Chapter Summaries
Chapter 101

Mr. Jeavons believes that Christopher likes maths because it is safe and has straightforward answers which life rarely provides. Christopher disagrees with this view of maths and explains in great detail The Monty Hall Problem to prove this. Someone wrote a letter to a column written by Marilyn Vos Savant, who has the highest IQ in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records, asking what to do in a scenario where there's a game show where a contestant must choose between three closed doors, two with goats and one with a car. After choosing a door, the game show host opens one of the other two doors and shows it has a goat behind it. When asked what to do from there, Vos Savant responds that she would always change the choice of what door to open because the chances are 2 in 3 that the car would be in that door. Her response raised a furor among mathematicians and other scientists, who believed the chances are 50/50, but Vos Savant proved her point mathematically. Thus, Christopher argues that intuition can be wrong and that numbers can be very complicated.

Notes - The Monty Hall Problem allows Christopher to express his appreciation of life's complexity but still remain within his safe zone of mathematics.

Chapter 103

Christopher comes home and finds Rhodri, Father's employer, there, watching television and drinking a beer with Father. Father asks what he's been up to and Christopher tells a white lie about talking to Mrs. Alexander's dogs. Rhodri asks him what is 251 times 864 and Christopher tells him it's 216,864; Christopher asks Rhodri if this is right but he doesn't know. Father offers to cook some Indian food for Christopher and he agrees. Christopher mentions this because Siobhan told him to include descriptions in his book, including one or two details of the people in it so readers can better picture them. Christopher tries this, then tries to describe the garden but it isn't very interesting or different. The sky is interesting, though, and he describes some clouds, one of which looked like an alien spaceship. From here he discusses how people make false assumptions of what spaceships could be, then returns to writing about sounds in the garden. He tries to determine if the garden has a particular smell, doesn't sense anything, and goes inside to feed Toby.

Notes - Christopher describes a shortcut he uses to figure out Rhodri's math problem, an unusual but effective approach. That Rhodri doesn't know the answer and doesn't particular care shows how Christopher's mathematics skills can be seen as an oddity by some people. Siobhan's advice to include certain descriptions and details is taken up by Christopher, however the quality of those details show how his concerns are different from other storytellers.

Chapter 107

Christopher's favorite book is The Hound of the Baskervilles and he sums up the plot of the story. He doesn't like some aspects of the book: a passage from an ancient scroll which is difficult to understand and some of the descriptions written by author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He does like finding words he doesn't know so he can look them up in the dictionary. He likes the book because it is a detective story with clues and Red Herrings, and he lists three examples of each. Christopher also likes Sherlock Holmes for his intelligence and some of the things he says; like Holmes, he also gets lost in a field of study if it catches his attention. And like a description of Holmes by Watson, he wants to fit strange and seemingly disconnected episodes into a coherent scheme. He also likes Holmes because he doesn't believe in the supernatural and ends with two interesting facts about Sherlock Holmes, of how his portrayal in the original stories are different from how we know him today.

Notes - Christopher's discussion of Holmes breaks down some basic elements in the mystery story itself as well as helps remind readers of what to look for in Christopher's own story. The importance of Red Herrings - that is, information that seems like clues but aren't - ties into the pursuit of the obvious mystery of Wellington's death when the true mystery is the whereabouts of Christopher's mother, something he isn't even aware yet is a puzzle that needs solving.

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