It's not just for breakfast anymore.
This TOAST gets you out of a jam
T.O.A.S.T. - the Theory of All Small Things - ignores the seemingly obvious to consider only small details so that when they're added together they reveal an undeniable truth.
This is how Margaret describes it in the book and it's a good start to understanding what makes Florian such an amazing detective. The idea is that when people try to deceive you, they concentrate on the big things, but often forget about little ones. So, if you only look at those, sometimes you can discover clues that everyone else has overlooked.
When Florian first teaches Margaret how to use T.O.A.S.T. he takes her to the National Gallery of Art and shows her the picture below: The Emperor Napoleon in His Study at the Tuileries by Jacques-Louis David.
(EXCERPTED FROM FRAMED!)
We walked across the hall and I showed her a large portrait of Napoleon standing in his study. “Okay, here’s Napoleon,” I said. “What time is it?”
“That’s easy,” she said looking at the grandfather clock in the picture. “Four-thirteen.”
“A.m. or p.m.?”
She scrunched up her face and thought about it for a moment before saying, “I don’t know.”
“See if you can figure it out,” I said. “Use TOAST.”
It took her a minute, but when she did she flashed an aha-smile. "A.m."
“How do you know?” I asked.
“Because the candle’s lit,” she said. "It's the middle of the night. Four a.m."
“That's TOAST,” I told her. “Now let's go try it on some living people."
Florian's Framed! Photos
When I research a book, I try to explore the world of the characters as much as possible. This includes visiting locations, interviewing people, online research and when I'm lucky behind the scenes tours. Most of these pictures were ones I took while researching Framed! and Vanished!, the second book in the T.O.A.S.T. Mystery Series.