Herewith the Clues
“An intricate web of envy, desire and aspiration.”
Herewith the Clues is a jaunt through the history of the Crime Dossiers, a form of literature as mystery game—developed in the interwar period—where players solved puzzles much in the way that a detective in the 1920s might have solved a crime using forensics. With origins in the whodunit mystery genre (whose roots go as far back as a tale in One Thousand and One Nights), this style of parlor game proliferated. The mass-produced games came in the form of binders, books, suitcases, or boxes containing crime-scene evidence (and literary red herrings), each piece of evidence itself a kind of riddle. One could see these as not only an entirely new manifestation of gamified literature, but game playing itself evolving: storytelling as a riddle-solving game acted in the flesh, rather than existing solely in the minds of author and reader.
Herewith the Clues continues Boy Vereecken’s research into mass-market literary culture, which began with Signature Strengths (2016). The volume includes two text contributions: a contemporary take on the whodunit novel by Shumon Basar, followed by a tour of the history of the Crime Dossiers by Laura Herman. The book is illustrated with a photo series from Antoine Begon who has unpacked and photographed the pieces of evidence that comprise Crime Dossiers such as File on Rufus Ray and Murder Off Miami.