The Everyday Lore Project

25 August 2020 – Detectives’ Day

25 August 2020 – Detectives’ Day

The day was wet and unpleasant like being slapped on the thigh with a day-old fish. Outside the wind swung off the tree branches and bounced between the leaves. The dame sighed and lifted her fingers off the Remington keys. It was the 201st birthday of Allan Pinkerton, of the Pinkerton National Detective Agency, making today, Detectives’ Day. 

She’d scanned the personals for a quick fix private dick licence, but like the Devil at a crossroads, she didn’t trust the promises. Although the badges were pretty sweet. Raising the white china mug filled with Detox Dandelion tea to her blood red lips, the dame mulled over her options. After all, it was also National Banana Split Day. 

Her thoughts turned to crime. Detectives solved crimes. Felonious riddles, one might say. The dame wasn’t a fan of riddles. Like Billy Crystal in a romantic lead, she always skipped to the last page, cryptic crosswords defeated her, and Riddler was her least favourite Batman villain (unless played by Gomez Adams, obviously). Her tiny female brain just wasn’t equipped to think laterally.

And then she remembered another dangerous broad, Sara Cox, who read out riddle poems on her BBC Radio 2 teatime broadcasts. The dame stroked her chin. Ah yes, riddle poems, as traditional as a Sphinx asking questions of a motherf*cker. Plus poems went in birthday cards. She pushed the typewriter away and picked up a pen. As terrible as she was at solving puzzles, no one would suspect her of writing a riddle poem. And so long as no one suspects you… 

My first is in Marple but also in Mead
My second’s in Umberto but never in creed
The third’s in Veronica and also in Mars
My fourth is in Chandler and seedy dive bars
The fifth is in Fletcher and Jessica too 
My sixth is in Christie, the Queen of the crew
My seventh’s in Philip, but not in Marlowe
My eighth is in Precious and also Clouseau
My ninth is in Rosemary and also in Thyme
And my tenth is in Shaft, a man in his prime
My eleventh’s in Sherlock but never in John
My last is in cryptic, the clues are all done


Blackburn, B. and Holdford-Strevens, L. (2003) The Oxford Companion to the Year. An Exploration of Calendar Customs and Time-Reckoning, Oxford, Oxford University Press

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Published by Liza Frank

Author of My Celebrity Boyfriend. Obsessed with hula hooping, sons of preachermen and fresh dates, sometimes all at the same time. Curator of Folklore Agony and The Everyday Lore Project.

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