Page 51. " her Formica counters "

Formica is a manufactured by the Formica Corporation and is its classic product. It is a hard plastic laminate that is used to cover work surfaces. It is heat-resistant and easy to clean.

Page 51. " reading a Mills & Boon "

Mills & Boon is a publishing house most popular for its romantic novels. It was founded by Gerald Rusgrove Mills and Charles Boon. When used in this way, it refers to one of these novels that is being read.

Page 53. " the Bomb Circle "

The Bomb Circle is the monument to Frank’s second murder – that of his younger brother. After a heavy storm, a bomb was uncovered, and Frank persuaded his brother that it was a bell. He told him that the harder he hit it, the louder it would ring. Obviously, hitting the bomb would cause it to explode. It shattered the rocks around it and created a circle of pointed stones. These were partially covered when the sand returned, and a circle remained to remind Frank of his deed.

Page 56. " keep the Polaroid "

A Polaroid sheet with an image
Public DomainA Polaroid sheet with an image
This refers to the image that has been taken with a Polaroid camera. The image is produced in a couple of seconds on a sheet of prepared plastic sheet that polarises light. This is in contrast to normal camera film, which needs to be taken in to a photographic studio to be developed.

Page 57. " unpleasant things like trip-wires and snares "

trip-wire is a wire that is stretched close to the ground so someone walking past will trip the device to which is it attached - the device is meant to detect or react to physical movement. Sometimes it is attached to a bomb, which will go off once someone “trips” the wire.

A snare is similar to a trip-wire, except that it is an anchored noose, and once tripped it pulls tightly around a leg or limb, restraining the victim. The video below combines a snare and a trip-wire.

Page 58. " A shotgun would be ideal, though I’d settle for a .22 rifle "

A shotgun is a long-barrelled metal weapon that shoots out shot, or a lot of small metal bullets, when the trigger is pulled. It is designed to be fired from the shoulder, and the shot is stored in a solid projectile or slug, which disintegrates, setting the shot free to do its damage.

A .22 Rifle
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumA .22 Rifle - Credit:

A .22 rifle, although also featuring a long barrel, shoots out a single bullet, and allows for a more direct aim and shot. It is also designed to be fired from the shoulder, but its barrel has a pattern of grooves cut into the barrel walls. The grooves contribute to angular momentum, which improves accuracy and range.

Page 58. " Oh, to be in America "

America is known for its relatively loose laws on guns and weapons. There is evidence of this in the infamous Columbine High School shootings, as well as the more recent Virginia Tech massacre in 2007. Here are some articles on the subject that might be of interest:

"Guns were easy to come by"

"Senate panel defeats bill on gun show sales"

"Gun-free zones are recipe for disaster"

"US gun laws draw heat after massacre"

"Nugent: Gun-free zones are recipe for disaster"


Page 60. " his strangled voice hoarse and contralto "

Speaking with a contralto voice means that it is lower than the normal range - it applies to women's voices in particular, and is considered quite rare. Here is a sample in .ram format or here is a sample in .mp3 format


Page 61. " the naming ceremony of the new catapult "

Once again, we see Frank’s love of ritual. He has to name the catapult, and the ceremony is a sort of initiation ceremony – the catapult is “baptised” with Frank’s fluids, thereby embalming them with his power. A baptism is a sacred ritual used by the church, in particular Christian churches, that uses water to initiate a person as a member of the Church. It is a symbolic cleansing, and just as a priest would baptise a child, Frank has "baptised" his new catapult, initiating it into his service.

Page 62. " an opposition party "

The opposition party in government is one that competes against the party that has been voted in and has the most power.

Page 63. " in a parliament "

Parliament” refers to the group of people that have been elected to make and change the laws of a nation or country. It is usually made up of a balance of leading and opposition party members.

Page 63. " part of me is racist "

A racist is someone who is not fond of people of colour. However, Frank is clear that his opinions in this matter come from his upbringing, and he is willing to change them and make an effort to treat everyone the same.

Here is quite a comprehensive short history of racism.

Page 64. " so long as nobody knew its name "

Public DomainRumplestiltskin
In myth and legend, knowing something or someone’s name gives you power over them. A good example of this is the well-known Western fairy tale “Rumplestiltskin”. In it, the dwarf named Rumplestiltskin helps a young lady whose father lied that she could spin gold. The king gave her three nights to spin gold, otherwise she would be executed. Rumplestiltskin helps her in return for her promise to give him her first-born child. When her child came, she tried to convince him to leave her child with her. He gives in, but only if she can guess his name.

Page 66. " bad for her karma in some way "

In Hinduism and Buddhism, karma is what is collected by a person in one life – the sum of their good and bad deeds – and returned upon them in their next life.

Page 66. " I’d lain down inside them like some Christ or something "

Christ on the cross
Public DomainChrist on the cross
One can assume that Frank lay inside the Bomb Circle in the position that Jesus Christ appeared on the cross at his crucifixion. We may also assume that the reference is an allusion to Frank’s certainty of his own superiority on the island, and in overcoming suspicion to get away with the murders.

Page 68. " interesting pieces of flotsam "

Flotsam refers to floating items that are left behind when a ship sinks. The opposite of this is jetsam, which refers, of course, to items that sink to the bottom of the ocean.

Page 72. " back to the wicker hopper "

A wicker hopper is a basket, made from wicker, that is attached to a bicycle to allow the driver to carry items.

Page 75. " had a Mohican haircut "

A Mohawk, or a Mohican cut, as it is called in Britain, is when the head is shaved bald except for a strip in the middle of the cranium, which is made to stand up and, sometimes, dyed.