Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wondrous Words Wednesday: Vintage Murder Finds

I've been trying to finish up a book chapter due next week, so my reading has been confined to a few minutes before bedtime. But at least Ngaio Marsh’s Vintage Murder has been providing me with some Wondrous Words!

The first was a complete mystery:
“Is she a good actress?”
“Then how - - -?”
“Pomfret,” said Hambledon, “and push.”

According to the dictionary, pomfret is either a 1) black fish or 2) a licorice-like confection. So my guess is that this was a colloquialism that meant someone offered something sweet (in this case money) to push his own agenda (in this case, getting his daughter an acting job).

The second was pretty clear from context, but I had never heard it before:
“That’s what Hambledon said,” agreed Wade gloomily. “It’s a blooming nark, dinkum it is. Still, there’s better alibis that have gone west before now, and I’m not going to forget this will. Mason’s a whole lot better off by this murder.”

The fourth meaning of nark, is primarily Australian, and means a killjoy or wet blanket. In this case, I think they’re referring to the alibi taking Mason off the suspect list, even though he appears to profit most from the murder. The book actually is set in New Zealand.

I hope even if things are hectic, you’ve found some Wondrous Words this week. Thanks so much to Kathy at bermudaonion for hosting!


  1. You found two good ones this week. Nark is not new to me but the meaning is. I like this new meaning.

  2. I'm with Margot, I've heard nark (narc) but it had a different meaning. Both words are new to me!

  3. Love Ngaio Marsh! And great words this week. And, as Margot & Kathy say, I've heard of nark (narc) but not used as it is here.

    Here's my word for the week:


I absolutely love comments. Thanks for taking the time to share! Col