The Boat


  • Look at the picture and imagine that you are a detective responsible for finding out what happened here. What do you know for certain? What questions do you have? Compare your questions to the ones below – did you think of any others? Did you miss anything?
  • Who is the man? 
  • Why was he in the boat? Where was he going? What was he doing? Why was he wearing a suit? Is this appropriate attire for rowing? When he got dressed that morning, did he know that he would be in a rowing boat later that day? 
  • Was he alone? 
  • Is there something in the water?
  • What caused the boat to lift up out of the water and turn over? 
  • What happened to the man after this? Was he able to give evidence after this event? 


  • Try role-playing different interviews and conversations around this picture:
    • Two detectives trying to work out what has happened;
    • A detective and an eye-witness;
    • A detective and the man (if he is able to give evidence);
    • A detective and the owner of the boat rental shop;
    • Anyone else?
  • When you have decided on what you think is the most probable explanation, write a detective’s report detailing your conclusions and the evidence.


  • Fiction link: ‘Francis‘, by Dave Eggers. (Use the transcript if the film is judged to be unsuitable for your class).


Credit: Tim O’Brien

  • Anonymous
    Posted at 00:24h, 01 June Reply

    I wrote a whole crooked story out of it!

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