Mysteries are inherently riddles that need to be solved. Solving detective riddles provides a mentally-stimulating activity that will test your brain’s power. Plus, detective riddles are also fun!
Table of Contents
We begin this article with some fairly short, generally easy, Mystery Riddles. Next, we have some “who-done-it” Murder Mystery Riddles. You will enjoy the section of Story Riddles, which are fun to share with your family and friends. The article ends with some longer, more challenging Scenario Riddles, designed to test your mystery riddle solving ability.
See if you have the ability to be a detective by seeing how many of our Detective Riddles you can solve. Put your thinking cap on and have fun!
Mystery riddles are the shortest of the Detective Riddles in this article. They may, or may not, involve murder and mayhem. They may also be a bit humorous. Enjoy!
- A man is found hanging in a room four feet off the floor. There is nothing else in the room except for a large puddle of water below him. The police do not see anything the man would have climb on to hang himself. Did he commit suicide and, if so, how did he do it?
- One winter day, there was a man standing in the middle of someone’s front yard. The person stayed there for several weeks without moving and the owner of the yard didn’t mind. Eventually the man left. Who was he?
- A man was found dead with a cassette recorder in one hand and a gun in his other hand. When the police came in, they immediately pressed the play button on the cassette. They heard the man say, “I have nothing else to live for. I can’t go on.” Then there was the sound of a gunshot. After listening to the cassette tape, the police knew that it was not a suicide, but a homicide. How did they know?
- A couple went on holiday for three weeks. They carefully locked their house, and had a neighbor check on the place while they were gone. When they returned, the wife was distressed to learn that, because of a power failure, she had lost all her fine jewelry. She had hidden the jewelry in what she thought was a very safe place. She was not robbed. Her jewelry was lost by accident. Why?
- A man eats dinner, goes up to his bedroom, turns off the lights, and goes to sleep. In the morning, he wakes up and looks outside. Horrified at what he sees, he hurls himself out his window to his death. Why does he do this?
- A woman shoots her husband, then holds him under water for five minutes. A little while later, they both go out and enjoy a wonderful dinner together. How can this be?
- Accused of stealing the farmer’s chickens, a man is locked up in an empty room in the local jail. His cell has a dirt floor and is completely void of any accessories except for a shovel. There is a window overlooking the hills outside. The man is determined to break out and prove his innocence, but the window is too high to reach and beneath the shallow dirt floor is rock. How can he escape?
- A woman goes to the police claiming that someone broke into her house and stole her diamond bracelet while she was at work. The policemen investigate the crime scene and notice that the bedroom window is broken. There are muddy footprints all across the bedroom floor. However, the room is otherwise neat and organized. The following day, the woman is arrested for fraud. Why?
Murder Mystery Riddles
Murder Mystery Riddles are “Who done it?” situations, where you or a detective must determine not only if a crime was committed, but who it was committed by. If you think you are a champion at solving murder mysteries, try the following cases.
The Case of the Wife in the Kitchen
A man entered his house and was about to hang up his coat when he heard his wife shout; “No John! Don’t do it!”
There was a shot and he could hear his wife fall down. When he entered the kitchen, he saw his wife and the gun lying on the floor. There was a police officer, a doctor, and a lawyer standing next to her. Who killed the man’s wife and how did the man know who it was?
The Case of the Rich Man’s Murder
A man is found murdered on a Sunday morning. His wife calls the police, who question the wife and the staff, and are given the following alibis:
- The wife says she was sleeping
- The butler said he was cleaning the closet
- The gardener was declared he was picking vegetables
- The maid explained she was getting the mail
- The cook said she was preparing breakfast
Immediately, the police arrest the murdered. Who did it and how did the police know?
The Case of the (Un)Clever Husband
A couple went on for a climbing trip. When only the husband returned from the vacation, he said that his wife slipped off a cliff while climbing and died. On investigating, the local sheriff arrested him saying, “Your travel agent called. The information we received makes us aware you murdered your wife.” How did the agent deduce it was a murder?
The Case of the Chemist’s Message
A renowned chemist is found dead in his lab. There is no clear evidence except a piece of paper lying by the body. The paper is blank other than the name of five elements scrawled across it hastily:
The guard reported that three people visited the chemist that day – his sister, Laura; his colleague, Nicolas; and his wife, Tessa. The criminal was arrested immediately. Who was it?
The Case of the Clever Serial Killer
An unidentified man in the local town kidnaps people and demands them to take one of the two pills that he offers. The pills look identical, but the killer claims that only one is poisonous. When a victim chooses a pill, the killer takes the remaining one. The victims always die after swallowing the tablet with water. How does the killer manage to get the safe pill every time?
The Case of the Suspected Witness
A crime has been committed on Main Street. The main suspect is a man named Simon Bates. It was said that a man had been walking along the pathway when he was suddenly shot in the stomach. The suspect had brown hair, blue eyes, and wore a baggy Armani just like Simon Bates’. Simon was asked to tell the story right from the beginning. “Well,” said Simon, “I was just hanging around the park when I saw this man walking along the pathway. Suddenly, a guy came up from behind him and shot him! I ran home as fast as I could. The policemen asked him to give a description of the murderer. “He had a red mustache, red hair, and a baggy Armani suit on.” “I think this man is telling a lie,” said one of the policemen. How did he know?
Story Riddles tell a story that one could easily put “Once upon a time . . .” in the beginning. They frequently involve common, easily identifiable people or situations we may feel a kinship or have an emotional reaction to. See how well you can solve the story riddles we have chosen for you.
- Senator Blank and Senator Line met at a club to discuss the overthrow of their party leader. They each ordered a vodka on the rocks. Senator Blank downed his and ordered another. He then drank his second in one gulp and decided to wait before he ordered a third. Meanwhile, Senator Line, who was sipping his drink, suddenly fell forward dead. Both men were setup for an assassination. Why did Senator Line die and Senator Blank live?
- It was a man’s birthday. He lay dead in the recreation room of his house. Next to his body was a note written in pencil. The note read “Happy Birthday, Friend.” The victim had a girlfriend; the police suspected her ex-boyfriend. They could find no obvious evidence. While searching the ex-boyfriend’s car, the police saw an envelope with the girlfriend’s address written on it. They thought they would get the handwriting on the envelop checked against the note. The scientist in charge came in early to work the next day; it was 7am. He looked out his window which faced east and stared at the rising sun and it was then that he realized how to prove the ex-boyfriend killed the man, even though the girlfriend’s address was not written in the same handwriting. How did he do it?
- A man is stranded on forest-covered island. One day, when the wind is blowing from the west, lightning strikes the west end of the island and sets fire to the forest. The fire is very violent, burning everything in its path, and without intervention the fire will burn the whole island, killing the man in the process. There are cliffs around the island, so he cannot jump off. How can the man survive the fire without any buckets or any other means to put out the fire?
- Anna goes to her friend Mara’s house, on a wintry evening only to find her dead. When the police learn about the incident, they question Anna about how she found out. Anna says that she knocked on the door and rang the bell repeatedly. Since the light was on in one of the rooms, Anna knew Mara must be home and decided to look through the window.
The windows were frozen, so she breathed on the iced glass, and that’s when she noticed Mara’s body on the floor. The police suspect Anna is the murderer. Why?
- The Greens are a very wealthy family that lives in a big, circular home. Early one morning, Mr. Green wakes up to find his gardener’s still warm body in the front yard. He calls the police. The detective who comes asks the employees about their whereabouts and what they were doing early that morning.
Driver: “I was outside washing the car.”
Maid: “I was dusting the corners of the house.”
Cook: “I was starting to make lunch for later.”
From the replies he knew who the killer was. Who was it and how did they detective know?
Scenario Riddles, as the name implies, present a scene one must mentally view in order to solve the riddle. The best approach is to read very carefully and picture the scene in one’s mind. Taking the riddle step-by-step should provide you with the answer to these thought-provoking riddles.
The Rusty Kettle
On a dark, stormy night, a man who owned a casino invited some friends for a visit. The men all placed their money on the table right before the lights went out. When the lights came back on, the money was gone. The owner wanted to discover who stole the money. So, he put a rooster in an old rusty bucket. He told everyone to get in line and touch the bucket one at a time when he turned the lights off. He said that the rooster would crow when the robber touched it. After everyone touched it, the rooster hadn’t crowed. Then the man told everyone to hold out their hands. After examining all the hands, he pointed out who the robber was. How did he know who stole the money?
The Jumping Man
A dead body is found at the bottom of a multi-story building. Seeing the position of the body, it appears evident that the person jumped from one of the floors, committing suicide. A homicide detective is called to look after the case. He goes to the first floor and walks in the room facing the direction in which the body was found. He opens the window in that direction and flips a coin towards the ground. Then he goes to the second floor and repeats the process. He keeps on doing this until he reaches the last floor. Then, when he climbs down, he tells the team that it is a murder not suicide. How did he come to know that it was a murder?
An Heir for the King
A king has no sons, no daughters, and no queen. For this reason, he must decide who will take the throne after he dies. To do this he decides that he will give all of the children of the kingdom a single seed. Whichever child has the largest, most beautiful plant will earn the throne. At the end of the contest all of the children came to the palace with their enormous and beautiful plants in hand. After he looks at all of the children’s pots, he finally decides that the little girl with an empty pot will be the next queen. Why did he choose this little girl over all of the other children with their beautiful plants?
The Rescue of the Beautiful Rose
Once there was an evil wizard. He took three women from their homes and turned them into rose bushes that looked exactly alike and put them in his garden. One of the women had a husband and children and begged the wizard to let her see them. He agreed. At night he brought the woman to her house. In the morning he came and took her home. The husband decided to go rescue her. So, he snuck into the wizard’s garden early in the morning. He stared long and hard at the three identical rose bushes trying to figure out which could be his wife. Suddenly he knew the answer and he took his wife home. How did he know which rose bush was his wife?
Hidden in a Lake
Dr. Miller was staying with his cousin, Alfred, in Alfred’s lakeside cabin. They were setting up Alfred’s will. Since Dr. Miller was Alfred’s closest living relative, much of Alfred’s estate was being left to him. One day, Alfred went to Dr. Miller very upset. “Doctor,” he began, “I have just found out that an old enemy is out to get me. He is coming very soon. Where will I go? Where can I hide? If he finds me, he will surely kill me. I do not have time to leave this cabin and hide in the woods.”
Dr. Miller thought for a moment, and then grabbed a 5′ long bamboo fishing pole, with a diameter the size of a quarter. “Alfred, follow me out to the lake. This lake is 4′ deep. If you lie on the bottom of the lake and breathe through this pole, your enemy will never find you. I will be in the bulrushes with a shotgun, and I will shoot him when he comes. I will swim down to find you when he is gone.”
Alfred thought that was a great idea and went down in the lake with the bamboo pole in his mouth. A few hours later, a ranger passed by. He found Alfred’s body. Dr. Miller told the police of the circumstance, and that Alfred had probably panicked, and died. Police arrested Dr. Miller on the charge of murdering Alfred. Why?
Everyone loves solving a mystery, especially when it involves a riddle. We hope you have found success in solving our Detective Riddles. Now share them with friends, tell them at parties and get-togethers, and use them for some special family time. You might wish to challenge yourself and create your own detective riddles. Have fun riddling a mystery!
Susan majored in English with a double minor in Humanities and Business at Arizona State University and earned a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from Liberty University. She taught grades four through twelve in both public and private schools. Subjects included English, U.S. and world history and geography, math, earth and physical science, Bible, information technologies, and creative writing.
Susan has been freelance writing for over ten years, during which time she has written and edited books, newspaper articles, biographies, book reviews, guidelines, neighborhood descriptions for realtors, Power Point presentations, resumes, and numerous other projects.