Send Bygraves

by Martha Grimes | Poetry |
ISBN: 039913462x Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 11/24/2015
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Tuesday, November 24, 2015
I got this fair-condition softcover at the Used Book Superstore in Burlington MA on a sale day, and was pleased to have another inexpensive release copy.

The book's a very interesting twist on the typical murder mystery: Grimes wrote this one in rhyme. A series of poems, in many different forms, from the points of view of different characters, sets up the crime(s), reveals or rejects clues, and imparts a delicious sense of mystery and Vague Unease. [It should have been illustrated by Edward Gorey; that's the sort of feeling it conveys. But artist Devis Grebu did quite well.]

The "Bygraves" of the title is a mysterious detective whom no one appears to have actually met in person, and who communicates by means of notes left here and there:

"A Note From Bygraves Found Under a Malt Vinegar Jug - The dark suspicions of a winter's night: The missing hands of clocks. The poisoned chocolates in the heart-shaped box."

I found it very entertaining, combining little jabs at the many mystery-novel conventions with an intriguing puzzle (which I failed to solve - I never read mysteries with any idea that I'll figure them out).

And since I read Stephen Fry's wonderful (and very funny) book about poetry, The Ode Less Travelled, I have more of an appreciation for the different styles of poems included here. Fry's examples of villanelles, sestinas, and pantoums helped me to better appreciate Grimes' examples of those forms. [I strongly recommend Fry's book if you have any interest in poetry at all - but if you're reading Send Bygraves and want to know more about the specific forms, you can find 'em in Wikipedia {grin}.]

The "Murderpantoum" from this book is one of my favorites, and was even before I realized that the rhyme-scheme had a name. The text itself is deft and chilling, and the change-ringing rhythm of the poetic form adds a sense of inexorable doom:

Down the wrong paths to the wrong answers lie
Clues that are planted to mislead the eye.
On Spectre Hill, a coach is passing by.
It will stop in your courtyard presently.


Clues that are planted to mislead the eye:
The gun, the knife, the bloodstain on the floor.
It will stop in your courtyard presently,
The driver will step down and try the door.


The gun, the knife, the bloodstain on the floor,
They are not what they seem to be at first.
The driver will step down and try the door.
As in an ending cleverly reversed,


They are not what they seem to be at first.
In silence sometimes lies the only hope.
As in an ending cleverly reversed,
Beware. Be Still. Be Patient. Let him grope.


In silence sometimes lies the only hope.
Some say there is an answer in the sky.
Beware. Be Still. Be Patient. Let him grope
Down the wrong paths to the wrong answers. Lie.


Another favorite is "Lodgings":

These are Bygraves' rooms.
Do not touch a thing.
Stuff out of his pockets -
Notebook, change, ky ring.
Careful. If he comes
Back and finds us at it...
Do not think about it.
Do not touch a thing.


And that's just the beginning - it gets really creepy after that!

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Nashua Public Library (2 Court Street) in Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Released 3 yrs ago (11/25/2015 UTC) at Nashua Public Library (2 Court Street) in Nashua, New Hampshire USA

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

I left this wonderfully quirky and atmospheric mystery poem-cycle on a bench outside the library at around 3:30 or so; hope the finder enjoys it!

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