The form of this detective story is based on that of the Talmud, in which a central text is surrounded by commentaries. The resulting layout evolved through centuries of copying by hand, and features narrow justified columns and dense pages. Applying similar parameters presented several challenges; narrow columns in particular required extensive typographic fine-tuning. A formal symmetry was maintained between facing pages so that the book is experienced as spreads. This required flexible interaction between the editor, typographers and author, who sometimes changed copy to fit the measure. The give-and-take between the restrictions of written English (with many unbreakable words of six or seven characters), the copy and the design requirements echoes the spirit of the tale itself.
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