Back to School Exam

How much of your detective fiction reading can you accurately recall?

1. Biography: Who is Ellery Queen? Refer to both Ellery and Queen and the following key texts: The French Key, The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter, The Case of the Chinese Gong. Cite neither J. J. Mc. nor JJ at The Invisible Event.

2. Home Economics: Death Invites You to have Thirteen at Dinner. Prepare a meal comprising: Hard Cheese, Five Red Herrings, and (Sergeant) Beef. Serve with Two Bottles of Relish. Wine to be sourced from the Cellars of the Majestic. Finish with Black Coffee and a Case of Poisoned Chocolates.

3. Music: Whistle Up the Devil or sing Swan Song.

4. English Literature: Critique as many of these as you have read: The Lotus Murder, The Clue of the Candle Wax, The Death in the Drainpipe, and The Affair of the Second Goldfish.

5. History: Who killed the Princes in the Tower?

a. Henry VII

b. Richard III

c. Lambert Simnel and/or Perkin Warbeck

d. Alan Grant

e. Gordon Daviot

6. Gender Studies: Complete the sentence “If a woman were head of Scotland Yard…”

7. Post mortems: Recall the victims in the following works:

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, Lord Edgware Dies, and Mrs McGinty’s Dead.

8. Algebra: If 9 + Death = 10 then 2 x Death + 7 = ?

9. Economics: A Shilling for Candles – is that good value?

10.  Having deduced the existence of this question and revealed it by heating the paper, respond to the following question in the personal column of the local newspaper using a cipher breakable by the Chief Constable: Whose Body?

11. Boatsmanship: Are you, or have you ever been, Master of the “Emma Jane” fishing trawler?

12. Languages: Translate these Belgian phrases into French:

Mon ami, Hastings.



Mal de mer.

Mon cher Hastings.

13. Personal Taste: Do you prefer the works of:

a. Ellery Queen

b. Barnaby Ross

c. Frederic Danny and Manfred Lee

d. Daniel Nathan and Emanuel Lepofsky

14. Geography: Locate the following on a map:

a. St Mary Mead

b. Lymstock

c. Chipping Cleghorn

15. Geometry: Draw a scale diagram that illustrates the solution to “The Cornish Coast Murders” by John Bude or Square the Circle (whichever you deem easier).

16. Practical Science: By repeated experiment and with reference to the Poisson Distribution estimate the probability of success of the method utilised in “Sealed Room Murder” by Rupert Penny.

17. Chess: White opens e4. Do you choose to respond with the Birlstone Gambit?

18. Pseudonyms: John Dickson Carr is to Carter Dickson as Dorothy Leigh Sayers is to whom?

19. Law: How did Perry Mason solve each of the following: The Case of the Seven of Calvary, The Case of the Bonfire Body, The Case of the Constant Suicides, The Case of the Gilded Fly, The Case of the Famished Parson, and The Case of the Smoking Chimney?

20. Fairplay: If the ghost of a Chinaman enters a house via a secret passage to place an untraceable poison in his twin brother’s glass what percentage of Knox’s Decalogue has been broken? Devise a scenario that breaks at least three other of Knox’s Rules.

Correct answers can be obtained by writing to Hercule Poirier, Whitehorse Mansions, EC1  or by ‘phoning Whitehall 1212.

With acknowledgement and apology to W. C. Sellar and R. J. Yeatman.

3 thoughts on “Back to School Exam”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: