'beating the rap'

Boy   Friday, October 31, 2003, 21:10 GMT
Folks - After reading Antimoon's articles about English made me think to buy a novel for reading. This is my first novel as a reader. I bought it yesterday and I am now reading it. Not a big novel in length but quite full of suspense. In short, it is about a mysterious murder. A girl was stabbed murdered and private eyes are investigating different people and trying to find out clues who actually murdered her.

I came across a phrase that I simply did not understand. Please help me out what it means in the given context.

"My husband is one of the leading criminal attorneys in Southern California. I understand his clients refer to him as 'Old A.B.C.', and whenever there is talk about getting caught or, as they call it in crook jargon, 'beating the rap', someone will show that he is wise to the ropes by similing and saying:
It's just as simple as A.B.C!
Julian   Saturday, November 01, 2003, 07:18 GMT
Translation: "My husband is so skilled at being a criminal attorney that when crooks are arrested for a crime they commit, they immediately call him to help them win their case and go free ('beat the rap')."
Boy   Saturday, November 01, 2003, 12:21 GMT
Julian, Thanks for your help. I now understand what this phrase means. Your translation fits to the story so I buy it for sure.
Boy   Saturday, November 01, 2003, 12:22 GMT
Julian, Thanks for your help. I now understand what this phrase means. Your translation fits to the story so I buy it for sure.
Boy   Tuesday, November 04, 2003, 08:27 GMT
"We've been putting a line on this babe," he said, "and we've uncovered some funny stuff."

"What is it, Bert?"
"She was a Dick."
"For the city?"

"No. a private dick. Ran a little agency of her own.
"What sort of work?"

"For the most part she specialises on cases involving playboys."

a)Tell me please what 'dick' means in the given context.

b)What does 'Suit yourself' mean? If you used it in a dialogue, I'd understand it a bit more better.

c) Q: How did you do all that in such a short apre of time?
A: "Leg work and luck". What does 'leg' mean here? Is it lengthy work or legal work?

Thanks in advance.
Boy   Tuesday, November 04, 2003, 08:28 GMT
Correction: ...a short spare of time.
mjd   Tuesday, November 04, 2003, 09:28 GMT
A) "Dick" in this case means a private investigator (often called a private-eye). The term comes from the slang "Dick Tracy" for a private investigator.

B) "Suit yourself"......Here's a dialogue:

John: "Do you want to play baseball today?"
Joe: "No, I'd rather stay in tonight and watch my TV shows."
John: "Okay. Suit yourself."

(It pretty much means..."Whatever, if that's what you want to do.")

C) "Leg Work".....It means all of the hard work one has to do to get something done.

While the top professors might get all of the glory for teaching a class, their teaching assistants do all of the "leg work" like attending to students' questions and needs etc.
Boy   Tuesday, November 04, 2003, 12:18 GMT
Thanks for your help. I'm in the middle of the novel. If I find out any difficult terms or expressions, I'll post them here. For me, stick around here.

A) "As you wish"....has the same purpose of meaning like "Suit yourself"?
mjd   Tuesday, November 04, 2003, 22:29 GMT
It can. "As you wish" can be a response to a command.


John: "I changed my mind. Paint the entire exterior of the house yellow."
Painter: "As you wish."

This response is rather lofty, but that's what it means. At times it can also have the same meaning as "suit yourself."
Boy   Thursday, November 06, 2003, 10:50 GMT
A)"I think we may be able find the burglar and If we do we're going to require an iron-clad identification." Here, what does 'iron-clad' mean?

B)"We have only two weapons we can use -- brains and two-fisted honesty."

What does 'two-fisted honesty' mean ?

C)"I'm not the one who would be trying the case, but it looks to me like you've got a perfect case there, absolutely dead open-and-shut."

What does 'dead open-and-shut' mean?

D) How did she die?
She was murdered.
Who killed her?
That's what we are trying to find out.
Sounds like a 'cock-and-bull' story to me. What does this phrase mean?
mjd   Thursday, November 06, 2003, 21:39 GMT
Before I answer your questions, Boy, I recommend this site on idioms, as it seems to be idiomatic expressions that are tripping you up (notice my idiom there).


A) "iron-clad"......it means solid, without any doubt. Fingerprints would be an iron-clad form of identification. "Clad" is a somewhat archaic past tense and past participle of the verb "to clothe" ('clothed' is more commonly used), so to be "iron-clad" means "dressed in iron", but the expression means strong or "air-tight."

B) "two-fisted honesty"....blunt or harsh honesty....."Two-fisted" also denotes strength, so they essentially wouldn't be holding anything back. Think of being tough and raising two fists.

C) an "open and shut case" is one that is easy to judge; i.e. not complex.

D) "cock-and-bull".....a cock-and-bull story is a bullshit story, or a nonsensical story.
Boy   Thursday, November 06, 2003, 22:03 GMT

That's a wicked site, where did you get it?
Now, I can figure out all freaking expressions.

This not only covers idioms but also slang and sayings.
mjd   Sunday, November 09, 2003, 07:38 GMT

So how was the book? Did you finish it yet?
Boy   Sunday, November 09, 2003, 14:34 GMT

Mixed feelings. It was kinda exciting, to read, first initial part, you know.
The story started very well. The revolving factor in the story was darned good initially through halfway but you know the pace then became quite sedate at the end. It was just a normal formality from the author to stretch it out. Storywise, It was good for me, cause I liked watching FBI investigation type of a movie. Plus, I watched two English movies of that sort of type. So, basicallly, this was my first novel as for reading, based on that type of theme. So, I had a blast but I did not get along with the end. It was just kinda plain thing. Private eyes caught the main guilty person for that stabbed murder. Wasn't the end up to my expectations. Main culprits whom I was tipping not basically the ones who did that murder job. It was someone who had a precise introduction in the whole novel, got that kind of thing done. So, I rate the novel 4 points out off 5. If you were a novel geek, you'd probably give it 3. Though I've to say that I'm still savouring the taste of the first part of the story.

Apart from, It was a new experience for me. I had a great time while reading it. This was basically written by "Erle Stanley gardner" and the novel name was "The D.A breaks an egg".

Reading a novel is a new portal for me as a way of improving my depleted English skills. I'll pertain reading different themes, and I guess reading novels is not boring at all. You can have a hell of a cracking time while reading and at the same time you can accumulate different vocab words.

Boy   Monday, November 10, 2003, 19:45 GMT

What are your favorite authors?
What's your favorite novel?
Do you know any good oldie novels?
Your help is very much appreciated in that regard.

Once again thanks for your co-operation and valuable time.