Thursday, January 12, 2012

1/12 - BBC Scattershot

This will be a quickie revisit of some old favourites.

L4: Interesting... the boots that never existed. This one has been lifted almost verbatim from the Poirot case of the Western Star. Poirot is consulted by a film star who owns one of a pair of diamonds which has been much in the newspapers of late. She has received letters threatening the theft of her diamond, but she won't part with it until after she meets the peeress who owns the Eastern Star. The poor peeress actually has her diamond stolen from off her neck just as she is about to enter a room wearing it. Of course, the two diamonds were only one all along.

An alternative, "The Regatta Mystery," features Mr Parker Pyne. A wealthy man who always carries a valuable diamond passes it around the dinner table in a foreign hotel to be viewed by a group of acquaintances. The next evening, a fifteen-year-old girl bets that she can steal the diamond - a new tobacco pouch against six pairs of stockings - if it passed around the table again. The passing begins. Waiters enter the room to clear the plates, the girl's father holding on to the diamond until the waiters leave. When the diamond reaches the girl, she drops it. During the search a little confusion ensues, a glass is knocked off the table, etc., but the diamond is gone. Everyone is searched and the room examined thoroughly - nothing. The girl then reveals that she wedged it into the gap in her evening bag where a stone of similar size had fallen out - only this time it's really gone. It remains for Mr Pyne to piece together that father, daughter and one of the waiters pulled off a sneaky substitution - sneaking the real diamond out of the room on the bottom of a plate and passing a glass copy that the girl simply broke after she dropped it, knocking her glass off the table in the search.

LW4, I suppose this ought to prove a useful lesson to make sure to witness any such items in future and store them carefully for the duration of the visit.

L3: Oh, dear. The overgrown schoolgirl brings bad dreadful memories. Losing ten cases in a row before Judge Bullingham - retiring to Florida - returning because of a letter supposedly written by a murderer using his victim's blood as ink - marking type by appropriating a brief defending a dirty bookstore owner that would otherwise have been returned to Albert Handyside - having to pore through some of the dullest and least erotic pornography ever created  only to be interrupted by the return to England of She Who Must Be Obeyed, resulting in Schoolgirl Capers Volume One, Number Four being left behind in the magazine rack - disregarding the client's instructions to attack the character of the alderman who was the chief witness for the prosecution in order to keep the case purely about Freedom of Speech (and losing the case) - She finding Schoolgirl Capers Volume One, Number Four among the other old magazines and consequently making a rather alarming attempt to become alluring. The only saving graces were winning the big murder case and Guthrie Featherstone asking to borrow some of the evidence in the bookstore case. But since then, it has been resolved that cases involving dirty books should be given to young, upstanding female barristers. Fiona Allways won such a case in Manchester - after all, if a nice girl like Fiona could read those books and not find anything terrible about them, they couldn't be all that bad, could they?

It distresses me too much that this is even seen as a situation worthy of outside consultation to address LW3's question.

L2: Ah, a problem with some heft to it. It may comfort LW2 to compare her stepdaughter to Lettice Protheroe in The Murder at the Vicarage. Out of jealousy when the young artist Laurence Redding prefers her stepmother Anne to herself, Lettice, who generally finds it difficult to wake up before lunch and wafts about unsure what day it is, acts with remarkable decision after the murder of her father in the Vicar's study. She steals a distinctive earring belong to Anne, goes to the Vicarage when she will find only Mary (the maid) there, announces that she left her yellow beret in the study where the murder was committed, hides the earring in the study and then insinuates (so out of character that the Clements can hardly believe it when Mary voices this as a grievance) that Mary doesn't dust properly when she does the room (a proposition with which the Vicar entirely concurs), thus ensuring that the earring will soon be found. Only the good fortune that the Vicar happened to see and handle both earrings in Anne's room the day after the murder thwarts Lettice's plan of incrimination.

Some questions: How does the Prudecutor know that SD2 didn't think about the possible consequences of a one-time sexual encounter, and, if the Prudecutor is going to follow that route, exactly what course of action ought someone so young to follow? It's all well and good to leave it up in the air, so that the Wait Until Marriage Crowd won't get upset if one says Wait Until Stable, and the Wait Until Stable Crowd won't get upset if one says Wait Until Marriage. For LW2, how much competition with BM2 is there in the desire for SD2 to come to you with her problems? For SD2, what was the intention behind telling LW2 only? For LW2 again, against whom do you fear the rampage - SD2 or ONSB2? For LW2 and SD2 combined, why has there been no mention of ONSB2 and his role in whatever is done about P2? Back to LW2, what on earth does your financial status have to do with SD2's decision and your support thereof?

I suspect that LW2 wants to keep this a secret from BM2, which is a walking disaster waiting to happen. It's hard to get any sort of guess about what's going on with F2. It seems highly plausible that SD2 knew that telling LW2 meant telling F2, and wanted to enlist LW2 as a buffer first and an assistant in getting necessary ground work done before the big revelation. Novelizing it, though, it would be tempting to have SD2 genuinely intend to get the abortion, but not be entirely averse to having both "ONSB2" and LW2 contribute.

As for what to do, that appears to be largely up to location, although in any event, even if no parental notification or authorization is required, on the evidence presented, I'd opt for informing - not consulting - BM2 and F2 before the event, even if it being made clear that SD2 will not be discussing the decision. Not a strong feeling, though.

L1: The comparison is obvious. BF1 wants to be Francis Urquhart, master Macchiavelian manipulator in the House of Cards trilogy. In House of Cards itself, Urquhart, Conservative Chief Whip, is the object of a bit of a crush held by talented young reporter Mattie Storin. As Henry Collingridge becomes PM, declines to favour Urquhart and his cronies with plum appointments, and gets off to an unimpressively bumbling start, Urquhart plots to get rid of him, blackmails one or two bit players and gradually lets Mattie grow closer to him. Finally, at the urging of his wife Elizabeth, Urquhart makes the affair a physical one. But Mattie can't feel right calling him Francis. She admits that she would like to call him Daddy, which she continues to do even when she confronts him at the end and he throws her off the roof of the House of Commons (a fortuitous difference from the original novel, in which Urquhart jumps to his death after she leaves the roof - two sequels followed).

LW1 is clearly getting exactly what she deserved. "Wanting to make all of someone's sexual fantasies come true" is the sort of dribble one would only get from someone in need of being sent back to the Sally League for more seasoning. The Prudecutor does better than usual on this, noting the existence of rape fantasies and the fact that they correlate only to fantasy play. But she should have told LW1 to run like crazy. Not because BF1 is or isn't a paedophile - but because LW1 ought not to be in any relationship if she is going to go about asking questions that pose as nonjedgmental and then judging the answers to kingdom come.

As to why LW1 consulted the Prudecutor instead of Mr Savage - she wanted to be told to RUN, and was not about to risk being told to be GGG, although Mr Savage's version of GGG does allow for one to decline particular squickies. But LW1 was taking no chances.

Moral: "You can hardly call me Chief Whip."

1 comment:

  1. The Prudecutor is on record as having stated she can't imagine ever marrying someone who she hasn't had sex with, but is critical of the 17-year old for having had sex. She also presumes that the teen was sufficiently familiar with birth control to have used it properly, yet uncautious enough to have neglected to do so, implying that these consequences were inevitable, all of the girl's own doing, and only what the teen deserves.

    Apparently, the Prudecutor has reconsidered her own teenaged daughter's sexuality.