29 December 2011

A rose is a rose is a rose...

by Deborah Elliott-Upton

A friend who knows I'm a lover of great mysteries discovered a new-to-me novel and sent it for a non-holiday gift. The copy of David Morrell's THE SPY WHO CAME FOR CHRISTMAS is a delight as only the Rambo creator could write, but also interesting is the tidbit attributed to the Cambridge Encyclopedia of Espionage. It seems the explanation of the rose representing the spy profession links back to Greek mythology when the god of love offered a bribe of a rose to the god of silence in promise of keeping confidential overheard sins of other gods.
When a rose hangs from a ceiling, perhaps someone isn't simply drying flowers for romantic sentiments, but the conspirators dealing in a pact. When a discussion is held beneath a suspended rose, sub rose, the information is agreed by those involved to be kept secret. Perhaps it is as clandestine as two lovers meeting in seclusion. The ideas suggested to me intrigues the imagination.
That is, it did, until I noticed two long-stemmed roses hanging in the teenage bedroom of our home. Since most teenagers are by nature, secretive to "older" relatives, I may have stumbled upon a clue to those "meetings with the Bro's" that accompany the turn of the lock after they file inside the lair I am not often welcomed.
It's okay. I am old enough not to be slighted and feel young enough to remember when I though the same way about some of the older folks in my own life.
Thinking of the James Bond books where the spies led glamorous lives with clever inventions that saved the day, but were to be kept underwraps to the public, I understand.
While other girls were asking Santa for a Barbie dream house, I secretly coveted a spy camera. I still want one.
Spy characters are fun to read about and to write about, too. I like the idea of meetings held undercover with secret handshakes and traditional passwords. What fun we have as readers to live such adventures through a character's viewpoint without having to put ourselves on the line.
Roses hanging by a cord from a ceiling fan probably are dried remains of a lovely memory of prom date and nothing more. That doesn't keep my mind from creating scenarios where something much more interesting is happening behind locked doors with a roomful of bro's.


Janice said...

Is there really a Cambridge Encyclopedia of Espionage?
That would be an item to have.

Deborah Elliott-Upton said...

It showed up on a Google search, so I am assuming it is real, but if not, someone should create one!

Dixon Hill said...

Oh, man! I'm going to try to order one and see what arrives in the mail!!

This was a GREAT post, Deborah. But, if I ever see a rose hanging from my teenage daughter's bedroom cieling, she and I are gonna have to talk! lol


Kate Irving said...

Interesting article Deborah. It's good to look at things from a different perspective then tradition teaches us. I will say most people do think of love and passion when roses come to view, my husband sees them as a peace offering.

Jeff Baker said...

Yes! "Roma Sub Rosa," an old name refering to secrets of Rome used as the blanket title for Steven Saylor's Gordianus The Finder mysteries! I should have remembered that! Oh, and take a look at the emblem on the one side of the SleuthSayers site...

Deborah Elliott-Upton said...

Yes, Jeff! Our emblem was so perfect I didn't need a photograph to accompany this article! Hey, everyone have a blessed and safe New Year!