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4\. Presentation of the Evidence
- Indeed it is the chain of evidences, all more or less surprising, that holds
- the reader's interest through the five hundred pages of "The Moonstone," where
- the puzzle is only a jewel robbery. And here is one reason why real murder
- trials are not as interesting as fictional ones. For the newspaper reports are
- plain accounts of the evidence found, whether entertaining or not; but the
- wily detective author need introduce no evidence that is not picturesque or
- The author should know exhaustively the truth about evidence, its real value
- and meaning; and knowing this, utilize such knowledge at will.
- Learn too, the difference between vital and incidental evidence. Sherlock
- Holmes remarks:
- > It is of the highest importance in the art of detection to be able to
- recognize, out of a number of facts, which are incidental and which vital.
- Otherwise your energy and attention must be dissipated instead of being
- concentrated. Now, in this case there was not the slightest doubt in my mind
- from the first that the key of the whole matter must he looked for in the
- scrap of paper in the dead man's hand.
- Of course; since the scrap of paper was put there by the author for that very
- purpose. But a close study of Conan Doyle's stories will prove the best lesson
- in collating and understanding evidence.