If you revel in the sport of armchair criminal investigation, The Baffle Book is just your cup of poisoned orange pekoe. Here are fifteen old-fashioned but wonderfully challenging "detective puzzles," the unraveling of which requires you to develop your latent powers of observation and deduction "those qualities of mind," the authors argue, "which make the solution of the most inscrutable mysteries a veritable pleasure."
In words, charts, and diagrams, Messrs. Wren and McKay put you at the crime scene and present you with the facts established by the police. What do you observe? Which are the telltale clues? What do you deduce? And how will you answer the questions posed at the end of each problem: "Who stole the emerald?" "Where did the gang plan to meet?" "In what city had the amnesia victim once worked?"
Each question is scored to a degree of difficulty, with a perfect score of ten points per puzzle. And if you find you are stumped, you can turn to the back of the book, where the answers are printed (but upside-down, to deter you from giving up too easily). Don't cheat: you'll only spoil the fun.
In such puzzle-stories as "The Evidence on the Japanned Box," "The Toledo Death Threat," and "The Huppheimer Museum Robbery," Wren and McKay sparked a craze for "ten-minute mysteries" that spread through the American pulp-detective magazines of the late 1920s. These are the granddaddies and perhaps the most perfect examples of this venerable puzzle genre.
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