I live in Cambridge, Massachusetts and work as a residential architect. I grew up in New Jersey devouring mysteries. I loved seeing order restored by ingenious sleuths. But the visual arts were my medium of expression.
As an Art major at Dartmouth, I imagined that designing buildings was just a larger-scaled version of creating sculpture. I soon discovered that it was far different from working on my own, paring down a big hunk of wood while dressed in plaid shirts and living in an attic. In fact, at graduate school at Harvard’s G.S.D., I found a setting—insecurity and ego riding a particle accelerator of Design Obsession—just ripe for murder. I couldn’t understand why there were no mysteries about architects and architecture students doing each other in.
The mystery world is littered with sleuths who are cops, P.I.s, countless lawyers, bookstore owners, caterers, ministers—every profession but my own. Aren’t we problem solvers? Don’t we find ourselves deeply enmeshed in other people’s lives? Don’t we passionately defend our beliefs? Clearly the architecture world has been ignored as a mystery setting, and architects have been neglected as sleuths and, yes, murderers.
So in I blundered, forgetting that I was a “Vizzie”, not a “Verbie”. Several years were spent getting up to speed with, you know, the using-words-thing. Conundrum is an ode to my profession and all the deviously clever practitioners within it. The first ode. Iris Reid will get tossed into any number of tight spots as the series progresses.
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