Conspiracy Theory in Mamet's Homicide

by William Van Wert

I came away from David Mamet's Homicide with many more questions than I had answers. Why were the Jews to whom Bobby Gold (Joe Mantegna) is sent/sends himself depicted so one-dimensionally as shrill, harsh, ruthless? Why were the Polaroids, fake passport and address on Racine Street lumped together, as though they belonged together as one set of documents? What about the coincidence of bad timing, that Bobby Gold emerges from the Jewish underground at exactly five in the morning, precisely the time he was supposed to be on Racine Street, leading the bust of Bobby Randolph, the black drug king, by escorting Randolph's mother, providing the fake passport, handling the hostage negotiations, and being the first to burst through the door, if need be? Why is Bobby Gold always losing his gun, a total of three times in the film? Why doesn't he go back for the gun? Why does he insist upon telling Randolph about Randolph's mother, even when it means Randolph will shoot him? And what does the captain mean in the epilogue when he tells Bobby Gold that they have solved his case for him, that he is off homicide, that, in fact, he is just plain off? Is it because Gold failed to show up on time and got his partner killed? Is it because they found the Polaroids, depicting Gold's terrorist bombing of the model-train store? Is it because the unnamed Jews in high places got him canned? Or is it because he walks with a cane now?

All of these questions stem from the last three scenes of the film: the descent into the Jewish underground, the capture of Randolph, and the epilogue. Up until these three scenes, we as spectators seem to be at one with Bobby Gold. We think we can reasonably inhabit his outsider status: the perfectly devoted cop on the surface, whose Jewishness is suppressed, is only awakened by a slur, then begins to suppress the police-procedural part of him in order to discover his own Jewish identity.

So far, we're on familiar ground. We're used to the two cases confronting the modem detective (the search for a solution to the supposedly "external" case and the simultaneous search for self) and how those two cases must inevitably dovetail, the horizontal and vertical axes intersecting. The search for self always involves a repression, and the linear, chronological case at hand serves as a trigger to awaken the sleeping beast repressed, even at the cost of then repressing some part of the case at hand by overcharging it with excess meaning from the detective's personal past, the hidden crime of which usually predates our first introduction to the detective.

In "The Oedipus Myth," Laura Mulvey has wonderfully demonstrated how Oedipus is the prototype for this detective formula and how the repressed (that which explains why Oedipus, even after blinding and insight and achieving almost sainthood status, can still cruelly condemn his sons) predates the entire Oedipus cycle: namely, the guilt of Laius, Oedipus' father:

Laius' father, Labdakos, died during his son's infancy. The throne was usurped, and later usurped again and Laius was driven into exile. He was given hospitality by King Pelops of Sparta, where he fell in love with the King's beautiful young son Chrysippos. He kidnapped the boy, raped him and caused his death. (It is argued that the outrageousness of this act lay not in the act of homosexuality, but in the violation of hospitality.) King Pelops then cursed Laius, saying that if he should have a son, the son would kill him. Laius made up his mind never to have children, but one night he got drunk, and slept with his wife Jocasta, who conceived. Later Hera sent the Sphinx to ravage Thebes in retribution for Laius' crime and also, no doubt, to set the scene for Oedipus' victorious arrival in the city.1

The detective then, whether it be Oedipus or Jake Gittes in Chinatown or Harry in Night Moves or any number of other examples, carries the repressed within and carries it physically, as though it were a matter of genes and heredity, this damaged seed, so that the search for self inevitably results in the justification for such repression, the disclosure that the detective is, himself, the criminal, the guilty party, the one beyond absolution.

David Mamet's Bobby Gold is in many ways no exception. He is just as shattered and disillusioned as the three detective predecessors I've just mentioned. But, to Mamet's considerable credit, Bobby Gold differs from those three in the degree of lucidity he obtains, and the cost of that lucidity is not only an estrangement (banishment) from all those around him within the film but an estrangement from us as well, we spectators who thought we were comfortably inhabiting his point of view, who thought we were "on the same page" with him. In the last three scenes of Homicide Gold leaves us behind. We don't understand what motivates him: neither his act of terrorism nor his apparent death wish nor his final banishment. We are filled with more questions than answers.

The excess of questions, all of them ours and not Bobby Gold's, is the legacy left to us by Mamet. Gold has achieved a kind of lucidity that is no longer talking, he is as estranged from us as he is from the Jewish underground and from his cop colleagues, but we spectators have the wherewithal - because we have been with him all along and they haven't - to attain eventually the same lucidity. But to do so, we have not to see the film again and again, front to back, but rather to go backwards into the film, to retrace our steps from epilogue back, and our looking for clues takes the form, familiar to us in the inversion of story and fable in Todorov and Propp,2 of knowing the effects and now tracing backwards, looking for causes.

Not to do so is to believe the many capsule-reviews of the film in the newspapers, to the effect that this is a film about a man with divided loyalties, who tries to reconcile being a Jew with being a cop, who finally fails at both, and that Homicide is a film brilliant in its first half, full of gritty and witty dialogue, but goes awry with the Jewish subplot, gets too artsy and enigmatic, gets away from itself, is finally "flawed."

Diamonds should be flawed this way. Mamet puzzles us, baffles us by film's end, but precisely to put us at the site of detection, ourselves. The reward for our efforts is not a happier ending, but the pleasure of detection itself, and a more complicated, more complicating reading of the film. I couldn't resist such a reward.

Mamet has said that Homicide is a "story about belonging."3 Too simply put. I would say that the film is rather a story about coming to terms with not belonging. In many ways, Homicide is a reconfiguration of Mamet's earlier House of Games. Both Margaret Ford and Bobby Gold are driven. They have no home life, no mate, no pets, no hobbies. They have nothing but a slavish dedication to their work, police work for Gold, psychiatry for Margaret Ford. Both are offered another world, a new look, a series of adventures (con games for Margaret Ford, the Jewish underground for Bobby Gold). Both are gradually consumed by this other world, until they have compromised the ethics of their profession and committed crimes (apparent involvement in a murder and stealing a penknife and car for Margaret Ford, the terrorist bombing of the Nazi printing press for Bobby Gold). Both are duped and betrayed. Both extricate themselves and come to terms. Margaret Ford uses her psychiatric skills to forgive herself and save both her sanity and self-worth.4 How Bobby Gold "saves" himself and comes to a lucidity that surpasses that of Oedipus is the subject of my study and the goal of my own detection.

Homicide is a film about unbelonging: about the realization that one is hopelessly "outside"; about the futile attempts to reconcile, not simply divided loyalties, but the divided self; about surviving the shattered self and inhabiting a lucidity that serves no purpose other than to explain one's radical alterity, a lucidity so chilling that it cannot be told and would not be believed if it were told. The film plays with inside and outside, the one and the many, individuality and conformity, the evershifting perspectives that belie belief systems, and the power of paranoia and phantasmagorical spaces to undermine the rational mind. Finally, the film is about conspiracy from both inside and outside, the one and the many conspiracies, the very nature of conspiracy, which depends upon blindness rather than insight and which feeds on betrayal, not loyalty.

The film opens with the police, most of them in black and obscured with shields and masks, mounting the stairs for a bust. The scene is remarkable for its choreography, a single finger pointing each body to move in zigzag fashion up the stairs towards a more forward position, until all have reached the door. The fluidity of the many bodies in a cramped space, their swift silence and precision, the many bodies functioning as one body, these are remarkable visuals for the opening credits to punctuate. They are remarkable too for the fact that the team never operates this smoothly again, and this scene is in stark contrast to the hail of bullets, screams of chaos and trapped bodies of the film's ultimate bust. We don't think so at the time, of course, but, yes, in retrospect this SWAT team of police looks and moves like a team of ninjas or terrorists.

When Randolph escapes this bust, the scene shifts to the precinct station where we see the police unmasked. Bobby Gold's partners are a melting pot of every race, creed and color: black, Latino, Asian, Irish. But every sign of difference has been suppressed, collapsed into the code of partnership. Their society (I will soon call it a conspiracy) operates on a them-against-us mentality, and the them is not just the criminals on the street but, within the hierarchy of law enforcement agencies, the FBI as well. The FBI is the ethnic in their every ethnic joke.

"Never Kiss an FBI man, because you might have to take him to dinner."

"The FBI don't put you on their Ten Most Wanted list until they know where you are and how long you'll be there."

"The FBI couldn't find Joe Louis in a cup of white rice."

What we know about Bobby Gold in this closed society of collapsed differences, how he nonetheless differentiates himself from the rest, is that (1) he is always the first to break through the door of any bust and (2) he is the "hostage negotiator," the orator, the golden-tongued one the team talker. Warned not to say a word to the FBI by Tim Sullivan, his Irish partner, Bobby Gold speaks anyway. He volunteers that he has an informant named Willie Sims, who can tell them the whereabouts of Randolph. If this were the Oedipus cycle we were dealing with, Gold's disclosure would constitute the first tragic flaw. Far from thanking him for his information, Patterson, the black FBI team leader, scolds him for not speaking sooner. Gold persists and follows Patterson out of the room and down the hall. He persists until Patterson calls him a "little kike," the slur that starts everything spiralling awry. Gold is stunned, his partners are angered and close ranks around him, as though the slur had unearthed a necessary and vitally collapsed or repressed difference by the exaggeration of prejudice. That Bobby Gold is Jewish has been elided in the slur. And just as the two busts begin and end the film, we could also say that the film begins with a black man's calling Bobby Gold a "little kike" and ends with Gold's calling a black man a "nigger," and the prejudice in both slurs aligns the victims of the slurs, marking a recognition rather than a difference.

Back at his desk, Bobby God watches as his colleagues lock up a man who shot his wife and children with a deer rifle. He says he mistook them for deer (or perhaps for dear). He escapes custody long enough to crash headlong into Gold, take his gun momentarily and break the holster. When Gold seeks no retaliation and does not want to press charges for this man's having assaulted a police officer, the man seems to want to return the kindness by saying, "Perhaps someday I could tell you the nature of good and evil." The man appears twice more in the film, a total of three times, and he offers Gold approximately the same message each time.

He is what we would call a homicidal maniac, and perhaps he is too obvious a plot device for Mamet to have used. I remember watching the late-night news after seeing Homicide, and there was a special segment on schizophrenics, many of whom are loose, on the streets and homeless. One such schizophrenic was interviewed, and he clearly believed his intellect to be superior to that of others. A self-styled philosopher, he spoke quickly, machine-gun fashion, and his "philosophies" took the form of rhymed ditties, technically called "clanging." One such: "Hitler is the answer for cancer." These ditties provoke, they make no sense but crazed sense, but still they have an impact on us, because they come from the lips of a man who is lost to us. I felt this schizophrenic was very much like the family-killer in Homicide. This man provokes as well, with intimations of a Nietzschean knowledge, and you have to half-believe him. The horror he inhabits, of having killed all those around him, makes of him a kind of idiot savant, his first-hand knowledge of horror a kind of prerequisite to understanding the nature of good and evil. But, because he too is horror embodied and so outlawed from the mainstream of decency, no one will listen.

And in the exchange of looks between this man and Bobby Gold (reminiscent of Hitchcock's exchange of looks at the end of The Wrong Man), we know there is recognition. By film's end Bobby Gold will inhabit the same space of lived horror and outlaw status. The curse of Cassandra intact, he could tell volumes, but no one will listen.

Mamet's narrative in Homicide proceeds by deflection, each new event a deflection that makes us forgetful of what came before. The slur of "little kike" makes us forget that Gold volunteered to "turn" his informant. The family-killer makes us forgetful of the slur. And the stop along the way to the big bust, the investigation of a candy-store robbery/murder is deferred by another deflection: Bobby Gold's sending Sullivan on while freeing a beat cop from a vicious dog. This proceeding by deflection obscures the usual cause-effect relationship, makes events more autonomous vis-a-vis other events and allows for a freer play with temporality and point of view. It seems almost anti-climactic when, having subdued the dog and freed the beat cop, Bobby Gold can turn to the dead body of Mrs. Klein.

In ensuing sequences, the "rising action," the middle part of the film, language plays a major role in separating the police-procedural codes from the emerging paranoia and conspiracy of the Jewish underground. In terms of the former, Mamet is at his typical tricks of quick repartee, stichomythia, and a fast string of cliches, some of which fit while others don't, and the result is humor. Sullivan says, "Either a piece of cake or a slice of life...." Later, he says, "We'll play cops and robbers ... we'll bust this big case.... We'll swagger around." Contrasted with this kind of banter is the failure to communicate by language, exemplified in Gold's dealings with the Klein family.

Gold: "You're under a lot of stress. Do you follow me?"
Dr. Klein: "Do I follow you?"

The idiomatic and empty phrase of Gold is taken literally by Dr. Klein. Hidden, at least at this point in the film, is the fact that Dr. Klein takes it literally because he takes it conspiratorially.

Little by little, Gold is diverted from the big bust of Randolph and driven instead to solve the "candy-store pop." But how is he seduced? There is neither any flashback to Gold as a boy growing up with a sense of Jewish identity nor any naturalized bonding with the Klein family, all of whom seem arch, on the edge, accusatory. Gold instead is seduced by shame (the granddaughter's overhearing his disparaging remarks in the "house of the dead," after which he promises her that he will solve this case) and his obsession with a graven image, a photograph of a young Mrs. Klein holding a tommy gun, but beautiful, smiling, brash and at an age when she might have been a romantic fit for Bobby Gold, who also carries a gun, but is full of self-loathing, low self-esteem, and insists on being the first through a door at a bust because he is forever fighting a stereotype that he might be "soft."

Gold, it turns out, is as much a collector of images as the replicant Leon in Blade Runner. The photo of Mrs. Klein, the poster image ("Crime is caused by the Ghetto. The Ghetto is caused by the Jew."), the piece of paper with "GROFAZ" on it, the fake passport, the address on Racine Street, even the Polaroids which are turned against him - he is an obsessive keeper of images, and they gradually comprise an identity packet in his pocket, in lieu of a billfold with family photos of his own.

His descent into the Jewish underground involves his meeting an elder associate of Mrs. Klein in the old gun-running days, an Israeli agent named Chava, a Talmudic scholar in a library, various others, all more schooled in Hebrew and Yiddish than he is, all apparently "random" and unrelated, but finally all part of the conspiracy, a conspiracy whose reason for existence is the belief in an opposite conspiracy. These Jews are as different from one another as the various cops in Gold's team, but their differences have been collapsed, repressed, the many for the one, for the sake of cohering to the conspiracy which motivates their every action.

And in the word conspiracy all the contradictory themes, movements and "clues" are contained. The noun conspiracy in all its meanings is a figurative (mediated) remove from the physical and literal Latin root meanings for the verb to conspire, which means "to breathe together, to breathe as one." One can only imagine instances of meaning for this verb, such as a lover's kiss, a woman pregnant with child, or, in a more religious vein, the in-dwelling of the Holy Ghost, the Holy Spirit residing in the Apostles, all meanings lost to us now. The secular meanings which remain for the noun conspiracy are the following: (1) a planning and acting together secretly, especially for an unlawful or harmful purpose, such as treason or murder; (2) the plan agreed upon; plot; (3) the group taking part in such a plan; and (4) a combining and working together (the conspiracy of events); synonym - see PLOT. So, a conspiracy incorporates all aspects of the process: the planning, the plan itself, and the group taking part in the plan. The fourth meaning refers to plot itself, and I will save discussion of that particular meaning for the end of this essay. But the other three meanings are all interrelated, by secrecy of course, but also by the connotation of unlawful, crucial here as it regards the seduction of an officer of the law. In fact, the conspiracy to commit a crime carries the same punishment by law as the actual commission of the crime.

Inside and outside, the one and the many, the skewing of perspective, all of these things we've been talking about are contained in the meanings of the word conspiracy. If homicide refers to one murder, the many murders collapsed in the generic singular, then genocide is homicide pluralized to the murder of a whole people, and with premeditation, that is, conspiracy. A conspiracy exists in the belief that the secret actions of the few can stand for the good of the many. A conspiracy exists in the belief that the law has failed or cannot act as efficaciously as the secret group. It exists in the belief that there are other rival conspiracies with opposing goals (thus, the Jewish underground exists to fight the neo-Nazi underground). Few proofs are needed; Munich and Skokie can be generalized into a world-view in which anti-Semitism is everywhere. It exists as a paranoia. Grofaz is traced backwards to be an acronym for Hitler in the latter days of the Third Reich, and, since this meaning fits and is appropriate to the conspiracy, all other meanings, including that of Grofazt Pigeon Feed, are suppressed. A conspiracy can never be fully exposed, because its prime directive is secrecy, covert action, obscurity, blindness over insight. It demands total obedience and loyalty, but it believes in betrayal and even requires an occasional betrayal, or the fear of it, to maintain its secrecy and opposition to close scrutiny.

What is true of both the outside looking in and the inside looking out of a conspiracy is that nothing and no one are what they seem. Every Jew encountered by Gold seems at first to be separate or different from the others, but ultimately each and every one appears to be operating inside the conspiracy, while he remains outside.

I want to single out one particular example. Gold goes to a shop to get his holster fixed. But we quickly forget why he is there, because the shopkeeper is an elderly Jew, who teaches him the meaning of grofaz as Hitler. Later, Gold is given a lesson in the hidden meanings of icons. His badge, a representation or icon of being an officer of the law, is also, in another context, the pentagram, which suggests by association the Star of David. This star represents the interdiction of opposites, the five points of the star referring to the earth, the five senses. "The pentagram cannot be deconstructed," he is told. The badge can be deconstructed symbolically as the Star of David, but, once revealed as such, can no longer be deconstructed. The Book of Esther is invoked, and Gold is told the name Esther comes from a Hebrew word meaning "to conceal." The lesson ends with an accusation: "You say you're a Jew, yet you can't read Hebrew. What are you, then?"

The question begs a deconstruction for an answer. If his badge and then the name of Esther can be deconstructed, then so too can the name of Gold be deconstructed. The name refers to money, of course, and here Gold is a name that begs for slurs (linking Bobby Gold with old Mrs. Klein and the stereotype believed by the black children, that she had hidden money in her basement and was killed for it). Gold also refers to color, that color we should see more of in the fall of Baltimore but, in the photography of Roger Deakins for the film, we see only on Mantegna's face. And finally gold is that precious metal, that metal of such high value that it stands for all other precious metals, from the old alchemical days to present-day commodity markets. I want to quote Derrida here: "And let us not forget that the violence that takes us toward the entrails of the earth, the moment of mine-blindness, that is, of metallurgy, is the origin of society."5 If the pentagram represents the earth, then Gold is already beneath it or behind it, representing the entrails of the earth, the downward digging,6 the moment of mine-blindness. As such, he cannot, then inhabit the meaning of the badge given him. He is already too deconstructed, that is, too divided, to inhabit the meaning of the badge given him.

But conspiracy for Mamet is deconstructed even further. We would have to say that a series of very strange coincidences and perspectives leads Gold to perform an act of terrorism in order to belong (more specifically, in lieu of turning over police evidence to the underground). At the library, he is ordered by a Talmudic scholar to replace a tome on the top shelf, from which vantage point he sees the 212 for 212 Humboldt Street. He goes there, is brought inside (an inside fully equipped with computers), meets the elders, refuses their request for the original list of names and is banished. Just then, another coincidence, he sees Chava at her car. They go to a diner, where he confesses his limited past and low self-esteem to her. He goes with her on her "mission"; she protests, then relents. He forcibly takes the bomb from her and commits the act of terrorism of blowing up the store (there is a wonderful metaphor here, for the "innocent" model trains, when juxtaposed with the backroom of a Nazi printing press, become metaphorically all the trains that took the Jews to the camps, and Gold smashes one of them).

When he comes back to the diner, he is presented with the Polaroids that "prove" he has committed a crime. The Jews have set him up and now these pictures serve for blackmail, to get the list of names from him.

We don't understand. We certainly don't understand as much as Gold understands. We can't logically make sense of this. If they set him up, where did the set-up begin? Credibility is in question. His involvement has depended upon a bizarre array of coincidences. Why does he replace the tome on the top shelf when ordered to? How can they be sure he will see or overhear enough to go to 212 Humboldt Street? How can they anticipate that he will go off with the Israeli agent, that he will go on the mission with her, that he will do the mission instead of her? Causes and effects don't cohere.

They don't have to. For in Mamet's hands, conspiracy operates as a phantasmagorical space, and events spiral the way they might in dreams. Too close a scrutiny, and it falls apart. We know it to have happened because we were there and saw it happen, and not because it makes logical sense. The rational mind is undermined, at a loss to see it backwards for a new causality, a "right" way to read it. So, what we have instead is the fourth meaning of conspiracy, that referring to plot alone, a conspiracy of events, which is to say that conspiracy is the only connection between events.

The second problem with credibility is that the pictures are Polaroids, and the Jews leave them with Gold. But, if they are Polaroids, then there are no negatives, are there? Unless perhaps Gold has in some way dreamed or imagined most of this murky scenario, which, if true, only reinforces the symbiosis between conspiracies and phantasmagorical spaces.

Bobby Gold is the duped and deceived, and of course we identify with him. But he is no innocent. He has betrayed his informant, Willie Sims without any qualms of conscience. And he has sweet-talked Randolph's mother into "turning" her son, holding out the promise that her son won't be killed this way.

That he understands the nature of conspiracies as the nature of good and evil is for me the only explanation for his tracking Randolph without his gun into the bowels of an abandoned building, a kind of symbolic Huis Clos/Hades/Hell, with appropriate grates as the only means of escape. He has lost his gun three times (metaphor of identity), with all the Freudian implications in that of an unstable sexuality, as well as his holster (metonymy of identity), the two amounting to the same thing, since his real forte is in words, not bullets. In this scene Gold is still ironically true to his former self: still the first to burst in, still the hostage negotiator. Only this time, he himself is the only hostage in sight.

How to explain Gold's persistence in making Randolph understand that his mother was part of a conspiracy to catch him, when Randolph is about to leave through the grates and leave Gold wounded, but still alive? Gold does persist, even though it means he is shot again. Wounded twice, Gold does succeed in showing Randolph the fake passport, and his persistence keeps Randolph on the scene long enough for the other police to arrive and shoot Randolph.

The staging is strange enough to be a clue to something else, something larger. In my reading of the film, Gold identifies with Randolph. Both are named Bobby, both are outsiders, both have been duped by conspiracies. The lucidity of Bobby Gold at this moment is that every ideology, be it religious belief or police code or any other ideology, conspires to be believed. To understand this is to be beyond belonging, just like the family-killer. Identifying with Randolph as he does, Gold cannot let him go, still believing in the lie of a savior mother and a real passport. And so Gold gives Randolph this "gift" of knowledge, painful and shattering as it is.

More staging. The shot body of Randolph forms with the prone body of Gold a kind of crucifix. And the recognition of opposites plays like an O'Neill moment from the end of The Emperor Jones.7

In the epilogue, Gold returns to the station, walking with a cane. His former partners say they're sorry about Sullivan, but they stay grouped and separate from him. The captain says they solved his case for him (which presumably means they have a black suspect in custody, with the same two black children repeating the same stereotype about the old woman's hidden money). "You're off homicide. In fact, you're off."

We have no way of knowing what lies behind the captain's words, but finally it doesn't matter, because Gold doesn't need the captain to tell him what he already knows: that to be this lucid is to be free of the conspiracies which hold together all ideologies, and so he can no more belong to the police~ team than he could to the Jewish underground. In the hands of someone less skillful than David Mamet, Gold might have quipped: "Perhaps someday I could tell you the nature of good and evil." But Gold knows he would not be believed. He has more in common with Tiresias at this point than he does with Oedipus.

No wonder we are estranged from him. Mamet seems to have presented us with so many unanswered questions at the end of Homicide as a way of enticing us to continue the detection. But to do so amounts to a reading of the film more tragic than before. For some spectators, maybe for most, there is arguably more solace in leaving the film as a passably good entertainment, a promising thriller that got carried away with its own metaphysics, a flawed film.


1Laura Mulvey, Visual and Other Pleasures (Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1989), 197.

2See in this regard Todorov's "The Typology of Detective Fiction," in Modern Criticism and Theory, edited by David Lodge (London and New York: Longman, 1988), 157-65.

3Mamet, speaking at the New York Film Festival about the film.

4See my essay on House of Games: "Psychoanalysis and Con Games," Film Quarterly 43.4 (Summer 1990): 2-10.

5Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology, translated by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins UP, 1976), 149.

6Two things of note here: first, I think my use of Derrida is warranted here by the use of the word deconstructed in the film text. Jacques Derrida, as an Algerian Jew in the midst of French philosophers, is a perfect counterpart to the dividedness and radical alterity of Bobby Gold. Second, the "downward digging" for Bobby Gold is both literal (digging for gold, the moment of mine-blindness) and figurative (downward digging as a synonym for detection). Laura Mulvey in "The Oedipus Myth" perceptively points out the simultaneous rise of the detective novel and archaeology (187).


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