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The story “The Glasgow Mystery” is taken from a book of 12 mysteries called “The Old Man in The Corner,” republished in 1980. The original anthology had more than 12 short stories and this specific story was not included. These stories were written by Baroness Orczy and were considered to be the “of the armchair detective” mysteries. The old man, Bill Owen, “an extremely eccentric man who spends much of his time in a restaurant, the A.B.C. Shop, working untiringly at tying and untying knots in a piece of string. “ The author seems to really appreciate this character. She has created him to seem “ ageless and apparently unchanging” “ Not much concerned with justice or morality, he is interested in crime “only when it resembles a clever game of chess, with many intricate moves which all tend to one solution, the checkmating of the antagonist—the detective force of the country.” Like all amateur sleuths, the old man has his Watson, a female journalist by the name of Polly Burton. An invariably baffled reader of stories of mysterious deaths in the newspapers, she comes to the A.B.C. Shop to hear the old man unravel the mystery.”
Note the author and narrator are not the same thing. The author is the person who wrote the story. The narrator is the speaker in a story, the one through whom the author tells a story. “The Glasgow Mystery” illustrates this very clearly – the author is a baroness (a title of nobility), but the first person narrator telling us the story is a “lady journalist.”
In the case of “The Glasgow Mystery,” the intellectual battle between the “lady journalist” narrator and “the man in the corner” adds to the interest of the story and allows our curiosity to build up until the dramatic solution by the man in the corner. She admires his intelligent, but at the same time he drives her crazy because he is always right. Somehow “the man in the corner” always comes up with a solution to mysteries.
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