Somoza's narrative begins when Heracles Pontor, a well-known Decipherer
of Enigmas, is retained by Diagoras of Mardontes, a teacher of philosophy at Plato's academy, to investigate the circumstances surrounding the gruesome death of Tramachus, one of his outstanding pupils.
But Heracles Pontor, known as the Decipherer
of Enigmas, is not convinced.
Earlier still, he describes an occasion when the Royal Mail was overtaken by a "tawdry thing from Birmingham, a Tallyho or Highflier, all flaunting with green and gold" and covered with "as much writing and painting on its sprawling flanks as would have puzzled a decipherer
from the tombs of Luxor" (191).
His brother Dillwyn -- my uncle Dilly -- was a wartime codebreaker and a peacetime decipherer
of ancient Greek manuscripts.
If, for instance, the decipherer
will claim that the sign G[A.
Smith, a retiring editor who "knows as much about the domestic lives of the Carlyles as anyone now living" and is further an incomparable decipherer
of their handwriting (Letters 25: vii).
Your reputation as a decipherer
of dreams is international.
Nonetheless, while no one doubts Rawlinson's courage and commitment, his reputation as a decipherer
is no longer what it was.
There is also no reference to undeciphered scripts, apart from the Etruscan script (where it is the underlying language, rather than the Greek-derived signs themselves, that remains a mystery)--not to mention an absence of the great decipherers
Jean-Francois Champollion and Michael Ventris.