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Whodunnit - A Murderer (and Winners) Revealed

I sure hope you guys and gals had as much fun with this contest as I did! Yes, it was a lot of work setting it up -- writing the story, crafting the clues, planting those clues around the blogosphere, tracking the participants and logging their guesses. But what you may not understand is that for a brief while I was in my world. The world of investigation, deduction, logical assumptions…mystery!

When I designed this celebration/contest I had two objectives in mind. The first, commemorate this wonderful community I’m lucky enough to be part of by nudging people to explore blogs outside of their normal boundaries. What is a better way to meet your neighbors then to hold a neighborhood scavenger hunt? The second was to not only give you a taste of what I’m all about, but also what great fun mysteries have the potential to be. In these times where the BONES & CSI effect is running rampant, I’m striving to write mysteries that are more human. My dream is that when my first book starts making the rounds and is getting noticed, that one particular quote is heard over and over again is “This is the book that made me want to start reading mysteries again!”

“Enough already! Who friggin killed Grayson Wilbourne?”

How many of you have already skipped to the end to find out the answer to that question? Tsk…tsk…tsk. Like all good mysteries, you just can’t blurt out the answer like that. You have to build up to it. So let us first discuss how you SHOULD have solved this crime.

Your investigation should have taken place in two parts. First, finding the clues. Second, figuring out what the clues were telling you. A proper place to start was my blog post seven days prior to the contest, A CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS. In that post I asked for assistance for an undisclosed nefarious purpose. The 33 bloggers who left comments there (regardless of what they said) would have been my first destination. But not all of the clue hosts came from that one source, the rest of them were specifically chosen by me. How did I choose them, and therefore how would you have known they were clue hosts? Because I selected people whom frequently left comments on my blog. Are you getting the impression that people who follow my blog regularly had an inside track into figuring out where the clues were? There was another way to find the clues, but surprisingly nobody decided to go that route. You might have posted something on your own blog asking other bloggers where they spotted clues, becoming a clue clearinghouse if you will. Vicki Rocho and others found all 37 clues, but Vicki went a step further and offered to give clues away (one per customer). I’d be interested in hearing how you found yours.

Once you have your clues (whatever number that may be), then what? Many of you went the route of trying to figure out who the murderer was by trying to use the clues to determine who was the most likely candidate. In fact, what you should have been doing is use the clues to figure out who couldn’t have killed Grayson. I’ve been telling you all along that with the right clues, someone could figure the puzzle out with less than a dozen clues. In fact, it could have been done with five. Of the 36 clues (one was duplicated), 13 of them (36%) eliminated suspects. With 6 possible murderers, all you needed is 5 of those 13 clues to reduce your suspect pool down to one. On the other hand, you’d still be scratching your head if you found 35 of the 36 clues, missing that one final clue that finally eliminates a suspect. Things would have been much easier with fewer clues, but the numbers helped cause confusion. Here’s is how it finally broke down.

Remember, we were looking for someone with blonde hair, at least six foot tall, Type O blood, right-handed, and left the ship to go into port that morning.

• Every one of Christian’s clues eliminated him.

• Matt had red hair, type AB blood, and it turns out was having an affair with Tez’s wife during the time of the murder.

• Joe has brown hair, Type A blood, and did not leave the ship that day.

• Tez met all of the criteria, but sustained an old injury that left him incapable of grasping a knife in his right hand with the force necessary to stab a person.

• Linda met all of the criteria, but she was also colorblind. She was incapable of specifically picking out the gold dagger to stab Grayson.

• Tim met all of the criteria. TIM WAS THE MURDERER. His motive was that he was in love with Linda and angry at Grayson for cheating her out of the Salesperson of the year award.

Some of the contestants found the clue about Linda’s color blindness, but chose to ignore it or mis-interpreted it. The gold dagger was used as the murder weapon because of the symbolic reference to the sales person of the year contest Grayson stole. Sure, Linda could have accidentally picked the gold dagger…but remember, there were no clues eliminating Tim as a suspect and an iffy one about Linda. Tim had to be the choice. :)

Eleven out of twenty-five contestants picked Tim, and with that choice…selected by the random number generator of 13…the winner of the WHODUNNIT mystery contest is…Vicki Rocho!

And the winner of the general drawing with a random number of 64…is Michael Di Gesu!

Congrats Vicki & Michael!!!!! I’ll be contacting you both shortly to work out award details.

Thanks again for everyone who played along…and especially for my wonderful clue hosts!!  Look for this game to make a reappearance in some future celebration.

Have a great week!


  1. Wow!! Congrats to the winners! Such dedication. I missed a few clues. I'm really glad so many figured it out. That's great! Great job, Don.

  2. What a fun event this was!! Great job hosting it. And I'm so happy Vicki won -- perfect too, since she was the first to find all the clues.

    Congrats to Vicki and Michael! Whoot!

    Have a great week, and happy crusading!

  3. Congrats, Vicki and Michael! And thanks for the fun, DL!

  4. Such a creative and exciting contest! Great job DL! It was an honor to be a clue host :)

  5. Great job D.L. on this mystery contest. It was a lot of fun.
    Congrats to Vicki and Michael on your wins.
    Hope we all get to sleuth again sometime soon!

  6. DAMMIT! I KNEW that one clue i couldn't find would be my downfall! Of course it was the clue that Tim was in love with Linda.
    Le Sigh. Ah well, i gave it my best.

    And sine you were curious, this is how i found most of my clues:

    I started with the call for volunteers, and checked all those blogs.
    Then i check all the blogs that commented on the post explaining the rules.
    Then i checked all the blogs of the people who actually commented on the mystery itself.
    That nailed me a good 24 clues.
    Just keeping my eyes open with the blogs i read daily nailed me another five or so

  7. WHOO HOO!!! congrats vicki!!! you SO deserved to win with all that cleverness and helpfulness! congrats to michael as well!
    great contest DL! it was a blast!
    p.s. i did NOT scroll to the bottom to see who was the killer! :D

  8. Hi, DL,


    I can't BELIEVE I didn't get it. I didn't understand what the colorblindness clue meant, because she picked up a gold dagger. Can't a colorblind people see gold? I know that they can't differentiate between red and green.

    Also you never mentioned Tim's blood type.... And with Linda you mentioned all the clues AND she didn't win, which gave her a motive.

    Oh, well I misinterpreted a few clues.... I did find 34 before the first week was out and I used you followers to find the clues.

    Thanks DL for a really fun mystery and I am thrilled to win the second drawing....


  9. this was loads of fun! It was fun participating. Thanks, DL~ :o) <3

  10. This was fabulous!!! Congratulations to Vicki and Michael!! Too awesome!!

  11. Good stuff Vicki and Michael! Vicki was so on top of things.

  12. Congrats to the winners :) One other way that I found blogs that hosted your clues was to do a Google search (yes, I work in the search engine industry, so sue

  13. Congratulations Vicki and Michael! This was such fun. Thank you so much, Don. Fabulous!!!

  14. Congrats to the winners. This was fun, DL.

  15. CONGRATS to the winners!

  16. Thanks for the fun game--congratulations to the winners!

  17. Big Congrats to the winners! Life took me out of the game but DL this was a great idea! Murder in Blogville :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  18. Congrats, winners!

    I have to tell you, I took this game pretty seriously. I did indeed go to your post calling for volunteers and visited all their blogs. Then when I still didn't have all the clues, I thought maybe you were being sneaky and hiding a clue in all your pictures of awards. Then I did a google search to find all the blogs that listed the "DL's Whodunnit Clue."

    It wasn't until I saw the clue about Linda's colorblindness for the fiftieth time that I realized what it meant.

    Oh, and I totally had a sleuthing partner! We were a great team!

  19. Congratulations to the winners. This was a cool event. I hope you do it again.

  20. It was fun being a clue host! Cool contest, DL.

    Congrats to Vicki and Michael!

  21. I hate when I misinterpret things!!! I did have it narrowed down to those 2, but guessed wrong... sigh...

    Congrats to Vicki & Michael! :)

  22. Yeee-Haw! Congratulations to both the winners. I am sincerely thrilled for you.

    I'm afraid I missed out on that very important clue about Tez having sustained a previous injury, until too late. Maybe I'll do better next time, eh?

    Thank you, DL. This was more fun than I knew I could have with a mystery. I look forward to you next plot.

    ~ Yaya

  23. Congrats, everyone! I want more! Please write more soon.

  24. Dang it, I missed the clue that Tez had a hand injury. Foiled.

    But this was so much fun DL. I checked out every person who volunteered on that post. I didn't think of researching general commenter. Oh well.

    Cant wait for your next event DL.

    There will be one, right?


  25. Hurray for Vicki! I had major ShannonFail this time, D.L. Sorry. My life didn't allow me the time to surf, hunt, and solve. I was honored to host a clue, though! :-)

  26. You are seriously one creative guy! Your ideas wow the blog world. Congratulations to Vicki and Michael!

  27. Congrats to the clever winners! And to you DL, for putting on what may have been the most creative contest ever!

  28. This is such a great idea! I'm here from the crusade, so I was a little behind the ball on this, but I swear I saw these clues all over the blogosphere.

    Great job and congrats to the winners.

  29. Okay, I'm late to this party, but I'll spare you all the gory details and just say a HUGE THANKS for hosting the contest - it was definitely a challenge and I loved it! Let's do it again!

  30. Congratulations to the winners! Big cheers!

    I'm sorry I didn't take part in this compeition in the end - work and life got in the way.

  31. Congratulations to Vicki and Michael! It was a fun couple of weeks, and I enjoyed the challenge. I'm gonna miss seeing that mystery clue link on my sidebar.

  32. Congrats to Vicki and Michael! And you're so creative, Don - what a great idea for a contest!

  33. Congrats, Vicki and Michael! Looked like a lot of fun.

    I'm a crusader dropping in to say hi, and I am REALLY impressed with the hair colour. My hubs would rather die than be associated with pink. Silly sod.

  34. I have an award for you today, D.L.! :-)

  35. Congrats to the winners!!!
    Those Tims can't be trusted. ;) I should've know it was him.

  36. Congrats to all the winners! You did a fantastic job!

  37. Congratulations to the winners! This was such a fun celebration!

  38. Congrats to the winners and huge kudos to DL for such a cool story and interactive contest. Tons of fun.

    Thanks so much. :)

  39. What an awesome contest! Was happy to help out. Congratulations to the winners!

  40. This was the coolest contest EVER! Clever. Interactive. Competitive. FUN.

    Kudos to you and congrats to the winners!!!!

  41. Congrats to the winners! You put so much work into this and did such a great job. So creative. Have a great week!

  42. Okay, in my absence I have no idea what this contest was but it sounds epic and congrats to the winners. I just wanted to pop over this morning to let you know that IM BACK! Finally...needed the break, and doing well. I've missed your witty comments, please feel free to actually make my day :)




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