A man was killed in a roundhouse with no doors or windows. Four maids were present at the time of the murder, but are saying nothing. When asked what they were doing they replied as thus:

Maid 1: 'I was making the tea.'
Maid 2: 'I was dusting the mantelpiece.'
Maid 3: 'I was setting a mouse trap in the corner.'
Maid 4: 'I was watching the telly.'

One of the maids has lied. The liar is the murderer.

Who is the murderer and what is the lie?

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ To me a "roundhouse" is something like this. It has plenty of corners, but little reason for maids to be present ... $\endgroup$ Jan 9, 2016 at 3:09
  • $\begingroup$ @HenningMakholm I am thiking of the old fashioned ones $\endgroup$ Jan 9, 2016 at 13:29
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, the old fashioned ones that don't have doors or windows. ...yet somehow have occupants that are still alive. $\endgroup$ Jan 11, 2016 at 21:12
  • $\begingroup$ They could have a chimney or trapdoor @IanMacDonald $\endgroup$ Jan 11, 2016 at 21:18

4 Answers 4


It was

Maid 3


A roundhouse with no doors or windows does not have corners (to set a mouse trap).

  • $\begingroup$ Correct, well down you guessed it in less than 5 minutes! $\endgroup$ Jan 8, 2016 at 21:21
  • $\begingroup$ I will accept when I can in ten minutes $\endgroup$ Jan 8, 2016 at 21:22

Since there is the lateral thinking tag, I am posting what came into my mind.

In a house with no doors or windows, how did the man and the maids get in? How did they get the supplies and all? So the whole question is a lie and 'JoeBeastlyGerbil' is the liar.

Since 'the liar is the murderer', 'JoeBeastlyGerbil' is the murderer of the man who actually didn't exist.

And as we have stated, 'JoeBeastlyGerbil' is a liar. So his statement 'the liar is the murderer' will also become a lie. Which means 'the liar is not the murderer'. Which will result in a paradox. :P

  • $\begingroup$ :) Great thinking, love it $\endgroup$ Jan 11, 2016 at 18:20
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ (1) Since the OP said that a man was killed, we now have to question whether there even was a murder.  (This is not a breakthrough; I’m just moving the paradox back a step.)   (2) It takes a rodent to catch a rodent, so the gerbil should catch the mice himself and stop asking the maids to do his dirty work. $\endgroup$ Jan 22, 2018 at 19:57

The murderer is

The third, as there are no doors and the mousehole technically qualifies as a door.

  • $\begingroup$ Answer same, logic different, it seems. $\endgroup$
    – cst1992
    Jan 9, 2016 at 12:14
  • $\begingroup$ The question never mentioned a mousehole. $\endgroup$
    – singletee
    Jan 11, 2016 at 20:15
  • $\begingroup$ It's implicit, because of the trap. $\endgroup$
    – cst1992
    Jan 12, 2016 at 5:06

Maid number 2. If no windows or doors - no dust gets in - no need to dust...

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You know that dust is also made up of dead skin particles. Why can't the maid just be dusting? Do you keep the doors and windows in your house open all the time? Is your house still dusty? Of course it is $\endgroup$ Feb 10, 2016 at 21:06

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