Many years ago, I taught folklore at a summer camp(we had new campers each week of different ages, from 8-15). At the time, the folklore class was pretty unstructured, so I could more or less do as I pleased. Sometimes I told ghost stories, sometimes sports games, sometimes mythology, whatever I thought might be entertaining to the kids. One of the most useful things we did was two minute mysteries, as they allowed me to be lazy.

The basic rules are as follows: a scenario is laid before the people playing, and you're allowed to ask as many yes/no questions as you like to determine the answer. The answer to the question may also be 'Irrelevant' if it has no bearing on the solution.

I request the following :

* One question per post

* If you already know the answer, please keep it to yourself and let others play. Same with Googling the answer.

Once the scenario is solved, the person who solves it gets to post a new one OR they can pass it back to someone else who's interested (FYI, I'm happy to post more).

So here's the first scenario:

A man is found dead, surrounded by 52 bicycles. What happened?

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Is hell a part of any intentional signage in the area? 

“Part of any intentional signage”


Is there a gas station in the vicinity? 


Randy Jackson said:

Is there a gas station in the vicinity? 

Is the gas station on fire? 


Randy Jackson said:

Is the gas station on fire? 

Is it a "Shell" station? 


Randy Jackson said:

Is it a "Shell" station? 

Did he wake up in the middle of the night, see the Shell sign burning and realize that he didn't want to be in the vicinity of a burning gas station? 

That's good. Now, if you can just explain how the fire started...

No, seriously, you have the answer.

Your turn.

I'm trying to complete a novel draft this month so that I have something to shop around once the first one gets released in November. I may not be as active in the next few weeks.

Good luck on your novel J. D. 

A woman has incontrovertible proof in court that her husband was murdered by her sister. The judge declares, "This is the strangest case I've ever seen. Though it's a cut-and-dried case, this murderess cannot be punished."

JD, I look forward to your November novel appearing.  From what you said about it a while back (an SF convention with a real alien present, if I remember correctly) it sounds very much my sort of thing!

Randy, in the judge's statement, does "murderess" refer to the sister?

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