How one TikToker gave new life to murder mystery only four people have solved

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A literary mystery solved by only four people in eight decades has found a new life thanks to the dog’s investigation of a TikToker.

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cane’s jaw, originally published in 1934, is a murder mystery puzzle made up of 100 pages – all assembled in the wrong order. The only way to solve all six murders in a prose narrative is to rearrange the pages and correctly identify the crimes, their victims, and who committed them.

The mystery was created by Edward Powis Mathers, who composed the secret puzzle for inspector Under the pseudonym Torquemada in the 1920s and 1930s. cane’s jaw was first published in Torquemada Puzzle BookIn which many of his compositions are included. It has since been published as a standalone.


TikTok user Sarah Scannell (@saruuuuuugh on stage), a non-profit worker based in San Francisco, was already an active TikTok user when she shared her first cans-jawbone-Related clip on November 14.

“I found this 1934 murder mystery book in which you have to find six murderers and their victims, but all the pages are out of order,” she said. explains in video“So I decided to take this nearly impossible task as an opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream and turn my entire bedroom wall into a murder board.”

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The clip includes a shot of Scannell’s wall to which he pasted to rearrange the detached pages of the book.

With 32 million possible combinations, cane’s jaw It is widely regarded as one of the hardest literary mysteries. (The book’s cover describes it as “the world’s most terrifying literary puzzle.”) Only four are known to have solved it in its 87 years of existence.

The first two, S Sydney-Turner and WS Kennedy, cracked it in the 1930s and won £25, according to Guardian, (Nowadays this would be around £1,500 or $2,000.) Eight decades later, Patrick Wildgust, curator of the Shandy Hall Museum in North Yorkshire, England, resolved this after the Lawrence Stern Trust (a charity created to promote the writing of novelists) . Lawrence Stern). received a copy of Torquemada Puzzle Book,

John Finmore, the English comedian behind the radio programs cabin pressure, John Finmore’s Souvenir Program, And The double acts of John Finmore, in November last year became the fourth person to solve the puzzle. Republished by Unbound, a crowdfunding publishing company based in London cane’s jaw After Wildgust solved the riddle in 2019. The publisher also held a contest with a £1,000 prize for anyone who managed to solve the mystery within a year.

Finmore was one of only 12 participants, and the only one to get the correct answer, Guardian informed at that time.

cane’s jaw Now in the light of Scannell’s videos is experiencing a significant increase in popularity. His first clip about the murder mystery has garnered 4.7 million views on TikTok. Her follow-up videos, in which she provides updates on her progress and discusses various aspects of the work, have garnered thousands of views.

The excitement is such that Unbound says it is now reprinting 10,000 copies in an effort to meet demand, bookseller Report. cane’s jaw Listed as a Top Bestseller in the “Puzzle” category on Amazon.

A disclaimer on Unbound’s website currently reads: “This book has sold out almost everywhere so we are printing more copies as soon as possible. We expect the books to be back in stock at our warehouse on December 14th and Any pre-orders will be shipped as soon as the books arrive.

The book sold out within 24 hours after Scannell’s video went viral, Unbound reported bookseller, adding that it is now “flaring questions of foreign rights”.

By far the hardest part in solving the mystery hasn’t been the fact that the pages are presented in sequence, says Scannell. says in one of her videos – although this aspect is certainly a challenge – rather the fact that the cultural context and language have evolved significantly since the 1930s.

“By far the hardest part of this whole thing isn’t that it’s written out of sequence,” she says in the clip. “… I don’t understand what some things mean, because I don’t know the rules of 1934.”

Scannell has made a point of not revealing the book’s secrets in his clip, and hopefully others will do the same.

“Part of the mystery of this book is that the answers to the riddle have never been made public,” she said. SFGATE, “I think if people start crowd-sourcing it, at some point the answer will emerge. I think for every other murder mystery book, the answer is there and it’s not really that far from it because people can’t see it. But I think it’s funny that people don’t know.”

Credit: / TikTok

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