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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

In Azimuth there is a scientist who ‘sees below the surface’ using a glass fashioned from crystal. The idea of the eye not seeing reality is the stuff of philosophers’ musings. I have just finished the first draft of a novella in which the eye is not quite a window to the soul but at least a window to a hidden and sometimes repressed reality. I wrote it one-eyed on a recliner on the terrace with the mountains guarding me. You can read the full diary of this awkward eye in Latest News at But I am digressing from my intent. This is to mention the first ever recorded forensic examination of a murder. It took place in China, centuries ago. A man is found dead from a cutlass slash in a village. Solving the crime is beyond the headman who sends for an investigator from the capital. This man asks for all cutlasses to be brought to him. They are arranged in the sun. There is, of course, no blood on any of them. He waits. After a while tiny flies congregate on one blade. Invisible flecks of blood have attracted them. The murderer is revealed. Our eyes need back-up, even on an every day basis!

Seeing all these CSI-type documentaries on TV plus films that purport to utilise the latest investigative gadgetry makes you wonder why crimes take so long to solve. I quite like whodunnits which relay less on technology and more on plot, character and the psychology of the killer. I saw some of Manhunter last night, a rather well-wrought film by Michael Mann which seems to me to be superior to Silence of the Lambs which used the same plot. The investigator enters the mind of the killer, despite having had a break down when he did this once before.

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