Friday, May 08, 2009

More Mental Exercises

I picked up a book called "Still More Two-Minute Mysteries" at a library sale last year. Hanover is a huge fan of Nancy Drew so I thought she would enjoy another type of mystery to solve. She was emphatically not interested last year. After helping me reorganize the bookshelves she was more intriqued when she came across it. I remember reading this series as a kid.

These are set up as old-school murder mysteries with a Sherlock twist. A murder case is discussed in about a page and there is a little clue given to help the reader determine whether the suspect is guilty or innocent. The reader can think about it as long as the wish. The solution is printed upside-down at the bottom of the page.

An example:

The Case of the Big Dipper

"Curtis Brown was shot to death between ten and eleven o'clock last night," Inspector Winters told Dr. Haledjian.

"The body was found at midnight in the kitchen of his home by his mother. She telephoned headquarters at once.

"Brown was a wealthy bachelor. His estate will be divided evenly between his mother and Tim Brown, a nephew. That automatically make Tim suspect number one."

"Has he an alibi?" inquired Haledjian.

"He claims he never left the roof of his house from nine last night till [sic] four this morning," replied the inspector. "Tim's recently become a camera fiend. He says he spent the night photographing the stars."

The inspector handed Haledjian a folder thick with large photographs of the heavens.

"Tim says he was taking these pictures at the time of the murder," the inspector went on. "His house is a two-hour drive from his uncle's."

The inspector tapped a photograph marked "one-hour exposure."

"He insists he took this picture between nine-thirty and ten-thirty last night."

Haledjian studied the photograph--a beautifully clear shot of the Big Dipper.

The inspector said, "If Tim really clicked his lens on at nine-thirty and off at ten-thirty, he couldn't have traveled two hours and killed his uncle between ten and eleven."

"I'm not an astrologist," replied Haledjian. "But from reading the stars in this photograph, I predict a cloudy future for Mr. Tim Brown!"


It is certainly an exercise for a younger kid to understand what the photo shows. I'll post the answer tomorrow in case you have not had the advantage of attending my husband's astronomy class to figure this out.

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