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Old 2011-03-26, 03:15   Link #121
Sherringford
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All I need is a dead body. The mystery comes before the characters to me.
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Old 2011-03-26, 08:34   Link #122
Jan-Poo
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I'm with Naikou on this one, I don't see any particular reason as to why a mystery novel should only focus on the mystery without any side dish.

Actually there's a lot of stuff I don't agree with Dine.

I also find ironic how his rules forbid servants as the culprits (because the culprit must be a worth-while person) but there is no explicit prohibition about animals and children as culprits.
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Old 2011-03-26, 13:28   Link #123
naikou
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That's because animals and children > furniture
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Old 2011-03-26, 16:03   Link #124
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I would honestly love to see a mystery in the Van Dine style with an animal as the culprit.
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Old 2011-03-27, 00:52   Link #125
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chron View Post
I would honestly love to see a mystery in the Van Dine style with an animal as the culprit.
I see that and raise you a mystery where both the culprit and victim are animals.
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I submit that a murder was committed in 1996.
This murder was a "copycat" crime inspired by our tales of 1986.
This story is a redacted confession.

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Old 2011-03-27, 02:42   Link #126
naikou
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Sounds like Detective Kun-Kun.

Technically speaking, the very first detective mystery did have an animal as the culprit.
Spoiler:

So maybe that's why Van Dine didn't feel inclined to ban animals from being culprits.
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Old 2011-03-27, 06:09   Link #127
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Now that you mention it Battler referenced that with a theory in episode 3 didn't he?
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Old 2011-03-27, 07:43   Link #128
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I don't remember that, but Eva preemptively denied animals in her red truth web. That's the only time that the idea of trained animals as the mean to commit murder was suggested in Umineko (that I know of).
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Old 2011-03-27, 16:33   Link #129
Chron
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Renall View Post
I see that and raise you a mystery where both the culprit and victim are animals.
Feh, naive.

I see that, and raise you a mystery where the Culprit and victim are animals, but the detective is a god damn vegetable.
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Old 2011-03-27, 17:16   Link #130
Judoh
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jan-Poo View Post
I don't remember that, but Eva preemptively denied animals in her red truth web. That's the only time that the idea of trained animals as the mean to commit murder was suggested in Umineko (that I know of).
it's not really a direct reference to the title, but is this this close enough?

Quote:
...But if I say it this way, you could also suspect animal culprits.
It would be unbearable to hear an irrational theory about how an orangutan trained to commit murder wouldn't count as a human.
Seems it was EVA saying it though.
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Old 2011-03-27, 17:35   Link #131
naikou
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Yeah, the "orangutan" part is so specific that it's definitely a reference to Rue Morgue.
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Old 2011-03-28, 14:10   Link #132
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Animals were passively mentioned several times in Umineko, notably the "wolf legend" of the forest having wolves even though it didn't. Otherwise there's the seagulls. I guess Eva was just covering bases there.

However, when an animal kills, I have to assume there's some human agency behind it. An animal is not capable of criminal ideation to rise to the level of a "culprit." An animal trained by a person to kill? Sure, that's murder, but the animal is little more than a murder weapon, not a complicit culprit. Animal kills on its own? That's not murder, that's an accident.
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Redaction of the Golden Witch
I submit that a murder was committed in 1996.
This murder was a "copycat" crime inspired by our tales of 1986.
This story is a redacted confession.

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Battler Solves The Logic Error
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Old 2011-03-28, 14:57   Link #133
naikou
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The best possible ending to Umineko would be "The seagulls did it." It was revenge against the evil chef Gohda, who was boiling seagulls alive in order to enhance their flavor.

But yeah, I'd have to agree - "murder" is a legal term, and it's defined the same pretty much everywhere as "The intentional killing of a human by another human". So even a really intelligent animal (smarter than a human, even), would not be capable of murder as currently defined.

That said, accidents aren't necessarily prohibited in mystery, though Van Dine doesn't like them. Maybe Van Dine figured animal killings were covered under his accident clause.
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Old 2011-03-28, 15:43   Link #134
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Well, I'd accept say a genetically modified gorilla with human-like intellect as a "culprit" capable of committing murder. Same with an alien, or a robot. Indeed, Asimov's robot mysteries (The Caves of Steel / The Naked Sun / The Robots of Dawn) were all about whether a robot, programmed with essentially sub-human intellect and severely restricted capacity to do harm, could nevertheless commit a murder. The answer, of course, was usually no...
Spoiler for Asimov's Robot Mysteries:
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Redaction of the Golden Witch
I submit that a murder was committed in 1996.
This murder was a "copycat" crime inspired by our tales of 1986.
This story is a redacted confession.

Blog (VN DL) - YouTube Playlists
Battler Solves The Logic Error
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Old 2011-03-28, 16:02   Link #135
naikou
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Asimov is one of my favorites for his Foundation series, but unfortunately I haven't read any of his mysteries, so I'll have to refrain from clicking that spoiler.

I do think that if we discovered some non-human entity with greater than or equal intelligence to humans, we'd have to reconsider the concept of murder, but as it stands now it is well defined. If someone built an intelligent killer robot today, nearly every culture in the world would convict the person who built the robot, not the robot itself, even if the robot displayed greater than human intelligence. And perhaps that makes some sense!

Part of the problem is that "intelligence" is not quantifiable, at least not yet. IQ scores are silly, and laughed at by psychologists. And we have reached the point where there are some super-computers with greater memory capacity than the human brain (computers passed humans in terms of processing speed long ago - our chemical-based computer-minds can't possibly keep up). So how can we test whether something is "intelligent" enough to commit murder?

To bring some semblance of on-topicness to this post:

1. Only humans can commit murder
2. The culprit is defined as one who commits murder
3. Beatrice is not human
4. Therefore, Beatrice is not the culprit
5. Therefore, Battler wins by definition of murder
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Old 2011-03-28, 16:33   Link #136
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Logic. I love it.
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Old 2011-03-28, 16:47   Link #137
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You should give them a try; they're neat mysteries and they work well with the puzzles Asimov set up with his Three Laws in I, Robot (which is not itself a mystery). Of course they're distinctly sci-fi, but they rely on solutions that follow from the world in which the characters live. You have to accept that this includes robots and that positronic brains used by robots have peculiar capabilities, but it doesn't break its own rules.
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Redaction of the Golden Witch
I submit that a murder was committed in 1996.
This murder was a "copycat" crime inspired by our tales of 1986.
This story is a redacted confession.

Blog (VN DL) - YouTube Playlists
Battler Solves The Logic Error
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Old 2011-03-28, 16:54   Link #138
naikou
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Will do, thanks - no one has to twist my arm to read Asimov. I liked I, Robot well enough - I even liked the barely related Will Smith movie, tasteless though that is.
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Old 2011-03-28, 17:11   Link #139
Jan-Poo
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I don't agree at all that an animal killing a man (or another animal) can be considered an "accident". Just because they do not possess the intellect of humans it doesn't mean that they totally lack a "will" and "ideation".

All mammal predators and birds possess enough brain potential to preplan their attacks, the only thing that they lack is the ability to comprehend abstract concepts like morality.

This innate competence also grants them the power to kill other beings for reasons different from feeding necessities for example out of rage or for territorial defense.


Also this isn't a matter of raw intelligence it's a matter of cognitive competence. What is required for a being to be considered a killer is a "will" not "intelligence". You could technically have a supercomputer capable of solving incredible problems, but as long as it lacks a will it can't be considered a culprit.

Even if it was programmed to kill someone, that wouldn't be much different from a timed bomb. The programmer would be the killer.

The same thing goes for trained animals. If they kill under someone's order it isn't their "will".

"Will" is what defines the killer, not intelligence.
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Old 2011-03-28, 17:23   Link #140
naikou
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Okay, it might not be an accident (since "accident" implies a lack of intent, as you say), but it still does not fit the definition of murder.

I don't know what it is called, technically, or even if it has a name.
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