Will Blyton – The Alternative Detective.

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Things To Do – Hamnet’s Secret Code Quiz.

Published July 23, 2012 by loonyliterature

CAN YOU FIND THE MESSAGE?

Will Blyton and The Stinking Shadow have something hidden in the trunk.

Hamnet the boy trapped in the stone cannot speak properly because the evil magician Master Corpsehound has put a spell on his tongue.  He needs to tell Will Blyton something but has to use a code.  Look up the answers to Hamnet’s clues and then work out the message.

 

CLUE 1.

Where was Ann Boleyn imprisoned?  Use the first two letters of the first word to make the first word of the message.

 

Ann Boleyn was Henry VIII’s second wife. Where did she end up?

CLUE 2.

This monk belongs to Robin Hood’s band of Merry Men.  Use the first two letters of the first word of his name.

 

It is said that he really liked his food.

CLUE 3.

An apple fell off one of these onto Sir Isaac Newton’s head.  Use the last two letters of this word and join them onto the two letters from clue number two.

 

Sir Isaac Newton gained clarity when an apple fell onto his head.

CLUE 4.

Another word for “I”.  This is the next word in the message.

 

CLUE 5.

Jack came across one of these when he got some magic beans.  Use the first letter of the word.

 

Well, he certainly ate all his vegetables.

CLUE 6.

If you look up the Moor of Venice, you will find the name of a very famous Shakespearean character.  Take the first letter of his name and attach it to clue number 5.  This will make the next word in the message.

 

The Moor of Venice – but what is he called?

CLUE 7.

A country in South Asia – Take the first two letters.

 

Bombay is a very famous place, but which country is it in?

CLUE 8.

Take the letters from clue number 1 and attach them to clue number 7 to form a word.

 

CLUE 9.

This famous Scottish queen was beheaded for allegedly planning to assassinate Elizabeth I.  Take the first and fourth letter of her name to form a word.

 

Who is this famous queen?

CLUE 10.

Mary Shelley wrote a very famous book about a man who made a monster.  Take the first letter from the name of the book.

 

Who created this monster?

CLUE 11.

What is Garfield?  Take the last two letters and attach them to clue number 10.

 

CLUE 12.

What do you have growing on your head?  Now change the word slightly so that it’s a female pronoun.  Attach it to clue number 10 and 11 to form a word.

What’s that stuff sticking up like a sore thumb?

CLUE 13.

In Greek mythology, Medusa had something in her hair.  Take the first letter of what was in her hair and attach it to the end of the word which you have made from clues 10, 11, and 12.  Put them all together to form a word.

 

Medusa by Caravaggio. And we think we have hair problems today!

CLUE 14.

William Shakespeare wrote many of these.  Use the full word.

 

Hey, that Shakespeare guy looks really suspicious – I’m beginning to wonder if he has something to do with all this stuff.

Well, Blytonians, if you’ve followed all the clues correctly – you should now have a secret coded message written by Hamnet for Will to follow.  What does it mean?  More will be revealed soon.

How a Dead Man’s Hand Inspired Me!

Published July 11, 2012 by loonyliterature

“It doesn’t frighten me in this room.”  Bongo stands in front of the full blown photograph of Boris Death, the horror movie star, on the wall.  The room gives me the willies, but it’s private.  Bongo bends over to peer into the glass case which holds The Hand of Glory and stares at it.

It stinks!” He starts coughing as if he is going to vomit.

I remind him that it is a three hundred year old hand.

(page 34 – Will Blyton and The Stinking Shadow.)

 

When Bongo is overcome by the smell of the hand, the fictional character is actually reliving something which happened to me, which subsequently ends up in the book.

About six years ago, we decided to have a trip to Whitby, home of Saint Hilda’s Abbey and part inspiration for Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  If you have never visited Whitby, it is an enchanting fishing village with a maze of alleyways and an atmosphere of ‘something is about to happen.’  Go at Hallowe’en weekend and you will think you have been transported onto a Gothic film set.  I will say no more on that point, as I believe, everyone should discover this event for themselves.

St Mary’s Church Graveyard – Oh those steps!

We decided to visit The Whitby Museum.  It is a most interesting place with wonderful curiosities to inspire any writer.  These include: a hangman’s locket; clogs worn by a school truant and spurs used in cock fights. 

Hangman’s Locket at Whitby Museum.

As we approached a large glass case, I became overpowered by the sweetest odour I have ever smelled.  It was a mixture of overwhelming sweetness mixed with the smell of musty furniture.  I thought I was going to be sick.  We peered into the glass case and saw a mummified, shrivelled hand. 

The Whitby Museum states:

“The mummified severed  human hand in Whitby Museum was discovered in the early twentieth century hidden on the wall of a thatched cottage in Castleton by a stonemason and local historian, Joseph Ford. He immediately identified it from popular stories of such objects as a “Hand of Glory”. It was given to Whitby Museum in 1935 and is the only alleged Hand known to survive.

There is interesting folklore behind the Hand of Glory.  Apparently, a Hand of Glory is supposed to be cut off a felon who is still hanging from the gallows and then the hand is pickled.  Somehow, this is supposed to give the hand magical properties.  Thieves would use the hands to help them do their jobs in that, if they entered a house with the hand, all the occupants would go into a deep sleep resembling a coma and be unable to awake until the burglars leave.  There are different versions of this story and can be found on The Whitby Museum website.

If the Hand of Glory had been lit, the householders would fall into a coma like sleep – Whitby Museum.

There were three other people with me in the museum and the smell came at varying degrees to us all – I was the only one who felt overpowered by it.  The only other time I have smelled a similar smell was in a holiday farmhouse we rented in France in the master bedroom.  The sickly sweet odour seemed to emerge from a locked cupboard in the bedroom.  We were supposed to stay there three weeks.  We left after a week of strange and unexplained happenings.  I will say no more – for now.

 

How To Get Rid Of A Stinking Shadow!

Published June 25, 2012 by loonyliterature

“If you are staying Thadeus, you have to go through a rigorous bathroom etiquette as laid down by the law of The Thunderous Mother,”

“If you are staying Thadeus, you have to go through a rigorous bathroom etiquette as laid down by the law of The Thunderous Mother.”

Thadeus sits up excitedly.

“What is that master Will?”

“Oh you will enjoy it.”  I have my fingers crossed behind my back.  “Every modern day boy is absolutely mad for the rigorous bathroom etiquette.”  I suck my cheeks in to control myself.

“Wait here a minute.”

Thadeus smiles gladly.

“You are the best master ever.”

A glimmer of shame starts to creep up on me but then I think of the wind and the spit.  Being with Thadeus is like being thrown into gross weather conditions whilst indoors.

I nip into the bathroom, put the plug in the bath and turn the taps on.  Whilst the water runs, I peruse the torture chamber which is called the bathroom cabinet.   I look for a weapon, spy something which will be just right and then reach out for the antique tongue scraper.

Three years ago, The Thunderous Mother warned Dad that his breath was worse than all Bongo’s dogs combined.  Dad took the huff and bought the said tongue scraper from the antique shop.  He used it once, which is what Dad does with everything and then it got left in the cabinet.  It will do.

Next is a pumice stone which The Thunderous Mother bought Dad for his birthday.  Pumice stone, is a grey stone used to scrape the decaying feet of adults.

Finally, I seize upon a tub which has a picture of a face covered in mud.  The Thunderous Mother said that the face mask would make her look like a teenager.  She thought that the longer she left it on, the younger she would look.  It was not a happy moment when Dad had to use a chisel to remove it. 

The bath is ready.  The room is full of steam and I rub my hands together.  There is only one thing better than plotting on the bed and that is putting the plan into action.

Time Travelling Heroes – The Doctor from Doctor Who (part two)

Published June 13, 2012 by loonyliterature
Cover of "Doctor Who and the Monster of P...

Cover of Doctor Who and the Monster of Peladon

If you remember from last time, Hamnet (the Tudor boy trapped in the stone) is trying to get me back in time.  To be able to improve in our time travelling techniques, we are watching Doctor Who to pick up tips.  Last time, we had gone forward one week to April 1974.  Hamnet was insufferable.  He bragged on and on about what a time travelling magician he was – then it happened and to be honest the insult maker was lost for words.  I exaggerate; he was lost for words for a short time.

I am having problems here deciding whether to give you the news or not.  The genius inside me says that I should so that you will have something to look forward to.  Firstly, Doctor Who does not end when “The Monster of Peladon” finishes.  Hamnet took us forward in time to see “Planet of Spiders”.  It was whilst watching the last episode of “Planet of Spiders” on June 8th, 1974 that Hamnet got the shock of his life.

This image is a promotional picture from Docto...

This image is a promotional picture from Doctor Who Magazine, intended for use in the article “Sarah Jane Smith” to visually aid and provide critical commentary in describing the subject of the article. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I expect you are wondering what happened on June 8th 1974 to shock Hamnet so much.  We saw The Doctor die.  He had been fatally affected by Metebelis Crystals.  Hamnet was in such a state.  He had thought The Doctor could teach him to get back to his own time.  He was sitting there sobbing in his stone prison whilst Sarah Jane Smith sobbed on the television;  then something else happened.  I had heard about this happening before but as I had not seen it myself, I didn’t want to give Hamnet false hopes.  It is called Regeneration.  Hamnet and I watched as The Doctor changed into what looked like another person.  It was still The Doctor but he looked totally different.  Hamnet now believes that The Doctor is a far more powerful magician than Corpsehound.  He is sure that if he watches The Doctor for long enough, he will discover all his secrets. Hamnet is positive that by learning from The Doctor, he will be able to fight Master Corpsehound and release himself from the stone.  Only time will tell.  Meanwhile, if anyone knows how to improve Hamnet’s time travelling skills into the past please comment at willblyton.com

The Fourth Doctor's impractically long scarf b...

The Fourth Doctor’s impractically long scarf became an iconic image of the character. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Time Travelling Heroes – The Doctor from Doctor Who (part one)

Published June 5, 2012 by loonyliterature
Robert the Bruce

Robert the Bruce (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Will Blyton and The Stinking Shadow, I tried to get Hamnet, the Tudor boy magician  who is trapped in the stone, to send me back to the 14th century, so that I could get Robert the Bruce to teach me how to be a warrior.  It turned out that Hamnet sometimes gets things wrong and instead brought a 14th century monk to me.  After getting me into all sorts of trouble we did manage to send the monk back in time.  Yes, we really do dabble in time travel.

English Heritage plaque for inventor of time t...

English Heritage plaque for inventor of time travel (Photo credit: jaywood_uk)

Anyway, moving on – as you know, I have waves of genius.  It occurred to me that if Hamnet watched Doctor Who on the television – it might give him some time travel ideas.  So I introduced Hamnet to my time travelling hero – The Doctor.   I love watching Doctor Who but was not sure how an insulting Tudor boy would take to it.  He watched The Monster of Peladon.  Now here is the shock.  The shock is not that Hamnet loved it; the shock is that he loved it so much, it improved his magic spells and he took us into the future.  The only reason he took us into the future was that he wanted to see what happened in The Monster of Peladon.  I don’t know about you but if he can take me forward one week in 1974, surely he must be able to go back in time. 

I questioned Hamnet about this and he thinks that he will have to focus on going forward in time for the moment.  He is obsessed with finding out what happens to The Doctor.  It is 1974 and I have no idea how long Doctor Who runs on the television.  It is great for Hamnet because it is making him focus on his time travelling skills.  My worry is that The Doctor never has another adventure after The Monster of Peladon.  Who knows what the future holds for The Doctor in 1974 and beyond?

Detective Heroes – Sherlock Holmes.

Published May 7, 2012 by loonyliterature
Sherlock Holmes in "The Man with the Twis...

Sherlock Holmes in “The Man with the Twisted Lip”. Original caption was “The pipe was still between his lips.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

All budding detectives need other detectives to learn the trade from.  We need to see how they find clues, how they question suspects, what tools they use and how they solve the case.  One of my heroes is Sherlock Holmes.  I know that he lived a long time ago and was old but he was a master of disguise and could sniff a clue out like a bloodhound.  He lived at 221b Baker Street in London but do not worry if you do not have a London address for your detective agency, a garden shed in Lower Pickleton will do just as well. 

 

Photo showing the address as 221B beside the l...

Photo showing the address as 221B beside the location of the Shelock Homes Museum in London England (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The reason Sherlock Holmes solved so many cases was the fact that he noticed things which most non detectives miss.  This is why, budding detectives, when you meet a suspicious looking person you must look very carefully at their clothing.  It is always helpful to have your magnifying glass ready but try not to alert the suspicious person that you are onto them. 

 

magnifying glass on an 17th century table

magnifying glass on an 17th century table (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

So what are you looking for when detecting on a suspect?  Sherlock Holmes would notice hairs on a person’s clothes.  These could be animal hairs’ or human hairs’.  So for instance, if a man had short, white Jack Russell hair’s on the bottom of his trousers, this would tell us he either owns a Jack Russell dog or that he has been somewhere where there is a Jack Russell dog.  This might not seem important but it is if a house has been broken into which has a Jack Russell dog.  It tells us two things:  the Jack Russell in question was not a good guard dog because it was easily bribed with liver flavoured treats and also that the man in question WAS at the scene of the crime.

 

 

A shadow has just passed by the window – I need to investigate -so budding detectives – remember Sherlock Holmes sees everything and so should you.

Sherlock Holmes in "The Adventures of She...

Sherlock Holmes in “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Will Blyton and The Stinking Shadow being read by The Thunderous Mother.

Published April 25, 2012 by loonyliterature

See The Thunderous Mother reading a short passage from ‘Will Blyton and The Stinking Shadow.’

WARNING!!  THIS TAKES PLACE  IN THE LOONY LITERATURE LABORATORY.  WATCH AT YOUR COST!!

Strange things happen when in The Laboratory, so we can not be held responsible if you become as potty as us.

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