When Christopher goes home his father is not yet back from work. Christopher watches a science video about life in the deepest parts of the ocean. Father comes home and happens to see Christopher’s book, which Christopher left lying in the kitchen. He reads it and confronts Christopher, reminding him that he had told him to stop his detective game and not interfere with other people’s business. Father grabs Christopher’s arm hard, which Christopher does not like. He hits his father several times. Father goes outside and dumps the book in the trash can.
Christopher lists the many reasons why he dislikes the colors yellow and brown. He notes that Mrs. Forbes at school thinks it is silly to hate colors, but Siobhan, who is much more understanding of Christopher, believes that everyone has some colors they like more than others.
The next day Father apologizes to Christopher and says he did not mean to hit him. He takes Christopher to the zoo to make up for it. After looking at the animals they go to the café, and Father tells Christopher that he loves him, and he knows he gets angry and knows he shouldn’t but the only reason is that he does not want Christopher to get into trouble or get hurt.
Christopher explains that although he likes the Sherlock Holmes books, he does not like the author, Conan Doyle, because Conan Doyle believed in the supernatural. He discusses a famous example of photographic fraud, in which a picture of fairies by a stream was presented as if the fairies were real. Conan Doyle was fooled into declaring the photographs to be real. To Christopher, this is an example of how people sometimes believe stupid things.
Analysis, Chapters 127-139
These chapters follow the basic structure of the novel, alternating plot development (chapters 127, 137) with Christopher’s views on various things (chapters 131, 139), from why he hates certain colors—his reasons make perfect sense to him, if not to others—to his censure of Conan Doyle for his belief in the supernatural. One of the continuing ironies of the story is that Christopher, for whom so much normal human interaction and feeling is beyond his grasp, has very firm convictions about how reliable knowledge is arrived at. He thinks Conan Doyle was “stupid” to be deceived by the fake pictures of fairies, and comments that “this shows that sometimes people want to be stupid and they do not want to know the truth” (p. 90).
There is no doubt that Christopher is interested in the truth, as his determined pursuit of the mystery of who killed Wellington shows, but these chapters, in which he confidently displays his knowledge and grasp of science, have to be read against the chapters in which he struggles to understand the more subjective element of life: human emotions. For example, in chapter 137, Father tells Christopher he loves him, and asks if he understands what that means. Christopher replies that he does, “because loving someone is helping them when they get into trouble, and looking after them, and telling them the truth, and Father looks after me when I get into trouble, like coming to the police station, and he looks after me by cooking meals for me, and he always tells me the truth, which means that he loves me” (p. 86). Christopher has pieced together his reasoning using what he knows best, logic, rather than any intuitive understanding of the feelings involved—and of course, his last point, that Father always tells him the truth, is way off the mark.