Solution Time (Let’s Try This Again)

OK, folks, I’m revealing the solution to “Ruby Red.” (I would have revealed it before, as promised, but Inurhadi correctly found one of the three major clues.)




































(You still with me?)

The dying clue indicated Fred Mayne, because his birthstone is the ruby (month: July), but the dying clue was faked. The murderer is Raymond Tallder.

Tallder’s motive? Inheritance from the will. But even more than that–Tallder threw suspicion on Fred Mayne by planting the ruby birthstone in Balchek’s hand. Why? As we know, Mayne and Tallder had previously argued; Tallder had said that Mayne was “still fuming,” but the same, from what he said, seems to apply to him.

Clues? Tallder was an expert gemologist, as stated, and therefore knew what stone to choose to indicate Mayne. Mayne, by the way, “tends to focus more on the rings and watches,” as Lt. McKee told us. Could Mrs. Balchek have known about the stone? No–she “had no interest in rare gems or any other part of her husband’s time-consuming profession…” Moreover, it is unlikely that Mrs. B, who had no interest in Mr. B’s profession, knew any of her husband’s employees’ birthmonths–which the murderer had to know because of the birthstone.

But what definitively establishes that the dying clue must have been faked–or, to be rigorously logical about it, is most likely to have been faked? Answer–the calendar. There was a calendar behind the counter on which Mr. Balchek, had he really been intended to be leaving a month-based dying clue, could have marked something–a day, a month–off.

More than that–who knew about that calendar? Balchek, obviously, as the jeweller–and also Fred Mayne. But Tallder? He “…now works mainly in his own office, not behind the counter…”

So the dying clue was faked by the only person who didn’t know that there was an easier way to fake it–who knew about gems and rare stones–who was likely to know his co-worker’s birthday–who benefited from the will–and who had a motive to frame Mayne: Raymond Tallder. QED.

























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15 Responses to Solution Time (Let’s Try This Again)

  1. inurhadi says:

    Dang it, so it was the CALENDAR! Why didn’t I notice that? xD

    Liked by 1 person

  2. JJ says:

    This is the thing with dying clues (as Brad pointed out in his post): it requires us to be certain that some sort of hint could have been left on the calendar in order to be equally certain that the ruby was a plant…but can we, really? If the calendar was hung too high, and he didn’t know how long he was going to live…he may have then just grabbed the ruby to indicate the person who killed him…

    I really like the link that someone who didn’t work behind the counter wouldn’t know about the calendar, but personally I remain unconvinced that the calendar clinches it definitively. Which makes me seem like I’m grousing — and, hell, I probably am — but really I’m interested in this idea of clue-laying that you’re doing here: I think these stories are a huge amount of fun, and require far more talent to write than I possess, so now I’m wondering if the calendar can be tied into it in a more damning way.

    But, great work all the same, don’t let my forensic curiosity give the impression that I’m not enjoying this immensely. Keep ’em coming!


    • inurhadi says:

      I think in a ‘dying clues’ story there’s an unwritten rules (?), i don’t know how to convey it to words, but it was like this : The dying clues must have been made by the victim in the simplest way possible.

      As you said above, JJ, the victim may have just grabbed the ruby, because if the calendar was hung too high and he didn’t know how much is he going to live, it probably was the simplest way to indicate the murderer.

      And I think, the author (sorry still hadn’t got your name yet? 😛 ) use the same principle in the story.
      “He’d been stabbed in his shop but had apparently lived long enough to drag himself to one of the glass cases…”

      So, according to that information, it was a hassle to grab the ruby than to use the calendar. Using the calendar was the simplest way possible for the victim to leave a dying clue, had he intended to do so. Yet, it was not done. Therefore… as it was explained in the solution post above.

      Well, that’s my opinion about the story.. 😀

      And I still think the alarm which had not gone off, could be incorporated to the solution.

      Liked by 1 person

      • JJ says:

        So this opens a door that I find sort of fascinating — there’s a difference between a genuine dying clue (made by the victim in their final throes) and a faked one (made to look like it was made by the victim — so, one presumes, made by the killer to throw the heat elsewhere).

        But if the absence of a faked dying clue means there no evidence to point to anyone…what’s the point of making one? Because then there’s the chance it could backfire — the killer has to be certain that their patsy has no alibi or other incontrovertible evidence that they couldn’t have committed the crime.

        Goddamn, this is amazing! There are so many possibilities…


      • inurhadi says:

        If you follow manga Detective Conan (Case Closed), there’s a unique take on dying clue by Aoyama Gosho in which a story involved a dying clue that was both genuine and fake.. Ooops, spoiler. 😛


      • JJ says:

        Doesn’t surprise me; the creativity in that series is insane…


      • Well, I haven’t read Det. Conan, but couldn’t a key clue in EQ’s The Siamese Twin Mystery also count as both a real and fake dying clue?


      • inurhadi says:

        Haven’t read that.. I have trouble getting use to EQ’s writing style, it’s too tedious. -__-
        Though, I liked Tragedy of X.


  3. Hi, guys—

    Thanks so much for the dialogue. Very much appreciated. (By the way, Inurhafi, I’m Karl.)

    I think you’re right, JJ, and it gives me some food for thought. The problem here is that it’s a clue that has not actually been left—a clue that does not actually exist—which makes it difficult to evaluate because one doesn’t know definitively what the victim would have done. In my defense, I tried to make sure that the ruby-clutching would be very difficult for a dying victim, he having to go on the complete other side of his shop—as Inurhadi picked up on. With that said, I may go back and try to rework it so that the calendar is very close to the victim.

    The alarm is an intriguing idea, Inurhadi–a bit like a clue we all know well, the “dog in the nighttime” business. If you don’t mind, I may incorporate it into another story: I’m working on something at the moment, but I’m not totally sure if all the clues work. Unless someone here would like to be my proofreader for puzzle plotting (alliteration again!)? After that, if I still have time, I’ll get to work on another solution to The Three Coffins‘s first setup, as JJ knows!



    • JJ says:

      I’d offer my proofreading services, but I enjoy playing along at home too much. And being able to discuss the elements of a story with the person who wrote it after reading it…well, that’s just fabulous. Maybe I should read more living authors, hey?

      Actually, upon reflection, I’ve already tried that and know how it ends up…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, JJ.

        Well, if ever you want to see the inner workings of writing a detective story, just drop me a line! 😀

        The eternal problem is that one never knows if one’s clues are too obvious or too oblique. The median between the two is so difficult to achieve.

        If you’d like, I can send you my rough draft of the story (without solution) and you can tell me your initial thoughts (if you have the time, of course). Just so that I can see the extent to which I have to rework it.


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