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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Terror! The Mystery!

"The Lost Special" 不算侦探故事,更象个 thriller,因为谜底是罪犯自己叙述的。啊,太棒了!

1890年,一辆载了两位乘客、一名司机、一名警卫、一名火工的特快火车,带着机车头和两节车厢,在利物浦和曼彻斯特之间的两个小站之间不翼而飞了,连带所有的乘客完全消失在空中,谁也找不到。这桩神秘案件八年未解,最后一个法国的“黑手党”分子在监狱里得意地陈述了自己是怎样干成这桩大案 ...

故事不长,可以在此处读到全文。强烈推荐。情节设计十分巧妙,而且,跟其他的 Dr. Doyle 的小说一样,动机和布局虽然复杂但并不过分复杂,没有曲折奇诡到失真的地步,而是刚刚介乎“嘿,有可能”与“一看就是瞎扯”的中间一线,胜在细节描述具体而微,让读者忍不住要相信是真的。

最好玩的是作者在故事中间顺带一笔,案子上报之后读者纷纷写信提出各种猜测,其中有个著名的业余人士也进来插一脚:

Amongst the many suggestions put forward by various newspapers or private individuals, there were one or two which were feasible enough to attract the attention of the public. One which appeared in The Times, over the signature of an amateur reasoner of some celebrity at that date, attempted to deal with the matter in a critical and semi-scientific manner. An extract must suffice, although the curious can see the whole letter in the issue of the 3rd of July.

"It is one of the elementary principles of practical reasoning," he remarked, "that when the impossible has been eliminated the residuum, HOWEVER IMPROBABLE, must contain the truth. It is certain that the train left Kenyon Junction. It is certain that it did not reach Barton Moss. It is in the highest degree unlikely, but still possible, that it may have taken one of the seven available side lines. [下略]

读到这里我仰天大笑,哈哈哈哈哈。I 服了 U,道尔医生,您太有趣了。除了这一个cameo之外,法国罪犯还提到自己在执行这个案件中借助了某个实力可观的英国犯罪组织头领的力量和关系网,不过没有提到他的名字 --- 嘿嘿,不用提我们也能猜得到他的名字以M开头。

这篇故事还有一些其他值得注意的元素。例如,故事高潮部分有段动作场面的描写,惊心动魄,跟今日的好莱坞大片中的火爆场面无异,直接可以搬上银幕了,此类描写在福尔摩斯系列中从未直接出现过。又例如对organized crime,地下犯罪网,叙述只有寥寥几句,点到为止,但效果与真实感远胜今天常见的 conspiracy 类型惊险故事,涉及政界与经济界要人之间的幕后勾结,为避免阴谋暴露而雇佣犯罪组织除掉对自己不利的证人和证据。他的描述与百多年后的类似故事一样 sophisticated,毫不逊色,一点不显得过时。显然他对阴影中的组织犯罪势力有兴趣、有研究、也有能力可写类似“教父”的巨著哇。

叹气,我真爱 Dr. Doyle。早就该把他的作品都翻出来看一遍了!不知道 Moffat 和 Gatiss 俩活宝是否读过对福尔摩斯系列之外的作品,暂时还看不出迹象来,倒是被我抓到证据表明 David Pirie 肯定读过这些 tales of terror and mysteries --- 他写的电视剧里有引用某个故事里的话。还有还有,我可以肯定赤川次郎也有读过 Doyle 的短篇小说,因为他的成名作“幽灵列车”的迷局其实是抄这个故事 "The Lost Special" 来的。

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