Five days later Christopher sees five red cars in a row, which meant it was going to be a Super Good Day. At the shop at the end of his road after school Christopher bumps into Mrs Alexander. Christopher avoids talking to her so as not to get into any trouble but after exchanging a few words he considers that nothing 'super' had happened yet and that talking to Mrs Alexander may well be the special thing that was going to happen that day.
Thinking through the list of things his father forbade him to do, Christopher reasons that talking to Mrs Alexander does not break any of the rules. He asks her 'Do you know Mr Shears?'
Mrs Alexander asks Christopher why he is so interested in Mr Shears - she wonders if it is because of Wellington. She says it is best not to talk about Mr Shears and that it will upset Christopher's father and that Christopher knows why his father doesn't like Mr Shears. Christopher doesn't understand and asks Mrs Alexander why his father doesn't like Mr Shears. Worried that she has already said too much and that Christopher will ask his father what she meant, Mrs Alexander tells Christopher the truth and makes him promise he won't tell his father she told him. Before she died, Christopher's mother was having an affair with Mr Shears.
In this chapter, Christopher presents a mathematical problem. He tells of how in a magazine in America there was a column called Ask Marilyn, written by a woman with the highest IQ in the world. In 1990 a question was sent to Marilyn: on a game show program there are three doors. Behind one door there is a car, behind the other two there are goats. You pick one door and another opens, revealing a goat. You are asked whether you want to change your mind about the two unopened doors. Marilyn argues that you should always change your mind and pick the final door as there is a two in three chance that the car will be behind that.
Lots of people wrote in to complain that she was wrong and she explained why she was not. Intuition would say that there is a 50% chance that the car will be behind the original door chosen but logic states that there is a one third chance that it will be behind the original.
This is why Christopher thinks logic is more reliable than intuition for working out problems in life.
Christopher returns home from his trip to the shop where he bumped into Mrs Alexander. The maintenance mann is drinking beer and watching TV with his father.
Christopher tells us that Siobhan said that it was important to include description in a book so that people can imagine the picture in their heads. Christopher goes out into the garden with the intention of 'doing a description' but is only interested in the sky, which he describes in detail.
The Hound of the Baskervilles is Christopher's favorite book and he recaps the story. Christopher like Sherlock Holmes because he notices the kind of things that Christopher notices. Christopher quotes Dr Watson's observation of Sherlock Holmes from the book: ...his mind...was busy in endeavoring to frame some scheme into which all these strange and apparently disconnected episodes could be fitted. Christopher says that is what he is trying to do by writing the book.
The first part of the jigsaw puzzle is revealed, although we still believe that Christopher’s mother is dead.
Christopher believes that the day will be a good one because he sees five red cars in a row. His own sense of order is like a religion – if it is a super day then maybe the signs are indicating to him that Mrs Alexander is a useful person to speak to.
It is interesting that Christopher has his own almost religious symbols: to him, five red cars definitely means it is going to be a super day - knowing that he decides he will risk speaking to Mrs Alexander. In a way his decision here is based on what he sees as a logical decision that something super will happen and that that may well be the conversation with Mrs Alexander.
When Mrs Alexander tells Christopher not to talk about Mr Shears because he knows it will upset his father we realize that Christopher's mystery goes a lot deeper than he knows: there are clearly secrets that have been kept from him and as a result the reader must think that it is possible that there are people who know who killed Wellington. At this stage however, Mrs Alexander holds true to the fact that Christopher's mother is dead - how much do we believe this? Was Mrs Alexander telling what she believed to be the truth? Who is to be believed and who is acting?
The mathematical problem Christopher relates shows his relationship with the world as one based on logic and not feeling. This of course it exactly how the book is written - a logical step by step account trying to ascertain who killed Wellington. The story he relates about the magazine columnist is quite true - the problem was mentioned in the "Ask Marilyn" column of Parade in 1990, and due to the incredible reader response an unprecedented four columns were given to publishing a mathematical explanation. The puzzle is most commonly known as the Monty Hall Problem, after the host of the game show "Let's Make A Deal" in which, yes, Monty Hall gave players a choice between doors containing cars and goats.
Christopher is interested in describing the sky because it takes him further away from earth. Again we have a kind of commentary through Siobhan, who gives instructions on how to write a novel, which Christopher sporadically follow. Siobhan's advice reads as ridiculous in this context, because Christopher's novel is most compelling when he follows his own way of viewing the world, rather than adhering to convention. The sky description doesn't so much make us paint a picture as tell us about Christopher and the way he sees things.