I just finished listening to one of the BEST books of 2010 (review forthcoming – subscribe to my blog so the suspense doesn’t kill you. Just press that little orange RSS button). It’s a murder mystery set in Ann Arbor, MI. Why, yes, all you little bloggies out there – I do live close to Ann Arbor, MI, which makes this book a whole lot of fun.
Since it’s not my typical genre I’m kind of fascinated by this murder/mystery/detective stuff at the moment. It is absolutely mesmerizing how seemingly meaningless minutia adds up to a person’s profile. Piles of mail, interiors of cars, computer hard drives, calls from cell phones, and storage units are combed for evidence. What might seem completely inconsequential ends up being an important clue.
This led me to morbidly look at myself and ask… what if the police looked through my personal belongings? What would they find? What sort of profile could they glean from just going through my purse? How about my car?
I imagine the scene. It’s two detectives talking with the contents of my purse strewn over a table. They are wearing gloves and have evidence bags at the ready. Here’s their conversation…
Male Detective #1: “There seems to be an inordinate number of coupons here. Is this normal? I mean, how many coney island ‘dollar off your purchase’ coupons can a person use?”
Female Detective #2: “People who cut 100’s of coupons are called ‘Clippers’ and they tend to be slightly neurotic about it. I once knew a woman who left her purchases at the register to go home for a coupon she forgot. What else did you find?”
Male Detective #1: “Pens and more pens and only of one kind: Pilot G2-5, extra fine, black ink. What could that mean?”
Female Detective #2: “More than likely, she has sloppy writing. Or, she’s just really, really neurotic. What’s in that long white envelope?”
Male Detective #1: “They’re receipts. Mainly from three stores; Target, Kroger and Pink. What’s Pink anyhow?”
Female Detective #2: “It’s Victoria Secret for high school and college aged women. Did you say that she has teenagers?”
Male Detective #1: “Judging from her checkbook, yes. Her entire check is spent on food, Target and clothing stores for young people. That also explains the lack of cash in her wallet. Not only is she neurotic, she’s broke.”
Female Detective #2: “Did anyone get a look at her car?”
Male Detective #1: “We had to have the HazMat team look at it. Didn’t look like it had been cleaned in years.”
Female Detective #2: “Find anything of significance? ”
Male Detective #1: “Lots of ‘green bags’, like dozens of them. Oh, and some books on cd, like five of those. Funny thing, she’s got little slips of paper both in her purse and car with numbers and letters on them, like a code. Here’s one: it says 650.13 SUT”.
Female Detective #2: “So she cares about the environment but doesn’t care if her car is a trash bin. She has cryptic notes all over the place and she listens to a lot of books on CD. Do you have any of the titles?”
Male Detective #1: “Here’s one – “Bad Things Happen” by Harry Dolan. She does have good taste in books – this one is set in Ann Arbor, MI. It’ll keep you on the edge of your seat.”
Female Detective #2: “Okay, so let’s recap. She clips coupons, she’s neurotic about green bags, has slips with strange numbers and letters all over them, and has no money to speak of and listens to lots of book on CD. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say she was a librarian.”
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