the butler did it

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the butler did it

An expression used to describe an ending or resolution to a fictional mystery that is stereotypical, predictable, or contrived. Based on the murder mystery cliché of revealing that the butler was the one who committed the murder. The rest of the book was so interesting and well written, which makes the silly the-butler-did-it ending all the more disappointing. The film cops out when it reveals the mastermind behind the whole scheme, boiling down to little more than "the butler did it."
See also: did
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

The butler did it.

 
1. Lit. The butler performed the crime. (A catchphrase.) I know who killed Lord Drax. The butler did it! I saw him!
2. Fig. It happened just the way it always happens. Of course, that's it. The butler did it. The butler always does it.
See also: did
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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References in classic literature ?
With the swiftness and wide-reaching of multitudinous thought Charles Butler's whole life was telescoped upon his vision.
Miss Elsa reminds me in some respects of Lady Angelica Fendall, whom I had the honour of knowing when I was butler to her father, Lord Stockleigh.
The butler had paused below but a few minutes to give orders, and then followed them; now he pressed a button, and the hall blazed with light.
'To continue my statement, however: I relocked the bureau, using the key which Brunton had left, and I had turned to go when I was surprised to find that the butler had returned, and was standing before me.
Something in the butler's manner, a sort of gloating gloom which he radiated, told her that she had arrived at one of these corners now.
"When the lamps were lit," said the butler. "It would be shortly after four."
Well, yes, I think so," said the butler. "Have I been twenty years in this man's house, to be deceived about his voice?
Instantly, by a feat of dexterity, which was the admiration of all the company, and had been, annually, for some years past, the apoplectic butler, bringing his left hand from behind the small of his back, produced the bottle with the corkscrew already inserted; uncorked it at a jerk; and placed the magnum and the cork before his master with the dignity of conscious cleverness.
Sir Pitt came in first, very much flushed, and rather unsteady in his gait; and after him the butler, the canaries, Mr.
It appeared that she and the butler were the only survivors of the prince's original foreign menage the other servants now in the house being new and collected in Norfolk by the housekeeper.
Casson, although he had been an excellent butler for fifteen years.
And when he came into the palace, the flies were sleeping on the walls; the spit was standing still; the butler had the jug of ale at his lips, going to drink a draught; the maid sat with a fowl in her lap ready to be plucked; and the cook in the kitchen was still holding up her hand, as if she was going to beat the boy.
Foka, the butler, was the most ill-tempered person in the house.
The prisoner was defended by Mr Patrick Butler, K.C., who was mistaken for a mere flaneur by those who misunderstood the Irish character-- and those who had not been examined by him.
MONTFORD MASON, Butler to Sir Robert Chiltern PHIPPS, Lord Goring's Servant JAMES }
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