Your Mysteries Earn Free Books

Thu 19 Feb 2009 - Filed under: Not a Journal., | Leave a Comment | Posted by: Gavin

The Manual of Detection CoverJedediah Berry’s awesome first novel, The Manual of Detection, is out Today! Today! Run to your local bookshop and if they don’t have it firebomb them, er, ask politely when they will have it in. If they do have it, what are you reading this for? Go read the book.

Or, maybe you will win a free copy!

We were going through Jed’s desk the other day and found a few lonely and unread copies so we decided that we should find them good homes. First, we made him sign them, and now, clearly, it’s time for a contest.

To enter, leave a comment on this post with a mystery in need of solving. Personal or historical, major or quotidian, real to everyone or just to you. We’ll choose five of the most strange and intriguing mysteries and those folks will get a copy of The Manual of Detection. They may even get their mysteries solved. (Please don’t wait around for that to happen.)

Submit conundrums and enigmas within a week or so. And in the meantime, you may want to read up on the Manual over here:


No Responses to “Your Mysteries Earn Free Books”

  1. The Manual of Detection launches: Bicyclists with umbrellas rejoice! — Secret. on February 19th, 2009 4:58 pm

    […] the book,  the curiously named ‘Small Beer Press‘ – is hosting a mystery contest to win signed copies of the book. I’ll be picking mine up tonight at Powell’s Books (I’m going to see TC Boyle […]

  2. marta on February 19th, 2009 5:00 pm

    Please enter me

    My mystery is: when soap opera children go upstairs and come back down in a month and they are adults….WHAT HAPPENS UP THERE???? or they go away to camp and come back adults…..soap opera worlds are scary!

  3. Cuyler Brooks on February 19th, 2009 5:08 pm

    A few years ago, on a calm clear evening, I was in the driveway of my mother’s house in Decatur Georgia. Overhead, something could be seen moving slowly to the west – there was time to go and get binoculars. It might have been a yard wide and 50 feet up, or 30 years wide and 500 feet up. It was roughly globular, and seemed to be tumbling. Through the binoculars it looked rather like a tumbleweed – an irregularly rugose surface. It made no sound, and there was no wind. After it had passed overhead, it turned about 30 degrees to the north and continued out of sight. What held it up? If it was a balloon, what propelled it, and why would it tumble?

  4. Lauren on February 19th, 2009 5:43 pm

    There used to be side shows all over, traveling and stationary. They hosted spectacles such as the bearded lady and the tall man. Where are those people now? Is there a sideshow country that hosts everyone?

    I kind of miss them. I little bit of awe and wonder never hurt anyone.

  5. Rachel Cantor on February 19th, 2009 6:05 pm

    An enigma: the NEA submission process–was it devised by Jesse Helms to spite us?

  6. Charles Tan on February 19th, 2009 8:21 pm

    What happens if you read a book about the story of your life and you do nothing for the rest of your life but read that book?

  7. Nancy on February 19th, 2009 9:31 pm

    Why isn’t the shortest day of the year also the coldest day of the year? How can it continue to get colder on days where there is more sunlight — if it is really sunlight that warms the earth, rather than some conspiracy…

  8. tikitu on February 20th, 2009 7:37 am

    Whatever happened to Gideon Mantell‘s spine? I mean the twisted section of it (carriage accident; scoliosis) which Sir Richard Owen (early paleontologist, like Mantell) had pickled after Mantell’s death and stored in the Royal College of Surgeons of England. It’s been lost.

    Actually I already have the Manual (no firebombing involved, but I did have to send some bookstore staff on a crate-opening mission), and finished it with great enjoyment at midnight last night. But this is a mystery deserving a wider audience.

  9. (b)logophile › “The Manual of Detection” on February 20th, 2009 8:13 am

    […] The Manual of Detection has just hit the bookstores. Check it out. Also, Small Beer have a mystery competition running, with signed copies as […]

  10. Tasses on February 20th, 2009 10:46 am

    Why does my mother-in-law bring out the absolute worst in me?

  11. Kaethe on February 20th, 2009 11:08 am

    Why did my grandfather carefully pull back his suit coat before he shot himself in the heart through his vest and shirt?

  12. Gay Terry on February 20th, 2009 11:17 am

    Who are they trying to kid with this idea of “clean coal?” Come on! Even if they can make it burn a little cleaner, digging it out is still one hell of a dirty job. And is it worth destroying the Appalachians and the people who live there?

  13. marsha on February 20th, 2009 12:31 pm

    Are there more teapots or people?

  14. C on February 20th, 2009 12:40 pm

    I would like to enter. The mystery I would like to see solved is:
    Where is the beginning and end source of the river in Lost River Caverns?(
    Many different attempts have been made (with cameras and dyes and PING PONG BALLS!) but with no success.

  15. Daniel Ausema on February 20th, 2009 1:01 pm

    Family history mystery–my grandmother was taken away from her mother, first to live with a maternal aunt and uncle and then with a paternal aunt and uncle. This was 1920-ish, Denver, Colorado. Why? She recalled her mother, whom at least one census lists as being deaf, offering her a piece of candy as she left, and the people taking her away wouldn’t allow her to accept the candy. When letters and pictures arrived in the mail years later (possibly from her mother, possibly not), her aunt burned them up so my grandmother wouldn’t see them… TB? Some other disease? Or is their a more sinister secret buried in those now-third-hand memories?

  16. Renee on February 20th, 2009 1:32 pm

    I’d like to find out what my Father does with all his money. I’m pretty sure it’s spent on drugs, but I’m not 100% sure. I’d also like to know why I ended up being the black sheep of the family.

    I guess I’d also like to know whether he really IS my Father.

    I’d also like to know why birds suddenly appear, everytime you are near!


  17. C. S. Inman on February 20th, 2009 1:33 pm

    My housemate is a military brat. His father was posted in Germany for almost a year before his mother could join him there. She arrived, pregnant with my housemate, and gave birth to him in Nurnberg in 1976.

    One day, when he was about ten, he was going through some old papers he found in a drawer. Among them was a German birth certificate with his name and birthday–but the year was 1977.

    He brought it to his mother and asked about it. She promptly took it from him, refused to answer any questions, and he’s never seen it again. His father is dead and his mother refuses to “remember” the incident even happened.

    Is he 32 or 33?

  18. C. S. Inman on February 20th, 2009 1:36 pm

    (Oops, I transposed the years! His birthday is supposedly in 1977 but the old birth certificate she took away said 1976. Sorry!)

  19. SMD on February 20th, 2009 2:21 pm

    Well, I’d like to know why right-wing conservatives are devoid of logic. I suspect it’s because they’re aliens from another dimension who have come here to take over the Earth and turn it into a prison colony for all their furry monkey slaves, but it’s certainly possible that they’re just a bunch of hypocritical idiots who don’t give a flying fig about any of us. I just want to know once and for all why their brains don’t work, and if you can solve that one, then I’ll be happy, because maybe there’s a treatment.

    Anywho :P.

  20. Andy Duncan on February 20th, 2009 9:24 pm

    In It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, was Jimmy Durante originally cast as Jimmy the Crook and Buster Keaton as Smiler Grogan, rather than vice versa, as Mark Evanier theorizes?

  21. will a on February 21st, 2009 10:29 am

    Why is physical humor funny the first three times, but not the fourth?

  22. Mr. Cavin on February 21st, 2009 1:29 pm

    I’d just typed up a lengthy entry asking the question of why it is that, when you turn around in a circle, you travel three hundred and sixty degrees, and even if you turn in a square, it’s still three hundred and sixty degrees, but if you were to turn around in a triangle it would be….

    Blah blah blah. It was long. What I want to know is, when I hit Submit Comment, and those words just quite mysteriously vanished instead of uploading, where did they go?

  23. Sue on February 21st, 2009 7:02 pm

    Everytime I take the subway, I always notice a cluster of pigeons hanging around. However, all of these pigeons are fully grown. Whatever happen to the baby pigeons? Why dont we or I see them anywhere? Does the pigeon self replicate? Or is the answer to my question so mundane that my brain cannot grasp it?

  24. Blodeuedd on February 22nd, 2009 5:27 am

    Is it open worldwide? Cos then I am in 🙂

    Many mysteries in need of solving, like how much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? 😉

  25. Alissa on February 22nd, 2009 12:23 pm

    I think this might fall more under the heading of logic puzzle, but it’s something that has always bugged me.

    Why is it that if you have bad credit and you go to buy a car or something you will end up paying a higher interest rate than someone with good credit, when, in fact, if you have poor credit it is likely because you don’t have as much money as someone with good credit, so you have less money to pay the higher interest rate?

  26. Someone dark and mysterious across the hall... on February 22nd, 2009 1:23 pm

    As a detective made a cursory pass over an anthill with his magnifying glass, the mound’s curiously over-evolved inhabitants unleashed a furious optical counterattack against the dreaded lens-wielder, delivering a bright flash through the lens and severely damaging the inspector’s retina.

    How did the spurious insects deliver the assault, and was it enough to deter future magnifying glass assaults on their proud kingdom?

  27. Erich Levinson on February 22nd, 2009 8:19 pm

    Why do people when they are driving and smoking a cigarette crack the driver’s window, to let the smoke out? Why is the cigarette in the left hand? Why do they look like they are in a daze, barely doing the speed limit?

  28. Kylie on February 23rd, 2009 3:37 am

    There are oh so many mysteries I could post here, but I will post the one that (I believe) is central to them all.

    I’ve had unusually realistic dreams for as long as I can remember. I can do and say as I want in them… and the “people/creatures” I meet do as they wish as well. The places seem real, the people seem real and though it all seems extrordinary, everything just FEELS real to me… like its some other demension or something.
    I think this may turn into two mini myteries (because I just thought of another interesting part… if its against the rules to post two, feel free to disregard the second one…)

    Mystery 1: There is a man. I’ve met him MANY times in my dreams, I’ve known him for around 8 years now (only in dreams) and he frequently shows up and we have very philosophical conversations, explore places… he seems very “high ranking” considering how other “people” in my dreams react to him… my friends that ive told say “wouldnt it be freaky if he was a faerie prince???” which almost fits with the vibes I get from him, and some of the places we’ve visited, it also explains some of the strange people hes had me meet.
    WHO IS HE?!?!

    mystery 2: once I was talking with a man in a dream (which I assumed was a vampire… i got a vampire vibe from him, and he had a dead body in his house…he does seem strangely nice though.) and I asked him why alot of his house was decorated in shades of lavander. He smiled and got this dreamy look in his eye and replied that (and I quote)
    “Lavander is the color of mortality” (it was either mortality or humanity… but i think it was mortality)

  29. Swetha on February 24th, 2009 11:05 pm

    Why is it that every cloudy (but not rainy) day, I feel like I’m about to be mysteriously spirited away to a strange new planet?

  30. Lance on February 25th, 2009 5:32 am

    Why do I seem to be the only person who refuses to believe the assertion that Europe and Asia are separate continents? Anyone can look at a map and see that they are one land mass. And how did this falsehood become so ingrained? Damn topology nomenclature conspiracy.

  31. lucasjohnson on February 25th, 2009 4:45 pm

    Where did I put my keys?!

  32. James on February 25th, 2009 5:19 pm

    When I was fifteen, I was sitting in a Walgreen’s snack bar, sharing a bubble gum flavored Icee with my girlfriend, when an old woman dressed all in white with plastic sandwich bags on her hands walked up to me and said, “The Lord is speaking to you, so drink orange juice and listen to his word.” Whereupon she walked away. We sat in silence for a moment and then tried to follow her into the mall, but she’d vanished.

    What was up with that? More importantly, who decided that the weird blue sickly sweet syrup in our drinks (and were those really drinks, or some kind of frozen desserts?) would be called bubble gum even though it tasted nothing like gum?

  33. Summer on February 26th, 2009 3:53 am

    Which came first: the subject or the object?

    Is this statement self-referencing?

    Why did they call it ‘Microsoft Works’ when they surely knew of all the puns that would follow?

    Is it really butter?

    Once an acquaintance of mine was walking down down a street that is normally thick with people that was inexplicably empty at ten of the clock in the morning. She noticed something lying in the gutter, and upon closer inspection discovered that it was a small feather, such as you would find in a bird’s down, but made entirely of copper. It was slightly bent at the edges, crumpled, but it caught the light like a net catches fish. She walked on, and when she next walked down that street at ten of the clock in the morning it was once more thick with people, and the small, twisted copper feather was nowhere to be seen.

    My question is not how the feather came to be on a street that was normally thick with people at ten of the clock in the morning, or what manner of bird or strange creature it came from. My question is: Why did she walk on?

  34. Keith on February 26th, 2009 11:11 am

    Why is it that, in the movies, vampire hunters always hunt vampires at night? Why don’t they wait until dawn and do it during the day?

  35. Hillary! on March 2nd, 2009 12:59 pm

    Ok, i may be a little late to win but I still have a mystery needs solving:
    Since I was twelve my favorite pants have been disappearing. They’re the kind of pants that are worn to death, yo knoe the kind. The ones that have holes in the knees, crotch, butt, thigh, where the belt loops should be; generally very holey jeans, but very comfy. So, every year since I was twelve, six years now, whatever pair is my favorite at the moment disappears. I know it’s not my parents, they don’t care, and even if they did they’re afraid of my room. I don’t have a sister, and my brother only wears black. So…who’s stealing my jeans?

  36. Mr. Cavin on April 26th, 2009 10:10 am

    So hey, did I just miss the upshot here? Was this the mystery? Who won? How do you make a dimwit inquisitive? I don’t know, how?

  37. Mystery Contest Winners : Not a journal. on July 8th, 2009 6:00 pm

    […] after, oh, a brief delay, the winners of the The Manual of Detection Mystery Contest we instigated some time back. Many fine mysteries were submitted, and we’d like to coat each of them in gold and jewels […]

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