Work Sheet: The Riddle House

Expected Answers

I. Questions on the text:

Answer the following questions on the text. Keep to the direct and indirect information contained in the text, but use your own words as far as possible.

2) The text is also a narrative text:

a. How many different time levels can you identify in this passage?

➢ fifty years ago: the time around the suspected murder (events told in great detail)

➢ the time when the story is told

➢ the time between the two time levels: briefly summarized

b. Briefly summarize the events which happened fifty years ago.

One morning the maid found elderly Mr and Mrs Riddle and their grown-up son Tom dead in the drawing room. The gardener was arrested for murder, because no window to the house had been broken and he was the only one to have a key to the backdoor. The gardener claimed to be innocent and suspected a stranger –a dark-haired and pale teenage boy, a story the police didn’t believe. The gardener had to be released, because the medical report on the bodies revealed that none of the Riddles had been physically harmed. The death remained a mystery.

c. What kind of narrator tells us the story?

➢ third-person observer (omniscient? or with limited knowledge?)

➢ not a narrator-agent (so far as we can tell)

d. Which narrative techniques are used? Explain.

➢ flashback

➢ anticipation

3) What impression does the reader get of the gardener? Write a characterization of Frank Bryce.


4) From which different viewpoints is the gardener characterized?

➢ the cook (neg.)

➢ the villagers (mixed)

➢ the gardener himself (positive)

➢ the narrator (objective??)

5) Find three different stylistic devices the writer uses to write an interesting story the reader can imagine vividly.

onomatopoeia : “roaring trade” (l.33); “maid had run screaming..”(l. 20)

simile: “Cold as ice” (l. 22)

alliteration: “drop dead” (l.31f.); a suddenly silent pub”(l.37); “dark and dingy police station” (l.69)

enumeration: “had been poisoned, stabbed, shot, strangled, suffocated or (as far as they could tell) harmed at all.” (ll. 80f.)

telling names: the Riddles is an appropriate name for a mysteriously dead people, whose death remained a “riddle”;

6) In what way does the language used by the villagers characterize them?

7) What makes the story interesting to read? Suspense? Humour? The characters?