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There is a round house with only one room. There is a maid who does everything, a butler who usually gets the mail, an annoying husband, and a lazy wife in the house.

The husband is murdered on a Sunday and on that same Sunday the detective comes. It has to be someone in the house because all the prints on the door are just of the members of the household. He asks each of them what they were doing.

The maid says "I was sweeping a corner."

The wife says "I was doing the dishes." and

the Butler says "I was getting the mail.".

Who killed him?

marked as duplicate by rhsquared, JonMark Perry, Jaap Scherphuis, Rand al'Thor, Saeïdryl Aug 22 at 8:36

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  • Every answer is relying that there is no mail on sunday, is this assumption correct ? Here at my place sunday is pretty much day for mails :D – Sikorski Aug 21 at 9:09
  • @Sikorski Yes, there is no mail on sunday. – Smart Aug 21 at 9:16
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    @RSP is the killer. No one who lives in a one room house has both a maid and a butler. Therefor, OP is lying and he did it. – Chris Cudmore Aug 21 at 13:19
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    Perhaps, the butler usually gets the mail, except when he chooses not to, or he forgets. That might explain how he can be getting the mail on Sunday. I often do the same thing. – Jim Aug 21 at 20:04
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    Theory: The detective murdered the husband and forced the others to lie, such that it is provable they all lied pursuant to @Sikorski 's answer. Explanation: Nobody called the detective, so how did he know which house to go to? All the prints on the door are the members of the household, so how did the detective come inside? It has to be someone in the house, and by then, the detective had already arrived! Therefore, it is the detective all along! – user477343 Aug 22 at 9:16

11 Answers 11

up vote 24 down vote accepted

Murder on the Orient Express ?
Everyone is lying, there are no corners in round house, lazy wife won't do dishes when maid is there and butler can't get mail on sunday.
So everyone murdered collectively and are now covering for each other.

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    Best answer right here. All other answers, including the correct one and mine, do not make sense to me, this one does. – Cashbee Aug 21 at 11:36
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    The spoiler is indeed a spoiler (of movie) :( – athin Aug 22 at 9:52

I agree with the previous answers that:

Everybody was lying to the detective

But the killer must be:

The maid


Quote: "There was a maid that does everything"

  • so other two were just watching while maid murdered the husband ? – Sikorski Aug 21 at 12:53
  • @Sikorski What do you expect me to say? – rhsquared Aug 21 at 13:00
  • wait for OP perhaps :) – Sikorski Aug 21 at 13:02
  • if it is so, shouldn't the murdered do the "dying" too, triggering a paradox? – George Menoutis Aug 21 at 13:51
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    I was thinking that "the maid does everything" may only apply to tasks inside the house, and thus the butler could truthfully say that he fetches the mail, since that involves walking out of the house, which takes him beyond the maid's jurisdiction. I don't think "does everything" was meant to apply to every task that needs doing in the entire outside world. On a similar note, if there's lots of furniture and plumbing fixtures and things cluttering up that round room, there could be all sorts of "corners" on the floor that need to be swept from time to time, as the maid said. – Lorendiac Aug 22 at 0:33

While another answer has been accepted, I think a more reasonable answer is:

The detective did it.


First, note that

the text says that the detective comes the same Sunday that the husband is murdered. It does not say that the detective comes after the husband was murdered. Also note that the detective has no alibi.


when looking closer, there's no reason to assume that anyone was lying.

In particular,

  • The cupboard was quite dirty, especially in the corners. That's why the maid was wiping them.

  • The wife was lazy, but the husband was annoying. And he had annoyed her so much about the dishes that she did them anyway.

  • The butler had his free day on Saturday, therefore the Saturday mail wasn't yet fetched when he returned on Sunday. Therefore he fetched it at that day.

Since all of them had an alibi, they did not do it. Thus only two options remain: Suicide, or the detective killing the husband.

But suicide is excluded because the text explicitly states that the husband was murdered.

So there's only one possibility remaining, which therefore has to be the correct one: The detective did it.

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    celtschk has been watching a lot of Sherlock lately. – 7_R3X Aug 22 at 6:46
  • @7_R3X hahah :P – user477343 Aug 22 at 8:53

I actually think the killer isn't lying at all:

the Butler says "I was getting the male.".

  • This was really nice! $(+1)$ – user477343 Aug 22 at 8:58

Was it

The wife?

My reasoning for that is

The butler AND the maid were lying (maid: there are no corners, butler: there is no mail on sundays)
Therefore I assume that everybody is lying --> And since the wife is the only person with a believable alibi (I know the wife is lazy but it's still possible, in contrast to the others) she is therefore the most suspicious to me

  • It also seems possible that the butler doesn't get the mail on Saturday, making it possible for him to "get the mail" on Sunday. – David Starkey Aug 21 at 13:40
  • @DavidStarkey it also is possible that there was furniture in the room, creating corners for the maid to sweep. You could even argue that suicide is an option. These kind of riddles tend to have many possible solutions and you just have to guess until you stumble upon the solution that OP intended. This is not meant to be a rant - I actually enjoyed this puzzle very much. – Cashbee Aug 21 at 14:05

i think-

The maid did it, clearly she is lying about sweeping the corner as it is a round house.So i guess she is the killer.

  • Or, perhaps it could have gone like this: $\ast$ (ROT13) Fhccbfr gur znvq qvq abg qb vg. Gura gur jvsr jbhyq or ylvat orpnhfr gur znvq pbhyq or jnfuvat gur qvfurf vafgrnq... ohg jr xabj gung guvf zrnaf gur znvq vf ylvat. Gurersber gur znvq naq gur jvsr ner ylvat, gurersber gurl obgu xvyyrq gur uhfonaq! $\ast$ That's how I thought of it. $(+1)$ either way :D – user477343 Aug 22 at 9:03

Seeing as

The maid is the wrong choice.

The answer should be

The butler because you do not get mail on a Sunday.

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    Oh, i don't know how to hide the text. My bad. – R.D Aug 21 at 8:59
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    Hide using the >! markup. – u_ndefined Aug 21 at 9:00
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    use >! instead of > – Cashbee Aug 21 at 9:01
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    Thank you all :) Am I right though? Because in my country you do not usually get mail on a sunday. Not sure about others – R.D Aug 21 at 9:03
  • In my country, (ROT13) ebhaq ubhfrf qba'g unir pbearef... :D $\;\;\,$ (Copy-and-paste the illegible/unreadable message into Rot13 to reveal a secret message...) $\;\;$ $(+1)$ by the way :P – user477343 Aug 22 at 8:55

Let me go on the record as saying:

it was self-murder: suicide!

I know this because

The other three are lying in very obvious ways. Clearly, someone who was actually guilty would have prepared a more convincing alibi.

Moreover, it fits because

this situation is super annoying for everyone involved (including the detective) and we are told that annoying stuff is the husband's domain.


  • but then why would others lie ? – Sikorski Aug 21 at 12:52
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    @Sikorski Maybe it happened on opposite day? – David Starkey Aug 21 at 13:41
  • @DavidStarkey detective arrived on the same day of murder, what do you mean by opposite day ? – Sikorski Aug 21 at 13:43
  • @Sikorski Opposite Day is a day that everything is supposed to be the opposite of reality. So "getting the mail" would mean "not getting the mail", "sweeping a corner" would be sweeping anything but a corner, etc. – David Starkey Aug 21 at 13:47
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    @DavidStarkey if it was opposite day, why would the detective come by? Good ol' opposite day, heheh :P – user477343 Aug 22 at 11:34

The Maid... no sweeping corners in a round house.

This was probably too easy for this platform :(

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    Or is there maybe more to it? A lazy wife doing the dishes, a butler that got the mail but did not leave prints on the door (whats a "family-member" in that regard?). Could have been a collective job of wife and maid. both are lying and should have noticed the other one killing the husband, when they are indoors, while the butler gets the mail. – Omphaloskopie Aug 21 at 8:46
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    No, it's not easy. just read and think again. – Smart Aug 21 at 8:46

The one who


And the only one who certainly



the maid: she could not sweep in the corner witihn a round room.

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    All 3 lied :) No mail on Sunday. And who does her own dishes when you have a maid. – OfFPiR Aug 21 at 9:01

Not enough clues. The maid is lying, there are no corners. But that doesn't make her guilty of murder. This will be unsolved without more evidence.

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