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A call from beyond the grave?

Years ago, I read a "true story" about a man who receives a strange phone call from his brother, then later finds that the brother was surely dead at the time. Do you recognize it? Can you tell me anything about its origins? [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Jul 21, 2014 - 11 answers

Detective/Mystery Novels in Current Day New York?

A little while back I stumbled upon a detective novel (Losers Live Longer) that takes place in 2009 NYC and utilizes actual city streets, restaurants, bars, etc. The writing was pretty average, but the book kept me constantly aware of the protagonist's location (oftentimes cross-streets). The real-world geography of areas I knew well really sucked me into the world and engaged me on another level than the narrative alone. Are there any other good detective or mystery novels that use post-2000s (or, better yet, post-2010) New York accurately? [more inside]
posted by gregoryg on Jul 8, 2014 - 13 answers

Can anyone identify this nice London restaurant?

Does anyone in London recognize this restaurant, I wonder? I think it's in London, anyhow. It might be in Europe. [more inside]
posted by johngoren on Jun 18, 2014 - 4 answers

What animals are making these vocalizations?

I live in Deerfield, MA, USA. These sounds are coming from a tree across the street. Both the whimpering-pup sounds and the louder squeals/screeches are coming from the same place. Any idea who is making these sounds?
posted by Camofrog on Jun 17, 2014 - 9 answers

What does it say??

Characters on the bottom of a porcelain box - what does it say? [more inside]
posted by amicamentis on Jun 9, 2014 - 11 answers

What is this clay, bowl-like object?

While visiting a friend the other day, he showed me a very strange clay bowl. The bowl came with the house, which he rents. The owner does not know/recall the purpose of the bowl, nor have any guests been able to produce a convincing answer. More details and a drawing follow. [more inside]
posted by cobro on Jun 6, 2014 - 16 answers

Young adult novel about becoming a girl becoming a fugitive?

In the late 90s, I read a lot of young adult novels - the plot of one in particular has stuck with me for years and I think about it way too much. If you could help me track it down I would be forever grateful. Basic premise, a teen girl sees something she shouldn't while at her father's house and she then goes on the run. [more inside]
posted by cessair on Jun 2, 2014 - 2 answers

Best myse

Want to get a couple of mystery novels for my husband. Ideally these would have 1) very good writing and a compelling protagonist 2) have at least a mild sense of humor, though this is not a deal-breaker, and 3) be set in New York, though also not a deal-breaker. [more inside]
posted by Ollie on May 29, 2014 - 35 answers

What are these weird things growing by my chrysanthemums?

Garden experts: do you have any idea what these odd, ugly objects are growing in our garden? They have appeared in just the past few days next to a couple of mums. They look totally spooky. Are they a danger to our garden plants? [more inside]
posted by apennington on May 26, 2014 - 14 answers

I Guess You'd Call 'Em "Shadow Dichotomies"?...

I'd like examples of traits/personality types/habits/behaviors wherein most people fall into two or three "camps", none of whom are generally aware of the existence of the other(s). "Ask Vs. Guess Culture" and "Sit Vs. Stand to Wipe?" are two examples (a LOT of people are absolutely gobsmacked when they learn that Asking and/or Standing is not only an option, but a POPULAR option). I'm NOT interested in predefined typologies (e.g. the MBTI or Buzzfeedy "What Garden Implement Are You?" kinda stuff)... just ones that, 1. Arise kinda organically, 2. Involve Group A and Group B people frequently being unaware of one another's existence.
posted by julthumbscrew on May 12, 2014 - 61 answers

Please help me figure out what type of bulb fits this lamp!

Someone left a nice heavy lamp in my building's laundry room. Probably because no one (including the local lightbulb store) can figure out what sort of bulbs these fixtures take. I'm lamp-poor at the moment and this would work great in my office. Please help me identify! There are no markings on the base of the lamp. Three images are here: http://imgur.com/a/fw3AX Thank you for saving this from the landfill! [more inside]
posted by 2soxy4mypuppet on May 7, 2014 - 21 answers

Raymond Chandler "The Little Sister" pllot question (spoilery)

Raymond Chandler's novels are well known for certain details that show up that are difficult to resolve (see below). [more inside]
posted by Guy Smiley on Apr 27, 2014 - 1 answer

Name that film

Asking for a friend, because this movie (TV show?) sounds fascinating. He says he watched the last 10 minutes of it about 20 years ago. What he remembers of the ending is after the cut. [more inside]
posted by sparklemotion on Apr 27, 2014 - 3 answers

What's up with this light?

OK, so we have this ceiling fan with a light fixture above the kitchen table. One of the three lights burns out regularly, like every 10 days or so. Both of the other lights have been fine for a year or more. Any idea why this should be the case? FWIW, the voltage at the sockets is identical to within .1 volt.
posted by pjern on Apr 18, 2014 - 10 answers

What is this perfume?

What is this lovely scent? [more inside]
posted by ragtimepiano on Apr 14, 2014 - 4 answers

What is this charm on my necklace?

I've worn this necklace every day for nearly 10 years now, but I don't know what it is. [more inside]
posted by perryfugue on Mar 29, 2014 - 7 answers

What is this mystery object?

I found this in my flat and have no idea what it is or where it came from. Any ideas? It is about 2" in diameter and has a spike that rotates out around a weighted axel that automatically rotates the spike back when let go and holds it in the retracted position with a small magnet. Front view, Back view, view with spike out
posted by mairuzu on Mar 23, 2014 - 8 answers

We know whodunnit - but why?

I've been hugely enjoying the TV series Cracker recently, and one of the things I like about it is that we see the details of the murder/crime first, and then the rest of the story is about the police and psychologists figuring out what happened, then finally why. Are there any novels that take a similar approach? [more inside]
posted by mippy on Mar 22, 2014 - 18 answers

A dove has been perched on my recycling can for hours, in the rain.

There's a dove perched on my recycling can outside my backdoor. He's been there for hours, sitting in the rain. He keeps trying to get in the house, but I have cats. It seems like it's someone's pet, he's very big and pretty, completely white. What do I do? His wet little head is breaking my heart.
posted by Katine on Mar 19, 2014 - 15 answers

What does it say?

Can the hive mind take a look at the picture of this necklace and see if the back of it is calligraphy of some sort? It looks like Arabic or Persian. If so, does anyone know what it says? Here's the picture.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies on Mar 10, 2014 - 8 answers

More smart thrillers like Brilliance and Lexicon

I've recently finished Marcus Sakey's Brilliance and Max Barry's Lexicon and I'd like more thrillers like them. By "like them", I mean: fast paced, lots of twists and action, an intelligent, speculative, science-fictiony central idea, but the book is not marketed as genre science fiction, but rather as a thriller. Some literary aspiration is a plus, as is a good Bechdel test score (both of the above books kind of failed on that latter criterion). Already read: Atwood, Gibson, Stephenson. I read a lot of "literary mysteries" like Tana French and the like, but here I'm more interested in action/thrillers and not so much mysteries or procedurals.
posted by matildaben on Mar 6, 2014 - 10 answers

File format recognition hard mode

In a old old inherited MS SQL Server database, in a column named 'Image' of type TEXT we've discovered an encoded image (we assume). And even if its not critical to the work we are doing, its damnably intriguing. Can you help me crack its provenance ? [more inside]
posted by handybitesize on Feb 12, 2014 - 3 answers

Identify this object from *House of Cards*

In anticipation of season two's release this week, I've been re-watching season one of House of Cards. About eight minutes into the ninth episode, Peter Russo is being interviewed by a New York Times journalist. The man records their conversation using the device in this screenshot. I remember being intrigued by this voice recorder while watching the show last year, but could not find out the make or model. My interest is once again piqued. Googling has gotten me nowhere. Do you know what it is?
posted by rensar on Feb 10, 2014 - 2 answers

What's so funny about a bloodstained mattress?

Can Metafilter offer a plausible explanation of what is going on in this curious vintage photo of a group of women holding up a stained mattress and a pillow? [more inside]
posted by dontjumplarry on Feb 9, 2014 - 34 answers

More dark thrillers by women?

Another ReadMe Question. Lately I've been really enjoying literary-leaning thrillers and mystery type books authored by women. Can you recommend some more? [more inside]
posted by Lutoslawski on Feb 5, 2014 - 52 answers

John Steinbeck Literary Mystery

John Steinbeck included this inscription in a friend's copy of Cannery Row: Kahn ni melm Sarat Twini Sener Ni Melm Siri Here is a copy. Any ideas on what it could mean are much appreciated. [more inside]
posted by JCMFD on Feb 4, 2014 - 11 answers

Identify yet another mystery song heard in a Chipotle.

This past week, I was in a Chipotle and heard an interesting song. However, Shazam couldn't identify it. It was "psychedelic"-sounding with a male singer (think Beach Boys or The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows"), but the only words I could decipher were "merry go round". See the extended explanation... [more inside]
posted by Seeking Direction on Feb 1, 2014 - 14 answers

Children's Book Including a Spaghetti Sandwich

My partner and I were remembering our differing childhood experiences of homemade spaghetti. At one point, she brought up using the leftovers in a spaghetti sandwich. I've never had one, but this triggered a vivid memory of a favorite picture book which had at least one illustration of a spaghetti sandwich. Among other odd sandwiches, possibly. I'd love to remember the title of the book and, ideally, see that illustration. [more inside]
posted by gilrain on Jan 14, 2014 - 4 answers

Literary crime fiction

What are some decent, non-idiotic, contemporary crime/mystery novels? [more inside]
posted by denika on Jan 8, 2014 - 45 answers

What is this strange contraption that was attached to a radiator?

I've been trying to figure out what this strange, accordion-like contraption is. It was attached to my friend's radiator in his ~1950s-era apartment in Philadelphia. It was only secured with one bolt at 90 degrees to the radiator, but it also originally had a sheet metal housing around it that could be removed. It seems to me like it might be some kind of clothes hanger/dryer, but I have no idea. Does anyone know?
posted by Aanidaani on Jan 6, 2014 - 13 answers

Help me track down a fictional landing site?

I have a question about the film, Gravity, and the geography of its ending. Obviously there are major spoilers if you click through. [more inside]
posted by Narrative Priorities on Dec 18, 2013 - 11 answers

X-Files

What would cause this pattern/path to develop to and from my front door? [more inside]
posted by mazola on Dec 15, 2013 - 9 answers

A movie with a kid-killing bull

I have a dim memory of seeing a movie on television in which a young person is killed by a bull after wandering into its fenced-off bull field, but I haven't had any luck searching for a film title. [more inside]
posted by dougmoon on Dec 14, 2013 - 5 answers

I'm looking for the name of a kid's book series.

There was a short-lived kid's book series whose title that for the life of me I can't remember. It came out around the time that ESP McGee did. The main character had this unusual ability - he could draw anything and he had a photographic memory. The series was basically like Encyclopedia Brown, with a series of short mysteries in each volume, except that the clues to be gleaned were always hidden in the drawing. The protagonist, at the scene, always said "click" like a camera, and remembered the scene to be drawn later in his sketchbook. I mentioned this to a friend of mine and he asked me if it was Cam Jansen, who also says click, but I looked that series up and it's not her. Can anyone help? This has been haunting me for years.
posted by Sully on Dec 14, 2013 - 3 answers

"This towns got secrets you can't possibly comprehend!"

It's a common trope in literature, film, etc. where somebody warns another person: "You can't possibly grasp the secret that's going on here!" Which, of course, raises a mystery that an author's got to resolve, usually anticlimactically. What are instances of stories which pay off on those juicy teasers? i.e., stories in which the thing that our protagonist "can't possibly comprehend" is in fact astonishing, unexpected, and totally rewarding for the reader? (Bonus points for avoiding cosmic horror, unnecessary violence, sexual savagery.)
posted by Rory Marinich on Dec 13, 2013 - 66 answers

Smart detective fiction?

What are some particularly intelligent or well-written novels in the suspense/mystery/detective fiction genre? [more inside]
posted by Bardolph on Dec 12, 2013 - 55 answers

Lentil Soup Mystery

Many years ago I had a fabulous lentil soup in a very nice Greek restaurant (in Greece) whose owners/chefs were Cretan, and which used many ingredients from Crete (which may or may not be pertinent to my question). This soup was very, very dark, like mahogany colored, rich but not thick, and fairly "oily" (which sounds bad, but it was heavenly), and it was soooo good. Now, all lentil soup is good, really. Mine is quite marvelous, but I've been remembering this soup for so long, and have never figured out how it acquired that color, or what ingredient(s) made it so different and special. Any ideas? [more inside]
posted by taz on Dec 11, 2013 - 26 answers

"RA-1, Channel One. Special Service Air Channel."

Rockford, IL: So, I made this recording of a mysterious telephone loop in 1991... [more inside]
posted by mykescipark on Dec 1, 2013 - 6 answers

What are these mystery cables in my condo?

My new condo (built 2005) has a couple of holes in the wall with pink cables coming out and another hole with random wires. [more inside]
posted by globotomy on Nov 29, 2013 - 5 answers

NAME THAT FILM PART N, Regency Fop edition

Some time ago, on one of the national basic cable movie channels (USA, I think) which would run multiple showings of a given film for a month or so, I repeatedly flipped into a period film that amused me each time I watched a snippet. Unfortunately, I never watched enough of the film to get a good idea of the plot, and therefore can't effectively describe the story, sooo... [more inside]
posted by mwhybark on Nov 29, 2013 - 23 answers

Please identify this trailer music.

The UK trailer for the French film Les infidèles has a piece of music about thirty-five seconds in. Does anyone know the artist and title? The hearable lyrics are "I see you watchin the way that I walk, I know you like it the way that I talk..." which seem impervious to Googling and Midomi doesn't recognise it.
posted by feelinglistless on Nov 17, 2013 - 4 answers

I am dying to read the Amazon reviews for this one.

Help me identify this bizarre book I attempted to read as a kid. [more inside]
posted by Jess the Mess on Nov 5, 2013 - 18 answers

Highfalutin' Genre Fiction

Give me your most well written genre fiction! [more inside]
posted by latkes on Nov 4, 2013 - 49 answers

Namethisplantfilter

A friend took this picture this weekend in Berkeley Park, in Portland, OR. What is this awesome plant?
posted by mollymayhem on Oct 20, 2013 - 5 answers

Mystery Object

I found this object in a cigar box: Mystery Object views 1, 2, 3, 4. It weighs about an ounce according to my kitchen scale. It seems to be broken off of something or a piece of it was broken off (image 3). [more inside]
posted by backwords on Oct 20, 2013 - 10 answers

Who is the subject of this painting?

My great aunt recently passed away, and I was given this painting that she made. I know this is probably a wild goose chase, but I would love to figure out who is the subject. [more inside]
posted by jpdoane on Oct 20, 2013 - 5 answers

Can you identify this animal or insect sound?

The sound of this animal or insect was captured a few nights ago. I live in the Northeast, this was at night and the noisemaker in question was clearly high up in a tree. [more inside]
posted by jeremias on Oct 12, 2013 - 4 answers

a melange of mystery

I've just been put in charge of the mystery section at my bookstore. I enjoy reading mystery, but I haven't read a lot of contemporary stuff. What authors/books/series would you suggest to give me a good survey of the past 10 years? And what mysteries can you suggest for my tastes (after the break)? [more inside]
posted by wintersonata9 on Oct 9, 2013 - 31 answers

What are Mike & the bots singing in Outlaw of Gor?

There's a song Mike & the bots half-coherently sing a couple of times in Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode 519 "Outlaw of Gor." What is it? [more inside]
posted by prize bull octorok on Oct 4, 2013 - 4 answers

Creepy mysterious packages sent to my house- help!

A few weeks ago, a package was sent to my apartment from someone I didn't know in Chicago ( I live in California) They had my full name and address and I had never heard of their name. The package contained one cheap hairbrush with the tag still on. I assumed it was a mistake and forgot about it. There was no note. [more inside]
posted by tessalations999 on Sep 28, 2013 - 9 answers

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