I have become increasingly interested in the notebooks of fictional detectives.
Chief Detective-Inspector Alleyn, the central character in Ngaio Marsh’s mystery novels, is always writing in his. And then there is Columbo, who makes scribbled notes whenever he can remember which pocket his book is in, and whenever he has a pencil.
How I would love to pour over these hasty memorandums, these jotted references to times and dates, names, lists of clothing and motives.
Of course, in one sense I have been reading these notebooks – they are the classic murder mystery itself, en abyme. The whole of the plot is worked out between their covers.
As a literary critical detective I am a compulsive keeper of notes. As regular readers of this blog will know, I have been given two splendid books especially for use in my critical investigations (see the post for 12th January 2011 below). They are on my desk now, next to my mug of tea and a Ngaio Marsh omnibus.
I record odd metaphors, flashes of creative-critical insight and echoes between texts and contexts.
And this blog is itself a kind of notebook.