Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Wednesday Word: Gasconade

gasconade |ˌgaskəˈnādnoun literary extravagant boasting.
ORIGIN mid 17th cent.: from French gasconnadefrom gasconner talk like a Gascon, brag.

I've been reading and listening to a lot of old mysteries by Ngaio Marsh and Dorothy L. Sayers lately, and I must've picked up the word them. Funny how when immersed in a book my internal dialogue starts sounding like that particular writer's prose. Right now I'm on Death at the Bar (Marsh, audiobook) and Murder Must Advertise (Sayers, ebook). It's riveting to me--and hopefully educational--how each of these authors constructed their stories.

In contrast with contemporary conventions, Marsh doesn't jump straight into action. No, she sets out leisurely leisurely introducing the principal, i.e. the soon-to-be murder victim and chief suspects. The motives for the inevitable dastardly deed become clearer by each page.

Murder Must Advertise, on the other hand, starts with the detective arriving on the scene in disguise. Sayers cleverly doesn't spell out the true identity of Mr. Bredon, but drops enough hints for anyone familiar with Lord Peter Wimsey to recognize him behind the alias. But she too takes her time to introduce participants, and much period prattle ensues.

Right-ho! So where I'm going with this? I have no idea, just musing.