The Skull Beneath the Skin Quotes


She only had to look at a man. One look. Thats all it ever took. All my life I've watched her using those eyes. But she won't anymore. Never again. Never never never.

Roma Lisle, Book 3, Chapter 3

Roma has always been jealous of her cousin and seems to believe that Clarissa's success is due to her power over men rather than her talent. This chapter seems to point the finger of blame for Clarissa's murder at Roma and the author cleverly creates a scenario that has the reader believing Roma killed her cousin, especially given the damage done to her eyes after death. It also reminds the reader that almost everyone at the castle that weekend had a motive for Clarissa's murder.

We mustn't forget the butler. I regard the butler as a gratuitous insult on the part of fate.

Buckley, Book 4, Chapter 4

In all generic or ironic murder stories there is an infamous line that says "the butler did it". It is unfortunate and annoying to the police charged with investigating the murder that there actually is a butler amongst the prime suspects and he is just as likely as any of them to be the murderer. This quote demonstrates their frustration at the number of suspects and the universality of motive. The suspects all seem to have created a generic explanation of the days events and at this stage in the investigation the butler seems to be the most likely perpetrator as he is the only one not included in their agreed story.

Cordelia: But he couldn't have planned it. Not Simon. He couldn't have meant it.

Ambrose: Planned it, no. Meant it? Who's to say what he meant. She's just as dead, isn't she, whatever he meant.

Conversation between Cordelia Gray & Angus Gorringe, Book 6, Chapter 6

Because Cordelia had assumed the murder had been planned by the writer of the poison pen letters, she had never considered Simon a suspect, correctly believing him not to be the premeditated murder type. This conversation is the first time she realizes her mistake in seeing the letter writing as the earlier part of the murder rather than seeing both crimes as separate. She is able to see Simon as a person who might kill by accident or in self defense but not by intention. However Ambrose is absolutely correct in observing that although manslaughter and murder are different in the eyes of the law, they are both identical to the victim. In this way the opportunity to commit the crime was actually a far more reliable sign of who committed the murder than motive or intention, or planning. The letter writer planned each note but the murder was unplanned, making it harder for Cordelia to investigate the crimes together.

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