Saturday, July 7, 2012

Two Minute Mysteries

Has anyone read Two Minute Mysteries by Donald J. Sobol?  It's a book that's filled with short, 1-2 page mysteries for people to solve.  It's a good book, but the downside is that most of the mysteries are overly easy to solve.  That's because the stories are so short that there's no room for putting in something unrelated to the case.  The result is that the witness is always the culprit, and he or she always makes an obvious mistake that proved his or her guilt.

Let me try to demonstrate what a typical Two Minute Mystery looks like, in 300 words or less.

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Detective Ernwinkle Snaglefoompus stepped into the restaurant.  A dead body lay slumped over a table.  Various officers were investigating the crime scene, while one police officer greeted the detective and briefed him on the situation.

"A murder, huh?" Detective Snaglefoompus asked.  "Who's the victim?"

"The victim is Dr. Ralph Hooligan," the cop said.  "He was found dead, fifteen minutes ago."

"Hooligan...Why does that name sound familiar?" the detective wondered.

"He was in the news recently," the cop said.  "His organization just got a $50 million grant, so they could find a cure for lactose intolerance.  He claimed that ridding himself of the disease was the goal of his life."

"And now his life is over," Detective Snaglefoompus quipped.  "Hard to believe someone would kill a famous scientist in a public place like this.  Who found the body?"

The cop jerked his finger towards a nervous-looking man in a suit.  "That would be the waiter," he said.  "He claims he was assigned to the victim's table."

Detective Snaglefoompus went to question the waiter, who was giving his official statement to the police.

"As I said earlier, Dr. Hooligan was fine when I brought him his dessert," the waiter said.  "It was a vanilla milkshake, one of our specialties.  Can I get you one, detective?"

"Maybe later," Detective Snaglefoompus said.  "What happened next?"

"I don't know," the waiter said.  "I came by with the check ten minutes later, and he was dead!  Someone must have killed him during that time."

"Someone like...YOU!" Detective Snaglefoompus said, in an overly dramatic manner.

WHAT IS DETECTIVE SNAGLEFOOMPUS TALKING ABOUT?

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Solution: The waiter is lying about what happened.  The victim did not order a milkshake for dessert, because the victim was lactose intolerant.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

hahaha very good! i got that right away! i feel smart:)

Anonymous said...

Hahaha yeah. I like the "mystery puzzles" that show a picture and ask you to describe what went on at the crime scene. They have a bit more room for different theories.

Miriam said...

Ooh, I used to love when my teachers would read these to us in elementary school! They're sort of like the longer Mindtrap questions. (That's a fun game, by the way.) :D

Anonymous said...

Wooo! I guessed it!

Anonymous said...

Haha that was the awesomest puzzle ever. That would be funny if someone tried to make a cure for lactose intolerence :D (and nice.)

Anonymous said...

I had a nostalgia attack when I read your post. :D I remember reading that book years ago over and over again, as well as the Encyclopedia Brown series. :)

Anonymous said...

Oh, and P.S., your spoof was spot on! The style was so similar to the book that I don't think I could tell the difference. :D

Diana said...

I love those! I feel so smart when
I figure them out, haha.

Miriam said...

~Solution to my failed attempt at a two-minute mystery posted on the blog post above this one~

Michael knew that Ken had killed Ed, because Ken hadn't tripped over Ed's body when he went through the dark hallway.
"Well, Ken Vickted, looks like you're about to be CONvicted for murder! Ha!" yelled Michael, pointing his finger in Ken's face.


It was only kind of similar to the "she had to turn the lights on" solution, but this was as close as I could get. :/

Anonymous said...

Actually , they did not tell us that the victim was lactose intolerant. Ok? And u cant assume that he was just because his lifes mission was killing the disease. Because maybe his mother or his boyfriend was lactose intolerant and thats why its near and dear to his heart. GIRL, they THINK theyr too smart but girl I have known and seen better.

Alexandra said...

Uhh...Anonymous 1:58am.....perhaps you missed this...
"He claimed that ridding HIMSELF of the disease was the goal of his life."

Anonymous said...

OMG! I have that book! There was a misprint in it though, so I have to hold it up to a mirror and upside-down to read the second part of the mystery.

Jamiexgsu said...

hahaha very good! i got that right away! i feel smart:)