Wednesday, 26 March 2014

What's your secret?

Do we all have skeletons in our cupboards?

I have a writers’ mind (that’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it!) which harbours all sorts of ideas, phrases, and, it has to be said, the occasional cliché. (Hey – they wouldn’t be clichés if they weren’t true, and sometimes they are difficult to avoid.)

I love working with the idea of secrets, so the phrase ‘Fly, all is discovered.’ is a favourite concept, one that bubbles to the surface at regular intervals. A particularly apt one for crime and thriller writers, playing on the hypothesis of a universal sense of guilt and the idea that a large part of the population has something to hide.

Fly - all is discovered?
I’m not sure if the expression is actually just a phrase or whether it has acquired the status of an urban myth. A little wandering in the byways of the Internet suggests that it has, and credits the origin both to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and to Mark Twain. The anecdote that accompanies it indicates that if a message with these or similar words were to be sent to people of your acquaintance (sometimes it’s to a group of famous and/or influential people) then a large number of them would have left town by the end of the day. 

It’s an idea that I occasionally toy with for a book. What would be the modern equivalent of the message? How would it be delivered? Do secrets of sufficient weight still exist these days to force someone to flee? And where to?  Would modern communications and social media allow them to remain hidden?   I haven’t got the answers, but I think there is a book in there somewhere. One day perhaps I’ll extract it.

At the moment I’m working on a plot that has two characters who each have a very big secret. If they got that message both of them would leave town, although neither from a sense of guilt.

So –it’s a fascinating concept, but we’re not all guilty.

Me? I don’t have any skeletons in any of my cupboards – there simply wouldn’t be room for them.   


  1. I think there's definitely a book in there for you and look forward to reading it one day! PS. No room for secrets in my closets either
    Angela Britnell

    1. Thanks Angela. This idea is certainly in the queue for consideration. So many ideas, so little time. And too many closets that want clearing out :)