Ibn-Hakam al-Bokhari, Murdered In His Labyrinth by Jorge Luis Borges, 1951
The magic trick:
Having two men talk about the story of two men
A classic Borges detective story today.
The thing to notice is the set of pairs. We have two men talking to each other about a mysterious death involving two men. It’s fascinating to note the characteristics of each man in each story – the story telling and the story told. Not only is it expert structuring of the tale, the technique offers opportunities to compare the pairs and make inferences and judgments about their characters. Plus, the mystery explanation really is pure genius. And that’s quite a trick on Borges’s part.
Dunraven, who had read a great many detective novels, thought that the solution of a mystery was always a good deal less interesting than the mystery itself; the mystery had a touch of the supernatural and even the divine about it, while the solution was a sleight of hand.
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