Why I trust the Decalogue of Detective Fiction (The 9th Move)

The great detective knows theme goes automatically here

*Clap*Clap*Clap* Outdated? Really? Hardly I say! The Decalogue works. Let’s put those little grey cells to work again. Here I am to prove that Knox is effective I dare you to try to disprove it. With a book on one hand letting it be known that it’s only natural for me to deal with both versions of the Decalogue to prove my point – I trust in the Decalogue.

Chiru already explained the Decalogue well but thoughts still linger doubting its validity as an argument. I refer to it in a humorous way as heresy from part of those who don’t believe or follow the Decalogue. They’re overlooking Knox’s purpose and why is mandatory to have a set of rules in a mystery in the first place. So in the most emphatic way I explain the construction of puzzles and designs while poking on these blue, red and cat boxes . As usual with simple common sense, reasoning, and logic I present in a golden platter that more concrete conclusions can be effortlessly reached when making best use of our finest weapon to our disposal. All reasoning and intellectual raping included I analyze the Decalogue of detective fiction.

Knox’s 10th

“It is forbidden for a character to disguise themselves as another without any clues.”
“twin brothers, and doubles generally, must not appear unless we have been duly prepared for them.” (original)

Starting with the last of one. Oh, how they seem to love this one!

Begging the most on the question of such scenarios being possible and their final purpose in the first place in the story. Knox’s 10th brings us to the possibly that doubles are permitted to exist. The act of disguising in a mystery hints on the possibility of the culprit(s) or certain characters passing themselves as others for their own reasons which ultimately may serve to explain aspects of the story. Notice here how the original Knox clearly mentions that they shouldn’t normally appear, as sort of frowning upon this possibility and forces the writer in making sure the readers know right away of their existence if they were to exist.

Knox’s 10 alerts both the detective and reader that a character is currently missing, something is clearly off, and that without a real possibility of disguising being possible at all the mystery wouldn’t be solvable otherwise. When encountered with Knox’s 10 let it not be forgotten that it can serve as a distraction for the reader for the culprit or be a missing piece to the puzzle to explain a lot of things. This commandment heavily relies on Knox’s 9th and questionable POVs in the stories where characters are desperately eager to prove their own innocence and also are prone to be tricked or highly biased toward others parties.

It’s possible to believe in the notion that someone is disguising as someone else in the story after the hinting has been provided. No hinting then the readers are to assume that the only people we see are the ones in the story. A mystery must provide it in order to this to be valid at all. No hinting no disguising should be allowed to not thrown off the reader.

I personally dislike this trick for obvious reason and I can see why the original makes a restriction of only one person being disguising himself as (it even refers to twins) because it completely pushes the limits of people being tricked or playing along into a plain odd delusion. The natural course of the story can be thrown off and become a plain of words such as names and identities. It’s my take that while their existence is possible and I found them to be amusing in a story to serve as a red-herring or to “prove a point” but they shouldn’t be directly involved in the killings themselves because it far pushes off the limits of logic making it even more difficult for the author to provide a satisfactory explanation.

  • a terribly long string of hinting of multiple characters passing themselves as others make Knox’s 10th one of the most used commandment in this Umineko. It isn’t possible to fully deny the possibility of it  after so many hinting have been given. Still, there’s a limit and a reasonable explanation is demanded.

Knox’s 9th

“It is permitted for observers to let their own conclusions and interpretations be heard.”
“the stupid friend of the detective, the Watson, must not conceal from the reader any thoughts which pass through his mind: his intelligence must be slightly, but very slightly, below that of the average reader.” (original)

Notice the huge difference between the two?

Umineko didn’t use to have a detective and therefore never had an official dimwitted (and without an agenda) sidekick to provide his thoughts before. As a result we get ALL our information from possible culprits which is as bad at it could get as a result an even greater amount of POV are created. How many times such untrustworthy statements have let the culprit get away? Knox’s 9th explains that everything the reader is reading can be interpreted. It can be hearsay, POV, unreliable claims which can’t possibility be confirmed because of the existence of a culprit in the equation forcing the players lie.

There’s more to it because they can even provide false statements even without knowing. While a character surely is under the impression of X event happening it does not mean that it is that way, it implies that as it concerns that person it seems certainly that way. The character could be lying making his claim contradictory to what the others claim. The character could’ve been tricked to believe that to be case meaning the characters actually believe in it because it seemed to them that way because of this they could not be  technically considered to be “lying”. I can get away with  “I saw X person was killed ” – when in reality it isn’t the case and ends up being merely a false statement, a mistake on my part. It isn’t reliable. This is unreliable information.

For the same reason these final interpretations can never be 100% accurate and should be taken with a grain of salt until more reliable evidence is found or better reasoning is achieved. Simply because it seems that way, doesn’t imply that it is.  Umineko’s Knox’s 9th exist because the characters in the story are human and they can make mistakes – want them or not. They can accidentally or purposely provide false testimonies in order to save themselves or because they blindly believe to be right. These statement  are open to interpretation and of course, they’re allowed to be heard by the detective of the story and to the reader so he gets the general idea of the story and starts looking for inconsistencies.

The detective is the only force in the story who ultimately is able to see through all tricks and misleading information by possessing clear and objective sight of the real situation. It’s ultimately a detective’s job to analyze and investigate in order to reach a final truth based on the evidence and clues provided in the mystery.

  • Knox’s 9th doesn’t necessarily follow any “rules”. It warns the reader that the mystery posses enough red-herrings and reader should not be easily tricked by then but instead the reader should reason out and construct theories based on the clues given. Being fooled by such tricks is a common mistake. Reason why is really necessary to separate and organize all clues and not be overwhelmed by them.

Knox’s 8th

“It is forbidden for the case to be resolved with clues that are not presented.”
“the detective is bound to declare any clues which he may discover.” (original)

> This blog is just about picking up all clues. The 7th Move deals with all small hinting on the servant side as possible culprits for example.

The original doesn’t mess around. It’s extremely straightforward – the detective has duty of reporting and giving the “clues” to the reader so he can solve it by himself even before he does.

Let’s look at it analytically. Mysteries novels are filled with POV and the such. We need facts, info on the characters and some basic theories to get us going. The detective of the mystery provides these for us and by doing so he helps us get started. So as we go we learned everything the detective knows. We are allowed to follow his train of thought but he doesn’t give out the answer right away but keep it until the very end. It’s like the author is giving us small clues to the final piece to complete the puzzle. We have to “think” in order to reach the same conclusions the detective reached.

Umineko’s Knox’s 8th? Now, that’s fearsome. Knox’s 8th is a fearsome commandment. If you don’t then you should fear it because it can render the whole Decalogue useless by creating this tiny but actually HUGE hole in how truths can be constructed when all things are said and done. It is the commandment that tells you  : “a theory maybe be right but another theory can also exist at the same time.” In a Witch game this can be used to reach a DRAW and making it impossible for the other side to get an actual “Win”.

In a regular mystery this would simply translate to the author (in Umineko’s case the game master) MUST present all pieces of the puzzle for the reader to be able to construct a possible truth on his own. We cannot solve a puzzle unless all necessary and by that I mean the very “basic” clues have been PRESENTED to us. Knox’s 8th guarantees that the author has done his part and provided the necessary evidence for the mystery to become solvable and complete. After all, you can’t expect a person to add “non-existent” information or “think up the rest” over and over. It is the author’s job to provide with the most basic and obligatory info for his story to be entertaining and intellectual. It’s extremely necessary for a mystery to not lack the necessary clues in order to propose an “actual challenge” to the readers who are enthusiastically waiting for it. This means that the author must’ve given hard evidence or hinting that such events or theories can be possible in the first place. It would be utterly “unfair” (I think everyone would agree with this one) to expect the readers to solve a puzzle that is unsolvable for them in the first place because the author didn’t or foolishly forgot to include the necessary evidence. Obviously, I do not believe this to be the case for Umineko as it is so beautifully well constructed. Umineko does present required CLUES.

Lastly, Knox’s 8th is the most mischievous commandment that can make holes in red truths and bypass all other claims as long as evidence of hinting has been made previously given in the story. It is fearsome because  no matter how perfect a theory is it can just as easily be discredited if there exists a part in the story that opens the possibility of other factors not picked up by the reader to exist. In these cases only red truth by the game master exclusively denying the possibility of such possibility to be doable (such as Kinzo couldn’t possibly be mistaken by sight) or a detective authority to “get all clues” can be used to put a stop to Knox’s 8th and be forced to resort to a different commandment.

  • All the Decalogue is affected by Knox’s 8th. Thinking back on clues and previous hinting provided should be kept in mind at all times. The most difficult part IS to actually recall all the information given which in Umineko’s mystery is A LOT of hours, not to mention that it is different stories and not a “single book”. Knox’s 8th most basic purpose is to give the reader an actual validation that the mystery before him has been properly constructed and is therefore possible to know the identity of the culprit because “the information is there” just dying to be analyzed.

Knox’s 7th

“It is forbidden for the detective to be the culprit.”
“The detective himself must not commit the crime.” (original)

Is there a need to explain? Yes, there is. Both version have the same goal  – the culprit must be “someone” else other than the detective.

Let’s ask ourselves these questions. What’s the point? Who are we after? Would there really be a need to reason out an answer we know the answer to? If we were told the detective is the culprit would it really be “mystery”? I wouldn’t normally accept it except it has been mentioned how the mystery is very different from others. It’s forbidden for the detective to be the culprit of the story is but a “validation” that the detective is the only character who can be completely trusted because he is without a doubt NOT the culprit but the culprit is someone else so we can go right ahead and subtract him from the equation all possible suspects. The detective is there to help us on our journey to find the CULPRIT. That’s how it usually goes.

In a great majority of mystery stories are “closed circles” where the number of suspects are reduced to a limited number in which, of course, the detective is most of the time completely excluded. Making it clear the detective should be the only character (and his partner if he has one) who is free of being suspected because the reader follows his thoughts all the time, he relies on him all the time. He trust himself completely. The reader believes the words of the detective who the author himself has placed on the mystery as guidance to help the reader solve the puzzle on his own while reading. By removing the “detective title” from the detective he loses the duty and simply becomes another character in the story simply acting as a detective instead of a real official one as we have seen in Umineko this twists things around and create loopholes such as in DAWN.

In a mystery where everyone is a suspect and the culprit can only be found via proper reasoning, the detective should be the only character who the reader trusts to be “unbiased” to the point it doesn’t interfere with judgment and logical from beginning to finish. Rare events in which the detective ends up being the culprit of the story betrays the trust the reader puts on the author to present a mystery that could’ve been normally solved by “tricking” him into believing the detective was an unbiased entity in the story when in fact he acted as an enormous red-herring all along. Those are my thoughts. It’s most amusing but it shouldn’t normally be the case.

Breaking Knox’s 7th can shatter the trust the reader put on the author to guide him in the right direction and not to provide additional red-herrings to put obstacles in his way. Making the detective be the actual culprit can defeat the purpose of putting a figure eager to solve a mystery and acts as more of a shocking and unexpected twist to the reader who will based on the abrupt turn of events either take it well or  in badly.  Of course, there are  exceptions out we know. As far as we know Umineko Knox’ 7th has only been allowed to work because of a clear “misinterpretation” from the readers who were under the impression there was an actual detective from the moment the story started when in fact there wasn’t. Battler was never the detective of the story therefore this rule and others didn’t apply to him. The game simply exploited this loophole.

  • With the only exceptions of EP5 and EP6 which dared to be different it should not be allowed ever again. All non-red claims of anyone claiming to be a detective are  to be completely denied. A character can only be assumed to the detective when is mentioned in red corroborating this FACT. There is no other possibility. Everyone else suffers from POV and their thoughts are unreliable and therefore unfit to be the detective. It is simple and obvious that the detective in charge should NOT be the culprit of the mystery once it has been officially determined that way. Such method is not allowed because it sends the reader into a pointless search for a culprit that doesn’t exist other than the one the reader is following his thoughts from. Shocking and amusing? Sure is. But It is more of well told story rather than a mystery. I can firmly assure you that this is not the answer to the mystery. By simple existence of a murder it makes logical to assume someone did it. That person is not the detective I repeat.

Knox’s 6th

“It is forbidden for accident or intuition to be employed as a detective technique.”
“No accident must ever help the detective, nor must he ever have an unaccountable intuition which proves to be right.” (original)

Simply put, “I can’t simply know something“.

* As you’ve noticed this commandment (and others) doesn’t refer to reader but to the very detective in the tale forcing him to properly work on the puzzle in order to solve it. The mystery must be solved by proper reasoning by the detective himself and the clues he finds. It means that all answers must be reached via thinking or very thought out reasoning and no strings of “good luck” were there to help the detective along the way.

Why? Thinking it rationally or by common sense, how exactly would it feel to have someone be able to solve all mysteries due ONLY to good luck? Not great at all. I may say it would be terrible. A mystery should pose a problem that can only be solved by reasoning out the answer and removing all possible contradictory factors from the equation regardless of the position the reader takes (fantasy, mystery, etc) a certain level of “consistency” exists and it doesn’t involve a tale to be solved by something as simple as this. Even more taking in consideration how complex Umineko’s mystery is.

It is put bluntly “insulting” (forgive the word) to anyone thinking a problem logically to have his questions answered and the final truth reached by something as random and vague as accident alone. If accident or intuition were actually involved it’d be no different from simple random idle thought. This is not a guesswork competition. I can’t simply “know something” because I do or know someone is guilty because I just “think so”. The detective should follow his own reasoning and should not be in the need of having such as intangible and vague as intuition to constantly aid him to solve a mystery. Obtaining answers out of blue is forbidden because is once again no better than “random thought” just about anyone could come out with. It is undesirable. It is unproductive. Pinning somebody as the culprit from start to finish disregarding any evidence that contradicts the fact just because you “get the feeling” that person is guilty is forbidden (as well as for the detective) because it doesn’t hold any “real logic” making it not a real match.

To tackle this one a bit more real life. You may disagree with this part but I believe that even hunches are relatively based on some type of reasoning based on previous evidence shown or past incidents. They don’t really just appear out of nowhere. However, in mysteries shouldn’t be allowed unless there is a proper reason for it otherwise it is no real reasoning. There’s no logic behind it therefore it cannot be used as a valid argument. NOW if such thoughts ultimately result in a proper theory then it can be used, nevertheless, it mustn’t be allowed to be the sole reason for the detective to ultimately arrive to a satisfactory conclusion. Though in real life a person can follow his instinct or gut feeling to aid him in an investigation, detectives in mysteries (where it should be treated as a fair game) don’t have such privilege  because it interferes with how they should arrive at the conclusions.

This isn’t allowed in mystery because the detective is given the task to construct, provide, and present to the reader with believable, solid, and real evidence that his reasoning is  perfect and without a doubt right. In other words that the reader should also have been able to reach the same conclusion as he did. It only makes sense to be this way. Umineko must follow it.

  • This commandment should be followed because it keeps the answer from being ever discovered by random chance. Personally, I couldn’t accept that the answer to any mystery to be the result of accident because it implies no actual logical reasoning was ever needed in the first place, making the mystery a futile thing. A good mystery should follow it because there would be plenty of dissatisfied readers out there who would feel their time have just been greatly wasted by such cheap twist otherwise. It is only fair.

Knox’s 4th

“It is forbidden for unknown drugs or hard to understand scientific devices to be used.”
“No hitherto undiscovered poisons may be used, nor any appliance which will need a long scientific explanation at the end.” (original)

> I talked about crime weapons and such in the 6th Move and never considered futuristic weapons.

The Witch side sure loves their crazy unscientific methods, eh?

Umineko doesn’t use Knox’s 5th btw. What a perfect way to get rid of all illogical claims of futuristic far-fetched theories involving fictional devices in the story. How can it be called a mystery if the existence of futuristic weapons or drugs be used as the final solution to the killings in Umineko? It isn’t fair at all. It’s outrageous is to think that a X weapon can kill a target with such ease and such precision in a story where the killings can be possibly be solved logically. If it was possible to do it that way then it wouldn’t be solvable by our technology or reasoning. By including such technology it stops being a mystery and becomes pure fantasy and the murders as well as closed rooms become unsolvable. See? There would be no point to try solving them if that were the case, therefore it was always logical to assume that they couldn’t exist in the first place. Mistake on our parts we didn’t realize this sooner.

I’d like to most stress the fact that it doesn’t deny the possibility of “known drugs” or devices to be employed in the mystery. Many times the existence of poison, sleeping pills, tape recorder among others have been mentioned in the story thus it is possible for them to have been used to momentarily immobilize a character for example and overall make things easier for the culprit as long as they’ve been previously hinted. In other words simple devices and drugs/chemicals are allowed as long don’t stray too far from the logical realm. This means we’ve been warned of them and by its existence we can assume they were possibly used to commit the murders.

Unknown drugs with effects of explaining everything on the mystery is also categorically denied by the Umineko itself (even made fun of) so that readers won’t resort to it as way to explain the motives as a rampage of a character going insane overnight. Such denials of the existence of drugs tell us that there is clearly a MOTIVE to the killings and this is no random blood lust.  Such things as the “Golden syndrome” are made fun of by the game masters themselves as a possible solution if we remember correctly. Stop thinking such devices are even possible.  In other words despite the Witch side making irrational claims that because of X device or X unknown drug was utilized to explain a murder it isn’t simply possible because of the very fact that the crimes should be able to be explained logically. In that sense mystery overpowers fantasy when Knox is used.

They can’t exist because it’d be impossible for the detective to logically explain it. The very reason that it’s possible to explain it demonstrates that in fact such devices can’t possibly be the answer to the problem otherwise there’d be no point for the reader trying to figure out the answer in the first place. Even not thinking this as a mystery novel but real life there is no absolute way any respected authority would accept as proof that with a futuristic device or unknown drug would be involved in murder unless there is solid evidence of it. Same for a mystery because it means that a person should be also be able to crack the mystery by only the information provided. No one expects crazy devices to be involved in both real life and in mysteries.

The existence of a “murder”, “motive” and therefore a possible “culprit” it tells us more that this is in fact a mystery but with a few more twists. More importantly that this is a solvable mystery. Simply because this is a puzzle and is intended to be solvable such devices are not allowed to exist at all. It’s like giving us a very long answer when the problem itself hardly explains it. Too far-fetched. Impossible to guess therefore not VALID.

  • This is one commandment that without long reasoning we can be sure that they don’t exist. Moreover, they aren’t the answer to the mystery because it completely destroys the premise of a solvable mystery turning in pure fantasy. Even more when half of this commandment has been denied by the Game Master.  We can be sure that there is no word playing involve in this one.

Knox’s 3rd

“It is forbidden for hidden passages to exist.”
“Not more than one secret room or passage is allowable.” (original)

> I had talked about all possible places in the story in the 5th Move – Rokkenjima Tour.

Initially one could believe in them seeing how crazy the fantasy parts can become. The Game itself explains why this commandment is so CRUCIAL by eradicating the idea of complex and hidden passages to exist in the mystery.  This is categorically denied by Eiserne Jungfrau in their first appearance on the 5th Game by denying any possible hidden passages to exist in Kinzo’s study room. Die the Death. Let’s look it at rationally why this is so. Hidden passages are forbidden to exist because of the impact (a bad one) they’d have on these perfect closed rooms murders where there is no apparent possible way out according to the Witch’s side.

Reason out this: If there would be no Knox’s 3rd then the one trying to break the closed room murder would have the opportunity to constantly dismiss the murder as one where a hidden passage IS the answer and go on an endless circle every time the same problem is proposed to him.

The Game itself  (even prior to KNOX) previously dealt with such lazy reasoning as I call it by denying in red such hidden passages could exist as a solution to solve a murder. Even before, evidently such move was not allowed because it makes reasoning a simple and vague thing where no actual solutions are ever reached and reduces it to an effortless answer which though it is “within the realm of possibilities” (in a real life murder ) it doesn’t do any good for the intellectual person trying to solve the puzzle by sheer reasoning and logic. Simply by removing the possibility of hidden passages it forces the reader to take action and tell the person that it’s very possible for the mystery to be solvable even though the reader may lack the answer at the moment. There must be an answer and that isn’t a hidden passage.

Knox’s original 3rd commandment isn’t that restrictive about it and it speaks of the possibility of “not more than one” secret room or passage to be allowed in the mystery.  It opens the possibility of a single secret passage to exist on the mystery but it downright forbids the possibility of two or more to exist, giving the reader the peace of mind that even though it might be possible it won’t work for the next time. We could interpret this as a way to make a proper mystery a bit more “flexible” if we so wish.

Umineko is highly restrictive about hidden passages as they have been denied over and over to keep closed room murders intact and forcing the reader to reason out how to break them. It’s important to mention that even though Umineko is strong about it when it comes to closed murders it doesn’t completely deny the possibility of passages to exist in other parts of the mansion not necessarily linked or involved in the murder itself. Following Knox’s 8th of the Umineko’s version as long as there is proof that it was previously hinted it might be possible to partially bypass this commandment until the red is spoken if you ask me.

  • One of the best of both Knox’s because it secures closed room murders and forces the reader to think of how to break them. However, I can’t overlook how Umineko is so strong about this one yet not entirely. To me even though Knox’s forbids the possibility of secrets passages to exist in the mystery I could interpret it that : “They are normally not allowed to be exist as a way to solve a crime such as closed rooms murders. Nevertheless, being removed entirely from the story altogether isn’t all that believable in Beatrice’s tale” Now, we’d have to consider how scarcely we think the author wishes to include them in the mystery or is it like the original commandment where the existence of hidden passages and rooms are reduced to only one? I think the answer should be clearer by now.

Knox’s 2nd

“It is forbidden for supernatural agencies to be employed as a detective technique.”
“All supernatural or preternatural agencies are ruled out as a matter of course.” (original)

How Umineko changes the 2nd commandment is reasonable. After all, accepting a rule explicitly stating that such thing as the supernatural are utterly denied does not give room for the existence of magic or witches to exist in the first place making this fully regular mystery resulting in the automatic defeat of the Witch side from the very start.

In a real mystery the existence of the supernatural is obviously ruled out because there’s no point in having it unless the purpose of the mystery is a completely different one. The twist Umineko  gave it to the story here with this change is making the detective to be unable to use knowledge he does not know for sure and is unable to provide evidence of it because it would be a foul move.

Think of it logically, if it’d be possible to obtain help from the Witch side to provide you each time with certainty that X theory is right (or wrong) or downright denying the possibly of whatever character of being the culprit for all stories, the mystery would fall apart. In other words it is once again random thought. Even if I believe something to be true but I don’t provide sufficient evidence that what I say is true then it cannot be counted as truth because of the fact that it’s impossible to corroborate its validity. The Witch side who knows the truth (or parts) of the mystery are able to use the power of the red to make such statements because they are different from humans and are able to specifically know what others do not. It is possible for them to reach a 100% truth instead of a 99% truth level which by that mere margin of 1% error can be enough to prove a theory useless. So for those who do not know the truth on the human side and are looking for it it’s impossible to obtain a truth they couldn’t get it themselves. It makes great sense as you can see.

  • Rather than serving as a tool to solve a mystery by eliminating possibilities Knox’s 2nd serves the purpose of stopping the detective of using the knowledge or level of truth he does not know himself up to that moment (you can think of it as a “spoiler”) By putting these restrictions it destroys any easy sure-win methods. It makes the game fairer where truth can only be achieved by putting the pieces together using clues and hints provided by the mystery. One most reasonable commandment that only applies to the detective of the story.

Knox’s 1st

It is forbidden for the culprit to be anyone not mentioned in the early part of the story.
“The criminal must be mentioned in the early part of the story, but must not be anyone whose thoughts the reader has been allowed to know.”

> The very reason why I created both 7th Move and 8th Move. It was only logical for a culprit mentioned in the early parts of the story to be the culprit.

The very last commandment and the most logical one of all. This is the part of the puzzle I needed the most to confirm my reasoning. This is what makes Umineko a “mystery.” A “game.” A match between the reader and the author. And there must absolutely a culprit.

I like the boldness and assertiveness of the very first commandment. One that stimulates that completely denies the possible of the culprit of the mystery to be someone who hasn’t been shown in the earliest part of the story. To expand on this let’s see the first part where it says forbidden. I think it’s clear why it is so, it is forbidden because it robs the reader, the one that is trying to solve the mystery as he follows the story and picks up on clues of the ability of the opportunity to actually  get the “who dunit” seeing that whoever he thought the culprit was NOT  INCLUDED in the greater part of the story. If such things were allowed then the reader would feel like his time was wasted and his intelligence deeply insulted.

The second part where it states that “-not mentioned in the early part of the story” resonates much. There is a bit of ambiguity there whenever I think about it. How “early” is early? If it’s a 300 pages book then would the character who turns out to be the culprit be introduced be in the first 150 pages? 100? 50? The one doing the puzzle has the task of introducing the characters involved in the story for each of the mysteries in an orderly fashion in a manner in which is most fitting without putting huge or too little emphasis on the culprit of the mystery. But that character is there. That character *must* exist in the first place. What makes a detective mystery is the existence of a crime after all.

Would a character introduced way later in the stories be accounted as possible culprit and be the answer to the mystery? Most definitely not! For example, let’s take a character introduced a lot later like Ange’s bodyguard Amakusa or Kyrie’s sister and go on lengthy investigation that they could possibly be the real culprits of the story. One could’ve been hired to make it pretend look like it was done by a witch, the other one did it out of spite to provide examples. Guess, what? I actually already considered it in the 3rd Move along with multiple culprits.

Putting aside. Believable? Yes. In theory, such things would fit in the realm of possibilities but we forget that since it’s a mystery we’ll dealing here our culprit list is cut down to the characters from the earliest part of the story. I’d ask everyone to stop thinking that there is some *X* character doing the killings. It is counterproductive and takes us back to where Battler used to be prior to Chiru.

What I would consider to be early parts would be the first (possibly 2nd) arc, even then in both ALL main characters are introduced in the 1st one. I firmly believe that the author intended to lay all pieces in the very first game therefore I’m most inclined to believe that culprit is no other than one of the characters presented. Other characters which are later introduced to the story serve to explain points,  actions, and reasons the characters make some decisions. Even though they can be influential and provide with a bigger insight of the situation, the do not directly jeopardize the position of the culprit at the end of the mystery.

  • Even though a tale this long can be viewed to contain many missing pieces therefore generally believed to not be possible to be solved at the moment by many. One has to realize that truths can be reached at different points of the story and in them the identity of the real culprit can be revealed. It’s best to remember that because there is a real crime there must be a real culprit. A culprit must *simply* exist therefore it is possible to learn that character’s identity. What makes a crime a crime? If there’s a crime then there is a culprit regardless of who that person is.  If it is a puzzle then it should be truly solvable. This character can be no other than someone we have already learned of. And there it is – your culprit.

Let it be known I’m most aware of the existence of loopholes in Knox that Umineko exploits, however in not in many occasions it undermines the identity of the culprit or the killing themselves. Most of the loopholes are counter arguments to disprove erroneous truths in order to get us to the real truth and not get us away from it. Also they can serve to keep the story going and to provide a new outlook of the story. In other words, even the loopholes do not violate the fairness of the game. I’ll show how I would divide the Decalogue in two parts: Mystery wise and Detective wise.

The first part that it ensures the mystery is fair and logically solvable by confirming or forbidding the existence of far-fetched or improper elements in a mystery that make the mystery unsolvable. These are : Knox’s 3rd, Knox’s 4th , Knox’s 8th. The second part of the Decalogue it secures that the detective’s position as well as the confirmation that the difficulty and complexity of the mystery are proper and the puzzle has been properly constructed. The second part also pertains to the process of reasoning in itself and how it should be properly constructed by all the information provided  for reasoning. These are : Knox’s 1st, Knox’s 2nd, Knox’s 5th, Knox’s 6th, Knox’s 7th, Knox’s 9th, and Knox’s 10th.

See? Plain and easy.

As someone who has spent more than plenty of time working on this mystery it should be very clear that I feel very strongly about Knox (actually both versions) and of its importance – of why we need it so much. It’s evident that I’m more Mystery side than fantasy but Knox goes even beyond this because its role is to keep the game fair for all sides and give the readers a satisfactory story. Without the existence of a 100% certainty anything can turn into a futile goal and hundreds of pages of what ifs and the such. When it comes down it to it tells that a puzzle must remain a puzzle for it to be enjoyable and interesting. It is a fruitless task, something that exists only to amuse and baffle the reader over long period yet never goes beyond that if it isn’t intended to be one in the first place. It doesn’t evolve and is counterproductive. We simply “need” a Decalogue.

Umineko is no ordinary mystery (actually ordinary mysteries sound easy right about now) everyone knows this but it still follows the premises of the mystery genre very closely therefore many rules do apply to it.  So after a rigorous analysis of Knox’s Decalogue and the evidence provided it is logical to come to the conclusion that Umineko in great part if not completely DOES follow the rules it sets itself as much as it can. Though loopholes in some of them to keep the story going exist, the Decalogue still applies.

Of the “Ten Wedges to kill a Witch”. Without a Decalogue it remains to be but something to endless ponder over without definite end for the lack of an answer. A puzzle is a puzzle because it can be solved otherwise it becomes an unsolvable device of amusement for the sake of it. Reasoning. Logic. Properly constructed truths. A proper plot. A properly constructed mystery. A properly satisfying final conclusion. It isn’t necessary for anyone to openly ask for one but everyone seeks for one. Everyone expects to be amused and pleased with the final solution. Knox is guaranteeing it for you. It is theorized then that this game plays by the rules and tries to be coherent with itself trying to have a satisfying match between the reader and the author as it has claimed. Simply by the existence of crimes, motives, and the very premise of a puzzle being solvable and well constructed providing us with the basics we need, this puzzle is therefore a solvable mystery within our own abilities.

There’s always been this vague “we don’t know if Beatrice really uses it” argument. I know that it has never been accepted by Beatrice herself for KNOX to apply to her mystery because she is gone by EP5 and the Game master is someone else but Umineko goes to a great lengths to remind the reader that he should use KNOX to aid his reasoning. Why? Because Umineko in great part does play by the book. Actually, the title of the “Golden Witch” most likely is a reference to Golden Age of Detective Fiction era known to follow these  commandments. Another evidence that Beatrice (the author) does follow the Decalogue but in some cases simply likes to play on words and has some loopholes as mentioned in this entry.

Umineko prior to Chiru was so large enough to overwhelm many. I trust both Decalogue because I believe it regulates and put basic and reasonable boundaries to the whole vast world of endless group of probabilities and outrageous ones dealing with Purupurupikopuyo-man theories. I don’t view it as something negative that restricts the author’s creativity but rather helps him to keep a reasonable set up. Knox secures a read is worth it. It keeps the fairness in a game. It preserves the sanctity of proper logical reasoning by the reader. It demonstrates that all parts of the puzzle has been presented. Knox simply works for some many reasons and I’d ask anyone to trust it to give them new outlooks on theories possibly leading to the real answer of the story.

This is the constructed truth I can give for the Decalogue of the Mystery genre – the Decalogue simply works. And we most definitely need it.

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6 thoughts on “Why I trust the Decalogue of Detective Fiction (The 9th Move)

  1. I have to disagree with you on your comment about Knox 7th. Battler IS certainly the detective for the first four games. If he wasn’t, there wouldn’t be ANYTHING we could trust from the game board and, therefore, no material to work with for the mystery.

    • I’d use the term detective on Battler extremely loosely. I never saw him much of a detective because he easily contradicted himself, used to much guesswork, and was far too biased to be a real one. We, the audience, assume he was because there was no one else trying to solve the mystery who didn’t have a secret agenda and wasn’t a possible culprit other than him.

      In EP5 Battler loses the role of the possible detective by making himself the culprit of that EP to get a draw undermining his own position as possible detective. Also looking back on it, Battler sees many things that a detective normally shouldn’t have such as Beatrice and magic. Also I’d suspect he would notice a lot more things and mention how *strange* some of them are but he never does making his statements to be taken with a grain of salt.

      The way I see Battler is R07’s way of trying to put a character who is less biased than any other characters on the story and who is the culprit of the story. It sounds a lot like a detective but not quiet. I wouldn’t say he is completely unreliable because everything prior Chiru would be impossible to solve as you mention. I would consider him as a more reliable version of a observer still able to make mistakes.

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    • The Golden Land could be consider a hidden passage. Hardly anyone knows of it but it’s been hinted to exist. EP5 shows us that the place does exist and that it is a passage one wouldn’t normally find meaning a hidden passage. It is a hidden passage so it could bypass Knox’s 3rd after all. Also even though it may break one of the commandments it still isn’t related to the killings themselves so it’s fine for “one” hidden passage to exist just the original Knox mentions.

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