Saturday, 5 September 2015

Ode to Mrs. Spears

Thanks to Gisella’s comments on my previous post, I’ve remembered one more reason I wanted to blog about “Death at Broadcasting House”: Inspector Spears’ wife.
She appears in only one chapter, not that many pages altogether.
Yet, like all the other major and minor characters of the novel, she seems to gain a life of her own out of the pages.

Now I can’t really tell how the authors wanted her to come across to readers, but that’s one of the most fascinating part of reading rights? Writers create the characters, yet it’s up to their readers to truly bring them to life.

To me, Mrs. Madge Spears is amazing. To my eyes and imagination, she’s the kind of woman smarter than what society around her and its convention allowed her to be and to show to other people.
She deeply knows her husband: she knows how to defuse his bad mood, while still allowing him his space for thinking about his investigation; she’s able to help him to untangle part of his idea about the murder while, at the same time, keeping up with her knitting.

Yep, with an explosive and popping “p” at the end. You read it well: knitting.

Mrs. Spears is a knitter!
Is it fair to say I might be biased towards her because she’s a knitter?
Hell yeah, I am! I’m very biased but who cares?

The thing I truly love about her description in the book is that it’s very vivid, honest, close to real knitter in real life.

Traditionally knitting in crime fiction is associated to Miss Marple, the clever, old spinster knitting while solving mysteries. I also tried to read some knitting-related novels "The Friday Night Knitting Club” but ended up hating it, as it’s not my genre at all (and it’s poorly written too).

But Madge Spears is different: she’s real, I can picture her in my mind.
She appears to me in a ’30s dress and haircut, her hands cured but not perfect because she still takes care of all the house chores. She wears a faint lipstick and in my head she has a sincere and witty smile. I bet she’s patient and wise but I also believe she’s a olympic champion at eyebrow arching.
I can see her sitting next to her husband, letting him talk about what’s bothering about the whole matter, while she picks up her knitting, an emerald green sweater, a color she picked because she knows it’s Simon’s favorite.

The deductions of Inspector Spears keep the rhythm set by the clicking of his wife’s knitting needles and she keeps knitting while asking questions and allowing Spears (and his writers) to discuss possible motives and suspects of the murder.
And she’s so engrossed by the whole matter that at one point she does something every knitter did once: she drops a stitch. And it’s hilarious and smart to read how the knitting and the analysis of the murder end up in one single line.

"Bother," said Madge. "I've dropped a stitch. Would the murderer know that?"

When I read this line I was on the metro back home and I missed my stop, as I was giggly and euphoric. You might think this is not a reason good enough to read the book or make a new movie out of it, but trust me on this: you’re wrong. :-)