A Ghostly Murder - well played... sort of

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JStryker47
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A Ghostly Murder - well played... sort of

Post by JStryker47 »

Once again, I offer you my two cents on a certain Clue Mystery Puzzle: A Ghostly Murder. In this story, Dr. David Black is found dead from an apparent hanging suicide. This prompts (who else but) his six best friends - Mrs. Blanche White, Colonel Mike Mustard, Miss Vivienne Scarlet, Reverend Johnathan Green, Mrs. Elizabeth Peacock, and Professor Peter Plum, to come to Dr. Black's mansion to view his will video.

In said video, Dr. Black explains that he knows a certain friend of his has been ripping him off. (In truth, they all have, but the reader is the only person who knows that.) He apparently made the mistake of confronting said thief and now suspects that the person is plotting to kill him. Therefore, he has hidden the proof of his killer's thievery in a locked and chained box; which his butler Hogarth has the only keys for, and has made a change to his will. Until the box is found and his killer is revealed, none of his friends will inherit anything. And if any of them sets foot outside the estate until then, all of their inheritance will be given to charity. And to cut them even further, he goes on to say that his ghost will haunt the mansion until his killer is found.

The guests spend the next couple of days searching in vain for the box - all the while, reporting nightly sightings of shadowy figures and floating candlesticks, sounds of rattling chains, creaking floorboards, and pounding noises. Finally, the box is found and unlocked by Hogarth.

[spoilers]

When the puzzle is put together, the picture reveals that the box contains a feather duster with a wedding band on its handle. Early in the story, the guests ask Mrs. White about how she was previously married to Dr. Black; which she denies ever happened. Hogarth backs up her story, insisting that the two were never married. The presence of this clue would thus mean that she lied and that Dr. Black found out about Blanche stealing things from the mansion and broke off the marriage; which is why she killed him. Or so the killer would have you believe!

As it turns out, a closer inspection on the box shows that its lock, hinges, and chain have all been tampered with. This means that the real killer found the box, jimmied it open, and switched out the real clue for a fake one. Who could've done this? Only someone who believed Mrs. White had been previously married to Dr. Black. That person could only be Professor Plum.

Plum was late to the video viewing and not present when Mrs. White and Hogarth set the record straight. In truth, the "ghost" was him all along - doing his own search and tampering with the evidence. When Miss Scarlet spotted him one night, he "disappeared" through a secret passage. And in order to throw suspicion off of him, he was the one who reported seeing a candle floating down the halls.

[spoilers end]

So, I say well played to Parker Brothers, for fooling me into believing what the killer wanted me to think. Particularly, given how easy my previous one: The Masquerade Murder, turned out to be. However, I'm afraid there is still one small problem. While I'm sure the forensics team would eventually find the killer's fingerprints on the box, the chain, or the items inside the box, I could not see any actual proof of this suspect's guilt. Sure, the book's solution is certainly plausible, but without some kind of clue to indicate the suspect's identity, it's nothing but pure speculation.

Again, I refer to the first Clue puzzle I've had experience with: Killer On Board. In that puzzle, there were a number of clues to indicate exactly how the whole incident went down, and one in particular that identified the killer. Then, there's my second one: A Merry Little Murder. The clues in that puzzle didn't exactly point to who the killer was, but eliminated all the other suspects. In addition, the solution even stated that the suspect later confessed to killing both Dr. Black and his wife, Rose. (Though it didn't say anything about the killer's reason for killing Rose, or even if it really was an accident, as was theorized in the story.)

So, I close by saying that Parker Brothers did a good job of deceiving me, but in identifying the killer... they could've done a little better. Just a little.

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