You’re writing a detective novel during the most productive and creative period that the genre has ever gone through, so pay attention — the tropes aren’t tropes yet, they’re still ingredients, and the standard mix requires the following: a murder or two, an amateur detective, a closed circle of suspects, an imminent sense of threat for our hero to fret over and be dismissed by the professional police, a love interest who must fall under suspicion before our hero realises she just might be his soul-mate…any questions? Okay, off you go. Keep the dunnage to a minimum, avoid long-winded and namby-pamby descriptions — this is entertainment, remember — and for pity’s sake keep it light.
And so, with this advice ringing in their ears, the duo of Richard Webb and Hugh Wheeler who made up the nom de plume Patrick Quentin at this stage give us this on page 3 of A Puzzle for Fools:
I don’t know whether all drunks get the same symptoms, but without stimulants or sedatives I just felt scared. And it wasn’t a question of pink rats or purple elephants. It was just this frightened fear of being alone in the dark; the violent need of someone to hold my hand and say: “It’s all right, Peter, I’m here. It’s all right.”