Monday, December 5, 2011

My brain is ever-open to word play.

One of my current obsessions is listening to murder mysteries. 
I listen in the car, or while cooking dinner, and even some nights before I fall asleep. (I think of it as a grownup version of a bedtime story.)
What the ear hears and what the eye would see on the page don't always match, which means the image that comes across by listening may not be quite what the writer had in mind.
Case in point: a line from "The Murder Room," by P.D. James.
In the book, Adam Dalgliesh, a commander at New Scotland Yard (and one of my favorite tragic hero detectives), is about to interview two women connected to a recent murder. This is what I heard:
"Moving toward the front of the house, he saw with surprise that the door was now a jar."
Can't blame him there. I'd be surprised if I saw that, too.
Of course, Ms. James was simply saying that the door was slightly open, but my brain, always on the lookout for an excuse to laugh, offered up a completely different image.
A bit of crime and pun-ishment?
(Couldn't resist that one.)


  1. That was great! Funny, I just heard an NPR tidbit about PD James doing a murder mystery set in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. I think that's right. Anyway, I just read a blog post from a woman who donated a complete set of Jane Austen books to her local library. I love serendipity (oh and puns, puns are fun!)

  2. English authors in the ether ...
    Funny how the world works.