Mark Reads ‘Feet of Clay’: Part 10

In the tenth part of Feet of Clay, Vimes tracks down more clues, all of which perplex him further, and the city’s Guilds plan for the inevitable. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Discworld. 

Trigger Warning: For mention of suicide


It’s cool to think about how many of the Discworld books are also great mysteries, and Feet of Clay is no exception. It’s a humorous take on crime novels, yes, but that doesn’t make the mystery behind the murders, the Golems, and Vetinari’s poisoning any less confusing or complicated. It’s just that Pratchett pokes fun at the pseudo-Sherlock mystery tropes while giving us a good story in the process.

And as is usually the case, I’m just as stumped as Vimes is. I have a lot of the pieces – perhaps more than he does! – and yet I still cannot put this all together. The continued poisoning of Lord Vetinari perplexes me. I think I am close to figuring out the weird existential crisis that the golems are having, but the Patrician? Nope, nothing at all. Oh, I thought it was his diary, too! It fit so perfectly!!! What else had the Patrician touched at least once per day and would allow him to ingest arsenic?

Yet I’m back at square one. Is the composite man that Vetinari drew a clue in and of itself? Where is somewhere in Vetinari’s room where “no one will look at all”? Is it on his person? Have they tried changing all his clothes? I then latched on to Mildred Easy, who was suspiciously absent from the staff grouping. A-ha! Someone was conveniently not around! Except it sounds like someone in Easy’s family died and Detritus interrupted a wake or something like it. Yes, Vimes is going to stop by (hopefully in the next section!) her place, but I don’t think it’s going to give him any clues. (Which is okay because I want to see what this part of Ankh-Morpork is like!)

And then there’s Angua and Carrot’s case, which leads them to a timber merchant who used to own a golem before it dutifully sawed its own head off, leaving behind another perplexing message:

“‘Thou Shalt Not Kill,’” Carrot read slowly. “’Clay of My Clay. Ashamed.’ Do you have any idea why it’d write that?”

The guilt cannot be a coincidence, can it? So why are the golems having what appear to be existential crises? They met on a holy day; they then returned to work and began to kill themselves. Why??? How can a golem do something they’re not commanded to?

Guilds of Ankh-Morpork

It was entertaining enough just to have so many Guild members in one place, interacting with each other like they do here in this part of Feet of Clay. There’s a competitiveness to their conversation, almost as if they’re used to insulting each other whenever they’re in the same room. But that rapport transforms as they all realize that the possible death of Lord Vetinari will have unknown implications for all of them. There’s much to be said about how he runs the city as the Patrician, and yet, for every negative thing someone might suggest, there’s Vetinari’s reliability, reminding each of the Guild heads that they could have it so much worse. (Which is kind of a sad commentary about political apathy anyway, but I feel like that’s an entirely separate essay.) Vetinari is not Snapcase, and these people are pleased with that.

However, Vetinari might die. And that’s undeniable at this point! Yes, he’s not dead yet, but I think it was smart of the Guild heads to meet to talk about how they might be affected by a change of power. Now, if this were the sole mystery in the book, I’d say that Mr. Slant, President of the Guild of Lawyers, is high on the list of possible subjects. His suggestion – that the Guild pushes for a return to the monarchy WITH NOBBS AS KING – makes him a great candidate for Vetinari’s poisoner. Right??? Having Nobby as King means that the Guild leaders can position themselves as his official “cabinet” and manipulate him into doing exactly what they want. It usurps Vetinari’s entire organization without any of the Guild members taking any power for themselves. (At least not publicly.)

BUT I DON’T GET HOW THE GOLEMS FIGURE INTO THIS. It makes no sense! Aren’t the two stories connected? They have to be! That makes me think that someone else has manipulated the Guild leaders, too, but I unsurprisingly have no idea who that might be. GAH. THIS BOOK.

Diane Duane is still offering a massive discount on the first 9 books in the Young Wizards series just to this community, so please take advantage of this deal while you still can:

Mark Links Stuff

I am now on Patreon! There are various levels of support, from $1 up to whatever you want! You’ll get to read a private blog, extra reviews, and other such rewards.
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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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