Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Birds of a Feather

Just last night my husband said to me, "Remember that Agatha Christie story where the woman beat her husband to death with a frozen turkey and then cooked it and served it to the detective? The murder weapon was never found?"

I was forced to admit I didn't remember that one. (Hey, she has 66 full length novels, 15 collections of short stories, and several plays to her name!) But it did remind me of the Sherlock Holmes story where the criminal force-fed the goose his stolen jewel, the goose was then sold to the wrong person, and mystery ensued. (The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle. I have read all of Doyle's mysteries.)

So I was on that track--the great birds of mystery track. I have never seen Hitchcock's The Birds...mostly because I get nightmares easily and there is at least one murder of crows in my back yard. The next scariest bird in literature or film has to be the Raven who was quoted as saying nevermore. He's all the scarier for being a metaphor for endless grief. I was moved to tears as I drove to the grocery store listening to Garrison Kiellor recite it.

Then there is the owl who poses the great mystery of the 1970s: How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? We may never know.

My list comes to an end there, but I know it can't be exhaustive and now I am on the hunt. I want to know the most mysterious birds of film or literature! Can you help?  If you can think of other birds who have scared, hinted, implied, terrorized, bludgeoned, pecked, skirted, wheeled, nested, cawed, sung, or taunted their way through literature, let me know!

And don't forget the Giveaway Extravaganza going on right now!

Traci Tyne Hilton is a mom, Sunday School teacher, novelist, and award winning playwright from Portland, Oregon. She is madly working on her next mystery series which has finaled in the Books of Hope Contest at Write Integrity Press and has an impending deadline.

Traci earned a degree in History from Portland State University and lives in the rainiest part of the Pacific Northwest with her husband the mandolin playing funeral director from Kansas, their two daughters, and their dog, Dr. Watson.

Find Traci Tyne Hilton's newest mystery The Queen's Snare at amazon.com!

10 comments:

  1. Ooh, I absolutely loved "The Birds" but only because of the fake blood scenes (something else in film noir) and Tippi Hedren's wardrobe. She was such a beauty with the looks and carriage of Grace Kelly. You covered the bird subject as well as any I've known. Thanks for the thrills and chills Traci!

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  2. you are invited to follow my blog

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  3. Hey Traci--The scene with the frozen roast as murder weapon--if memory serves--that was from an old Hitchcock episode starring Kim Hunter (maybe?) For all I know, Agatha has a story like that in her arsenal as well, but Hitchcock definitely did an episode like that. i've seen it several times and still LOVE it.

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    1. Nice! I'll have to see if I can find it on youtube. : )

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  4. Donald Duck. Sorry, I couldn't resist. Micky Mouse is scared of him anyway.
    Did you know that the film The Birds, is based on a novelette (I guess there is such a thing) by Daphne du Maurier? I didn't. I did love the movie, very creepy.
    Linda the episode I think you mean is Lamb to the Slaughter with Barbara Bel Geddes where she does in her cheating husband with a frozen leg of lamb, love that episode too.
    On other side there was this really bad horror movie The Giant Claw. There was also the Japanese Monster Rodan, was he a bird? Well he flew anyway.

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    1. That's right! It was Barbara Bel Geddes. Didn't she go on to star in Dallas as the matriarch?

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    2. Right she was Miss Ellie. My family got into Dallas with the "Who Shot JR?" episode. I remember being quite surprised when I revisited the Alfred Hitchcock Presents episodes and found out she had a career before Dallas. I saw them as a kid of course, I'm dating myself, but kids never notice these things.

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    3. I was just listening to NPR's PG 13 segment on books famous people read at 13 that stuck with them...and the "Murder for dinner" concept was also a Roald Dahl story! It is a short story in his book "Someone Like You" where the wife whacks the husband with a leg of lamb and then cooks it up for the detective!

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  5. Oh Wait! I also remember a very, very bad movie called Flu Bird Horror, and not the fun type of bad. Hey it was a slow day in TV land, okay? Anyway the psycho birds spread a deadly virus and they eat people. Of all the nerve!

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  6. lol! Trust the mystery writers to know all the nefarious ways to use a bird. : ) Daniel (my husband) also mentioned the albatross, and something about a nightingale comes to mind--both being rather literary birds I think.

    But when talking mysteries specifically-- I can't believe I left out Sam Spade and The Maltese Falcon!

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