You have one minute each to solve these 71 mysteries – if you can…
THE SOLUTION OF CRIMINAL MYSTERIES constitutes one of the most absorbing, possibly the most intriguing forms of mental activity existent. It calls for something more than mere cold intelligence and reasoning ability, requiring in addition native perception, intuition, and a natural understanding of human behavior under stress of emotion and passion. Furthermore, some knowledge of pathological or abnormal behaviorism is a requisite.
Mr. Ripley’s excellently thought-out series of mysteries might be said to represent a very adequate cross-section of the problems perennially confronting the law-enforcers and official crime-solvers of the nation. The points of evidence are cleverly assembled and the nuances of incrimination are very subtly shaded.
It would be well for the reader interested in successfully solving these problems to endeavor to think, not as a detective, but as the criminal in the case would think, in order to arrive at a correct solution. I have found that to deal adequately with the criminal after conviction, and while in confinement, it is necessary to understand his personal problems. To accomplish this, one must first think as does the criminal, discover the sequent conclusions upon which he based his anti-social activities, and thereupon make use of these findings to assist him toward rehabilitation.
In this novel challenge to amateur criminologists, who suffer from a dearth of laboratory specimens upon which to experiment, Mr. Ripley offers an excellent opportunity—that of examining and forming conclusions upon the more elemental, vital, and dramatic aspects of various typical criminal situations, without the drawback of fantasy and concocted sordidness, which, for the practical criminologist, takes the glamour and color out of this thing called—Crime.
Chief Inspector Kelley, that grizzled veteran of the Detective Bureau, was talking to his nephew, Jim Barry, who had indicated a desire to enter the uncrowded field of criminology.
‘The average policeman,’ he said, ‘looks upon the lay criminologist in much the same manner as the professional in any field regards the amateur. Generally speaking, that attitude is justified.
‘In thirty years of police work, however, I have met no one in detective circles, in or out of the force, who so effectively combines theoretical knowledge with practical application as Professor Fordney.
‘A man of definite scientific attainments and recognition, he yet appreciates that the simple fundamentals of crime detection are effective in ninety per cent of all criminal cases. While he has unraveled by scientific means some amazing and extremely baffling crimes that otherwise would have gone unsolved, he puts his greatest reliance on those basic principles upon which rests the whole structure of crime detection.
‘His major theory is that most crimes are simple; that their solution calls only for the exercise of ordinary talents developed to an extraordinary degree; that the stupidity of the average criminal himself, and not the brilliance of the detective, is responsible for his detection.
‘In that, I might tell you, he finds complete corroboration in the experience of such an outstanding detective of world-wide reputation as Sir Melville L. Macnaghten, C.B., late Chief of the Criminal Investigation Department of Scotland Yard. Commenting on the capture of a particularly vicious murderer, he remarked, “But for the fact that the student of criminal history is constantly faced with the stupidity of the criminal, there would be nothing more remarkable in this case than the fatuity of the man who, having murdered solely for personal gratifications, and taken every precaution, as he thought, to avoid discovery, immediately wrote blackmailing letters in which he showed guilty knowledge of a secret murder.”
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