Whodunut: Maria's Last Clue

The following is a Whodunit by Hy ConradThese mysteries are from The Little Giant® Book of Whodunits by Hy Conrad and Matt LaFleur. Can you solve the mystery before you read the solution?

Sergeant Vacca had been on the homicide squad for eight years and had never once run into a deathbed clue. Not once had he heard a dying man blurt out the name of his killer or seen him grab at his St. Christopher medal in order to incriminate a suspect named Chris. Even though he was a devout mystery fan, Sergeant Vacca had begun to seriously doubt that such things ever really happened. Until now.
His captain was still skeptical. "Who says this is a deathbed clue? Looks like a bunch of gibberish." The gibberish consisted of two words typed on a computer screen.

The police had found Maria Consuela alone in her downtown office cubicle. The attractive legal secretary had stayed late to finish typing up a brief and had been rewarded with a blunt object to the head and ribs. There was no sign of forced entry and little sign of struggle—an indication that she had known her attacker.

A pool of blood trailed away from the cubicle's doorway and ended in Maria's collapsed body, right under the edge of her desk. "It must have taken her last ounce of strength to crawl over here," Sergeant Vacca theorized. "She must have had some reason."

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Whodunit: Bye-Bye Bully

The following is a Whodunit by Hy ConradThese mysteries are from The Little Giant® Book of Whodunits by Hy Conrad and Matt LaFleur. Can you solve the mystery before you read the solution?

(Image credit: Yumi Kimura)

A lot of towns have their neighborhood bullies. But few neighborhood bullies were as hated as Pete Weider of Cozy Heights and, luckily for the crime statistics, even fewer wound up like Peter.

A passing patrol car heard the screams and responded immediately. They found the burly corpse in his own backyard, with multiple stab wounds. There were signs of a struggle, and blood was everywhere around the fenced-in yard. The officers immediately went to question the neighbors and were surprised to discover that not a single one had heard or seen a thing.

"They're lying, of course," the homicide captain said when he heard the news. At least three men on the block had been outside when the murder occurred and the captain insisted on talking to them as soon as possible.

Blake Fromm had just finished painting his porch when the captain approached. A young, genial man, Blake wiped his hands on his nearly spotless jeans before shaking hands. The captain immediately noticed the cassette player on Blake's belt and the earphones draped around his neck. 'I've been outside all morning. The porch ceiling took forever. Pete lives two doors away. I really didn't hear or see anything," he added apologetically.

Nelson Olson had been in his garden, right next door to the victim's yard. "I was in and out of the house. Weeding. Planting bulbs for the fall." There was dirt on his hands and under his nails. "Inside, I had the air conditioner cranked up. It all must have happened when I was indoors. Sorry."

Kenny Kitchner's story was even less plausible. "I was on a ladder, washing my windows," the paunchy, middle-aged man admitted. His T-shirt was still wet. The captain could see that Kenny's yard overlooked the victim's. "I never looked over into Pete Weider's yard, nor did I hear anything. I had other things on my mind."

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Whodunit: Three Weak Alibis

The following is a Whodunit by Hy ConradThese mysteries are from The Little Giant® Book of Whodunits by Hy Conrad and Matt LaFleur. Can you solve the mystery before you read the solution?

(Image credit: Daniel Schwen)

After two straight days of dark skies, the stationary front moved, bathing the city of Seattle in bright sunshine. The change seemed to put everyone in a good mood. Well, almost everyone. Fifteen minutes after the sun broke through, a gunshot rang out in the offices of Claxton & Brightman, attorneys-at-law.
As luck would have it, a trio of security guards just happened to be sitting in the Claxton & Brightman reception area. The guards barreled through an inner door and down the hall. The firm's senior partner, Henry Claxton, lay in a pool of blood in his office, most decidedly dead.

Without exchanging a word, the experienced guards broke up, looking for anyone who might have seen anything. Only three offices were occupied and each occupant had a story.

"I heard Claxton arguing with someone," Annette Goulding told guard number one. "I was reviewing court documents and I tried to mentally block out the sound."

The guard saw the red light blinking on Annette's voice-mail system and asked how long she'd been here in her office. "For nearly an hour," she replied. "When I'm busy I don't answer my phone."

Meanwhile, the second guard was talking to George Brightman, the firm's surviving partner. 'As you can see, Henry's office is way on the other side. I heard nothing until the gunshot. Then I opened my door and looked out into the hall. I heard running footsteps but didn't see anyone." The guard noticed that George's window was open, allowing a warm breeze to play through the blinds.

The third guard was with the firm's youngest lawyer, Ellen Youst. "I've been holed up here for hours, working on a speech I'm delivering tonight." She pointed to her computer, the screen awash in sunlight from the window. Ellen swiveled it so the guard could see. It certainly looked like a boring, lawyerly speech.

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A Real Brain Bender

Can you sift data from a small clue your opponent let slip? Singapore TV host Kenneth Kong posted a puzzle at Facebook. Apparently, he and his wife have been arguing over it. Now, countless workplaces are losing man-hours while people try to figure it out on their own, or are else trying to explain it to each other. Kong says it’s a Sec 3 question, passed to him by a P5 student. Can someone familiar with the Singapore education system explain what that means?   

I don’t think there’s any math involved, technically, but there are numbers, so if you give up and just want to know, the answer is here. The explanation is pretty easy to understand, and it makes me glad I didn’t tackle it. After all this, I doubt Cheryl will be receiving any birthday gifts. -via Uproxx


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Whodunit: The Kidnapping Killer

The following is a Whodunit by Hy ConradThese mysteries are from The Little Giant® Book of Whodunits by Hy Conrad and Matt LaFleur. Can you solve the mystery before you read the solution?

(Image credit: Flickr user Piotr Pawłowski)

"Hi, Mom." It was Alice Grunwald's voice. "I guess you're in the shower. I . . . Wait a minute. Someone's at the door. Anyway, I'll see you at six." The answering machine clicked off, then gave the time of the message, 3:32 p.m.

At six, Mrs. Grunwald arrived at her daughter's apartment. She was looking forward to dinner and hearing about Alice's boyfriend troubles. When Alice didn't answer, she used her own key. There was no one at home. Mrs. Grunwald's heart stopped as she saw blood on the entry hall carpet and a note on the table—a ransom note.

Mrs. Grunwald immediately called the police, who discovered a large amount of blood in one of the building's elevators. More was found in the basement, leading them to check behind the boilers. That's where they found Alice's body. She had been stabbed once and died almost instantly. The coroner set the time of death between 3:30 and 4:00, shortly after the unknown visitor had knocked on Alice's door.
Fernando, the building's janitor, was interviewed. "No one came down to the basement while I was on duty. I get off at 5:30. That's no secret. There's a big notice in the lobby saying so."

The police soon had a theory: The killer couldn't leave Alice's body in the apartment, not if he wanted ransom money. And he couldn't remove her through the lobby. He had to wait up in her apartment, with the dead body, until Fernando was off duty. Then he went down and hid her in the basement.

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Whodunit: Chili Con Carnage

The following is a Whodunit by Hy ConradThese mysteries are from The Little Giant® Book of Whodunits by Hy Conrad and Matt LaFleur. Can you solve the mystery before you read the solution?

(Image credit: FiveRings)

The murder should have been discovered at 7 AM. That's when Gil Caster's assistant, Marie, was supposed to arrive at his Austin, Texas, home and start helping him prepare for the biggest night of his career, the Governor's Chili con Carne Ball.

But Marie and Gil had had a fight just the night before and Marie had quit, leaving Gil's estranged wife, a local television reporter, to find the body at 3 p.m. when she and her crew showed up to interview him. Before the police even arrived, a tearful Aretha Caster was live on the air, reporting the death of her own husband: "Just minutes ago, Texas's most famous down-home chef was found in his kitchen, apparently hacked to death with a meat cleaver. In what can only be described as a cruel afterthought, the unknown killer stuffed the murdered man, head first, into his own chili pot."

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Whodunit: The Suicidal Schemer

The following is a Whodunit by Hy ConradThese mysteries are from The Little Giant® Book of Whodunits by Hy Conrad and Matt LaFleur. Can you solve the mystery before you read the solution?

(Image credit: William Wilkinson)

"Avery Archer was involved in some shady deals," the homicide sergeant said as he gazed down at the body. "Maybe that's why he committed suicide."

It certainly looked like suicide. The businessman in question was slumped back in his office chair, his hands folded peacefully in his lap. The murder weapon, a revolver, had fallen onto the desk, right beside a box of cough drops. The victim had been shot in the back of the mouth at the closest range possible.

"It's near impossible to shoot someone in the throat," the sergeant continued. "Especially when there's absolutely no sign of a struggle."

The man's secretary provided background. "Avery was depressed, partly on account of his lingering cold. Also, a few of his investors were getting suspicious. One even threatened to call the police fraud squad. Avery was working frantically to salvage this one deal. He had a noon appointment today with an investor; I don't know which. When I went to lunch, the investor still hadn't arrived. When I came back, Avery was just like that. Gruesome."

The police checked the contracts and discovered that this particular deal had three investors: Gino Grimaldi, a suspected mob figure; Marie Lackaday, the owner of a chain of gun stores; and Dr. Pete Crocus, a general internist.

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Whodunit: A Theatrical Threat

The following is a Whodunit by Hy ConradThese mysteries are from The Little Giant® Book of Whodunits by Hy Conrad and Matt LaFleur. Can you solve the mystery before you read the solution?

(Image credit: Flickr user Matt Gibson)

Sir Mortimer Gains leaned across and confided a secret. "This is an exclusive, just for the Times. After talking with my new wife and with Alex Toinby, my costar, I have decided to leave the London production of Willy Boy and accept a movie offer in Hollywood. As you know, my bride is American. She's never really gotten used to England."

The reporter was aghast. "But what about your fans here? What about the play? Can it keep running without you?"

Sir Mortimer shrugged. "My producer has agreed to let me out of my contract. Now, if you'll excuse me ..." He motioned toward the dressing room door. "It takes an hour of makeup and preparation before each show." Thrilled to have such a scoop, the reporter rushed out of the King Edward Theatre to file his story.

Sir Mortimer went on that evening to give his usual, brilliant performance. After acknowledging ten curtain calls, he returned to his dressing room. A handwritten note was on his makeup table.

I won't let you take your talents elsewhere. I'd rather see you dead than have you dishonor the British theater. It may take the form of a bomb in your car trunk or poison in your favorite whiskey. But make no mistake; if you go to Hollywood, I will kill you.—A Fan.

The morning Times now had two sensational stories to report: the defection of Sir Mortimer and the threat by a deranged fan.

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Whodunit: Myra's Three Sons

The following is a Whodunit by Hy ConradThese mysteries are from The Little Giant® Book of Whodunits by Hy Conrad and Matt LaFleur. Can you solve the mystery before you read the solution?

(Image credit: Flickr user Joanna Bourne)

Inspector Matthews glanced around the kitchen of the weekend cottage. There was cold coffee in the coffeemaker, an ice cube tray half filled with melting cubes, and just a trace of ash in an ashtray. "All right, Mrs. Thurl. Tell me again."

The next-door neighbor looked uncomfortable. "I had just come home. It was about 8 P.M. I heard a car pull into the driveway next door. I mean here, at this house. When I looked out, two people had arrived and were walking toward the kitchen door. I recognized the woman. Myra Lovesy is rather fat—was. The man I couldn't see. They were fighting. The man grabbed Myra by the throat. She collapsed in a heap. Then the man just unlocked the door and walked inside. It took you long enough to get here—fifteen minutes from the time I called."

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Whodunit: A Hard Day's Night

The following is a Whodunit by Hy ConradThese mysteries are from The Little Giant® Book of Whodunits by Hy Conrad and Matt LaFleur. Can you solve the mystery before you read the solution?

(Image credit: w:en:User:Dev920)

Clive pulled into his driveway, tired and cranky. When he'd taken this job with Gotham Advertising, he knew he'd be working long and hard, but he never expected to be arriving home at 8:30 A.M. With any luck, he could still get in a few hours' sleep before this afternoon's presentation. Clive climbed the porch. He had just put the key in the lock when he heard a noise behind him.

The police arrived ten minutes later, alerted by neighbors who'd heard a gunshot. They found a young businessman dressed in a torn and bloody suit and with a briefcase on the porch by his side. They also found a key chain suspended from the front-door lock and a bullet hole in the young man's chest.

"Looks like a botched robbery," the rookie officer told his partner. "Poor guy must have put up a struggle." He stooped to pick up a nearly empty wallet. "Clive Custard," he read from the driver's license.

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Whodunit: A Nun Too Pretty Murder

The following is a Whodunit by Hy ConradThese mysteries are from The Little Giant® Book of Whodunits by Hy Conrad and Matt LaFleur. Can you solve the mystery before you read the solution?

Harriet Murmer was scheduled to testify against her ex-husband, a capo in the Domino crime family. The FBI had to keep their witness safe and they chose the Convent of Perpetual Solitude, a walled, all-women enclave in the heart of Manhattan. It was perfect. No self-respecting mobster would dare shoot up a community of nuns.

On the second week of Harriet's stay, the FBI's confidence was shattered—as was their case, as was Harriet's skull—by a shell from a .44 magnum. Just as the sisters were gathering for evening vespers, a gunshot echoed through the convent's stone archways. Sister Margaret Mary announced the news. Her tight, starched collar bobbed up and down as she gulped. "Ms. Murmer is dead."

The FBI found their witness in her room on the third floor. "I don't know how an assassin could have gotten in and out without anyone seeing him." Mother Superior shivered.

"Maybe he didn't get in and out," special agent McCormack replied. "Have any new sisters arrived recently?"

In fact, there were three new arrivals.

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Whodunit: Airport Insecurity

The following is a Whodunit by Hy ConradThese mysteries are from The Little Giant® Book of Whodunits by Hy Conrad and Matt LaFleur. Can you solve the mystery before you read the solution?

(Image credit: Flickr user Omar Robert Hamilton)

Phil Moretti hated it when tourists got murdered. It reflected badly on New York City, on Kennedy Airport, and especially on him, chief of airport security. Somehow it didn't seem as bad when the victim was local.

In this case it was a businessman on a flight from Chicago. He had barely gotten off the plane. At 3:42 p.m., a passerby found him stabbed to death in the men's room just a few feet from his arrival gate. The body had been robbed. No jewelry. And although the wallet and credit cards had been left behind, there was no cash.

Three suspicious characters had been seen loitering by the gates. Barely 15 minutes passed from the time of the body's discovery before all three were brought in for questioning.

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Whodunit: A Real False Alarm

The following is a Whodunit by Hy ConradThese mysteries are from The Little Giant® Book of Whodunits by Hy Conrad and Matt LaFleur. Can you solve the mystery before you read the solution?

(Image credit: Flickr user David, Bergin, Emmett and Elliott)

"The car alarm often goes off in hot, humid weather," Elliot Zypher told the inspector from the burglary division. "When it went off last night, I had no idea the car was actually being robbed. This has always been such a safe area."

The detective looked around at the large houses and well-tended lawns and had to agree. "Do you usually leave expensive necklaces out in the car?"

"That was my fault, inspector," answered Elliot's sister, Zelda. "I had just brought the necklace back from the jeweler. We were halfway through dinner when I remembered where it was. Neither Elliot nor I had the energy to go get it. I went right from dinner up to my room. With the windows closed and the air conditioning on, I could barely hear the horn start blaring. I assumed it was the usual false alarm."

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Whodunit: The Pre-Valentines Day Murder

The following is a Whodunit by Hy ConradThese mysteries are from The Little Giant® Book of Whodunits by Hy Conrad and Matt LaFleur. Can you solve the mystery before you read the solution?

(Image credit: Flickr user Sean)

It was the day before Valentine's Day and the police in the small college town were unprepared for any crime beyond the amorous escapades of a few undergraduates.

Late that afternoon a patrol car canvassed Oakview, a small off-campus apartment building. The officers found the body of Gilly Tarpin, a homeless drifter. He was a nondescript man of normal build, lying in the shelter of an open garage bay. The officers made an inventory of Gilly's possessions: a wristwatch (looking new, except for a vertical crease on the leather band inside the clasp), a box of chocolates (with half the contents eaten), and a crumpled pre-printed note saying "Be My Valentine."

The authorities assumed it was a natural death, caused by exposure to the February chill. But then the mandatory autopsy came back. There was poison in the homeless man's system. An identical poison was found in the remaining candies.

The police interviewed three Oakview residents, hoping for some clue as to why anyone would poison a homeless drifter.

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Whodunit: The Vanishing Love Token

The following is a Whodunit by Hy ConradThese mysteries are from The Little Giant® Book of Whodunits by Hy Conrad and Matt LaFleur. Can you solve the mystery before you read the solution?

The Valentine's Day party was a tradition. Each year Henry and Bitsy Vandercleef invited their friends into their Park Avenue home. After a sumptuous dinner, the couples retired to the drawing room. The men drank port, the women drank champagne, and each couple exchanged love tokens.

This year George Epson outdid himself, presenting his wife with a ruby necklace. The women sighed enviously while the men mentally added up the cost and wondered how their wives would react to their own less extravagant gifts.

When Henry's turn came, he told Bitsy to close her eyes and led her over to the windows. When Bitsy opened her eyes, she saw the billboard and gasped. "To Bitsy, the most beautiful woman in my world. Love, Henry."

"You don't know how much trouble it was getting a billboard put up on Park Avenue," Henry said. The women sighed again while the men mentally added and wondered.

George Epson was the first to notice the missing necklace. "Stolen," he gasped, holding up the empty jewel box. "Nobody leave the room."

Everyone assured everyone else that there couldn't possibly be a thief among them. Not them. The necklace must have fallen out or been mislaid.

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Whodunit: Super Bowl Madness

The following is a Whodunit by Hy ConradThese mysteries are from The Little Giant® Book of Whodunits by Hy Conrad and Matt LaFleur. Can you solve the mystery before you read the solution?

(Image credit: Flickr user Jaroslaw Kulik)

Vince McCormick was a big, angry slug of a man just a month shy of retirement. On Super Bowl Sunday, his two sons, Vince Junior and Sonny, came over as usual to watch the game.

As kick-off time approached, the boys were in the kitchen, helping their mother prepare the snacks. Junior heated up nachos in the microwave while Sonny poured the bags of potato chips and pretzels into bowls. Marie McCormick was mixing the ice and ginger ale and rye together in tall glasses.

"Make sure mine is strong enough," came her husband's growl from the living room.

Junior saw the bruise on his mother's arm. "Did he do that to you?" he asked. Marie didn't answer.

"What'll you do when he retires and hangs around all day?" Sonny asked. "It'll only get worse."

"No one in our family gets divorced," Marie said firmly.

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Whodunit: Strangulation Station

The following is a Whodunit by Hy ConradThese mysteries are from The Little Giant® Book of Whodunits by Hy Conrad and Matt LaFleur. Can you solve the mystery before you read the solution?


Colonel Rollo's tour of the provinces was a necessary evil and the military dictator took every precaution to ensure his own safety. There had already been two assassination attempts this year, and he didn't want to try for three.

When the colonel's train pulled into the Gorganzuela station, the town officials were waiting to greet him. But the door to his windowless, bullet-proof carriage remained shut. Nervously, the mayor knocked. He heard some stumbling sounds from inside and finally the train door slid open.

Captain Corkran stumbled out. The dictator's second in command was usually a resplendent sight in his broad hat, bandana, and American cowboy boots. Now he looked weak and silly. 'Assassination," he coughed.

The mayor looked in and saw the lifeless body of Colonel Rollo dressed in his robe and slippers. A purple ring around his lifeless neck testified to murder by strangulation, probably with a long, strong, thin cord.

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Whodunit: A Winter's Tale

The following is a Whodunit by Hy ConradThese mysteries are from The Little Giant® Book of Whodunits by Hy Conrad and Matt LaFleur. Can you solve the mystery before you read the solution?

(Image credit: Flickr user Simon Laroche)

In the dead of winter, the citizens of Mountebank, Minnesota, grabbed at any excuse for a party, especially when it was hosted by Ama Wheeler, the richest woman in town. As usual, this one was rowdy and crowded and a huge success—until about 12:30 A.M. That's when Ama noticed that her prized Ming vase was missing from the entry-hall table.

When the police arrived, they found all the revelers herded into the living room, with Ama standing guard like an angry sheepdog. The house was searched. Then the house perimeter. Then the guests' cars. No vase.

"You're going to have to take their statements," Ama told the police chief. "I don't suppose it will do much good. At a party like this, people can barely remember their own movements, much less keep track of others'."

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Whodunit: The Brothers Ilirium

The following is a Whodunit by Hy ConradThese mysteries are from The Little Giant® Book of Whodunits by Hy Conrad and Matt LaFleur. Can you solve the mystery before you read the solution?

A church choir was picnicking in a rest area near Pine Gorge when they heard the distant squeal of tires. The choir members gazed out over the winding ribbon of road in time to see a red convertible slam through a guard rail and sail out into the steep gorge. The driver was thrown clear of the vehicle seconds before impact. Miraculously, there was no explosion.

The highway patrol found the bloodied body of Mike Ilirium smashed on the boulders. Inside the mangled car were several loose rocks, a tangle of broken branches, and more blood on the seat and the dashboard.

The Ilirium saga was well known to the area gossips. Mike had been engaged to a local beauty. They broke off the engagement when she confessed to having had an affair with one of Mike's brothers; no one knew which.

The authorities visited the Ilirium lodge a half mile up the road from the accident. Mike's two brothers seemed devastated by the news.

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Whodunit: The Chinese Lie detector

The following is a Whodunit by Hy ConradThese mysteries are from The Little Giant® Book of Whodunits by Hy Conrad and Matt LaFleur. Can you solve the mystery before you read the solution?

When the emperor rose on that April morning, he immediately noticed the silence. "There's no cricket. Where's my cricket?" he demanded. The servants of the bed chamber checked all the usual places, but the cricket was gone—and so was its jeweled cricket box.

The entire royal court was thrown into turmoil until the chirping pet was finally found, housed in a lowly bamboo box and hidden in the corner of a public garden. The emperor was both relieved and outraged. "How dare someone steal from me!" He ordered the captain of the palace guard to find the still-missing box and the culprit.

Finding the box was easy. Lu Ping, a near-sighted gem dealer, bought it from a palace servant and only realized later what he had purchased. With the most abject apologies, he returned it to the emperor. 'I don't know if I can recognize the man who sold it to me," he said with a squint. "I'll do my  best."

From the gem dealer's description, the captain narrowed down the suspects to three. But the dealer couldn't make a positive identification, and none of the three would confess. "Hang them all," the emperor commanded.

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Whodunit: Who Killed Santa Claus?

The following is a Whodunit by Hy ConradThese mysteries are from The Little Giant® Book of Whodunits by Hy Conrad and Matt LaFleur. Can you solve the mystery before you read the solution?

(Image credit: Flickr user Ludie Cochrane)

It was midnight on Christmas Eve when the maintenance staff of Kimble's came to work in the deserted department store. When they arrived at the North Pole display, they discovered every child's worst nightmare, the lifeless body of Santa Claus. He was in a storage room, his head bashed in by the butt end of a .44 revolver.

Santa's off-duty name was Rudolph Pringle. "That's Rudolph's revolver," the manager informed the police. "He started carrying it after a six-year-old pulled a knife on him."

"Do you know anyone who would want to see Rudolph dead—besides the six-year-old?"

The manager cleared his throat. "Santa's been having a lot of fights with his elves. I know three elves who'd threatened to kill him."

The detective had the murder weapon bagged. Then he placed it on the center of the interview table, right where the suspects would be forced to look at it. "Rudolph Pringle has been murdered," he informed each elf. "What do you know about it?"

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Whodunit: A Timely Alibi

The following is a Whodunit by Hy ConradThese mysteries are from The Little Giant® Book of Whodunits by Hy Conrad and Matt LaFleur. Can you solve the mystery before you read the solution?

(Image credit: Flickr user Ian Britton)

The murder occurred in the wee hours of the morning on the last Sunday of October and looked like a professional hit. The victim, Sol Weintraub, ran a garbage-collection business that was going in direct competition with a mob-owned company. Days after winning a contract with the city's convention center, Sol was found dead in his suburban home.

The killer had broken into the man's house, shot him once in the head with a silencer-equipped .38, and left, taking no valuables.

It was now early November and the police were no closer to finding their killer. The medical examiner was placing the time of death at between 2 and 3 A.M. But the mob's most reliable "enforcers" all had alibis.

Johnny "Dum-Dum" Falco had been out on the town that Saturday night. Witnesses saw him at the Tropicana Club until 2 A.M. Other witnesses, just as reliable, placed Dum-Dum at a nearby tavern from 3 A.M. until closing. No matter how the police timed it, the murder scene was a good 40 minutes away from both the Tropicana and the tavern.

Victor Conroy's alibi was even better. He'd been a patient at Mercy Memorial. The young hit man had been in a minor car accident and was being held overnight. A nurse checked his room every hour, all night. Mercy Memorial was also nearly 40 minutes from the crime.

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Whodunit: The Locked Room

The following is a Whodunit by Hy ConradThese mysteries are from The Little Giant® Book of Whodunits by Hy Conrad and Matt LaFleur. Can you solve the mystery before you read the solution?

(Image credit: Flickr user Nick Klein)

"I'm changing my will," Abigail Wallace announced. Her four children might have been adopted, but they were just as spoiled and ungrateful as any natural offspring. "Tomorrow I'm cutting you all off without a cent." And with that satisfying but reckless statement, Abigail rose from the dining room table and headed up to her bedroom.

No one was surprised when a gunshot rang out two hours later. The only surprise was that it had taken so long.

"I was downstairs reading," Manny later told the police. "As soon as I heard the shot, I ran upstairs and down the hall to Mother's room. It was locked from the inside."

Moe had also been downstairs, in the kitchen. "I ran up the back staircase. Manny was already at Mother's door, pounding and calling out her name."

"I was in my own room at the far end of the hall," said Jack, the third child to arrive at the scene. "I suggested looking through the keyhole. But Manny and Moe decided to put their shoulders to the door instead."

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Whodunit: The Shortcut Robbery

The following is a Whodunit by Hy ConradThese mysteries are from The Little Giant® Book of Whodunits by Hy Conrad and Matt LaFleur. Can you solve the mystery before you read the solution?

(Image credit: Flickr user Carbon Arc)

It was 1 PM when the two officers heard the cry for help. They responded quickly, racing down an alley to find a woman sitting on the ground, massaging a nasty bump on the back of her head. It took them a minute to get her to speak coherently.

Her name was Mary Ramsey. She worked at a jewelry store and had been in the process of taking yesterday's receipts to the bank. "I do this every day. My boss warned me not to use the alley. Today I had a feeling I was being followed. Like an idiot, I took the alley anyway. I heard footsteps. Before I could even turn around, I was hit on the head.

"I fell down," Mary continued. "But it didn't quite knock me out. He was running away with my money bag. I only saw him from the rear. He was tall and had on blue jeans and a dark-colored cardigan."
The officers brought in two men for questioning, both tall and both dressed according to Mary's description.

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Whodunit: The Three Stoogles

The following is a Whodunit by Hy ConradThese mysteries are from The Little Giant® Book of Whodunits by Hy Conrad and Matt LaFleur. Can you solve the mystery before you read the solution?

(Image credit: Flickr user Shannon)

When the police arrived at Hubert Stoogle's house, the motif seemed to be water. The sprinkler system was going full force, and the owner of the premises was lying dead in his own bathtub.

The man's three nephews lined up on the sun-drenched front porch, each one eager to tell his story.
"Once a week Uncle Hubert had us over for lunch," Stanley Stoogle said. "I parked in the front drive. Uncle wasn't around, so I assumed he was taking his usual soak. As I went into the library, a summer shower passed over. Five minutes later, the sun was out again. It was a few minutes after that when I heard Uncle shouting. Then all the lights sputtered and went out. I went upstairs and found him. Someone had thrown an electric hair dryer into his tub."

"I got here during the shower," volunteered Dick Stoogle. His hair and clothes were still wet. "I parked behind Stanley. Just running up to the porch I got drenched. I was in a downstairs bathroom drying off when I heard the shout and saw the lights go off. When I got up to Uncle's bathroom, Stanley was standing over the tub. A wet hair dyer was in his hand."

Eugene said he arrived last. "The shower was long over. The driveway was full of cars, so I parked by the rear garden. Once inside, I noticed the place was dark. I wandered around, looking for my brothers. Then Stanley came down and told me the news."

The boys all agreed about what happened next. Eugene ran out to move his car. "The darn sprinklers had gone on and the inside of my convertible was soaked." Meanwhile, Stanley went downstairs to replace the blown fuse, and Dick used his cellular phone to call the police.

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Whodunit: A Quali-Tee Theft

The following is a Whodunit by Hy ConradThese mysteries are from The Little Giant® Book of Whodunits by Hy Conrad and Matt LaFleur. Can you solve the mystery before you read the solution?

(Image credit: Flickr user Kamal Hamid)

"I can't give you anything for this. It's junk." Abe Ketchum pushed the watch back across the counter. The Quali-Tee Pawn Shop was a class establishment and, as the manager, Abe had to maintain certain standards. The would-be customer, a shabby young man who smelled of liquor, took back the worthless item and shuffled dejectedly out onto the street, lingering in front of the windows to inspect the shiny display of abandoned valuables.

Abe's assistant bustled out from the back room. "I'm leaving," Mark said. That was nothing unusual. Mark Price was the owner's nephew and was always either coming in late or leaving early. Abe felt particularly overworked and under-appreciated as he watched his privileged assistant breeze out the door.

Abe had one more customer that day. A well-dressed woman walked in and timidly offered an emerald brooch. Abe instantly recognized the quality of the piece and offered her as much as he was permitted. He was surprised when she accepted. Like many of his customers, she seemed desperate.

That night, a burglar alarm echoed through the neighborhood. The police arrived just a few minutes later, but the deed was already done. A thief had broken a display window, jumped inside the crowded shop, and left with many of the most valuable items.

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Whodunit: The Convent Mystery

The following is a Whodunit by Hy ConradThese mysteries are from The Little Giant® Book of Whodunits by Hy Conrad and Matt LaFleur. Can you solve the mystery before you read the solution?

"We have a little mystery at the Inner City Convent," the Mother Superior said as she poured a second cup of tea.

Inspector Griffith was immediately interested.

"It's the convent offices. We have three civilian employees there to handle the mail and the bills and the bookkeeping. Alice has been with us for years. Very reliable, even though she has a bit of a drinking problem and a husband who... Let's just say he can use our prayers.

"Barbara is new. She worked at an Alaskan convent before coming here. She's seems wonderful, although we're still waiting for the sisters there to send us a character reference.

"Our third is Claudia. Ever since the city opened up riverboat gambling... Well, I'm not going to point fingers, but there have been some minor irregularities in our petty cash.

"As you know, the office is closed all weekend. On Monday morning I arrive first. I open up, check the mail, water the plants, turn off the alarm. We have this newfangled alarm system. It does all the usual. And it also automatically records whenever the alarm has been turned off. I never quite saw the sense of that. But four Mondays ago when I came in, I checked the log. The alarm had been turned off Saturday afternoon. For five minutes. Then it was switched back on. I didn't think anything of it. Someone probably came back to retrieve some forgotten item.

"The next Monday, I found the same thing. Turned off Saturday afternoon for five minutes. I asked the women—they all have alarm keys. All three denied having visited the office.

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Whodunit: An Inside Job

The following is a Whodunit by Hy ConradThese mysteries are from The Little Giant® Book of Whodunits by Hy Conrad and Matt LaFleur. Can you solve the mystery before you read the solution?

 (Image credit: Flickr user David Shankbone)

The schedule at Klein Miller Accounting ran like clockwork. For example, on Friday mornings, Arthur Klein always took the train from their Connecticut offices into Manhattan. He would return at 1 P.M. and go immediately into the partners' meeting. Except for this Friday. On this Friday, he was mugged and robbed seconds after arriving in Manhattan.

The New York police held out little hope. "It was just bad luck," a sergeant commiserated. "There's no way a mugger could know you were carrying those bearer bonds."

"I normally don't carry anything," Klein moaned. "But one of our clients needed to transport the bonds to his New York bank. I agreed to take them—as a favor. This will ruin us."

The next train to Connecticut was at 1:10 and Klein was on it. Immediately on arriving, he met with Phil Miller, the other senior partner. "I didn't tell the police this," Arthur confided. "But someone here must have been in on the theft. The mugger was following me. He knew I had the bonds."

The two partners walked past the conference room where Betty, their executive assistant, had just finished setting up for the partners' meeting. "That's quite an accusation," Phil whispered.

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Whodunit: Death by Chocolate

The following is a Whodunit by Hy ConradThese mysteries are from The Little Giant® Book of Whodunits by Hy Conrad and Matt LaFleur. Can you solve the mystery before you read the solution?

(Image credit: Flickr user Matt Galisa)

The four finalists lined up in the hotel ballroom, all smiling for the photographers and all wearing knee-length aprons, each custom-made apron proclaiming "The Great Dessert Bake-Off." Bob Bullock's smile was genuine. His entry, "Death by Chocolate," had been a runaway favorite in the preliminaries. And the others knew it.

"I'm going up to my room for a nap," the lanky Texan drawled as he folded his apron and tucked it under his arm. "See you gals at the finals."

One of the three "gals" smiled back with a murderous gleam. "Not if I can help it." She waited five minutes, then wiped her sweaty palms on her apron and headed for the elevator.

An hour later, a maid found the body. Bob Bullock was laid out on his bed, still dressed in his cowboy shirt and jeans, his head smashed in by a cooking mallet. Blood was splattered everywhere.

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