This year we’ve all needed to find things to do and occupy our minds as the majority of us have been homebound thanks to the ongoing global pandemic. While a vaccine is now being rolled out and there is a light at the end of the tunnel, there’s still a way to go before we’ll be returning to anything that remotely resembles normality. That means we’ll still need entertainment to occupy us and if you’re sick of binging Netflix or working through your DVD collection, you may want to turn your attention to Stephanie Von Reiswitz’s ‘Murder Most Puzzling’.
A lovely looking hard-back book, ‘Murder Most Puzzling’ puts you in the shoes of private detective Medea Thorne’s side kick. At the start you’re hired to help her solve 20 tricky cases and it soon becomes clear you’re going to be mostly left to your own devices. Each of the murders features one or two pages of text that tell the story and they are accompanied by a page or two of illustrations. Once you’ve read the text, you need to study the illustrations to find clues and decide who you think committed the murder.
Be warned, these puzzles are not easy and they really do require you to think and pay close attention. If you get really stuck, you can turn to the back of the book to look at clues for each mystery and then once you make your accusation, you can check that against the solutions to see if you were right. The murders start off with ‘The Collector’, where a renowned collector is found with his head bashed in and you have to look through his collection to figure out who dealt the fatal blow.
An element that could have been stronger is the solutions. While it tells you what you should have been looking for and who the culprit is, it doesn’t give you any kind of motive. Everyone who loves a good murder mystery knows that the motive is one of the most satisfying parts of the reveal so it’s a shame that’s not really discussed here. You could summarise your own theory but there’s not a whole lot of information to go off.
‘Murder Most Puzzling’ is definitely a different experience and I, for the most part, enjoyed it. It could have been a little stronger in places but it really did make me scratch my head as I tried to figure out the solutions. Add to that the eye-catching design and illustrations, and it’s a very nice book to have in your collection. ‘Murder Most Puzzling’ is aimed at adults but I would say it should be fine for older teenagers too.
Publisher: Chronicle Books Release date: 25th August 2020 Buy ‘Murder Most Puzzling’ now