Entry into Fortnightly Topic Challenge #38: Reusing Information 1

You've been looking forward to tonight for months, but as you begin to leave the phone rings. Apparently there has been a murder at some small five person party across town. Instead of completely ruining your plans for tonight, you decide to solve this over the phone and ask for the details.

  • Guest with black hair is female
  • Party is for the lady in the green dress
  • Only one woman wore blue
  • Site is owned by the blond
  • Unruly white hair topped the head of Rose
  • Katie has red hair
  • One with dark hair is named Jane
  • Anyone wearing black had light hair
  • Rose seems upset that her party was ruined
  • Dark haired guests included one man and one woman
  • For the owner of a fancy mansion, the guy was very down to earth
  • Indigo was worn by one woman
  • Edward came with the lady in green and the man with dark brown hair
  • Lady with red hair was sitting by the fireplace
  • After the murder, the man in grey spilled his drink
  • Donald has dark hair
  • Looking around, only the person wearing indigo was a redhead

Apparently this rookie on the phone is not great at getting details. He didn't even tell you which one was dead. You read over your notes again and starts to realize that there's more to it. After reading through a few times, you've got it!

Who is the killer and who is dead?

  • $\begingroup$ Is the missing r in "afte the murder" on purpose? $\endgroup$ Sep 11, 2018 at 19:50
  • $\begingroup$ @stackreader nope that was a typo, fixed. $\endgroup$ Sep 11, 2018 at 20:14

3 Answers 3


Continuing where stack reader left off...

the first letters of all clues mentioning a particular person spell a four-letter word. (One clue mentions two people, and one clue mentions three. Those letters are used in the words for each person.)
Jane's word is GOOD; Rose's word is PURE; Katie's word is KILL; Donald's word is DEAD; Edward's word is SAFE. So Katie was the killer, and Donald was the victim.

  • $\begingroup$ This is correct. If you want to add in the deduction bit from @stackreader's answer I can accept this. $\endgroup$ Sep 12, 2018 at 15:33

I managed to deduce what info regards who by deduction, but that doesn't tell me who is dead or a murderer... yet!

Jane : has black hair and is a guest, blue dress
Rose : guest of honor, Unruly white hair, green dress
Katie : red hair, indigo dress, sitting by the fireplace
Donald : dark brown hair, wearing grey(Only one who could be wearing grey), spilled his drink
Edward : Came with Donald and Rose, light hair(Owner of the house!), wearing black(only one who can be wearing black and have light hair)

Here are some extra observations.

-Edward, the owner was very down to earth. If the officer was able to make that assessment about his personality, it means he was not dead! Unless down to earth was this rookies clumsy way of describing that he WAS dead!(down on the earth)
-Rose was upset her party was ruined(by the murder?). Which means she was still alive.(And probably not the murderer or else it would be the least of her worries)
-Donald spilled his drink AFTER the murder, so he is still alive.
-Katie has red hair because she was sitting next to the fireplace and her hair caught fire and she died???

  • $\begingroup$ This is correct for the first part. As far at the owner bit, Site is owned by the blond. $\endgroup$ Sep 11, 2018 at 19:29
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidStarkey The only one that could have blond hair is Edward, but he came with Donald and Rose, so I assume that means he is a guest too. Or else he would already be there. $\endgroup$ Sep 11, 2018 at 19:34
  • $\begingroup$ It's unimportant to the puzzle, but he could have been out with them for whatever reason the party is being held. Perhaps it was a surprise party, since it certainly ended with one. $\endgroup$ Sep 11, 2018 at 20:16
  • $\begingroup$ It might help to organize the notes, now that you know who each line is referring to. Perhaps that can help with focusing on one person at a time. $\endgroup$ Sep 12, 2018 at 13:09

I think

Jane was killed and the killer was Donald

There is an assumption that

Anyone wearing black had light hair implies that someone actually was wearing black

If so, then @stack reader initial deduction stands, i.e.

Jane is wearing blue and has black hair
Rose has white hair, green dress and party is for her
Katie has red hair, indigo dress and is sitting by fireplace
Donald wore grey, dark hair, spilled drink
Edward owned the house, blond hair and could be in black or grey, but if we assume someone wore black, it must be Edward


Edward is alive (rookie found him down to earth)
Donald is alive (spilled his drink)
Rose is alive (was upset)
and Katie is alive (sitting by the fireplace)
This means Jane was killed.

And finally

The rookie states that Donald spilled his drink after the murder. I take this to say that he thinks Donald spilled his drink after he committed the murder.


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