Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Week 30: Scavenger Hunt, The Mystery of the Culvert

  The book of the week for Week 30 is a Scavenger Hunt mystery titled The Culvert Mystery. It is inside a box which sits atop a number of boxes and drawers that hold the other books of the Scavenger Hunt series. The unusual little box is called an etui box... all four sidewalls drop flat to the floor when the lid is lifted. 

dropped walls of the etui with book inside
   The etui box's etyomology goes back to old French and means cage, keeper, or holder. In the late 1800's etui boxes were popular for holding women's cosmetics, manicure tools, or as fancy sewing kits. This box was chosen because a mystery is often kept hidden and is often solved by finding clues.. In this case, the Scavenger Hunt is for clues to solve the mystery of the culvert.

an 1850's etui box sewing kit
The title plate is expressed as a paper wrapper reminiscent of the paper ring on a cigar.  The cover paper is the same vintage marbling paper used for the drawer housing the Scavenger Hunt Poem.

   The book is bound as a boustrophedon book. Boustrophedon is Greek for ox going forward and backward. This word dates back to ancient Greece, and has been used in writing and as a book structure for over 2000 years. The lines of a text... or pages of a boustrophedon... run in two directions, changing direction with each new line. With regards to book structure, the pages fold accordion style. Yet, when the pages are unfolded, they re-form into a wide single sheet of paper with text making perfect sense.  Again, this structure was chosen specifically because it reiterated the nature of solving a mystery... picking up clues with no discernible relationship to an outcome, until suddenly they all come together to form a theme with a solution to a problem! 

the unfolding boustrophedon...
   The  book can be displayed outside the box or inside the box with one or more of the etui walls lifted and held in place by the box lid. Two opposite walls can be lifted so that the box itself resembles a culvert and the box serves as a passageway for ideas to float through as water runs through a culvert.
an etui culvert with book inside...

The book began as an email from a friend.  It went like this....

Hi Kathy,

If you have time on your next visit to Le Pin, I have a project in mind--one I hope you find interesting.  I describe it on the attached sheet, and since I know you like walking, I hope you don't find it too onerous.  It's a bit of whimsy, so no loss if it doesn't get done.  (Maybe Peg would have some ideas on the issue, as well.)

 Hope you enjoy the time over there, in any case,

The attachment became the book, The Mystery of the Culvert. This is what was inside...

I have a burning question that you may be able to satisfy when you are at Chateau Du Pin next time. It has to do with a structure on one of the Chateau's walking paths. This structure is an elaborate stone culvert in a ravine that crosses the path, allowing pedestrians to avoid an otherwise steep and sometimes muddy walk. This path is parallel to a creek (La Romme) and seems too elaborate to have been made for the benefit of pedestrians. I wonder if the path is a remnant of a longer road and if it was built during the Roman period for their transportation needs.
I propose seeking an additional clue. It seems to me that this ravine should also cross the other arm of this path. If so, I will bet that there is no similar culvert at that location, because the Romans wouldn't need two roads and two crossings. If I am wrong, and there is another stone culvert, then they must have been built for walking trails. (when we were there, not all of the trail had been cleared, so it may not be possible to look for a second culvert.)

Also, there is a map and two photographs of the culvert area.

the Attachment... becoming a boustrophedon book

The mystery of the culvert was described and the hunt for a solution begun... And it was all put into form in the little boustrophedon book, The Mystery of the Culvert..

seeing through the etui box to Scavenger Hunt books behind
   Scavenger hunts are about gathering a number of things. This series of books on Scavenger Hunts is gathered together in a number of boxes which are all connected into one large piece. There are more boxes and books coming, but these are some of the books assembled so far...

the Scavenger Hunt collection... so far
Stay tuned until next week when Kathy goes to Chateau du Pin to try and answer the burning question about the culvert mystery!

This week's book is dedicated to Ken P. who kindly let me reprint the email and Attachment for this week's book. Thanks Ken!

No comments:

Post a Comment