Friday, October 31, 2008

Top 10: books with secret signs

Justin Scroggie is the author of Tic-tac Teddy Bears and Teardrop Tattoos. For the Guardian, he named a top ten list of books with secret signs.

His introduction and one title from his list:
I'm an author (and television producer) with a passion for secret signs – all the ways that people in the know privately communicate with each other. I love books where something hinges on a sign or a symbol that the protagonist has to decipher. Authors are playful people, too, so I'm always on the lookout for any hidden messages they might have included, in a character's name, for example, or even on the cover.

* * *

The Name of the Rose

William of Baskerville arrives at a Benedictine abbey in medieval Italy to lay the groundwork for a theological meeting. Instead, there is a gruesome murder, and Baskerville (a pun on Sherlock Holmes), investigates. The plot revolves (and revolves!) around a secret book by Aristotle, hidden in a labyrinthine library. To penetrate the library and its secrets, Baskerville must decode manuscripts, solve riddles and much much more. Umberto Eco's 1980 classic is full of secret signs, from the abbey door to the abbot's ring – not surprising as Eco is a professor of semiotics, the study of signs and symbols as a form of language.
Read more about Scroggie's list.

--Marshal Zeringue