Mini-break, Part I: A Not-so-super Sleuth

The humans have snatched the chance to go see the Knittery Friend and her clan in the Big City to the South.  When you’re trying to arrange things to fit six people’s schedules, it can be quite difficult to find a date that suits everyone.  (The baby is isn’t two yet, expressed no opinions, and has no appointments in his  calendar, so he doesn’t count.)

We are taking the opportunity to go to the big museum while we are here.  There is a big exhibit about a famous, fictitious Midgardian detective with preternaturally keen powers of observation.

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Pfft!  I’m the only one with powers here.

The part of the exhibit about the author, his sources, and his methods is really well done.

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Sigyn is a bit squeamish around human skulls, so she is busy reading the old newspapers.

There are little displays about what was cutting edge science in the late 1800’s. There’s a stamp you can collect at every “station.”  Sigyn is tickled because botany is included.

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Plus, she loves stamps!  (But why is the “optics” stamp a footprint?)

One of the displays shows how a paper with a pattern of slits cut out of it can be held over a text to reveal a secret message.

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Hmm.  That didn’t work awfully well, because the rubbing of brass newspaper article they had out for rubbing came out rather blurry.  And the holes their punching machine made in the paper didn’t line up very well with the text.  That resulted in an extra-cryptic message!

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Sigyn thinks the slotty paper’s fun to play with, though.

One room is set up like the great detective’s study, with all sorts of books and props from the stories.  The little notebook has a list of items we’re supposed to find .  The human male has found everything, but how he figured out which of the portraits was Dr.  Beecher, I surely do not know.

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Ehehehe!  The “V. R.” is spelled out with bullet holes in the wallpaper.  That’s fun!

Fandral’s mustache!  Sigyn, look, we get to try to solve a case!  The whole second half of the exhibit is set up like a crime scene and a lab.

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The crime scene has all sorts of clues–a smashed statue, a fireplace full of burned books,  and drag marks.  A seedpod?   Multiple bodies?  Blood spatter?  This is agreeably spine-tingly, don’t you think, Sigyn?

There’s a seed pod we’re supposed to match with actual plant samples, as well as some demonstration chemical “tests” to determine if the seed pod was toxic or had poison added to it.

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I don’t think it looks like a worm.  Sigyn doesn’t think it looks like a worm.  The human female doesn’t think it looks like a worm—and it doesn’t appear to match any of the samples.  One of the docents, though, says its meant to be Wisteria.  The human female remains skeptical.

Also, the human female, in her usual insufferable way, has found a wrong translation in the Spanish part of one of the chemical  test stations.  And the text of the demo test stations seems to suggest there are two “tests” to do on the plant sample, but after a quarter hour of looking all over the room, it seems there’s only one.  She’s starting to look cranky.

Ooo! Here’s the blood spatter evidence.  We’re supposed to match it with the spatter patterns produced by several gruesome penny-arcade-like machines.

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Sigyn is more than a little uncomfortable.  I’d like to go back through and make the machines squirt “blood” all over again, but Sigyn is feeling a bit queasy.  Moving on.

Here we’re supposed to figure out where the bullet must have been shot from to leave a hole in the wall and a spatter of blood on the wallpaper.

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Except some of the text says the bullet hole was above the fireplace, while the bullet hole in the set-up crime scene is to the left of the fireplace, about five feet up.

The machines for making comparison drag marks and footprints in a big sand pit is kind of fun.

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Sigyn and I agree that some of the marks were footprints, but we don’t think the drag marks came from a body.

At the end of the exhibit are more slot punching machines.  We’re supposed to put the card in the ones that correspond with our interpretation of the evidence and punch out a rectangle, and then put the stencil over a message to reveal the final truth.

Uh, oh, based on the docent telling us that the plant was supposed to be Wisteria, the human female punched the wrong slot.  And then the right one.  We can see the message, and we were mostly correct, but there was a lot of this exhibit that was  misleading or just plain wrong.

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There!  I’ve supplied a more appropriate secret message.

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