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Re: Needle of suspicion

Posted by R. Berg on September 06, 2007

In Reply to: Re: Needle of suspicion posted by Victoria S Dennis on September 06, 2007

: : Came across "needle of suspicion" earlier this evening.

: : "Dan Brown has managed to point the needle of suspicion from one character to another skillfully."

: : It sounds familiar but... not really. Obviously it has something to do with deflecting suspicion from one to another.

: : Any ideas about origin?

: This is evidently a blending of "point the finger of suspicion" which is an old and obvious metaphor, with the idea of a compass needle pointing north. The only question is whether it's a deliberate attempt to be clever, or just illiteracy. My money would be on the latter; this is an incompetent sentence from any point of view. Nobody points a compass needle; it points itself. And you can't point anything "from one character to another"; you can only point it AT one character AFTER another. (VSD)

I'm with Victoria. The sentence doesn't even *sound* good. That "skillfully" at the end comes on as an extra bit, like a dancer tripping and collapsing on stage after executing the intended solo. ~rb