A small selection of collages of weapons from the game Cluedo, each colour coded to a separate character who might wield them.
Note: The side stories attached to these contain descriptions of murder and in one case suicide, which is why I’ve put it below the read more. While they aren’t too graphic, if you don’t want to see these, there is a twitter thread with just the images here.
The Reverend’s Candle
The Reverend hummed quietly as he adjusted the altar, moving some of the existing candlesticks out of the way to add additional one to their number. It stood at the back, shiny and golden and ever so carefully cleaned. Looking at it now, thought the priest, one could hardly tell it had just yesterday been covered in the blood of a cruel man. The Reverend did not think of himself as a cruel man, or a dangerous one, but it had been clear to him that he must act, and so he did. And now, the tool of his, no, of the Lord’s judgement stood upon his altar. It had done the work of God, and now in God’s house it would rest.
Fun fact: In America, the green piece in Clue is called Mr Green, and is usually depicted as a financier or a mobster. In the original UK edition however, he is the Reverend Green, a Christian priest. Parker Bros, the company behind the game, thought that the US market would not accept a murderous priest so changed it. But the murderous vicar is a classic part of British cosy murders, the root genre of Cluedo, and so I decided to play into this and assign the vicar the candlestick. The green is from a picture of an English mansion’s garden. I was rather happy with the dark green bands on the two diamond shapes in the channel.
The Professor’s Dagger
The Professor and the Doctor had met at a séance, both drawn not to the hopeful ideas of life beyond the grave, but the macabre aspects of spirituality; an interest that had drawn them into the study of ancient cults and sacrifices. The Professor thought he had found a ritual for himself to gain the command of the forces from beyond. All it required was a sacrifice of great value, and his old friend, the wise and wealthy doctor, seemed a perfect choice.
Like so much of what they though they had found, the dagger had no actual story behind it; it was fancy, yes, but it was a prop prettied up to lure the eye of men like the Professor. The story that had been attached to it, of witchcraft and murder, had also been lie. But the most vital part of a knife is not its decoration, nor its providence, and its edge was as sharp as was required.
As the professor stood over the body, he felt no great change within himself. The only change was in the lie of the knife’s history of murder, which in one moment, had become the truth.
Originally, I had planned to make the Professor’s dagger out of pictures from various archaeological and history magazines and books I have in my collection, with the idea it was a historical artefact in his collection, but I just couldn’t find enough images for that. I did, however, find in a book of conspiracy theories a whole purple tinted page, and this was perfect for this: the purple of the sheath is in fact from a blimp (the page was on whether aliens helped humanity invent flying machines). The blade came from a picture of a man possessed by demons that I felt fit. Once I had that, it seemed natural to make the professor into someone with interests in the kind of thing the book depicted.
The Actress’ Lead Pipe
The young actress knew what the detective would say, picking up the weapon as he leant over the body. “Can’t see a woman having the strength to do this. I’d say we’re looking for a man, and a strong one at that.” But hatred and training can provide more than enough power, and she set upon her victim with a zeal. She swung and swung and swung, until the man’s skull was a jigsaw, all features erased from his face. She looked down, and smiled, before carefully placing the pipe, now coloured as scarlet as her name by the blood, somewhere she knew it would be found.
Then she left the scene, and got ready to play her next role, as the ditzy confused houseguest who couldn’t have possibly been involved in such a thing.
I’m not going to lie: Scarlett got the lead piping because she and it were the pair left over. The pipe itself was surprisingly tricky to design, but I think I managed a fun design. The red comes from a book of images of cities, in particular a huge neon sign behind a wire fence in Hong Kong, which I felt matched Scarlett’s “metropolitarian” vibe, to assign her a cliche from the cosy murder.
The Colonel’s Revolver.
The Colonel did not mean to kill his old war buddy when he followed the doctor into his office. He was in a bad way: old mistakes had been dragged out of the muck of his history, and he just needed someone he knew he could trust. But then…then he’d be laughed at, and discovered the betrayel went far deeper than he’d realised.
Within a minute, his old revolver was in his hand, the barrel smoking, and the body of his old friend slumped disbelievingly backwards against that old drinks cabinet, the contents of which they had been sharing but a moment before.
It was only then the Colonel looked at the revolver in his hand; though he had killed with his own gun, the instincts for survival and intelligence that had let him survive the wars began to plot how he might pin the blame on one of the others who betrayed him…
This was the first collage I did in the series, inspired by the front cover of (naturally), a murder mystery book, and honestly I’m really proud of it. Putting this together did, however, send me on a surprising journey. A lot of the materials I get for collaging come from charity shops, and often I’m not really looking at the writing, just the pictures, and a book full of big colour images of cars seemed perfect for when I want a nice big metallic piece to cut out. While doing that here though, I discovered that it wasn’t simply a car: it was a Volkswagon, a car company set up by…the Nazis, which is a pretty ironic thing to use to make a British army revolver. But then I discovered that after the war, the Volkswagon company and factories had been for a while taken over and run by the British army, which meant I had, entirely by accident, put in a historical in joke in the collage, which was very exciting to discover. Annoyingly there’s a very slight gap between the handle and the main body I thought I’d closed but the scanner had picked up. Oh well. This little adventure is why I tried to choose thematically appropriate sources for the other characters as well.
The Socialite’s Rope
For the socialite, a long life had given her wisdom and cunning and bleed out her interest in indulging silly fools who thought they might be able to break her. When the doctor had tipped his hand against her, she had simply reached out through the social circles she ruled like a spider queen and set her web upon him. His business collapsed in accusations of medical malpractice, his allies turned against him, stripped of power themselves and, in the case of one particularly stubborn and loyal war buddy, sent off to a far flung post thanks to a contact in high command who owed her a favour. Without leaving her dances and games of bridge, she skinned this interloping fool alive, until, just she predicted, he felt he had only one option left to him.
He may have tied the knot, but it was most certainly her who killed him with this rope.
I really like how the rope effect came out here, even if it was an ass to make; this was the piece was the most redrafts and remakings. The back of the rope is a mess from all the times I’d pulled it apart and stuck it back together. The blues are all from the skies of classic paintings from a book chronicling what had been sold at Christie’s Auction House, which I felt was both perfect for a rich classy socialite and also a nice reference to a certain other famous Christie in the murder genre.
The Housekeeper’s Wrench
The housekeeper sent the young maid up with the master’s breakfast while she herself prepared the fires around the house to ward off the cold of the winter’s day. The girl was a new hire, they’d had to let the previous one go for stealing, which was such a shame, particularly since they were so short staffed now: why, she herself was having to fix the plumbing now, and all for the same amount of pay! Was it any wonder she had – not stolen, of course not – but kindly taken additional salary in the form of some knickknacks the master wouldn’t have missed?
Except he had missed them, and he’d found out that the previous maid was not, in fact, the thief. Technically, that night her employment had ended in a massive argument and him furiously putting down her crimes -so unfair to call them that!- on paper; an argument that, with the new maid going back to her ma’s in the village, she was sure no one else had heard.
Well, with her knowledge of where all the tools were kept, it was easy for her to break the lock on the mansion’s storage, take the heaviest wrench they owned and, while her former employer slept, smashed it down on his throat hard enough to collapse his windpipe. Then it had been a simple matter of breaking a window from the outside and disappearing a few more valuables to make it seem like an intruder from the outside was responsible.
A scream rang out as the new maid found the body, and the housekeeper finished ripping up the evidence against her and tossing it onto the fire. Honestly, she should have made it there at least two minutes earlier; you just couldn’t get the staff these days.
I think this is my favourite one: I really like how the design came out, particularly the adjustment screw at the top. Nothing fancy here: the housekeeper would know where the tools were kept, and so the wrench makes sense for her. The source was a christmas special of a “Good Home” magazine, which I felt fit nicely.