Page 154. " He can swear the body's been dead at least an hour and who's to contradict him? "

A doctor or coroner can determine a corpse's approximate time of death based on an examination of the body.

Too bad the Indian Island visitors didn't have access to Ed's Time-of-Death Applet.

Page 165. " It's a case of echo answers where? "

Lombard is quoting "The Bride of Abydos," a poem by George Gordon, Lord Byron (1813):

 

Hark! to the hurried question of Despair:
'Where is my child?' — an Echo answers — 'Where?'

Page 171. " There was a case in America "
Lizzie Borden ... murderer?
Public DomainLizzie Borden ... murderer?

Blore is referring to the story of Lizzie Borden (1860-1927), who was accused of murdering her father and stepmother with an axe on August 4, 1892, at the family's home in Fall River, Massachusetts. No other reasonable suspect was ever found; Lizzie had opportunity and a motive (a strained relationship with the two victims). Nevertheless, she was acquitted on June 20, 1893.

The story of Lizzie Borden gave birth to a popular American children's rhyme--similar to "Ten Little N_____s" in its macabre subject matter.

Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done
She gave her father forty-one.

The house where the murders occurred is now a bed and breakfast.

The video below documents the murders and contains images that may be disturbing to some.

 

Page 171. " If you ask me that woman's as mad as a hatter! "
Lewis Carroll
Public DomainLewis Carroll

Most readers today probably associate the phrase "mad as a hatter" with Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and the character of the Mad Hatter. Carroll did not invent the term, however, although he uses it to humorous effect when the Cheshire Cat says to Alice, "In THAT direction, . . . lives a Hatter: and in THAT direction, . . . lives a March Hare. Visit either you like: they're both mad." "As mad as a hatter" and "as mad as a March hare" are both phrases that predate Carroll.

No one really knows why the phrase "as mad as a hatter" became part of the lexicon. (Why should people who create hats be more prone to madness than, say, lawyers?) Several theories have been put forward, though.

1. In some cases, mercury was used in the production of hats. Prolonged exposure to this toxic element caused tremors, or "hatter's shakes," a form of Parkinson's disease.

2. It may be related to the archaic verb "to hatter," which, according to Samuel Johnson (1755) meant "to harass; to weary; to wear out with fatigue"--e.g. "He's hatter'd out."

3. It may have resulted from corruption of the Anglo-Saxon phrase "mad as an atter," which could be translated today as "poisonous as an adder (snake)."

At any rate, according to phrases.org.uk, "The earliest known printed citation of the phrase that I know of is from Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, January-June 1829.* It appears in a section of the magazine headed Noctes Ambrocianæ. No. XL1V, in a fictional conversation between a group of characters that wouldn't have been out of place in Wonderland:

Lewis Carroll's Mad Hatter as depicted by Sir John Tenniel
Public DomainLewis Carroll's Mad Hatter as depicted by Sir John Tenniel

NORTH: Many years--I was Sultan of Bello for a long period, until dethroned by an act of the grossest injustice ; but I intend to expose the traitorous conspirators to the indignation of an outraged world.

TICKLER (aside to SHEPHERD.): He's raving.

SHEPHERD (to TICKLER.): Dementit.

ODOHERTY (to both.): Mad as a hatter. Hand me a segar."

*This date is incorrect. The article appears in the July-December 1829 issue. The link provided takes you to the correct issue, although my cursory look through the article referenced does not reveal the phrase.