Jonathan Pinnock - Writer of Stuff

NO SOONER THE WORD THAN THE FICTION

The Case of the Pocket Watch, the Cyanide and the Surprising Coincidence

A question for UK readers. Any of you watch “Jonathan Creek” last night? I count myself as a fan but missed the latest one, which is a shame because I usually enjoy David Renwick’s intricate plotting and humour and Alan Davies is always watchable (although it’s never been quite the same since Caroline Quentin left). So it fell to Oscar Windsor-Smith to draw my attention to a bizarre coincidence, whereby one of the characters was killed off by some hydrogen cyanide hidden in a pocket watch – the details may be found here. Which is of course the exact same thing that happened in my story “Ignorance of Chemistry”, published by Every Day Fiction in May of last year.

I’m inclined to think that this is one of those weird coincidences – although a cyanide-laced pocket watch was, frankly speaking, a pretty unlikely murder weapon first time around – because the alternative would in some ways be even weirder. Because it would imply that big name writers hang around the internet looking at sites like Every Day Fiction for ideas to rip off aspiring wannabes like myself. And, frankly, past experience tells me that it tends to be the wannabes that do the ripping off, not the established writers. (And also, strangely, advertising sites for watches like this one – love the subtle changes there.)

What this story does show is that there really is nothing new under the sun. Surprising coincidences do happen. At least I hope that’s the case, because if it isn’t, I’m sending the DVD of Renwick and Marshall’s “Whoops Apocalypse” that I bought last week straight back to Amazon …

2 Comments

  1. Hi, Jon, thanks for the mention. It was one hell of a coincidence, given that the poison, use of the distinctive formula to misdirect as initials, and the – very specific – delivery method, are identical.

    That advert is amazing. Did they get permission from you to use that? And did you receive payment?

    In fact, given the two airings the story has had I can’t help feeling that some ‘subliminal absorption’ must have taken place here. You know, the way you can be reading the centre of a page, and something out of your line of concentration fixes itself in your subconscious?

    Very, very, strange.

    πŸ˜‰ scar

  2. admin

    April 5, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    No permission, no payment πŸ™ I told EDF about it, but there wasn’t a lot they could do, given that the site’s based in China and it would cost a lot to sue.

    Hadn’t realised that the misdirection was the same, though (still haven’t seen the episode yet).

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