 500 pounds in the places indicated by him: to go unnoticed, so , too,
evidently, must  also  blackmailer  belongs  to the high society.
Among the peculiarities of the novel , there’s as well as the characters which I briefly mentioned, the variety and large number of characters who are affected : there is the Captain Maurice Withers , a character from the past doubt ; General and Mrs. Halcutt - Hackett, Sir and Lady Evelyn Herbert Carrados Carrados ; Violet Harris their secretary ; Bridget , daughter of the first bed of Lady Carrados ; there is the same Roderyck Alleyn, son of Lady Alleyn, famous Inspector of Scotland Yard, noble and brother of a baronet ; there’s the ambiguous Dimitri, the head of a company that today we would say of "catering " , which deals about the organization, supplies and personnel for large receptions ; there are Lord Robert " Bunchy " Gospell , and the noblewoman friend of Roderyck, Lucy Lorrimer ; there is the nephew  of Lord Gospell, Donald, fallen in love with Bridget ; there the painter Agatha Troy ; and also the doctor of Carrados , Sir Daniel Davidson .
So we understand how to find the blackmailer may be a thing of no small importance : Roderyck , then asks the help of his friend Lord Gospell : he will be an undercover agent , during a reception from Carrados , and be careful to identify the blackmailer . But something goes wrong and at the ed of  the receptio , Gospell is killed, smothered in a taxi without the driver noticing and without the victim shouts a lot : how did blackmailer ? And who is he ?
Roderyck Alleyn finds himself suddenly swept from a simple ( but then not so ? ) investigation about  a blackmailer , to investigation about a murderer.
Another special feature of this novel is that, much more easily, as opposed to this, there are plots in which the blackmailer is to be killed; here there is a diversity of plant: since we know that Lord Gospell is not the blackmailer nor the blackmailed , but only a voluntary collaborator of the police, it appears that the murderer is probably also the blackmailer or at least a his accomplice.
Why the blackmailer killed Gospell? Because he had found out who he was?
The fact is that Roderyck is more determined than ever: the murderer has not only killed an innocent man, but for most  his life-long friend. Let read and visualize a scene in which a police inspector cries for a dead friend, is not usual thing in a Mystery , where the detective is usually detached from the characters of the drama, and is more than "Inter Partes", "Super Partes". In this novel, we note a characterization that puts Ngaio Marsh among the writers  by the first magnitude: more than a mystery writer borrowed the literature tout court, to the contrary!
The blackmailer , who takes the money is found, soon enough : it is more difficult to determine whether he is the murderer, or if he has an accomplice or if he is the accomplice of the murderer.
I know something else: Ngaio Marsh , to express the brutality of the murder, and his baseness , to have acted treacherously by the murderer ( without the victim was aware of what was happening), and siphoning off his coat and hat, i.e. his characterizing clothing) , and then having imitated the voice of the dead, and having sent the driver at a certain address , proceed to the description of the state in which the Lord Gospell’sl body has been found by Roderyck (in fact the taxi driver, having noticed the murder at a later time , runs to the police station asking to speak to a manager column of high-grade , which in this case is just the Chief Inspector of Scotland Yard Roderick Alleyn ) : tells the pudgy hands were still, while the feet were turned around backwards like those of a child; his head was bent over his shoulder, languidly , like that of a sick child.. In other words, the Marsh to condemn the savagery of the murder, compares the dead Lord Gospell to a child. Who never should kill a child , an innocent person , and what's more sick , if not a vicious murderer ? So to characterize psychologically the murderer uses the description of his victim : a process quite interesting.
Roderyck Alleyn must therefore employ to all his skill, cunning and sagacity , to force the various characters to reveal those unconfessed little secrets that only serve to distract the police by capturing the real murderer .

It will not be easy. But eventually he will succeed , thanks to an old French box and to a wedged cigarette that has “a medal by Cellini”,  that allow to frame the murderer in the picture, and destroying his alibi.
And in this tourbillon , they will stop a gambler , a blackmailer and a murderer , the first for anything accomplice of the other two ; it will be proved a bigamy , an affair, an organization dedicated to blackmail will be destroyed ; and finally the sensitive but determined Roderyck Alleyn will find love in a happy ending .
To tell the truth, I especially like the novels f from Ngaio Marsh, where there is next to Roderich, Agatha. Ngaio Marsh manages to create a happy amalgam to enchant with its first-rate narrative vein, everyone without distinction, men and women.

Pietro De Palma

Friday, May 9, 2014

Mignon Eberhart: The Mystery of Hunting 's End, 1930


Mignon Eberhart , was a popular American writer . He invented the female nurse Sarah Keate , and inserted it into a his vein, distinguished from plots where there was usually a woman in danger, and in which the mysterious element fasten the romantic sentimental, a bit as the Nancy Drew mystery, novels " for ladies" , written by Carolyn Keene ( pseudonym under which lurked several authors of the Stratemeyer Syndicate, the most famous of which was Mildred Augustine Wirt Benson ) . Unlike these novels, which are dominated by the suspense , because direct more than anything else to a young audience , that relate to  events in which they move crooks and thieves, but not assassinations, and that therefore the violent element is very watered down , those by Mignon Eberhart , who began to write taking as  her mode  Mary Roberts Rinehart, marked by strong atmosphere and a thriller spasmodic , contain  murders ! Although the story is often intertwined with romantic ashes .
Mignon Eberhart wrote The novel  The Mystery of Hunting 's End, s her third novel (with Character Sarah Keate), after Patient in Room 18 (1929) and While the Patient Slept (1930).
Here nurse Sarah Keate , called into question by Detective Lance O ' Leary, his friend , is involved in an affair in which dominates the suspense but also the mystery .
Mary Kingery , daughter of financier Hubert Kingery , after five years from the death of his father ,  occurred in circumstances not fully clarified, decides he wants to know the whole truth , and for this, at the residence of his father, near Barrington, summon all  people who were present at the death of his father, who also accepted , to dispel the suspicion that there may have been involved  : Julian Barre, Jasper Fraley , Nicholas Morse , Charles Killian , they are all friends and partners , and in any case characters related to financial founded by Hubert Kingery ; Jose Paggi is a tenor and his wife Helen Paggi ; Blanche Von Turcum is a baroness ; Lucy Kingery , is the sister of Hubert and Aunt of Mary ; Brunker , is the domestic and Anne , the cook . All were five years ago. The last two continue to serve at home, and like the others, would have had valid grievances , and therefore a valid motive for desiring the death of Hubert.
Apparently , Hubert died of a heart attack, but something is not clear , and the same is not persuaded Mary that her father has died in this way : he was found in his pajamas, on the ground, without slippers , prepared to sleep in the bed and the bedside the light turned on. Inside a closed room from the inside. This circumstance authorized to think that the death had occurred due to natural causes. Later O’Leary will know from Lucy Klinger there was the work of concealment and corruption against the doctor who signed the death certificate , because he was silent on the true cause: Hubert died for a gunshot at point-blank that had caught him in the chest. She who "apparently" was seized with paralysis at the time of his brother's death , bur isn’t seized with paralysys instead, in fact it seems she had opposed in all its forms , for financial games too open-minded  of her brother, faces to enrich himself at the expense of the people around him , not caring about their lost savings : all or most of those who Mary want to spend their days in La Vedette , the lonely place in the sand .
Mary would like to avoid marrying someone who might have murdered the father, also: among her guests there is also her fiancé.
She assigns the rooms on the ground floor in a hunting lodge. Very few go to sleep on the first floor where the gallery is located directly in front of the room where he died Hubert. Among assigned rooms that not assigned also is Hubert’s room, in which three among guests (Julian Barre, Jasper Frale and Charles Killian) offer to sleep there: Jasper Fraley will end among three to sleep there. Jasper is the boyfriend of Mary . At night, while Jose Paggi and Nurse Keate detectives are talking in front of the fireplace, and can be found randomly in front of the door of the Fraley’s room, they feel before a rustle , as if someone passed on tiptoe above them, in the balcony, then they hear a knock coming from the room: Jasper is died , hit by a bullet to the heart, while wearing pajamas , barefoot and attired bed for the night. The door is open , but they were there out the door , though not in the front but the side, perjury and swear that no one came out the rooms, even if, before passing in front of the Fraley’s door bedroom , Sarah had heard two voices coming from the inside. Moreover, the windows are closed and the door that connects the room with the Barre’s room is closed by a bar . And it was not suicide , because you should find the weapon, and this is not there. So ...
But what’s the murderer ? A ghost ?
Some of the guests are emotional , because the old dog of Hubert , Jericho, whining all the time that passes in front of the door of the former owner and behaves as if there was a supernatural presence among them.
The search for the killer which seem difficult. Yet he is there, among them : he can not be escaped , because it's snowing outside , it's snowing , it's snowing incessantly : the villa where everyone came together , is completely isolated . But if the murderer  can not escape, also the other people can not escape,  in case he wanted killer some other . Yeah, because Jasper before he was killed , during dinner , he had alluded to some papers that he was in possession of the hide , which were like a pass, and which contained evidence of fraudulent financial by Kingery . Precisely for this reason , Hubert had forced her daughter to get engaged to Jasper was the price of blackmail. Now everyone is looking for these cards .
Before a sheet disappears from Keate found in the room of the dead, containing a sequence of numbers addressed to Morse ; the dead man's toupee then disappears , then reappears ( Sarah finds him ) and then disappears to reappear again and again ; then disappears even the dead, while there is the Baroness  who swear s had not entered anyone in the room.
Reticence, half-truths , lies, all conspire to undermine the investigation of the couple Keate - Leary . Even the wishes of some of the guests, before the corpse disappeared , make it disappear , because if the body is not there and so there is no evidence of a crime , there can not be (in theory ) a survey.
The present situation becomes absurd , the groceries are becoming scarce , because their estate is completely isolated in the snowstorm. Meanwhile, the murderer kills.
Before he tries  to poison the dog with strychnine . Then , when the snow ceases to fall, and Morse would like to go away to seek relief, he ries to kill O ' Leary, hitting him in the head with a poker night, while the detective is collapsed in one of the chairs in the room. Finally the muredere kills Morse , shoving a knitting needle , lost by the nurse, into the heart.
Then he hides the corpse.
With this novel , Mignon Eberhart won in 1931, the Scotland Yard Prize. Why ?
Undoubtedly we are dealing with a good novel that has some very specific characteristics :
an oppressive and claustrophobic atmosphere , which is a bit the feature of all those novels in which the house is in the middle of something from which the occupants can not escape : a cyclone ( Murder at 28. 10 , of Newton Gayle ), the sea ​​( Ten Little Niggers by Agatha Christie ), electrified doors ( The Invisible Host by Bristow & Manning ), a fire in the woods (The Siamese Twin Mystery, by Ellery Queen) ; the presence of climatic conditions and extreme weather ( something that also appears in other novels of Eberhart ); a woman in danger ( here's the nurse , but also Mary Kingery); a love story (between Killian and Mary ) ; a survey that moves more for isolated events which for a concatenation of tiles put into place ; a history  more than detective , romance , but not too much ; and especially a solution that , while providing convincing , gives way to some bugs here and there . However, because of the strangeness of the survey, which differs a lot from the more classical , typical of the Mystery , the Eberhart who rightly or wrongly (from this first novel , I'd say more , " wrong " ) was defined as the Agatha Christie of America, she’s  more akin to the kind Suspence or Thriller , since the solution does not come as the logical conclusion of a speech, but as the successful attempt by the detective , who is suspected but has no proof that ( he says) , to compel one who he thinks is the murderer to be discovered, forcing him along with other people that make up the decoy , to avoid being shot by the device that he, the murderer, prepared earlier. In essence, the reader is just waiting to see if the murderer will be found or not, because he did not know who might be right ( I had it figured out but for another reason, which is inherent in the allocation of Rooms: why does Jasper die? And this not because the reader is stupid , but because the author does not provide the clues clearly , but then explain its meaning after: " Hidden Harmonies !") so that he can understand it.
The thinking  I do is this : given that the assignment was made by Mary , and that she can not be the murderer because otherwise she would never have called this meeting to find out the murderer of her father, it goes without saying that it should be another. If the murderess was by flesh and bones, could be anyone , but it is obvious that the strangeness of the discovery of the body suggest something exceptional : no one would be able to approach from the other far rooms , so it's someone close to Jasper’s room . Despite this, the novel is good : merit of Eberhart that packs all in all a good novel .
It 'obvious that
The Mystery of Hunting’s End is a classic locked room , while not seeming that at first sight: in this case the sums It Walks By Night by Carr ( The door was not locked, but was supervised from trusty people  ) , and the novels in which the murderer although physically it may seem he was , he was not ( essentially returns the case described in The Greene Murder Case by S.S.Van Dine, in which a gun is operated with a device specially prepared : I note that the novel by Van Dine, American , precedes this by Eberhart two years); and of course, as we said before , it could be called a Locked enlarged  Room , being the house itself a locked  large room , from which, for the blizzard in place, the murderer can not be escaped .
The fact that some important foreign critics have expressed warm appreciation in respect of this novel, is likely to be related to the nature of the Locked Room .
It 'obvious that it can not have happened that the murderer has staged a few pantomime in order to distract the viewer, go in and kill the victim into believing that he was already dead (as in The Wrong Shape of Chesterton ) , because in the latter case , there would be the guilty competition and therefore an action spectacular directed to stage anything ; and then it would explain the lack of credit by specialized critics . I’s obvious that we fall in other cases .
That that sees the crime mature in the absence of the murderer , for a carefully premeditated plan . In this case the repetition of the murder of Hubert,  in the Jasper’s killing , makes us understand how , having been the home, for Mary’s admission , closed for five years, the murderer can neither having prepared the room nor removed the device that is therefore operating . The strange thing is that just kill the person nominated to be killed, dies : then, the murderer left at the last moment that the mechanism of death did his part. Precisely the absence of the person of the murderer and the reliance on a device, technique that’s in the novels of the period preceding Eberhart ( for example Eden Phillpotts : The Grey Room, 1921) , I believe it has contributed little to the credit of the work. But then, why did other works remain immortal ( The Greene Murder Case , by SS Van Dine, for example, with its mechanism mentioned by Carr , and the same Fatal Descent , by Carter Dickson / John Rhode, who puts into practice a murder carried out in an elevator hermetically closed , by means of a gun calibrated in a certain way ? ) and this novel, less ? I think because Mignon Eberhart does not put the reader in the position to understand , or at least to seek to understand how the murder took place , not revealing a few things : so in a sense, she does not meet the 20 Van Dine rules or those by Knox, ie in practice she cheats  the reader
John Dickson Carr at his Locked-Room Lecture in The Hollow Man, he also refers to this way of killing:

“Most people, I am delighted to say, are fond of the locked room. But--here's the damned rub--even its friends are often dubious. I cheerfully admit that I frequently am. So, for the moment, we'll all side together on this score and see what we can discover… A man escapes from a locked room--well?... It's the escape from the room that bothers me. And, to see if we can't get a lead, I am going to outline roughly some of the various means of committing murders in locked rooms, under separate classifications…..
"3. It is murder, by a mechanical device already planted in the room, and hidden undetectably in some innocent-looking piece of furniture. ..
For a more large extract, see my article in this blog:

If you wish to see other killing manners described by Carr, let see the article by a friend of mine, John Pugmire in his website “Locked Room International”:

Perhaps it is for this reason, also, the novel is not overly loved.

Pietro De Palma

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Joel Townsley Rogers : The Hanging Rope, 1946

Joel Townsley Rogers

Joel Townsley Rogers is best known for The Red Right Hand, work which combines in itself the mystery , horror , fantasy and an evident streak of eccentricity . And this definitely deserves the benefit of the public and of the critics. Nevertheless Rogers, not only wrote the thing , but .. a lot more. Indeed, The Red Right Hand , is just one of many works he wrote . Rogers was not so much an author of novels, short or long , but of short stories : he wrote hundreds.
And so The Red Right Hand was an expansion of a story written and published in the same magazine which was published on The Hanging Rope: in fact, the first short story from which was made the famous novel , was published in March 1945 on New Detective Magazine, unlike The Hanging Rope was released in September 1946. 
This sort of long story (but I would opt more for the meaning of " short novel " because of a little, but always substantially , the work exceeds the threshold of 100 pages that is accepted as a limit because we can start talking about the novel ) , The Hanging Rope , was forgotten for a long time and only in 1990 was rediscovered by Robert Adey ( author of the Bible of  Locked Rooms , Locked Room Murders and Other Impossible Crimes: A Comprehensive Bibliography ) and Jack Adrian, who together  created an anthology  I would say historical, The Art of the Impossible , containing short stories and tales of absolute value , where next to the most famous works (but not much) there are some almost unknown works . It 's the case of this work of Rogers.

Daniel McCue lives on the fourth floor of a large luxurious palace , in a large luxury apartment: he is a wealthy businessman who is also a politician .
Every evening,  go to visit him two of his friends: his lawyer Paul Bean, who is also a friend of his (who after leaving it , in the street is the object of a joke on the part of boys : he falls , peels one knee and palms of the hands, and bleeding back to his house, without  no one saw in that street him neither  helped him) and Father Finley, a priest devoted to the cause of abandoned cats, mild and quirky . Both , however , left the building before the murder of the old McCue , and the witness who confirms it is Boaz , the elevator man . The murder of the old man was accomplished with the aid of a bottle of champagne( brought by his friend Paul Bean, who presented it as a gift for his birthday) and then with the poker:  but if Paul Bean returns home with bloody hands , the priest enters a building not far from that where the old McCue is dead, when he knows that there's no one, to find a cat .
However, in that building, half deserted , in a bare apartment, devoid of furnishings that are not almost just a bed, a table and a typewriter, also lives the famous playwright Kerry Ott, deaf, there abiding, in absolute silence , to find the inspiration for his new comedy .
Tuxedo Johnny Blythe, former police lieutenant , coming from Washington  gives the alarm: he came to the apartment of McCue , and found the handle of the door of the house dirty of something that looks blood . Tuxedo which is the former son of McCue having married his daughter , before she remarry Paul Bean and divorce from him. Frightened by the blood, he gets down the stairs and finds that the goalkeeper, such Ignaz Slipsky,  wearing the uniform of the police patrols: Tuxedo doesn’t know  he came out from police . Slipsky confirms to Tuxedo no one came out, and the other says the door of McCue apartment is locked , having he tried to open it using his key since he failed.
Together they decide to go into the house from the outside, from the balconies. The caretaker , Rasmussen, another weirdo , tells them he saw the devil come out from the apartment of the old Dan :he would go to recover the soul of the old possessed man.
When Tuxedo and Slipsky arrive on the fourth-floor balcony by fire escape stairs and break the glass, they  find  the corpse of Dan with his hands cramped in the act of grasping the edges of the Bukkara Persian, near the desk Louis XV, the back of his head smashed by a heavy bottle of Champagne ( brought by Paul ) and by wild strokes of poker. As Johnny goes to see the front door ( to make sure whether it is locked from the inside ) and desn’t realize that behind him is Slipsky , they hear a piercing scream coming from one of the  other rooms. Tuxedo rushes towards it, and a second later Slipsky finds him dazed at the corpse of Kitty Kane , the beautiful Kitty, whose jugular someone has cut: the warm blood is still gushing out from the mortal wound of the neck. None , however, has seen the murderer , who escaped to the two in no time . He could walk out the door , but it is blocked for the inner chain , and from the balcony no one comes out. So what? How did he do? The only possibility is the bathroom window , which faces on a smooth wall .
The only possibility would be a window opposite , belonging to another stable : watch the odd case , the window overlooks the apartment by the famous playwright Kerry Ott, who lives in a world devoid of its sounds : Ott in fact is deaf . Possible that was just Ott ? Or to kill McCue and Kane were Father Finley ( who just moments before was seen by Slipsky and Boaz , the man of the elevator, go away ; or Paul Bean, went away again before Finley, from McCue home ? The fact is that the two men would have an airtight alibi which is given by  Slipsky ; yet the first , who lives in the same building of Ott, and on his own landing, among a myriad of cats , has been seen with wearing gloves covered by blood (but he says it was the meat that he gives her cats ) and one he lost at Ott’s home , where he came in ignoring in that place lived the playwright , from a few days . Instead Bean was attacked in the street by the terrible sons by Kitty Kane , hurting and being robbed of purse , which was found at the Ott home : were they to lose it or was Ott, penetrated through the window ? The fact is that to put in communication the two windows would serve a scale or a board like those used by painters to paint the walls of the rooms. In fact, one of these is found in the apartment occupied by Ott.
To take care of the investigation is "Big " Bat O'Brien, Homicide Inspector , who will turn ,  and will be misled in the investigation until Kerry Ott, with the involuntary complicity of a spider, argiope , will demonstrate that the window could never be used , also for a spider web that covered it completely . He will indicate to Inspector who could kill at an absolutely extraordinary manner .
Work of absolute importance, it is a real masterpiece . It has a tension that takes the reader to the end, since after the same identification of the murderer, because the end is built like a thriller : the murderer be able to get away or not? Will he be able to escape using the escape way that he has developed , a hanging rope , to avoid being caught?
In the final,  are found other things that give a glimpse of an absolutely diabolical plan .
The novel has also the features that make it if not unique, at least rare: the plot has a very strong atmosphere , which almost turns the detective story in a horror story by the oddity of the situation and by the components that Rogers glimpses , taking care to give each character a benevolent air that strides and contrasts with a more hidden : in this , and in the end at nothing granted, could remember Fredric Brown . A more direct  feature exclusively attributable to him , differentiating him from all other writers is his literary style , which uses a language sometimes obsolete , with exclusive words . The construction of the same period , uses a syntax strongly sought, almost before writing the sentence , he weighed the impact on the reader. These phrases Sometimes  may be too grotesque if not surreal .
A such perspective would suggest a slow writing, but obviously at Rogers was an innate characteristic  to want and to know write in such way , if we think to the hundreds of stories that he wrote. From a certain point of view , the bizarre and horror  remind me the stories by Stanley Ellin .
The Hanging Rope , from another point of view is a kind of synthesis of Mystery (the two impossible crimes) and Hard Boiled . From this second kind , it takes the claustrophobic atmosphere , made almost exclusively indoors , and the topics covered: the playwright could remind for example a reporter , the politician is disliked ( Dan McCue ), there’s femme fatale (Kitty Kane) , there is the sad murderer.
However, outside of the Baroque and refined style (an example is the description of the spider web: "It is not the sloppy and messy canvas , woven haphazardly in a quarter of hour by a teridio , but the patient work of an argiope , an octagonal  canvas, geometric , flawless, with four rays of silk. A job that takes time" ) , surprises the reader.
It reminded me - certainly daring comparison - how Marcel Proust set the writing of À la recherche du temps perdu, with a semantics tortuosity that goes round and round on a certain fact to reveal the hidden aspects as well as the visible ones . This continuous spin of situations , means that the suspicions are cast  out for things that appear the most obvious, on all the characters that appear in the plot: for example, Paul Bean , who falls across the street, mocked by the terrible sons by Kitty Kane, woman loved in the past by some characters of the story, that gives herself to the old Dan.  There would be nothing strange if falling, Bean had scraped knees and the palms of his hands were scratched and then he bled ; but .. the suspect that knocks him Townsley Rogers is that the blood can belong to old Dan ( then Paul would return later , in the Dan’s apartment) .
The references to the great tradition are countless and the same murderer who in some respects may call some other great previous novels as The Big Bow Mystery by I. Zangwill and The Peacock Feather Murders by Carter Dickson, in fact in my opinion it's much closer to Le mystère de la chambre jaune by Gaston Leroux.
The last thing I want to emphasize is that the brilliant idea by Ott on the spider's web , which essentially concludes the novel “ante litteram” , makes already know who is the murderer without reaching the final , because the final idoes not have to reveal the killer’s name, but to ensure that he comes out of the scene in spectacular fashion.
Notice how the novel gaits about the subject of blood: on the door handle , on bathroom tiles , the blood that flows from the neck of Kitty, that flows from the murderer, is perhaps the most obvious feature of a baroque horror , which is in the same time very spectacular and cinematographic  : each of the  sequences is as if it was conceived as a pose distinct from the next. The repetition of the scenes of blood permeates the plot also has a golden unhealthy , by grand guignol . The insistence on the gurgle of blood that comes gushing from the throat of Kitty, terrible because the blood is associated with the life  ( it is as if we were witnessing her death) , brings to my mind the verses of A.E. Housman : Some can gaze and not be sick , But I could never learn the trick . There 's this to say for blood and breath , They give a man a taste for death , which are mentioned by P.D.James before the beginning of her novel, A Taste for Death .
However, it is interesting to note the detail of the web of Argiope because I think it is the direct source of inspiration for other web that in another novel , more contemporary for us , covers the frame of a window, like a glass : I'm talking about La toile de Pénélopeby Paul Halter , although Paul interviewed by me long time ago while admitted to have in his library the novel by Rogers, he did not remember that particular in a book that he admitted he had read in the 80s.
 (  ).
I think the reference was , however, settled in him , unconsciously , and then it produced the idea of a spider's web that deals with the window frame (let look the note No.4 of interview).
However , the two novels differ in the solution that is diametrically opposite : in Rogers , the presence of the web prevents the window may have been used as the entry of the elusive murderer ; in Halter, the presence of the spider's web is not in itself a fact that prevents the action, because he , overcoming the obstacle,explains  by Twist how that window could have been used .

In Halter, basically, there is the overcoming of the idea base , creating the “plus ultra” than the other, bearing in mind , however, that in Rogers, to legitimize the web is also the fact that the window was locked and nailed anyway .
In short , the idea of ​​a spider's web is the same, but everything changes.

Pietro De Palma