March 2019, USA:

Star detective Shackle Losmer was sitting in his room when his assistant, Wat Johnson, burst in.

"Detective Losmer!"

"Hello, Wat," said Shackle, reading yesterday's newspaper while waiting for the current one." Have you seen the news? The new disease is being carried around by cows. All beef is on recall."

"Yes, wonderful, but - "

"Tomorrow's weather is beautiful, Johnson! Your Wacky Wednesday Picnic with your son's class will go just fine! There will be no clouds, so you will have --chuckle-- two sons in attendance."

It must be admitted that the detective was a lover of puns.

"Heh. But, sir - "

"Wat, what is it?

It must be admitted that the detective was a lover of puns that were, frankly, un-entertaining.

"There's been a murder, sir!"

"That's uncommon," said Losmer with a grim smile.

It must be admitted that the detective was a lover of sarcasm, usually funnier than his puns. But on with the case:

"A young lady," said Johnson, with what dignity he could muster, "has been killed."

"Relate to me the facts, Wat."

"Violet Hunter was found dead in a bar yesterday, with a multiple knife-wounds, some 8 inches deep. Security cameras found that two people - two men and one woman were in the bar after Ms. Hunter entered. There was also the bartender, but there is a security camera on the counter the whole time. There's no way he could have left it and killed Ms. Hunter. The four people were around a corner from him, and the bouncer had to leave early. I have statements and brief profiles from each possible murderer."

  1. Alyssa Lincoln: Wearing a fitted blue dress when she entered the bar at 4:23 PM. She ordered at 4:26. She said she went to the bathroom at some point during her time there - she doesn't remember when. She left at 5:49 PM, after flirting with the bartender for a moment or two. She arrived back at the bar the next morning at about 7 o'clock to ask for her purse, which she had left behind. Police examined the bag and gave it to her. Height - 5'7" Weight - 120 lbs. Blond hair, brown eyes. 27 years old. Female.

  2. Gabriel Newton Wearing a green long-sleeved shirt and blue jeans when he entered the bar at 4:45 PM. He says that he was tired and dozed off - he's not sure when, but he did remember Alyssa leaving and didn't remember Michael Hinato arriving - after finishing his burger, fries and beer. He left hurriedly at 8:16 PM to get to his night class at the community college. Height - 5'11" Weight - 140 lbs. Brown hair, grey eyes. 21 years old. Male.

  3. Michael Hinato Wearing a black polo shirt and tan khakis when he entered the bar at 6:21 PM and left at 8:45. Until 7:16, he stayed at the counter and chatted with the bartender over a beer. Michael says that for the rest of his time at the bar he busy reading the New York Stock Exchange portion of the day's paper - he's gained about $3,000 dollars in the past few months with his trading - and wouldn't have noticed a thing. Height - 5'8" Weight - 195 lbs. Black hair, brown eyes. 41 years old. Male.

Shackle turned the page in the document, revealing several images of Violet Hunter slumped over in her back booth. One shot showed the entire booth, one showed the wounds, and the last was a shot taken from above, showing the back of here head matted with her thin reddish hair, her plump, outstretched hands, and a bar menu hanging half off of the edge of the table.

"They have a large variety of dietary options," said Shackle, who was allergic to gluten. "I'm impressed. Perhaps I'll stop by sometime." He turned to Johnson. "Did any of the suspects claim to see Violet at any time?"

"Ms. Lincoln says that she noticed her in her booth when she (Ms. Lincoln) left the restroom. Due to the screen around the top of all of the booths, it's entirely possible that the two men were unaware of her presence."

"Was the murder weapon found?"


"Well, Wat," said Detective Losmer cheerily, "I hope to have the perpetrator in - naturally - shackles," and he grinned at poor Wat, "within a few hours."

Wat looked puzzled. "That's mighty ambitious, sir. Have I missed something?"

"No, you being clueless is obviously a result of perfect observational skills." Ooh. The sarcasm could sting, as well.

Of the three suspects, who is the highly suspicious person? Who is almost certainly innocent? Who do we not have enough information about (other than a more suspicious party) to make a judgement?

Thoughts/partial solutions welcome if you have them.

Note: credit goes to Donald J. Sobol for the style of one of the clues. Also, 7-Second Riddles (Youtube) inspired another clue.


3 Answers 3


Alyssa Lincoln is

almost certainly innocent:

  • She left her purse behind and was wearing a "fitted" dress, it would be nearly impossible to hide a knife (which must have a blade of at least 8") in such a dress.

  • She flirted with the bartender just before leaving, since stabbing someone "multiple time" means there is lots of blood it's hard to imagine that the bartender wouldn't have seen signs of this (and any large knife she was carrying!)

Gabriel Newton is

moderately suspicious:

  • He had the longest window of opportunity - from 5:49pm when Alyssa left until 7:16 when Hinato finished talking with the bartender when no-one else was around the corner to see him moving around and, well stabbing Violet to death.

  • He had a long-sleeved top on - the knife could have been hidden up his sleeve.

Michael Hinato is

really suspicious:

  • His claims of reading the "New York Stock Exchange section" on a Monday (when there will have been no trading over the weekend is dubious but not definitive.

  • He had opportunity - from 8:16 to 8:45.

  • He could have gotten the knife out wrapped in the paper.

  • With no-one else coming into the bar after his "window" no-one would have seen the blood, the bar menu hanging off the side of the table etc.

  • $\begingroup$ Excellent! I'll have to accept ZanyG if he gets it completely right (because he got in first), but you'll get an upvote once I can vote again (I've used all of my votes for today). $\endgroup$
    – Brandon_J
    Feb 12, 2019 at 15:01

I'll go for:

Michael Hinato. The detective has a 'Wacky Wednesday picnic' on tommorow, so today is Tuesday. The murder happened yesterday, so Monday. He claims to have been reading the stock exchange section of the day's paper, but the NY stock exchange is closed on weekends, so there is unlikely to be a section about the exchange on a Monday.

And the half-suspicious one might be:

Alyssa Lincoln. Given Hinato's clothes, it would be quite difficult for him to carry such a large weapon inconspicuously. Thus, I believe she had left the weapon within her bag that she 'forgot', for Hinato to remove and take with him.

So the innocent one:

Gabriel Newton. Just process of elimination.

  • $\begingroup$ That's correct; who is the innocent one? $\endgroup$
    – Brandon_J
    Feb 12, 2019 at 15:00
  • $\begingroup$ @Brandon_J Edited. $\endgroup$
    – ZanyG
    Feb 12, 2019 at 20:38

Partial Answer:

I think

Gabriel is suspect - he claimed he ate a burger (assuming it's non-vegetarian), while there is a beef recall going on.

  • $\begingroup$ I'm not going to say if you have the correct suspect or not, but I will say that it's tough to build a hard case based on this clue alone. See Rot13("Gurl unir n ynetr inevrgl bs qvrgnel bcgvbaf," fnvq Funpxyr, jub jnf nyyretvp gb tyhgra. "V'z vzcerffrq. Creuncf V'yy fgbc ol fbzrgvzr.") It could go both ways without more evidence. $\endgroup$
    – Brandon_J
    Feb 12, 2019 at 3:06
  • $\begingroup$ Don't forget that with the evidence presented, Losmer is quite certain that he can pin guilt on someone. No other (outside) information is needed for the guilty suspect - you have what you need. $\endgroup$
    – Brandon_J
    Feb 12, 2019 at 3:14

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