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Tyrone Lai: The Art of Detection

 

 

Preface

 

 

 

This is a book on the art of detection, an art in which Sherlock Holmes excels, but which we all exercise, even if not quite as skilfully. For the art of detection is but the art of finding out things on our own, and we all have on occasions done this.

But while we all from time to time have found things out on our own, some people by profession have to do it regularly. Sherlock Holmes is one of these, but there are of course others, for example, scientists, engineers, mechanics, scholars, journalists, codebreakers, …. We all play Sherlock Holmes at times, but some have to do it more often because of their profession.

Most people understand the art of detection to be a form of reasoning, one that is difficult both to explain and to understand. In this book we take a different view. We take the art of detection to be the art of finding and following clues, and as such distinct from the art of reasoning. By taking this unconventional approach we produce the results reported in this book.

To draw attention to the crucial role clues play in the art of detection I have given this art a new name: Theseology--after Theseus, who went into the Labyrinth to kill the Minotaur and then led himself out again by following a ball of thread, which he had unwound when going in.

By taking the art of detection to be the art of finding and following clues we are able to explain what we have to do when practising this art in a simple and systematic way, in a way that even beginners can understand and enjoy.


[To Chapter 1]

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