Highlight of the Lonesome Night: October 19th

[For the October 18th highlight, click here.]


October 19th

Detective work dominates this night of Zelazny’s novel. Surveillance of the site where the officer’s corpse was discovered allows Graymalk to determine that it was Vicar Roberts who committed the murder and strategically placed the body there (the vicar leads the search party straight to the site, in an attempt to complete his devious framing of Jack). Meanwhile, the Great Detective makes his investigative rounds, disguised as an elderly woman, Linda Enderby (the theme of secret identity suffuses the narrative, with its concerns about the opener-or-closer status of the cast of characters). Most of the chapter is devoted to Snuff’s attempt to map the pattern of player residences and so get to the center of things–i.e. find the location where the Halloween ritual will transpire (Snuff provides a key detail about the impact the death of the moon has on the calculations: “Everything was frozen at that point. Death, relocation, withdrawal of a player–all of these shifted things abut only before that time. Afterwards, we could kill each other or move about as we wished without disturbing the geometry of the business.”). The unique and pervasive sense of mystery that Zelazny combines with the narrative’s dark fantasy elements constitutes the highlight for October 19th–and no doubt goes a long way to explaining the popularity of the book as a whole.


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