A Mystery That Must Be Wrestled With

The New York Times, Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Arts:  Books of the Times, by Janet Maslin:

 Mystery is a Thing With Paradoxes

Ms. Maslin reviews a new mystery by Kate Atkinson, “Started Early, Took My Dog.”  

She states:  “That was what solving something is about, it was hunting the ‘it’ down, pinning its arms above its head and making it spill the beans.  It was like being in a game, a game where you didn’t know the rules or the identity of the other playera and where you were unsure of the goal.”

In other words, these books cannot be simply read.  They must also be wrestled with, and that’s where much of the fun lies.”

Janet Maslin uses terms from the sport of wrestling, such as pinning its arms above its head and wrestling to inform possible readers that solving the mysteries takes some effort. She also uses idiomatic expressions that refer to all games and sports:  It was like being in a game, a game where you didn’t know the rules or the identity of the other playera and where you were unsure of the goal. 

“Spilling the beans” is an American English expression used on the streets, usually referring to criminals.  


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