And how refreshingly different, that after all this time slugging away at this case, and in a climate not best suited to inspiration or creativity, that someone can still manage to pull something novel out of the hat, is as unexpected as it is, as I say, refreshing.
I came across this little gem whilst reading the contributions to the forum, Missing Madeleine.
But I'm not being terribly accurate when I say gem, because having read the first, and what I thought only piece, I was then treated to some very unexpected repartee from other members of the forum.
Reprinted with kind permission and well deserving of a mighty flourish of the cap.
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I’ve got this really big bumper size jigsaw puzzle.
It has thousands of pieces, some of them small and subtle, some of them highly coloured and complicated.
The picture on the box is of an abduction. It’s not the sort of thing that would normally interest me, but it looked fiendishly difficult and I can’t resist a challenge.
I have tried it all ways, I compare the reality of the piece with the picture on the box, and for the life of me I can’t make most of the bits fit anywhere. The edges don’t match up. The colours and patterns are wrong. Sometimes a picture emerges, but whatever it is it’s nothing like the abduction on the box.
What’s more, there are, it would seem, bits that belong to some other puzzle. There’s one of an email button from the website that is just a picture of a button with no function behind it, and I can’t make it fit into an abduction anywhere.
There are dogs, too, and surely they can have no place in an abduction. There’s a piece with hair and fluid on it, but there’s another piece that says there’s no hair and no fluid. There’s a bizarre inflatable billboard that seems to zip into view and then zip out of it again very rapidly. There is a tidy apartment and a piece that smells of bleach, and there are lots of bits with pictures of wine bottles.
There’s just nowhere to put the one with child friendly toppings, nor the one with mention of resuscitation, nor all those bits of wrists with no watches. I can’t find a home for the piece with a likeness of His Holiness, and I can’t seem to fit into the puzzle the picture of Huelva on early closing day.
There are bits missing, too. There should, I’m sure, be a piece with a reward on it, but it’s not in the box. There should be fingerprints, too, but they have been missed out in the packing process.
Lots of pieces seem to have churches, in Portugal or in Yorkshire or Leicestershire. There are shady men on the fringes of lots of the bits.
There are three sorts of bits. There are those that are photorealistic and three-dimensional, printed on a reassuringly solid plywood base. Then there are some which are still on plywood but are out of focus, I’m not sure if they are really pictures of something. And then there are those which are over-bright, high contrast, unnatural, and poorly constructed of the flimsiest stuff.
And there’s another thing. Whenever I sit down to concentrate on my puzzle, there are, would you believe, people coming into the room, snatching the piece I’m pondering and ruining my concentration. They keep on doing it.
Strangest thing of all there’s a bit that looks just like the baby space creature in Alien, when it clamps itself onto one of the astronauts. On his face, like a draped starfish. Weird and scary. But when you turn it upside down it turns out to be a picture of someone’s haircut!
This puzzle hasn’t beaten me yet. Occasionally bits arrive unannounced – like from Portugal a few weeks ago there came a piece with advice from British Police on it.
But whatever I do, whichever way I turn my puzzle, it doesn’t look remotely like the picture on the box.
Maybe I’ll ask for my money back.
by Anna Esse
I think I've got a similar jigsaw. I've never been a fan of jigsaws, preferring either thriller novels as a pastime, where you know all the bits are going to come together in the end and the story will make sense, or real-life stories about how crimes were solved. However, I took up this strange jigsaw that had a picture of an abduction because it presented a real challenge, with lots of gray areas that I knew would present a challenge and lots of intricately coloured areas.
The problem I had to begin with was that however much I tried to force some of the bits into place, strange windows and doors for example, I wasn't getting anywhere. Then the manufacturers started sending updates to the picture and extra pieces that fitted neither the original picture nor the updated one.
To further complicate matters, I have also been presented with pictures that seem to have nothing to do with the original puzzle. There is an idealised picture of a happy family sitting round a dinner table, like something totally unreal that should be on a chocolate box rather than part of my abduction puzzle.
Now, I am being told that my puzzle is being recalled because someone is claiming that the bits got mixed up, through no fault of the manufacturers, but because it got interfered with after some party or other and nobody bothered to investigate who did it.
Still, I'm going to keep it and hope that eventually I get the right picture that fits all the bits I have managed to accumulate, bits the manufacturers actually told me didn't exist!
There seems to be a lot of these jigsaws about. My husband bought me a couple for my birthday this weekend. On one of them the picture on the lid was of some curtains but when I opened the box they went whoosh. The other had a picture of shutters but try as I did, I couldn't get the box to open ( maybe I should have made a hole in the box crawled in and opened it from the inside?)
Yes, on my jigsaw I had a similar thing happen. Everything was going nicely until I couldn't make the pieces with Robert Murat's face on fit. Then I hoped to complete it with a hillside burial ground but lost that piece also. Then I came across a piece with men searching a lake, but nothing would fit together. Then I lost the pieces with the Lead Detective in the case. Blimey, after I lost him, the whole thing just went up in the air I'm afraid.