after the crime has taken place but before the investigation has begun. By
establishing causal links between these unrelated elements, the
promises to transform a chronicle into a meaningful historical narrative:
Here, then, in the briefest outline, are the riddles for which the analysis had to
find a solution. What was the origin of the sudden change in the boy's
character? What was the significance of his phobia and of his perversities?
How did he arrive at his obsessive piety? And how are these phenomena
Instead of answering these questions over the course of the account and revealing the
identity of the criminal at the end, Freud gives his solution-the primal scene as the
cause of the patient's illness-only two chapters later. The remaining bulk of the text
is then devoted to working out the implications of the primal scene, weaving around it
an etiological web whose intricacy stands in place of rational, linear argumentation.
And while the history of the analysis fits the form of the classic detective story, with
the criminal identified only at the end of the investigation, it is subsumed in the text
as only one strand of a multi-tiered account.
Pale Fire inverts the detective story model even more radically. Although
Kinbote sits down to write his commentary only after Shade's death, the events he
place almost exclusively prior to the murder. His formative years
and flight from-Zembla, his new life in New Wye, and (especially)
regicidal journey all point insistently toward the act of violence that culminates his
is identified as the criminal nearly halfway through the novel, and