Answer: trickling out the secret little by little so that maybe readers get it, maybe not. It can’t be too obvious, but all the info has to be there from the beginning so that when the book is done, the reader says, “Hey, DUH! I should have seen that coming!” It can’t be so clear that the narrator or main character seems thick for not getting it right away. If the reader should figure it out, they should be sympathetic with the MC for not seeing through the shroud of deception. Little lines form characters can foreshadow the truth, but can’t be like a mallet beating the reader on the head.
The last forty minutes had been spent in taking, or rather hauling, the Junior Sixth through not nearly enough of In Marcum Antonium II. For a man so long and so thoroughly dead it was remarkable how much boredom, and also how precise an image of nasty silliness Cicero could generate. ‘Anthony was worth ten of you, you bastard,” Patrick said.
The final paragraph of Shackleton Bailey’s afterword was one of the things which inspired me to write about Cicero in the first place:
Is it not time to value Cicero by other standards than his own? Not as a statesman, moralist, and author, but as the vivid, versatile, gay, infinitely conversable being who captivated his society and has preserved so much of himself and it in his correspondence. Alive, Cicero enhanced life. So can his letters do, if only for a student here and there, taking time away from belittling despairs to live among Virgil’s Togaed People, desperate masters of a larger world.