The Golden Age of Detective Fiction

I have been working on a composition which will hopefully reflect my liking and understanding of the detective fiction published in the 1920’s and 30’s. I intend it to be itself a solvable puzzle. The viewer will be asked to solve the crime (after determining what exactly that crime is). There will be false leads and intricate clues to decipher. A reasonable level of general knowledge will be useful and the ability to make connections will be crucial.

I want to incorporate the elegance and style of this fictional age and use the capability of painting to break free from the restrictions of the real world. Walls can disappear, perspectives can be altered, and things can have more than one meaning…

The detail below, for example, is called “Red Herring”. Can you see why? (Say it slowly and pronounce each syllable separately.)