Sunday, December 03, 2006

Still Writing & rambling

Still writing. Not done with the mystery book yet. Is getting to the exciting part. Bodies left and right now. Killer getting carried away.
I was wondering if I wasn't taking out some frustration on my characters. Sort of a therapy. Maim and kill with words and take out imaginary characters instead of losing one's temper and driving over the neighbor's cat who insists that your front garden is the only place it can pee.

Actually I don't have a problem with the neighbor's cat since it mysteriously disappeared a few months ago.

No, I'm making up stories again. The poor thing died of old age and obesity. I kept it out of my garden by shutting my front gate - it was too fat to leap up over the wall. My neighbors have a wonderful gourmet restaurant and the cat obviously got the leftovers.

In the village next door, there was another restaurant. It closed after two people were discovered buried in the back garden. A couple. Rumor has it that the man found his wife with another man. And that is what I heard for ages, until I found out from a policeman what really happened. Supposedly the couple were gypsies and had been blackmailing the owner for quite some time. Finally he snapped, shot them, and buried them in the garden.
How many people had dinner in the restaurant while the couple rotted in the ground? I never ate there - when we moved here that was already old news. It took me a while to find out the true story.
Even older news was the story of the man who lived in Gambais and he would go to Paris on the train, find a woman to come clean his house, kill her, and incinerate her in his oven. He's a famous French serial killer. They caught him because of the train tickets. A ticket to and from Paris, and just one ticket from Paris. A one way trip for some poor cleaning woman. That affair, heavily covered by newspapers at the time, was easy to verify. But people living in the village are not eager to talk about the affair. Not unusual - it must bring the property values down quite a bit...

In Houdan, not far away, another mystery was recently solved. A hundred years ago, a woman had been accused of putting arsenic in her husband's meal and poisoning him. His body tested positive for arsenic. So did her children, her mother in law, and everyone in the house. She was put on trial and convicted of murder and attempted murder of over fifteen people. She died in prison. About a hundred years later, a scientist and historian, curious about the affair and about the unusual geographical nature of the area, convinced the town to let him exhume and test the people in the cemetery. Turns out nearly everyone was full of arsenic. The ground water, it turns out, is poisoned. A sort of natural arsenic spring. The woman was declared innocent posthumously, but most people still talk about the 'Houdan poisoner'.

I like the fact that people prefer to think of the woman as guilty. It's more exciting, and besides, she's dead poor thing and can't defend herself. I wondered about other historical reputations, like that of the infamous Tokyo Rose, who was also acquited of spying, and yet still retains her reputation. Does history ever tell the truth? What about the princes in the tower? Did Richard kill them?
I think so. But there are people who disagree with that, saying that history has distorted the facts.
Since it's obvious that even history that's only a few yers old (the man who killed the couple in his restaurant) and a hundred years old (the poisoner from Houdan) can be twisted, imagine what many centuries of propaganda can do? I suppose we'll never find out what happened to the two princes in the tower.

5 comments:

ORION said...

I just love your posts. They are little stories. Although I have not written a mystery, I inflict pain, angst, and suffering on my characters.
It is such fun.
Me -- quiet and serene pulling the strings.
Just like all those serial murderers...
Remember what all the neighbors would say?
"He was such a NICE man...so quiet...never a problem..."

December Quinn said...

Well, as a die-hard Ricardian, I can say I believe very strongly that Richard did NOT kill the princes!

What fascinating stories, and what a fascinating place to live in. The only story of that nature I have is, when I was in elemntary school, a woman down the street from me paid someone to kill her husband. They actually lived right next door to a friend of mine. It was quite a cause celebre in the area, it being suburban St. Louis where nothing really ever happened.

Bonita said...

My thesis was on Richard III, with me firmly in the camp with him innocent of the two princes' deaths.

Your post are always so entertaining and thought provoking. Thank you.

Gabriele C. said...

You gotta love history. I'm thrilled they found a Roman fort more or less at my backdoor; until recently, no one believed the Romans ever built them so far into Germania. Of course, I get all sorts of story ideas from such diecoveries. :)

ORION said...

Sam you haven't posted in a bit-
Check my blog!