some questions about the book ... unexplainable?

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Spideyman

Uber Member
Jul 10, 2006
42,890
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Just north of Duma Key
#43
I’ve just finished re-reading Salem’s Lot, which is one my favourites from King. However one thing about the novel has always bothered me, something that I hoped (in vain) my recent re-read would clear up. It concerns the small detail that eventually leads to Barlow’s undoing- that of the blue chalk on his hands which leads the vampire-hunters to Eva’s boarding house. I have always wondered, did Barlow get the chalk on his hands while moving the pool table and other things around in Eva’s basement to set it up as his new hiding spot? If so, how did this happen, ie. why would he be touching the tips of the pool cues or the chalk cubes so directly as to leave lasting smears on his fingers? And wouldn’t the crafty vampire have noticed this clue on his own fingers? The only other possibility (the one that really bothers me) is the possible suggestion that Barlow, after waking in his new hiding spot, and with a full nights work of vampire-hunter hunting ahead of him... ahem.. decided to first play a bit of pool. Surely this is not the explanation for the chalk? Hope someone can rid me of the image of Barlow the pool shark.
Hi and upload_2018-4-4_8-17-21.jpeg
 
Jun 2, 2017
15
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#44
I’ve just finished re-reading Salem’s Lot, which is one my favourites from King. However one thing about the novel has always bothered me, something that I hoped (in vain) my recent re-read would clear up. It concerns the small detail that eventually leads to Barlow’s undoing- that of the blue chalk on his hands which leads the vampire-hunters to Eva’s boarding house. I have always wondered, did Barlow get the chalk on his hands while moving the pool table and other things around in Eva’s basement to set it up as his new hiding spot? If so, how did this happen, ie. why would he be touching the tips of the pool cues or the chalk cubes so directly as to leave lasting smears on his fingers? And wouldn’t the crafty vampire have noticed this clue on his own fingers? The only other possibility (the one that really bothers me) is the possible suggestion that Barlow, after waking in his new hiding spot, and with a full nights work of vampire-hunter hunting ahead of him... ahem.. decided to first play a bit of pool. Surely this is not the explanation for the chalk? Hope someone can rid me of the image of Barlow the pool shark.
I just assumed that one of his minions touched it (possibly while getting things ready for Barlow, along with the booby trap), touched the doorknob or Barlow’s coffin, then Barlow got some leftover residue on his fingers.

I suppose that still doesn’t explain how Barlow failed to remove it from his hands, though. He did seem the meticulous type.
 

Neesy

#1 fan (Annie Wilkes cousin) 1st cousin Mom's side
May 24, 2012
58,947
223,491
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
#45
I’ve just finished re-reading Salem’s Lot, which is one my favourites from King. However one thing about the novel has always bothered me, something that I hoped (in vain) my recent re-read would clear up. It concerns the small detail that eventually leads to Barlow’s undoing- that of the blue chalk on his hands which leads the vampire-hunters to Eva’s boarding house. I have always wondered, did Barlow get the chalk on his hands while moving the pool table and other things around in Eva’s basement to set it up as his new hiding spot? If so, how did this happen, ie. why would he be touching the tips of the pool cues or the chalk cubes so directly as to leave lasting smears on his fingers? And wouldn’t the crafty vampire have noticed this clue on his own fingers? The only other possibility (the one that really bothers me) is the possible suggestion that Barlow, after waking in his new hiding spot, and with a full nights work of vampire-hunter hunting ahead of him... ahem.. decided to first play a bit of pool. Surely this is not the explanation for the chalk? Hope someone can rid me of the image of Barlow the pool shark.
11-22-63 Welcome.JPG
 
Apr 3, 2018
4
16
34
#47
I just assumed that one of his minions touched it (possibly while getting things ready for Barlow, along with the booby trap), touched the doorknob or Barlow’s coffin, then Barlow got some leftover residue on his fingers.

I suppose that still doesn’t explain how Barlow failed to remove it from his hands, though. He did seem the meticulous type.
...I’m of the mind it was chalk lettering applied to mark all of the crates....
Thanks for the replies. Two theories I never thought of here. I suppose if Barlow was in a rush to get to the Petrie house he could’ve overlooked the chalk that was inadvertantly deposited on his fingers by a clumsy underling leaving it smeared on objects in the cellar, and it was dark when he arose of course. And I suppose even a tiny hint of the colour blue would show up fairly distinctly as it is not a very natural colour to see on someone’s body... so maybe this is my best bet for resolving this matter.

The marking the crates theory is interesting, and would better explain a lasting smudge of chalk, but why would Barlow need to do this?

Sorry if all this is overly nitpicky but it’s the only thing holding me back from feeling like Salem’s Lot is a “perfect” book. None of the other things mentioned in this thread (who turned Danny, how did Barlow enter the Petrie house without invitation etc) bother me at all, just the matter of the chalk.
 
Aug 17, 2017
2
5
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#48
The marking the crates theory is interesting, and would better explain a lasting smudge of chalk, but why would Barlow need to do this?
The crates weren't marked. From the Portland docks scene where Royal Snow and Hank Peters were sent by Larry Crockett to pick up the crates and deliver them to the Marsten House:
-RS: "...there's no customs stamp on this f**ker...no stamp."
-HP: "They probably do them in that ink that only shows up under a special black light."
-RS: "They never did when I was on the docks. Christ, they stamped cargo ninety ways for Sunday. You couldn't grab a box without getting blue ink up to your elbows."

Jimmy Cody ultimately figured out that Barlow had moved Eva's Boardinghouse based in a scene with he and Ben Mears that described Ben leaning over a lathe making stakes under a row of low hanging lights in the Petrie's basement similar to lights in a pool hall. Later Jimmy flashed back on a conversion he had with Eva where she was talking about her deceased husband's pool table that was still in the basement and came to the conclusion that it was there that Barlow was staying.
It was chalk from the pool table or cue rack that Barlow must have inadvertently touched in Eva's basement prior to arriving at the Petrie's house.
 

GNTLGNT

The idiot is IN
Jun 15, 2007
84,446
334,643
57
Cambridge, Ohio
#49
The crates weren't marked. From the Portland docks scene where Royal Snow and Hank Peters were sent by Larry Crockett to pick up the crates and deliver them to the Marsten House:
-RS: "...there's no customs stamp on this f**ker...no stamp."
-HP: "They probably do them in that ink that only shows up under a special black light."
-RS: "They never did when I was on the docks. Christ, they stamped cargo ninety ways for Sunday. You couldn't grab a box without getting blue ink up to your elbows."

Jimmy Cody ultimately figured out that Barlow had moved Eva's Boardinghouse based in a scene with he and Ben Mears that described Ben leaning over a lathe making stakes under a row of low hanging lights in the Petrie's basement similar to lights in a pool hall. Later Jimmy flashed back on a conversion he had with Eva where she was talking about her deceased husband's pool table that was still in the basement and came to the conclusion that it was there that Barlow was staying.
It was chalk from the pool table or cue rack that Barlow must have inadvertently touched in Eva's basement prior to arriving at the Petrie's house.
....I see the logic in that, and remember the pool table-but Barlow being that clumsy??.....also recall, thanks to your post about the exchange at the docks, just because there wasn't a stamp, doesn't preclude some type of blue marking or ink that could have gone unnoticed given the stress and of the situation....
 
Aug 17, 2017
2
5
43
#50
....I see the logic in that, and remember the pool table-but Barlow being that clumsy??.....also recall, thanks to your post about the exchange at the docks, just because there wasn't a stamp, doesn't preclude some type of blue marking or ink that could have gone unnoticed given the stress and of the situation....
The crates were delivered to the Marsten House on September 22 and Barlow's coffin was unpacked that same night. The letter from Barlow to Ben, Matt, Jimmy, Father Callahan and Mark that they found upon entering the Marsten House basement on October 5th was dated October 4 as that is when Barlow had vacated the premises. Barlow attacked the Petrie house and grabbed Mark later that same evening (of October 5th). The probability that the small smears on two of Barlow's fingers came from the crate on September 22nd and were still visible in a darkened kitchen 12 days later is zero . Especially when SK had hinted at the pool table and cue chalk twice prior to Jimmy reaching his conclusion as to where Barlow was hiding.
 

GNTLGNT

The idiot is IN
Jun 15, 2007
84,446
334,643
57
Cambridge, Ohio
#51
The crates were delivered to the Marsten House on September 22 and Barlow's coffin was unpacked that same night. The letter from Barlow to Ben, Matt, Jimmy, Father Callahan and Mark that they found upon entering the Marsten House basement on October 5th was dated October 4 as that is when Barlow had vacated the premises. Barlow attacked the Petrie house and grabbed Mark later that same evening (of October 5th). The probability that the small smears on two of Barlow's fingers came from the crate on September 22nd and were still visible in a darkened kitchen 12 days later is zero . Especially when SK had hinted at the pool table and cue chalk twice prior to Jimmy reaching his conclusion as to where Barlow was hiding.
...I bow to your knowledge of minutiae....
 
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