[DWJ] Black Maria

Catherine Butler cathcbutler at gmail.com
Tue Dec 12 01:00:27 EST 2017

Diana would certainly have known the term as meaning a police van - it’s in
fairly common usage in the UK. (I`ve never heard paddy wagon here - it
feels very American to me.) However, the book mentions Black Maria as the
name of a card game, so I take it that`s the primary reference, I've never
played the game under that name, but imagine it's like the one I knew as a
child, before I foreswore cards on the grounds that they're boring, under
the charming name The Black Bitch, where the aim is not to hold the queen
of spades.


On Tuesday, 12 December 2017, Elizabeth Evans <er.evans at auckland.ac.nz>

> Hello Martha
> In New Zealand in the 1960s and early 70s 'Black Maria' was an idiomatic
> term for a police van, but I think 'Black Maria' was overtaken by the term
> 'Paddy Wagon'.
> I'm afraid I don't know what the current term is, but I wouldn't be
> surprised if it has changed again.
> Regards
> Elizabeth.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Dwj [mailto:dwj-bounces at suberic.net] On Behalf Of Martha Hixon
> Sent: Tuesday, 12 December 2017 3:29 PM
> To: Diana Wynne Jones discussion <dwj at suberic.net>
> Subject: [DWJ] Black Maria
> hi, everyone,
> I was reading *The Hanged Man *by P.N. Elrod, and ran across the term a
> Black Maria, meaning a police van. I immediately thought of Diana's book by
> that name, and was wondering whether anyone knows whether she was making
> conscious connections when she used that term, or of course if anyone else
> has made that connection, or has another insight on that title--?
> it's *Aunt Maria *here in the U.S., so I'm more familiar with that
> title--and I confess, I was unfamiliar with that term as a reference to a
> "real" thing, so "aunt" has always made more sense to me.
> Martha
> Dr. Martha P. Hixon
> Department of English
> Middle Tennessee State University
> Murfreesboro, TN 37132
> 615.898.2599 / martha.hixon at mtsu.edu
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