The Great Duck Conundrum

In my efforts to create a historical novel which will not cause informed readers to recoil in educated disgust, I have been looking into a number of different things. Most recently:

the death of the Romanovs (with a suspiciously heavy 17 lb. cushion)
Raffles (the gentleman thief, not the hotel)
Black Ascot
Pekinese (crossed with a poodle = a peekapoo)
IQ (disturbing eugenic history there)
and rubber ducks.

And there I ran into difficulties, because Dolly & Dot and the Mystery of the Missing Maid is set in 1931, and the classic rubber ducky bath toy – for which I had planned such MacGuffinage and escapades – wasn’t invented until the 1940s.

As I see it, I have three options.

1) Change the ducky element to something else – a fluffy bunny toy, say. Decidedly less hilarious, and calling for different scenes to be written, but doable.

2) Put the ducky in regardless, with a witty note assuring readers that the anachronism was intentional (inspired by Alan Bradley‘s note in one of the Flavia de Luce books, admitting that he had rearranged the phases of the moon, but reassuring readers that he had put everything back the way he found it).

3) Change the setting of the book – something I am deeply reluctant to do, as post WWII society is a bird of an entirely different feather.

I have been chewing over this since Friday, and have yet to come to any definite conclusion. Now, therefore, is the time for all good readers to come to the aid of the party and provide some advice and/or opinion in the comment section.

What shall I do with the ducky?

4 Replies to “The Great Duck Conundrum”

    1. The article doesn’t seem to suggest that the rubber duck as a hollow floating bath toy was invented by 1931, and alas! I don’t think a hunting decoy would pass sufficiently unremarked in an upper class young lady’s bathroom.

  1. I say keep the rubber duck. If it’s good enough for Ernie (the Muppet, friend of Bert), it’s good enough for 1931. It would also allow the souvenir shop at the London War Office free rein to create a Winston duck!
    p.s. I have read that a peekapoo is actually just a mongrel

    1. Thanks for weighing in on the ducky’s side! I have no doubt Winston has already been enducked, though possibly not by the War Office!
      Your P.S. raises an interesting question: what is the line between a cross-breed and a mongrel?

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