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mystery

Star Map With Action Figures

More dark than gray, but not yet quite dark
entirely, the stories keep ending as if there were
a limit to what any story could hold onto, and this
the limit, the latest version of it, looking a lot like the sea
meeting shore. 

<i>The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: A Shocking Murder and the Undoing of a Great Victorian Detective</i>, by Kate Summerscale. Walker, April 2008. $24.95

A Murder Most Mysterious

In 1827, Thomas de Quincey suggested that murder was becoming a new medium for the artist: “People begin to see,” he wrote, “that something more goes into the composition of a fine murder than two blockheads to kill and be killed, a knife, a purse, and a dark lane. Design, gentlemen, grouping, light and shade, poetry, sentiment, are now deemed indispensable in attempts of this nature.” In spite of its irony, de Quincey’s essay, “Murder Considered as a Fine Art,” offers a certain truth about the age of Victoria: crime—both as an art in itself and as the subject of the art of fiction—was achieving a new complexity.

Child, Dead, in the Rose Garden

Special Agent B. W. Molloy, now retired, tells the following story: One morning the body of a child was found in the Rose Garden. The sun had just risen. A concert had been given the night before in celebration of the National Arts and Humanities Awards, an event held every year in May. The body was discovered by Frank Calabrese, sixty, the groundskeeper, who had arrived in advance of his workers to oversee the striking of the performance tent. Dew was on the grass and the air was fresh.