All the way through this group of lessons, we’ve been talking about the tropes, or regular features, of detective stories such as The Falcon’s Malteser. It’s time to wrap things up with our final trope.

Read the final passage and see if you can figure out what it is.

My brother was jubilant. “Five hundred bucks just for looking after an envelope,” he crowed. “This is my lucky day. This is the best thing that’s happened to me this year.” He glanced at the package. “I wonder what’s in it?” he murmured. “Still, that shouldn’t worry us. As far as we’re concerned, there’s no problem.”

That’s what Herbert thought. But right from the start I wasn’t so sure. I mean, five hundred dollars is five hundred dollars, and when you’re throwing that sort of money around, there’s got to be a good reason. And I remembered the dwarf’s face when the car backfired. He may have been a small guy, but he seemed to be expecting big trouble.

Just how big I was to find out soon enough.

  • A first person narrative
  • A hardboiled detective (‘hardboiled’ = tough, cynical, streetsmart)
  • Their agency is in a bad way 
  • A secretive client enters, looking for help 
  • The client has job for the agency
  • It’s revealed that there’s more to the job than what the client says (from observation, questions, and the client’s behaviour)
From reading the passage, what do you think the final trope is?