Murdle: Volume 1: 100 Elementary to Impossible Mysteries to Solve Using Logic, Skill, and the Power of Deduction
by G.T. Karber
St. Martin's Griffin, June 2023, $16 paperback
Murdle is the online daily mystery game site of G.T. Karber, who invites online players to use a grid-based worksheet and deductive reasoning to figure out the identity of a murderer, what weapon was used, and where the dire event happened.
I've tried playing Murdle online, but I much prefer working out the puzzles with paper and pencil. For one thing, background details aren't hidden in windows or menus that need to be opened. They're right there for easy reference. So I'm happy to see that St. Martin's is issuing Murdle: Volume 1, the first of three planned Murdle puzzle collections. Volume 2 is due out in September 2023, Volume 3 in March 2024.
Puzzles get harder as they go along. In the easy section, each Murdle has three suspects, three weapons, and three possible crime scenes. The rules say that a suspect can have only one weapon and can be in only place. Ergo, once you've deduced which weapon a suspect has and where they have been, no other suspect can claim that weapon or be in that place. The identity of the murderer (hopefully) becomes clear. As the puzzles get harder, the number of each variable is increased to four, and you are also asked to guess the motive for the murder.
Clues are included with each puzzle, and further hints are in an appendix towards the back of the book. Players ignore these hints at their peril! There are also occasional snags, like statements that the killer is lying, and secret messages written in code.
G.T. Karber states that he made a few other online games before finding his "one true calling." He has clearly found that with Murdle. I look forward to having his puzzle book on hand for when I am in the mood for a killer puzzle.
Verna Suit is a longtime contributor to Mystery Scene and our resident puzzle master. You can find many of her Mystery Scene crosswords in our print back issues.