Official Edgar Rice Burroughs Tribute Weekly Webzine Site
Since 1996 ~ 15,000 Web Pages In Archive
Between 1932 and 1940, Burroughs experimented with a new type of fictional writing: murder mystery puzzles. He wrote nine of these puzzles which ended with "whodunit" questions for the reader to solve. They varied in length from three to twelve pages.
A Collection of Short
Murder Mystery Puzzles
by Edgar Rice Burroughs
Four of these nine murder mystery puzzles were published in SCRIPT, a Beverly Hills magazine owned, published, and edited by Rob Wagner, a good friend of ERB. His puzzles featured Inspector Muldoon, master detective and mathematical genius and they were narrated by Muldoon's "friend" ERB who was invited to each murder scene.
The puzzles involve brief scenes in which all the murder suspects are gathered in one place, and Muldoon's only function is to cross-examine them until he discovers the guilty party. There is no action, and the murderer is revealed through the minor clues found in the individuals' replies. Burroughs did not intend these puzzles to be actual stories and his concept of a puzzle without characterization, plot, or suspense, and with the solutions based upon trivial points were not very successful, but four of them were published in SCRIPT This was a Beverly Hills magazine owned, published, and edited by Rob Wagner, a good friend of ERB.
Ed eventually collated these puzzles, hoping to have the collection published. He even wrote a foreword for the collection. The project wasn't successful and the puzzles languished unpublished in the ERB, Inc. office safe. Danton Burroughs eventually shared many of these for release on our early ERB Website pages.
Around that time they even saw limited book release in Forgotten Tales of Love and Murder edited by Burroughs fans Guidry and Adkins. Then in 2019 Muldoon's mystery exploits were given new life in a series of Sunday Comic Page-type adaptations issued on line in the ERB, Inc. series of ERB Comics. The INSPECTOR MULDOON adaptations were written by Charles Santino with illustrations by Karl Commendador and included in ERB, Inc.'s subscription package along with about 20 other ERB titles.
These puzzles, many of which I keyed in for Web viewing,
are scattered all through the giant ERBzine Archives.
I've collated them here along with ERB's introduction.
PUZZLE DIRECTORY IN ERBzine
1. The Terrace Drive Murder : Written October 8, 1932
2, Who Murdered Mr. Thomas? Written October 16, 1932 for SCRIPT
3. The Lightship Murder: Written October 26, 1935 for SCRIPT
4. Bank Murder
5. The Dark Lake Murder
6. The Gang Murder
Written in either November 6, 1935 or June 1940
7. Murder At Midnight
Two Murder Mysteries not included in ERB's proposed collection are
The Dupuyster Case September 17, 1932
Left partially unfinished but slated for future ERBzine release.
The Red Necktie published in SCRIPT
This mystery is of a different format