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You get a call in the middle of the night which wakes you up violently—a call which you were not expecting. Your cell phone rings loudly because you have forgotten to turn the ringer off from the day before.

You pick up the phone. “Hello?” you mutter in a very drowsy voice.

“Sorry to call you this late during the night but we have an emergency. Please come to 678 Blazing Drive as soon as possible,” a familiar voice says to you as he hangs up the phone. You hit the “End Call” button on your phone and rub your eyes. After a couple of seconds you remember the familiar voice, it is Kevin, a co-worker working under you.

You quickly get dressed, hop in your car and begin to drive to the destination. As you reach the destination, you notice that there are a lot of police cars, a fire truck, and a forensics team all over the house. You drive up the driveway and get out of your car. You see a lot of policemen and policewomen around, trying to calm the neighbors down and telling them to go back inside their homes.

You see a co-worker running towards you. “I’m glad you made it here so quickly,” your co-worker says.

“What seems to be the problem,” you ask.

“Well, earlier this morning there was a 911 call about a house on fire, and the firefighters rushed here to put out the fire. There were two people in the house, a mother and a father. The father did not survive and was declared dead at the scene; the mother is critically injured and is being rushed to the hospital. After the firefighters put out the fire, they did some investigating to see what started the fire. What they found was that the fire did not start naturally; there was gasoline involved. Someone set the fire and it has become an investigation now.”

You thank your co-worker and entered the burned-down house. As you enter, you hear one of the firefighters say to the other, “Yeah, the fire started here in the living room. Gasoline was used to accelerate the fire, it seems.”

(PLEASE CHOOSE 6 ROOMS)

Living Room

You decide to enter the living room area. The love seat, couch, and recliner have been burnt severely; you can barely tell that it’s a couch anymore. Half of the coffee table has been disintegrated, as well as the TV. Some of the pictures seem to have been able to stay on the wall. You decide to take a look at the pictures.

The first picture is a family photo. You can barely make out the picture, but it is the mother, the father, and their four children. The mother is blonde, has long hair, and is in a red dress. The four children are blond, brunette, red-haired, and blond in that order, all males. You can’t make out what the father looks like because the fire has burned him and the left top side of the picture.

The second picture is of the blond son as a young kid playing with a toy plane outside.

The third picture is of the family eating dinner. The father is on the very left, next to him is the mother, then the brown-haired son, red-haired son, and then on the very right is the blonde son with no one next to him on either side.

The fourth picture is a collage of the red-haired son playing baseball, soccer, swimming, and tennis.

The fifth picture is of the blond and brown-haired sons reading a book on the grass and the center of attention of all his friends respectively.

Kitchen/Dining Room

You decide to enter the kitchen and dining room. The kitchen has been badly burned. You see that on the dining table there are five plates set up: a set on the very right, three more sets beside it, and the last set on the very right. The set up isn’t very neat; the dishes and utensils are kind of everywhere, not neatly placed.

You head over to the kitchen, and everything has been damaged badly. There is nothing left in the area for you to check, so you decide to leave this area to explore more of the house.

Washroom

You decide to check out the washroom. As you turn the knob on the door, the entire door just falls off. You quickly jump back as the door collapses in front of you. As you enter the washroom, you noticed that the washroom had not been burned at all; it is still very intact. “I guess that closed door saved the washroom,” you say to yourself. On the counter you see five toothbrushes and cups: a regular plain white cup, a cup with a lot of cartoon characters dancing, a sports cup, a cup with the periodic table on it, and a cup with famous gaming characters on it. In each cup there is a matching toothbrush, except for the white cup. The white cup has a plain blue and pink toothbrush in it.

Master bedroom

You decide to investigate the master bedroom. The fire destroyed everything along its path, but luckily some stuff survived the blaze. There is a picture on the wall of the brown-haired and blond-haired sons. One of them is playing with friends while the other one is carrying what looks like Monopoly money around. On the bed you notice that the family's cordless home phone is lying in the middle of the bed. The phone is damaged but still seems to work. When you pick up the phone you notice that it is still on, as though they were trying to call someone. You check to see who they were trying to call but all you see is “#3” dialed. “I guess they might have accidentally hit some buttons while sleeping, since the phone was on the bed,” you think to yourself.

Bedroom 1

You decide to enter the first bedroom upstairs. Looking around the room, you notice a half burnt poster, a picture frame on the bookshelf, and a mini statue next to the picture frame. You take a closer look at the poster. Not much of it is left, but you can make out that a slim male is posing and at the bottom it says “Fi 09”. Some words on the poster have been burnt away and most of the picture of the male has been burnt as well so you can’t quite make out who it is. You then walk over to the picture frame. The picture frame is red, and has a picture of the mother and the father sitting together in a field. The mini statue beside the picture is that of a bull ready to charge. “Isn’t there a basketball team with a bull as their mascot?” you mutter to yourself.

Bedroom 2

You decided to enter the second bedroom upstairs. Looking around the room, you notice a bookshelf which isn’t too badly damaged, a picture frame on the desk, and a poster on the wall. Taking a closer look at the bookshelf, you notice that the shelves are stacked with books. There are so many books that the bookshelf looks like it’s about to break. Just as you take a step back, the vibrations from the footsteps cause the badly damaged bookshelf to collapse and break apart. After the dust has cleared, you decided to take a look at the picture frame. The picture frame is white and has a picture of the mother and the father at a science fair. The poster on the wall is a picture of a ram’s head as a symbol in black, it is similar to a logo or a symbol for a team of some sort.

Bedroom 3

You decided to enter the third bedroom upstairs. Looking around the room, you notice a very nice wooden calendar on the wall. Besides the calendar, there is nothing else out of the ordinary in this room, only a bed, a chair and a desk. “This person doesn’t have much; maybe this person isn’t loved as much as the others,” you joke to yourself. Looking at the calendar, you notice that it has not been changed for a long time. Almost every day is filled with a task, but the dust and soot make it hard to read. Pinned to the calendar is a picture of the mother and the father at a festival with two other people you do not know. On the side of the calendar, there is a small area for people to write/draw whatever they want. A fish splashing out of the water is drawn in that area. “I guess this person likes fishing,” you say to yourself.

Bedroom 4

You decided to enter the fourth bedroom upstairs. As you enter, you notice that this room is in bad condition. As you looked around for anything that survived, you noticed that this room has a lot of bookshelves but no books. The bookshelves contain a lot of DVD & CD cases in various colors like blue, black, green, white, grey, and see-through. The paper in between the cases’ sleeves has been burned, and the DVDs/CDs inside have been severely damaged. On one of the walls is a TV bracket that has survived the fire since it is made of steel, but the broken TV on the ground wasn’t as fortunate. On the desk there is a medium- sized statue of an odd-looking lion of some sort. On the statue is a small plaque that says, "Collector’s edition." “This is a weird looking lion,” you say to yourself.

As you are about to enter the next room, the ground starts shaking. “AHHH!” a woman screams. “Everybody run! This place is about to collapse!” another person yells.

You look to your left and you see the entire house is coming down slowly. You start running as fast as you can towards the exit while trying to dodge all the objects falling around you. As you get closer to the entrance you jump towards the bright light coming through the exit. As your body hits the grass outside, the entire house collapses. Dust fills the air. You turn around, and all you see is a huge mess. “Guess that’s the end of my investigation” you say to yourself. Since the other victim is still in the hospital in critical condition, you decide that the next move should be to contact the four sons and ask them what they know.

After a couple of days, your team has found out where all four sons live and has contacted the police to bring all four of them in for interrogation. As you enter the room, you notice that there are four males sitting beside each other: one redhead, one blond, one brown-haired, and one bald, all looking around the same age.

You sit down and offer them a smoke or any drinks they would like. The brown-haired son accepts a cigarette, and the redhead kindly refuses both. “Not what I usually do but sure I’ll take some,” says the bald son as he takes two cigarettes. The blond son asks if you have any rum but you tell him you do not; he does not ask for any other drink.

You take a quick glance at what each of them are wearing, before asking any questions. The bald son has on a full suit. “Looks like he’s very important,” you think to yourself. Both the brown-haired and blond-haired sons are dressed business casual, while the red-haired son is dressed in a dirty, greasy jumpsuit.

You ask all four of them the same question: “What were you doing and where were you on the night of the fire?”

The blond one says, “Well, I was working from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and after that I went over to my parents' place because they asked me to come over for dinner.”

“I worked and went over to my parents' place for dinner as well, but none of my other brothers were there. Mom did tell me that I was the third to arrive,” says the redhead.

The bald one answers, “I worked from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and then went to my parents' place for dinner after work. Mom told me that I was the second to arrive.”

The last son replies, “I worked the office time, and after that I also went to my parents place for dinner.”

Right when you are about to ask the next question, a fellow officer opens the door. “I have some terrible news, your mother did not make it. I’m sorry,” the officer says. The four sons get up immediately and rush towards the hospital, only a block away.

You are about to chase after them but something doesn’t sit right with you. You started thinking back on all the info you have gathered here and at the house. After a little while, it hits you. You know who started the fire.

WHO IS THE MURDERER?

Bonus: If someone is able to fill in the chart below, I will give them an upvote Chart 1


UPDATE
updated chart that will help enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ Please state which rooms you have chosen in your answer $\endgroup$ – DemonicBirdFlu Feb 23 '16 at 13:05
  • $\begingroup$ I don't get what you mean at Red's interrogation by “I worked and went over to my parents' place for dinner as well, but none of my other brothers were there. Mom did tell me that I was the third to arrive" . Is it a typo, or do you mean 2 other people except the brothers were there? $\endgroup$ – Diego Martinoia Feb 24 '16 at 14:54
  • $\begingroup$ @DiegoMartinoia Sorry, to clarify only the brothers has visited that day. The brothers arrived and left one by one before the next brother has arrived. Example: Brother 1 arrived at noon and left at 1 PM, brother 2 arrived at 3PM and left at 4 PM, etc. $\endgroup$ – DemonicBirdFlu Feb 24 '16 at 14:59
  • $\begingroup$ Also, the example I gave above is not actual fact or clue in the story, it is just a random example $\endgroup$ – DemonicBirdFlu Feb 24 '16 at 14:59
  • $\begingroup$ Now we want an answer or some more hints! :P $\endgroup$ – Diego Martinoia Feb 26 '16 at 18:11
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I'm guessing the answer is

the bald son - who has the third bedroom.

From the times the brothers visited

the brown haired son and the bald son contradicted each other - blond came at four (and was first). if Brown came at five, Bald could not have been second to arrive at six. Red came third, missing both (so maybe at 7?). Either Brown or Bald was lying about time, or either Bald or Red was lying about order of visits.

From the kitchen and washroom

somebody's estranged - seriously so. Both were set for five, which means the two parents, but only three of the four sons. Five sets of dishes (split 1-3-1), and five toothbrushes (2 together for parents, one each for three sons).

From the bedrooms

the updated chart says Red's got room 1, and likes sports - which matches him with one of the toothbrushes. Room 2 has books and science fair, probably periodic table cup in washroom. Room 4 has CDs and DVDs, matches a cup with characters. That leaves room 3, who has "less stuff", and an calendar that hasn't been updated in a while, and is the likely candidate for the son who is estranged and hasn't visited.

By the way, is this an error?

do you have an extra toothbrush in the washroom? The text says five each of cups and toothbrushes, two toothbrushes in the white cup, and four themed cups (cartoons, sport, periodic table, games) with "one brush each" - which would make six toothbrushes? I guessed one of the mugs was missing a brush, since the number five comes up so often.

Other notes

I would guess only three of the kids actually visited. One was estranged, so maybe only three were expected, too. The fourth only came to set the fire (didn't have dishes set out for him). Brown and Bald are contradicting each other on the time of visits - I chose to believe Red on order because his room and income put him off my list of suspects. The owner of room 3 had a very filled calendar, lots of tasks, so I assumed he was ambitious and willing to work hard - which fit Bald in an expensive suit very well, though it doesn't exclude Brown. Both Brown and Bald smoke, so might have access to a lighter or matches. In the end, I chose to suspect Bald because the higher income seems to fit my assumptions about the owner of room 3, because he tried to downplay the smoking - "doesn't usually smoke", but then took two cigarettes so is probably actually a heavy smoker, and because of the two contradicting reports of visits, Bald's is really detailed (both hour and order) and Brown's is pretty casual - and I would suspect overly-detailed (and guessing his brother's timelines) to match the kind of planning the owner of room 3 shows through his calendar. Although, to be certain, I would ask the kids who belonged to which room, and why the owner of room 3 was not visiting for a long time.

As for motivation...

all I really have is the assumption that he's estranged. Probably some pretty bad fights between him and his parents, if he's not even willing to visit? The theory the narrator has from looking at his room, that he might be 'loved less', might be true, or even just something he assumes. The updated chart mentions drugs, so maybe that's part of the reason - either why he's estranged and mad enough, or desperate enough (needing money?) to set the fire.

Although

Is it relevant that he's bald? Maybe he shaves his head because he's that rebellious, maybe he's sick (and need the inheritance/insurance money), maybe he inherited early baldness genes - and none of his brothers did, so he might be adopted or illegitimate? The picture in room 3 might then be focusing on the "two others" instead of the parents - rooms one and two each had a picture of just the parents, room four didn't (but had his own tv, so I'm guessing baby of the family, and likely spoiled).

Chart Stuff

updated chart says Brown is oldest, and I'm guessing he's room 2 with the science stuff (because he's older and more responsible). He's a medium high income, since he wears business casual, and smokes. Blonde, who drinks and also has medium high income, then matches with room 4, the CDs and DVDs, and gaming - I'd guess youngest, baby of the family, since he's got a TV. Red, who's in room 1 and likes sports and dresses messily, would then be second oldest. Bald is third oldest and is room 3, ambitious and high income business man, who smokes heavily (and maybe drugs).

Ok, that's pretty much all I've got.

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  • $\begingroup$ Good job @Megha! I know this was a long one, so I thank you for taking the time to read and solve this puzzle! :D The cups and toothbrush was a mistake yes, thank you for catching that. I wish I could give you more upvotes but I can only give one. $\endgroup$ – DemonicBirdFlu Jun 17 '16 at 11:33
  • $\begingroup$ @DemonicBirdFlu - it was fun to puzzle through - though some of my assumptions ranged from tentative to outright unwarranted. I would be interested to know what the actual motivation was, for example. And my guesses on the ages were pretty shifty, though that might have been about which rooms I picked to search. $\endgroup$ – Megha Jun 18 '16 at 4:08
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    $\begingroup$ Sorry that the motivation wasn't more clear. My original puzzle was actually a bit longer than what you see now but there is a character limit cap on the puzzle so I had to cut some things out which didn't make the puzzle as clear. The motivation was money, the son wanted money. Since he did a lot of drugs, he needed more money to support his addiction. $\endgroup$ – DemonicBirdFlu Jun 21 '16 at 12:05
  • $\begingroup$ @DemonicBirdFlu - oh, that makes sense. I know I wrote four or five possibilities, so was wondering which was right. It did show up on the updated chart, so it's fair to say the clue is there :) $\endgroup$ – Megha Jun 23 '16 at 2:13
  • $\begingroup$ If you liked this one, please take a look at the third installment of this title. I consider that my best one. If I remember correctly, it has been solved but it is still gun to try. In the future if I do make another one, I will try to make it more like the 3rd one. $\endgroup$ – DemonicBirdFlu Jun 23 '16 at 11:53
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I do not have a definitive answer, but here are my ideas.

I chose living room, washroom, + the 4 non-master bedrooms.

My suspect is:

the brown son: Excluding delayed fires (which is possible, with a science fan son), it must have been caused by the last son arriving, and with no witnesses.

The claims are:

Blonde: arrive 4pm Bald: arrive 2nd at 6pm Red: arrive 3rd and no one else there Brown: arrive after "office time" (which I assume means 9-5, so 5pm)

Assuming there is only 1 liar, the first 3 stories match well together, while the latter is refuted by both 2nd line and 3rd line at the same time. So

Brown must have arrived after Red left, and no other witnesses were there. Additionally, he is a smoker, so he is more likely to have a fire-starting tool (no hard evidence, but still...)

But why? Well:

He is adopted, and felt like he was loved less than the other 3. His room is number 3. The two extra people in the picture are his original parents. The fish out of water is how he feels. His room feels like the one of an hard-worker (all days are full of tasks) that left the home abruptly, like running from home. While he's better off in life than Red, he lacks in terms of purpose, as he wasted most of his time on juvenile glory (he's admired by friends) and now he has nothing. Red is still working in the field he loves (sports), Bald is rich and affirmed, and Blond seems to be doing also OK.

Now for the spreadsheet (age is birth order):

brown: age=3 (fish is before bull as a zodiac sign over the year, assuming same year of birth), income=medium, personality=described already in answer, other=smoke, room=3

-

blonde: age=1 (the missing child is taking the dinner picture, and it's usually the oldest to do so, but we don't know if him or bald, but lion is before aries in the same year. Also, the youngest are on parents' side so they can be spoon-fed when babies, and then they stay there), income=medium, personality=games?, room=4, other=video-games nerd (is the lion Griever?)

-

red: age=4 (bull is after fish), income=low (probably phys.ed. teacher), personality=sporty, room=1

-

bald: age=1, income=high, personality=likes science, motors, he maybe a plane pilot, other=smokes cigar/pipes, room=2 (aries comes before lion)

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  • $\begingroup$ The motivation is a bit weak, i know :( $\endgroup$ – Diego Martinoia Feb 24 '16 at 15:34
  • $\begingroup$ But, now that I answered and checked the other 2 rooms, I'm fairly confident in the answer, even if not in the reasoning $\endgroup$ – Diego Martinoia Feb 24 '16 at 15:37
  • $\begingroup$ I have only skimmed through your answer because I'm busy atm but from what I have seen it is very interesting. Here is a clue, the animals are a HUGE clue to one of the categories in the chart $\endgroup$ – DemonicBirdFlu Feb 24 '16 at 17:02
  • $\begingroup$ @DemonicBirdFlu I get what you mean, but I doubt they all were born the same year (that would be hard to give birth to!), so even within the same year it is dodgy, but I edited the answer to include it. $\endgroup$ – Diego Martinoia Feb 24 '16 at 22:40
  • $\begingroup$ since you have visited the living room and washroom, you must have noticed that there is a sequence the family likes to go by. Also, re-think the timing of each brother when they said they arrived at home for dinner, one of them doesn't make sense. Your office time assumption is correct btw. if you would like to, I will let you choose one more room that you haven't chosen $\endgroup$ – DemonicBirdFlu Mar 1 '16 at 20:21
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I chose living room, washroom, and the 4 non master bedrooms, same as Diego.

Toy Plane Bald -- Sorry, the Bald Guy did it.

Why that guy?

He lied: He's not the second guy to come in. He's the LAST GUY. The 2nd guy is Blonde, assuming office hours is 9am to 5pm.

Motives?

He's the least loved, as observed by our detective. His room – which is Bedroom 3 — is sparse; this indicates he's the eldest. Task-filled calendar indicates he works very hard, possibly an overachiever. It hasn't been updated in a long time, despite the calendar being filled with tasks. He probably left in the middle of the month.

How did he do it?

He ate dinner with his family after all the guys had their turn. Then he burned the house down.

Table:

Table

EDIT:

About the animals in the rooms.

I just want to note that I did notice how the animals are from the Zodiac Calendar. I can probably use that info to calculate the exact ages, or at least how old each son compared to others, but I really need sleep for now.


OP (original poster: DemonicBirdFlu)
Here is the chart I talked about in the comments I sent you earlier

enter image description here

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  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Dude...that 1-y/o smoker child.... :( $\endgroup$ – Mario Garcia May 25 '16 at 14:32
  • $\begingroup$ Since it has been a while since anyone has made a comment or answer, I will tell you that it is the bald guy that did the crime. The animal are related to the zodiac, you don't have to give me the exact age, just in order of how old they are. you're motive is like half correct. As for your chart, you have some things correct. I will edit your response with a new table, giving you the answers to what you got right and leaving what you got wrong blank. Please make another attempt once I edit it. if no one give better answer I will give you the check mark since you are close $\endgroup$ – DemonicBirdFlu May 25 '16 at 15:46
  • $\begingroup$ @MarioGarcia this also applies to you and everyone else who tries this puzzle. I won't update your chart, only pinix's chart but you can use his chart and compare to your and other peoples charts $\endgroup$ – DemonicBirdFlu May 25 '16 at 15:47
  • $\begingroup$ I will update my chart so that everyone may see it $\endgroup$ – DemonicBirdFlu May 25 '16 at 15:55
  • $\begingroup$ @Diego Martinoia $\endgroup$ – DemonicBirdFlu May 25 '16 at 15:58
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I choose Living Room.

It is brown-haired. Because, Red-head was third to arrive and bald guy was second. Bald guy works between 8 am and 6 pm so blond must be the first to arrive(8 am 4 pm). Red-haired guy said none of his brother were there and he was 3rd. That leaves the brown-haired guy, almost at midnight, the last visitor. But I also suspected the little blond brother. Asking for rom? Maybe brown was in this together with blondie. I do not know it is something to think about.

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ Here is a clue, the animals are a HUGE clue to one of the categories in the chart $\endgroup$ – DemonicBirdFlu Feb 24 '16 at 17:13

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