Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Mysterious Puzzles

Kerry Hammond is here today to tell is about solving mysterious puzzles...

I was never a huge fan of puzzles in general. To me, putting a bunch of pieces together while staring at the image on the box wasn’t a lot of fun. Once you were finished, you just tore the pieces apart again. It also seemed like cheating, having the image right there on the box. It made it so that there weren’t even any surprises. Then one day I discovered mystery puzzles and I am now an addict.

Mystery puzzles are different from regular puzzles in two ways: (1) You don’t have a picture of the puzzle on the box, and (2) when you’re done you use the completed puzzle to solve a mystery, finding clues in the image. They’re so much fun and I find that people who like puzzles enjoy them, and people like me, who were never puzzle people, enjoy them too. I have a friend who is also addicted and we swap with each other whenever we find a new one.

The main idea is that the picture that you see when you complete the puzzle is the crime scene and contains clues. This is the main reason why the image you’re putting together isn’t on the front of the box like a regular puzzle. If it was, you wouldn’t need to do the puzzle. Inside each box is a booklet that contains a story, which is sometimes it’s even written by a famous writer. I tend to read the story once before putting the puzzle together (so the mystery is in the back of my mind while I piece things together – pun intended). Then, when I am finished with the puzzle, I read it again and then study the finished crime scene and try to solve the mystery. The booklet will usually require you to read the final page, the solution, in a mirror. It’s written backwards so that you don’t accidentally see it and spoil the fun.

The puzzles I’ve found have been anywhere from 500 to 1000 pieces. I have even done a 3D one that was shaped like a rectangle office building. I have completed several that consisted of two puzzles in one 
box. You build two different scenes: a before and after image of the crime scene. These can be harder because you don’t know which scene each piece belongs to until you start to build them and see the patterns. The clues tend to be what is changed, missing or added to the “after” scene. 

There are many different themes you can find: Murder of Course (golf course), A Recipe for Murder (cooking), Grounds For Murder (coffee), Foul Play & Cabernet (wine), you get the idea. You can even get Sherlock Holmes, Alfred Hitchcock, and I’ve completed a Da Vinci Code one. There are a few different companies that make these puzzles, one of my favorites is called bePuzzled, and you can buy them on Amazon, Etsy, and I even find them in my local thrift shop where people donate them after they’re finished. 

These are great gift ideas for mystery lovers. Getting a book is wonderful, but to get a mystery requiring you to solve a puzzle to get to the clues, well that’s just a new and unique challenge.


  1. These puzzles sound super fun. I'll have to pick one up now!

  2. These look like so much fun! I need to find these. :)

  3. I am really struggling with Foul Play And Cabernet - not having a picture to copy is very hard - particularly when there are so many similar colours! any clues (or a finished image would be lovely....... :) )