Readers of this space know that I’ve recently devoted an unprofitable amount of time to puzzling over the underlined passages of a secondhand copy of Sally Quinn’s guide to entertaining, The Party, notorious when it was first published in 1997. My quest to discern the logic in the underlining became, as Douglas Sirk would have it, a magnificent obsession. Was the reader mad? Did she have an ax to grind? Was she a reviewer? None of these theories really held up.
But then one person came up with an approach far more innovative than my own. Like the perennially underestimated amateur sleuth who’s able to crack a case that’s stumped the authorities, this person took one look at the examples I had isolated and was able to see with a clarity that, in my obsession, had escaped me. “I was inspired to string all the underlined bits into a poem,” the reader wrote: Read More