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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Did they cross time zones when they went out for dinner? 

No.

Randy Jackson said:

Did they cross time zones when they went out for dinner? 

Did he succeed in killing his wife ?

Yes.

Randy Jackson said:

Did he succeed in killing his wife ?

Did he fail to kill his wife at 8:46?

Peter Wrexham said:

He planned to start a new life by murdering his wife, and resolved to do it at 8:46 that evening, the exact moment he turned 40.  But then she came to the office, to take him for a birthday dinner downtown before going home.  She dawdled so long over the meal and drinks that it was 8:45 when they parked outside the house.  Still, the porch was dark enough that he could club her down with his blackjack before opening the door to drag her inside.

What goes wrong with his plan?

"What goes wrong with his plan?"

You mean besides the stupid idea of wanting to kill his wife to begin with?

My official question is: "Did he forget his house key and got caught before getting the body indoors?"

Did his wife take so long at the meal because she knew a surprise party was being organised at home?

Which the man found to his cost when he dragged her body inside!

In hindsight I like MethodEng's question better, and I'll be surprised if that isn't the solution.

Given my track record at getting these I'll be surprised if it is! 

Lee Houston, Junior said:

In hindsight I like MethodEng's question better, and I'll be surprised if that isn't the solution.

No.

Randy Jackson said:

Did he fail to kill his wife at 8:46?

No.

Lee Houston, Junior said:

Did he forget his house key and got caught before getting the body indoors?

Yes.  Congratulations!  Your turn next.

MethodEng said:

Did his wife take so long at the meal because she knew a surprise party was being organised at home?

Which the man found to his cost when he dragged her body inside!

This was yet another puzzle inspired by the fiction of Fredric Brown, in the case the short-short story Nightmare in Yellow.  It may well be the last one I use, as I seem to be running out of suitable candidates.

Here's the final paragraph of the story:

He swung the blackjack viciously once, as she stood at the front door, waiting for him to open it.  He caught her before she fell and managed to hold her upright with one arm while he got the door open and then got it closed from the inside.  Then he flicked the switch and yellow light leaped to fill the room, and, before they could see that his wife was dead and that he was holding her up, all the assembled birthday party guests shouted "Surprise!"

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