Entrails of deceit (cont.)

The most effective way to conceal a simple mystery is behind another mystery. This is literary legerdemain. You do not fool the reader by hiding clues or faking character a la Christie but by making him solve the wrong problem.

Raymond Chandler
“Twelve Notes on the Mystery Story”

There are two kinds of deception in the general theory of deception Barton S. Whaley and J. Bowyer Bell outline in Cheating and Deception:

  • physical deception: the various adaptations nature has evolved to protect various species
  • psychological deception: the manipulation of human perception

Both physical and psychological deception share:

…two broad categories in the structure of deceit, hiding the real and showing the false. The second category cannot exist without the first, for all deception and cheating involves hiding. Level one deception, hiding, is itself divided into three distinct parts: masking, repackaging, and dazzling. Level-two deception, showing, also has three parts: mimicking, inventing, and decoying

The basic purpose of hiding is to screen or cloak a person, place, thing, direction, or time by a variety of means that range from the simple to the complex. These combined means hide by producing a cover. The basic purpose of showing is consciously to display the false which, perforce, must hide the real. In showing, the end result is to create an EFFECT, an illusion of the false as real. All SHOWING involves hiding, but HIDING almost never involves showing.

The following table from Cheating and Deception lays out the structure of Whaley and Bell’s theory in more detail:

(with process defined)
(distorting reality)
(Hiding the Real)
(Showing the False)
MASKING Characteristics:

  • Conceals one’s own
  • Matches another’s

(To Eliminate an Old Pattern or Blend it with a Background pattern.)

MIMICKING Characteristics:

  • Copies another’s characteristics

(To Recreate an Old Pattern, Imitating It.)

REPACKAGING Characteristics:

  • Adds New
  • Subtracts Old

(To Modify an Old Pattern by Matching Another.)

INVENTING Characteristics:

  • Creates new characteristics

(To Create a New Pattern.)

DAZZLING Characteristics:

  • Obscures Old
  • Adds Alternative

(To Blur an Old Pattern, Reducing its Certainty.)

DECOYING Characteristics:

  • Creates Alternative Characteristics

(To Give an Additional, Alternative Pattern, Increasing its Certainty.)