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Policing #77431 12/09/04 08:39 PM
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Peter May Offline OP
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Brown has weird ideas about policing and seems to think Interpol is a super police force.

When he’s collected from his hotel Langdon asks the policeman who collected him from his hotel how they knew which hotel he was at “I assume," Langdon said, "that the American University of Paris told you where I was staying?" The driver shook his head. "Interpol." Interpol, Langdon thought. Of course. He had forgotten that the seemingly innocuous request of all European hotels to see a passport at check-in... On any given night all across Europe, Interpol officers could pinpoint exactly who was sleeping where."

When he’s chasing after Sophie & Langdon in Paris Fache (who Brown says is in the French equivalent of the FBI) calls Interpol and thinks “Even a trained field agent would be lucky to withstand the pressure that Interpol was about to apply. A female cryptologist and a schoolteacher? They wouldn't last till dawn. ..." Would a US FBI officer call Interpol when chasing a suspect in the US? Of course not, why does Brown seem to think that Interpol is policing France?

This is utterly ridiculous. Interpol is an agency that facilitates communications between police forces in different countries. It would have no interest in chasing a French murder suspect within France.

And the idea that Interpol monitors hotel guests is just ludicrous, if its done at all in France, it’s the job of the French police.

In the olden days the local police officer used to visit hotels in the evening and take the registration card with passport details, but its today its rare you are asked to show you passport at check in, there’s a space on the registration form to enter a passport number in some European countries but they don’t check to see if you have.

Throughout the book people are phoning Interpol to report things – nonsense.


And when the plane lands in England. “The chief inspector repositioned himself to block Teabing's progress away from the plane. "I am here at the orders of the French Judicial Police. They claim you are transporting fugitives from the law on this plane." Teabing stared at ..."

“at the orders of the French Judicial Police” ????? The French police cannot order the British police. They might request, and no British policeman would admit to being ‘ordered’ by the French. In fact, the French Judicial Police would probably go to the UK Home Office to ask co-operation.


And later on at the Opus Dei headquarters "This is the London police," the caller said. "We are trying to find an albino monk. We've had a tip-off that he might be there”

Who are the ‘London police’? No such beast. There is the City of London police force responsible for the ‘square mile’ financial district, but the rest of London is policed by the Metropolitan Police. And anyway – why risk alerting them, how do they know the suspect isn’t answering the phone? The cops would surely ask a patrol car to go along and check

Re: Policing #77432 12/10/04 06:35 PM
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Lisa Shea Offline
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Yes it is just baffling that such key parts of the story were set up incorrectly. Part of why I love reading spy novels is to learn all about how the intelligence systems work - but in this case it brings the story to a jarring halt for me. I get a "you must be kidding?!?" response to some of those situations.

It'd be like reading a novel set in a winemaking region and reading that "the winemaker explained that the traditional way to make a white wine was to add red food coloring to the proper coloration". It makes you lose faith in what you're reading, if the basic facts are presented incorrectly.


Lisa Shea, Owner
Re: Policing #77433 12/11/04 04:40 AM
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Lisa Shea Offline
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I'm reading Angels & Demons right now to get notes about it online. "Leonardo" is killed, and his daughter immediately says "let's call Interpol" smile


Lisa Shea, Owner
Re: Policing #77434 12/11/04 04:17 PM
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Peter May Offline OP
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I've already remarked on Fache ordering around the police in Britain. But once here in England he seems to be in control of the investigation charging around London - with his gun! - followed by the 'British' police.

In Westminster Abbey "Exhaling in relief, Fache holstered his Manurhin sidearm and turned to Sophie. .... The British police entered on Fache's heels seizing the anguished prisoner.."

Fache has no more authority in the UK than any other Frenchman. In his position he might be allowed to accompany a British police officer, but he wouldn't be allowed to carry a gun. British police aren't routinely armed, and only those that pass rigorous tests can belong to the firearms units. They're not going to have a French cop running around waving a gun.

Also just as daft is the bit at Biggin Hill airport when all the police arrive carrying guns - even the Chief Inspector(!) who " turned and aimed at Teabing's back. "Stop! I will fire!"

Shoot an unarmed man in the back while he was walking away, on the strength of a phone call from someone in France who says he's a cop?

Dramatic, but never in a million years.

Also Teabing refuses the Police request to look in the plane "No you won't, Inspector. This is private property and until you have a search warrant, you will stay off my plane." Total bollocks. The Police don't need a warrant to enter premises if they think there is a kidnap victim inside who is in danger.

Also the Customs & Excise officers - whose jurisdiction this is - could take the plane apart to its constituent parts should they wish.

Re: Policing #77435 12/13/04 09:45 AM
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Lisa Shea Offline
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It sounds like a lot of the police related issues are quite iffy smile


Lisa Shea, Owner
Re: Policing #77436 12/18/04 12:21 PM
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The Cosmic Warrior Offline
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I think Dan Brown's assumption (which is probably true) is that most of the people reading his books aren't from France or England and so wouldn't spot the massive list of errors. (And so they don't need to be researched properly).

Frankly, this is something that really annoys me about a lot of American books and films!

Re: Policing #77437 12/20/04 02:56 AM
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Lisa Shea Offline
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Right, to write a book for a US audience involving other countries without researching them is sort of shallow. It's assuming us US residents are all dolts who don't know anything about any land outside our borders. And when someone from another country reads it, it makes our authors all look like dolts for not researching their material.

If someone from France wrote about NYC and talked about the Grand Canyon being nearby, you bet our press would have a field day with it!


Lisa Shea, Owner
Re: Policing [Re: Peter May] #432149 01/30/21 08:09 PM
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When he’s chasing after Sophie & Langdon in Paris Fache (who Brown says is in the French equivalent of the FBI) calls Interpol and thinks “Even a trained field agent would be lucky to withstand the pressure that Interpol was about to apply. A female cryptologist and a schoolteacher? They wouldn't last till dawn. ..." Would a US FBI officer call Interpol when chasing a suspect in the US? Of course not, why does Brown seem to think that Interpol is policing France?

Re: Policing [Re: Peter May] #432151 01/31/21 08:28 AM
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When he’s chasing after Sophie & Langdon in Paris Fache (who Brown says is in the French equivalent of the FBI) calls Interpol and thinks “Even a trained field agent would be lucky to withstand the pressure that Interpol was about to apply. A female cryptologist and a schoolteacher? They wouldn't last till dawn. ..." Would a US FBI officer call Interpol when chasing a suspect in the US? Of course not, why does Brown seem to think that Interpol is policing France?
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