MURDER IS EVERYWHERE—Sunday, 13th January 2018

A still New Hampshire morning

Last Friday I went to the funeral of my brother-in-law’s mum, Peggy. She died, very quietly and suddenly, the weekend before Christmas. Just went upstairs to bed one night – yes, she was still living independently at home – and never woke up.

She was a hundred and one years old.

It started me thinking, as occurrences like this have a habit of doing, about all the things Peggy must have seen during her lifetime. Not simply her personal experiences, but historic events and iconic inventions.

She was born in 1916, halfway through the Great War. The battle of the Somme had begun the month before. The USA had yet to enter the war on the side of the Allies – that wouldn’t happen until the following April.

The electric drill was invented that year. As was the radio tuner, and Henry Brearly came up with stainless steel.

By the time Peggy was five years old, the world had acquired the modern zipper, the fortune cookie, the flip-flop, the arc welder, and the pop-up toaster, as well as the superheterodyne radio circuit still found in every radio or television set today. John T Thompson had patented the submachine gun that bore his name. The first robot was built.

For an illustrated review of a century of innovation, read more in my Murder Is Everywhere blog

This week’s Word of the Week is aa, which is a type of basaltic rock, usually dark-coloured with a jagged surface, formed in large sheets from slow-moving lava. It also signifies a move of some desperation in the closing stages of a game of Scrabble …