The Main Clue Conceit

A place to discuss all aspects of Clue/Cluedo.

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Murder by Death
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The Main Clue Conceit

Post by Murder by Death » Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:52 pm

I was just thinking about my favorite nit-pick concerning Clue/do -- the fact that Mr. Boddy's body (or Dr. Black's) is discovered but nobody knows how he was killed, something which should be immediately obvious. Further, how do we know these six particular weapons are the candidates? Makes no sense without contriving a ridiculous story to account for it.

So I was thinking, in this age of CSI, how would a modern adaptation of Clue handle this problem (the original movie really sort of glossed over it ... Boddy was thought shot, but no bullet wound, poison was considered, but then finally he died from a blow to the head by a candlestick, as far as we know) ...

Essentially, Boddy would be found with six wounds on his body - a bullet hole, a rope burn, a stab wound, and three contusions which match specific items. So the weapons are now suggested by the wounds. But who killed Boddy if struck with six weapons? This potentially makes five characters guilty of attempted murder, or at least involuntary manslaughter. Alternately, one character could have gotten into a fight with Boddy and tried to kill him with six different weapons, or a select group of characters could have tried several times, or he was severly accident prone.

In any event, the CSI approach would explain each wound, then determine the one that was actually fatal. In other words, the other 5 wounds would not have been fatal, assuming Boddy could have gotten medical attention.

So a possible solution would go ... In the middle of the night, while getting a snack, Mr. Boddy slipped in the kitchen accidentally knocking a knife off the counter stabbing him in the shoulder, as well as a candlestick hitting him in the head. A bit dazed Mr. Boddy stumbled to his feet, and accidentally got tangled in the rope tie of the curtain, mometarily strangling him until he broke free. Hearing the commotion, Mrs. white ran to the kitchen with her trusty lead pipe to defend herself against a possible intruder, and delivered a blow to the back of Mr. Boddy's neck as he surprised her. Down he went again, this time knocking a wrench off a shelf which hit him in the face. In agony, he orders white to get help, but as White runs off to telephone the police, Col. mustard sneaks into the kitchen and shoots Mr. Boddy in the heart, delivering the fatal blow. Hearing a loud bang, Mrs. white stops and runs back into the kitchen without making the call, to find Mr. Boddy alone as she left him, now dead. So thinking she might have been the cause of Mr. Boddy's death pretends to know nothing of the incident, returning to her room for someone else to find the boddy.

I don't know ... is this even more contrived than the current set-up? Anybody got a better way to explain these two implausible conceits in Clue/do?
Last edited by Murder by Death on Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by ProfesorSvestka » Mon Dec 12, 2011 10:57 pm

Personally, the best solution I can come up with is that the reason the body is in the cellar is because the killer tried to dispose of it in the furnace. That would obscure the cause of death, leaving it open to interpretation. Then the weapons could be suspected for various reasons such as being out of place, bloody, damaged in some way, etc.

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Post by cacums » Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:41 am

I'd like to think the cellar stairs are rough and concrete and the killer pushed his corpse down there so that it was marred beyond recognition. Or they dumped him down a dumbwaiter shaft or laundry shoot.

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Post by Michael » Tue Dec 13, 2011 2:35 pm

I think the every weapon wound approach seems pretty slap-stick and far fetched (but creative!).

I believe that the body was discovered lying at the bottom of the cellar stairs, but has yet to be examined. It was obviously dumped there by the killer and the wound might be on the underside of the body - and thus not visible. Nobody wants to touch the body until the police arrive so they congregate on the ground floor waiting for the authorities and speculate as to what might have happened - even going so far as to search the rooms for corroborating evidence.
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Post by Murder by Death » Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:57 pm

Michael wrote:I think the every weapon wound approach seems pretty slap-stick and far fetched (but creative!).
I don't disagree. It seemed like a good idea until I started writing an actual scenario to account for it.

I can buy that nobody wants to touch the body. Aside from checking it for a pulse (which in the movie had little meaning other than to confuse), there's no other attempt to discern the wound. However, this is a little old school in that any film or television show you see today, they almost always check for a wound. This would have to be an extremely high society crowd, all of whom would be shocked at the thought of touching the body. And, it presumes they have actually summoned the police, or at least are under the impression the call has been made (another ruse used to good effect in the movie).

But, how do you account for the specific weapons? If there are no wounds from which to derive the weapons, then what is the explanation for these six random objects being selected? If only one was used in the murder, why would there be six of them out of place? And what constitutes being out of place? Obviously none of the weapons could have blood on them, since all six would not have blood as only one was used, so the killer wiped it clean. So in this particular scenario the best I can come up with is a candlestick from the table of one room on the floor of another, etc. And nothing else in the house is out of place to make the discrepancies obvious. Then there has to be a plausible explanation for each that wasn't actually the weapon ... "when the power went out I took the candlestick from the library where I was reading and dropped it in the study when I was startled by a noise" ... So like each suspect, each weapon would have to have an alibi ...

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Post by go_leafs_nation » Thu Dec 15, 2011 6:55 pm

I'm reminded of some of my favourite mystery stories. One, G. K. Chesterton's "The Three Tools of Death", involves a man who is killed with three other weapons surrounding him!
'I say,' he said good-naturedly, 'this really won't do at all, you know. At the beginning you said we'd found no weapon. But now we're finding too many; there's the knife to stab, and the rope to strangle, and the pistol to shoot; and after all he broke his neck by falling out of a window! It won't do. It's not economical.' And he shook his head at the ground as a horse does grazing.
Another favourite is "The Four False Weapons" by John Dickson Carr, where a woman named Rose Klonec is found dead with a veritable arsenal of potential weapons surrounding her-- there are four weapons at the crime scene, but none of them did her in! The solution has a devilish sort of cleverness to it.

So the multiple-weapons questions doesn't really bother me. It's been done successfully in mysteries time and time again.
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Post by Anonymous » Fri Dec 30, 2011 1:03 am

ProfesorSvestka wrote:Personally, the best solution I can come up with is that the reason the body is in the cellar is because the killer tried to dispose of it in the furnace. That would obscure the cause of death, leaving it open to interpretation. Then the weapons could be suspected for various reasons such as being out of place, bloody, damaged in some way, etc.
This is a good solution, so bloody, I like it.

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Post by munitzer » Fri Dec 30, 2011 10:58 pm

ProfesorSvestka wrote:Personally, the best solution I can come up with is that the reason the body is in the cellar is because the killer tried to dispose of it in the furnace. That would obscure the cause of death, leaving it open to interpretation. Then the weapons could be suspected for various reasons such as being out of place, bloody, damaged in some way, etc.
I also really like this explanation. It reminds me of Native Son, and he did have to decapitate the girl before he could get her whole body into the furnace. However, if I may be a killjoy, it does pose a large question.

How is the body then discovered? Did the murderer leave an arm hanging out? Did he or she not decapitate the body? Those seem too leave too much room for error. If the murderer was gutsy enough to kill Mr. Boddy/Dr. Black and drag him all the way to the furnace, it would be a little sloppy to leave a limb hanging out. However ... there could have been a cufflink left next to the furnace and once the house was searched, Professor Plum leans down and discovers that cufflink, thinks the worst, peers into the furnace ... but that would remove the professor from suspicion because it would have been better for him to either pocket that cufflink or toss it. Perhaps the butler finds it. There. Saved my own scenario.
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