I spend quite a lot of my time involved with murders. Not real ones, you understand, but the more enjoyable* kind that can be found in the pages of a book. The vast majority of the books I read are crime novels, and a good proportion of the DVDs I watch are TV and film adaptations of these, such as the wonderful Joan Hickson Miss Marple series that Helena and I are currently watching.
I've just finished reading Murder Behind the Scenes by Giannis Maris. This was a classic locked room murder. The leading lady is murdered just before the premiere of her new play. This rules out the film critics in the audience, who generally wait until after the performance. To complicate matters, she is found stabbed to death in her dressing room, which is locked from the inside.
Various ideas are suggested to the detective. Maybe the lock was tampered with? No, it doesn't look like it, and the key was still on the inside. There's a small open window above the door. Not big enough to fit a person, but perhaps the knife was thrown at the victim? The angle of the wound rules this out.
Perhaps it wasn't murder but suicide? The doctor examining the body says that this is impossible. So how did the murderer do it? Perhaps there's a way to get into the adjoining dressing room? A wooden partition or some such thing?
Yes, there is. And the planks of wood are fixed with nails from the other room. So the murderer could have got out that way and nailed them back on when he was finished. Providing that the murderer was the actress in the next-door room, or an accomplice which as the story progresses doesn't seem that likely.
The most interesting twist in the story is that our hero Captain Bekas doesn't solve the murder. The man who seems certain to be the guilty party is killed whilst trying to resist arrest, and everyone is satisfied that the case is closed. The real culprit confesses to a reporter, but swears him to secrecy so that his children won't have to face the social stigma of having a murderer for a father, and then kills himself. Thankfully for the reader, he explains what really happened with the locked room.
Bekas (centre) from a TV adaptation.
Now I'm reading Che Killed Himself by Petros Markaris, which involves a series of suicides which are really murders. The first one is carried out live on TV watched by millions of viewers, which seems to make the locked room problem look easy by comparison.
* At least, I assume it's more enjoyable to read about it than actually do it as I have never in my life had first-hand experience of the latter. Not so far, anyway.
This won't interest anyone else, but I like to record Geeky landmarks in my blog so that I can look back and see when I did this or that to my computers. Having had the 2008 edition of Ubuntu on my desktop for a couple of years, I decided to do an upgrade. Instead of the 2010 Ubuntu, I downloaded Fedora. This is a distribution of Linux related to the enterprise Red Hat Linux. Which is why it's named after a hat. I put Fedora on the computer as a learning exercise, but I've decided to keep using it. Ubuntu is still the easiest Linux to get up and running, and I am still using it on my netbook, but I'm really happy with my shiny new Fedora desktop.
I'm sure I had something else to say, but I've got a terrible memory these days - I must be getting old. Which reminds me - Happy Birthday, Bee!