The Enigma by John Fowles
"The Enigma" involves all of the elements of a good mystery. It involves a search for a
man who just disappeared one day out of the blue with no trace as to what could have happened.
This essay will establish the important points of the story such as the sergeant's role in the case,
his similarities to the main character as well as his relationship with the son of the main character's
girlfriend, and what is ultimately uncovered in the end.
"When John Marcus Fielding disappeared, he therefore contravened all social and
statistical probability. Fifty-seven years old, rich, happily married with a son and two daughters;
on the board of several City companies...but the most profoundly anomalous aspect of his case
was that he was also a Conservative Member of Parliament," (Fowles 191-192). Since he was
such a prominent figure, his disappearance came as a shock to everyone that he knew. His wife
frantically tried to trace her husbands steps by calling all of the places that he could possibly have
been at, but nobody saw him. It was like he had just disappeared into space...he was gone. Mrs.
Fielding took the disappearance to the next level and called in a personal detective. She went
through everything with the detective and "a few minutes later the hunt was at last placed in
professional hands," (Fowles 198). Mrs. Fielding's philosophy could be summed up best in this
manner with respect to a professional search;
"I have done all that I have could to find him, it is your turn." Word spread that Fielding
was missing and it became the big headline in the news. All sorts of stories were fabricated,
including that he was trying to escape his life and that he possibly had an accomplice carry out and
assist him with the disappearing act. That is where Michael Jennings came into the picture. He
came up with his own ideas with respect to the disappearance. "He spent the day following the
secret decision in going through the now bulky file on Fielding, and at the end of it he drew up for
himself a kind of informal summary that he called State of Play. It listed the possibilities and their
counter-arguments...The sergeant then wrote a second heading Wild Ones," (Fowles 203-204).
Jennings listed everything from murder to suicide, from abduction to paranoia. There were no
leads into any of the sergeant's possibilities so he began to question people in order to make for a
better understanding of what could have possibly happened. His job was to hunt people down,
question them until he was blue in the face and solve the mystery.
This was a difficult job, as was the job that Fielding possessed as a Conservative Member
of Parliament. Both Jennings and Fielding had jobs that not too many people had the desire to
possess because of their essence of complexity. Fielding was also similar to Jennings with respect
to the love that they both had towards Mrs. Fielding. Mr. Fielding...