Paging Agatha Christie

Sep 07, 2020

RAY: This puzzler was sent in by Jason Margolies.

Two American businessmen were visiting their British counterparts and were enjoying a night at the boss's English mansion. Over a dinner of fine English cuisine, the group discussed the differences between the two countries. As is often the case when a bunch of guys get together, the topic turned to sports, and how, for example, our American pastime is a descendant of cricket.

As the night wore on, one of the British businessmen, Ian, realized he wanted to get a report he had left in his office. He excused himself to retrieve it, and Dave, one of the Americans, asked if he could ride along with him.

They were gone only a short time, but when they returned to the mansion they were surprised to see police cars parked in front. An officer approached the two men, asked them to identify themselves, and explained that a servant had been attacked by one of the three guests in the house.

The servant had been stabbed in the right shoulder, and had managed to call the police before he passed out.

An ambulance took the servant to hospital, and, needless to say, the police were eager to solve the crime. They weren't sure if the servant was going to survive to identify the attacker. A young police officer present described the wounds that had been inflicted on the servant.

Ian explained that he had an idea of how to find out who did it. He assembled all the men in the study and began strutting in front of the fireplace, talking in a quite animated manner about what he thought had happened -- kind of like Sherlock Holmes would do, puffing on his Calabash pipe.

Near the fevered climax of his presentation, Ian picked up three knick-knacks from the mantelpiece and tossed them one by one to the three suspects, who in turn caught them with one hand.

Ian had concluded that, since the servant's wounds were in the right shoulder, the attacker was left-handed, and the person who caught the trinket in his left hand was the culprit. To his dismay, each of the three men caught the trinket in his right hand. A bored-looking policeman said, "Well, it doesn't look like that worked."

Just then, out of the inky shadows Dave, the American, who had ridden with Ian to retrieve the report said, "Actually, Ian's trick worked quite well. And it looks like I'll be flying home alone."

How did he know it was his countryman who attacked the servant?



RAY: Here's the answer. Left-handed American boys who learn to play baseball catch with the glove on the right hand. So, if you're a lefty and something is thrown to you, you might instinctively reach up with your right hand and catch it. But the American who reached up with his right hand betrayed the fact that he was a lefty-- and he was the one who wielded the knife in his left hand and stabbed the servant.

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