25 Detective Riddles Only the Smartest People Can Solve
Have you ever wanted to be a private detective and use your mental skills to solve crimes? Or maybe you enjoy watching mystery movies and TV shows and seeing if you can work out who the murderer is before all is revealed? Well, we can help you out by testing your brain with these detective riddles.
This is your chance to be Sherlock Holmes as you answer some tricky questions involving murders, robberies, and other associated crimes. Detective riddles are like mini-mysteries that can be easily answered if you’re logical skills are up to muster. These short and sharp mysteries are fun riddles that allow you to test your detective skills and discover whether you really could be one of Scotland Yard’s finest.
From stolen jewelry to murder mystery plots, here are some baffling detective riddles that will either stump you or prove your worth as a criminal investigator.
25 Detective Riddles Only the Smartest People Can Solve
1. Missing Wife
A man is in court for killing his wife. In the closing statements, the man’s lawyer surprises everyone when he announces, “His wife was just missing. Everyone, look at those doors. His wife is going to walk in those doors in about 30 seconds.” The entire court is silent and the jury stares at the door as the lawyer and the defendant stare at them. After a couple of minutes, the lawyer says “See! If you were so sure he killed his wife, you wouldn’t be watching that door!” The jury goes into deliberation and comes back almost immediately with a guilty verdict. Why did the jury convict him?
Answer: The defendant (the man charged with killing his wife) wasn’t looking at the door. He knew his wife wasn’t coming.
2. Empty Cell Mystery
Andy is put in a cell with a dirt floor and only one window. The window is too high for him to reach. The only thing in the cell is a shovel. He won’t be able to get any food or water and only has two days to escape or he’ll die. Andy can’t dig a tunnel because it will take him much longer than two days to do it. How will Andy escape from the cell?
Answer: Andy has to use the shovel to create a pile of dirt under the window so he can climb up onto it and escape from the cell.
3. Stolen Ring
4. Poisonous Drinks
This mystery riddle concerns Marissa and Juliana who go out for drinks together. They order the same drink. Juliana is really thirsty and finishes five in the time it takes Marissa to finish one. The drinks are poisoned, but only Marissa dies. How?
Answer: The poison is in the ice. Since Marissa’s ice had time to melt, she is poisoned but Juliana isn’t.
5. Grisley Murder
6. Suicide or Murder?
A dead female body lies at the bottom of a multistory building. It looks as though she committed suicide by jumping from one of the floors earlier that night.
When the detective arrives at the crime scene, he goes to the first floor of the building, opens the closed window, and flips a coin towards the floor. He goes to the second floor and does the exact same thing. He continues to do this until he gets to the top floor of the building.
When he comes back down, he states that it was a murder and not a suicide. How does he know that?
Answer: She couldn’t have jumped from any of the floors because when the detective went to each floor, all of the windows were closed.
7. Poisoned Pills?
8. Funeral Love
A girl is at the funeral of her mother. She meets a nice guy that she doesn’t know who is also at the funeral and they hit it off. She is busy at the funeral and doesn’t have time to ask him for his number before he leaves. She tries really hard to track him down, but no one knows who he is or how to contact him. A few days later her sister dies and the police suspect it to be a murder. Who killed her sister?
Answer: She killed her sister. She was hoping that if someone else in her family died, the man she met at her mother’s funeral would show up again.
9. Armed Robbery
Armed robbers invaded a bank. They are busy looting when suddenly a phone rings. The phone happens to be at the reception. One of the robbers asks the receptionist to attend to the call and talk without giving away the situation. The call happens to be from her mother. She answers, “Do you have any emergency mom? Can you give me a call when I get home, I could really use your help in buying new curtains?” Then she hangs up.
The robbers are busy when the police arrive suddenly along with the mother of the receptionist. How did she know about the robbery?
Answer: The receptionist was pretty clever and played with the mute button of the phone while talking with her mother. She muted everything except the words “emergency,” “call,” and “help.” So while talking, she sounded like “emergency, call, help.” Her mother then called the police.
10. Cassette Crimes
A man is found dead with a cassette recorder in one hand and a gun in his other hand. When the police came in, they immediately press the play button on the cassette. They hear the man say, “I have nothing else to live for. I can’t go on.” Then there is the sound of a gunshot. After listening to the cassette tape, the police know that it was not a suicide but a homicide. How do they know?
Answer: If the man shot himself while he was recording, how did he rewind the cassette tape so that the play button worked immediately? This is a very clever detective puzzle.
11. Hanging Man
A police officer arrives at a murder scene where a man is hanging from the ceiling with nothing around him other than a large pool of water. How did the man die?
12. Theft At Sea
A Japanese ship is leaving port on its way to the open sea. The captain goes to oil some parts of the ship and takes his ring off so it won’t get damaged. He leaves it on the table next to his bunk. When he returns, it is missing. He suspects three crew members could be guilty and asks them what they were doing for the ten minutes he had been gone.
The cook says, “I was in the kitchen preparing tonight’s dinner.”
The engineer says, “I was working in the engine room making sure everything was running smoothly.”
The seaman says, “I was on the mast correcting the flag because someone had attached it upside down by mistake.”
The captain immediately knows who it is. How?
Answer: It is clearly the seaman. It is a Japanese ship and a Japanese flag is white with a single red dot in the middle. It can’t be hung upside down.
13. Hawaiian Tragedy
A couple goes to Hawaii for their honeymoon. Unfortunately, the husband returns home alone because his wife died in a horrible boating accident. The police contact the travel agent he booked the trip with and arrest him for murdering his wife. How do they know he did it?
Answer: The travel agent reveals he had only booked a one-way ticket for his wife.
14. Murder at school
On the first day of school, someone murders a history teacher. There are four people at the school that the police suspect has done it: the landscaper, a math teacher, a basketball coach, and the principal. There are no kids in attendance. These are their alibis:
The landscaper says he was outside mowing the lawn.
The math teacher says he was giving a mid-year test.
The basketball coach says he was running practice drills with his players.
The principal says she was in her office.
After giving their alibies, the police arrest the killer immediately. Who killed the history teacher and how did the police know?
Answer: The math teacher killed the history teacher. He claims that he was giving a mid-year test, but it was the first day of school. Plus there were no kids there yet.
15. Don’t Shoot!
16. Sunday Murder
On a Sunday morning, the police are called to a big house because the owner is found dead. The husband says he was asleep, the butler says he was cleaning the car, the gardener says she was picking vegetables, the maid says she was collecting the mail, and the cook says she was preparing breakfast. Who committed the crime?
Answer: The maid – you don’t get any mail on Sunday.
17. Scene of the Crime
18. Car Shooting
A man is shot in his car. There is no gunpowder residue on his clothing, no bullet holes in the windows of the car, and the doors and windows are all locked. How was he shot?
19. Shifty Science
A chemist is murdered in his own lab. The only evidence is a piece of paper that has the names of chemical substances written on it. The substances are nickel, carbon, oxygen, lanthanum, and sulfur. The chemist only had four people come by his lab on the day of the murder: fellow scientist Claire, his nephew Nicolas, his wife, and his friend Marc. The police arrest the murderer right away. How do they know who it was?
Answer: There was a very obvious clue on the piece of paper. If you combine the abbreviations of the chemical substances on the paper, you’ll get a name: Ni-C-O-La-S.
20. Evil Witch
Once upon a time, an evil witch kidnapped three married women and turned them into rose bushes. One of the women, who had children, begged the witch to go and see her husband, and the witch agreed. She took the woman to her home and returned her to her rose bush state the next morning. Little did she know that the husband was following, and he decided to rescue his wife. He looked at the three identical rose bushes and suddenly knew which one was his wife. How?
Answer: The rose bush that was his wife didn’t have any of the night’s dew on the leaves.
21. Border Crossing
Every day, a woman was seen crossing the border carrying bags of sand on a motorbike. After some time, the border police become suspicious and stopped her, but found she only had sand on her, so they let her go. What was the woman smuggling across the border?
22. Ask Jerry
A man is discovered dead sitting at his desk, alone in a locked office. He did not commit suicide and there are no weapons in the room. The only clue is a sealed envelope on the desk in front of him.
How did he die?
Answer: The envelope glue was poisoned and when the man licked the envelope to seal it, he died.
23. Sleeping Beauty
A man is found dead one Friday morning. He was killed while his wife was sleeping. The wife tells the police all that she knows. She tells them that the cook was cooking breakfast, the maid was cleaning, and the butler was getting the mail. The police immediately arrest the person who is responsible. Who is responsible and why?
Answer: The wife is responsible. The reason is simple – she was supposed to be sleeping but she knew all that had happened.
23. Who Shot Her?
“Who shot her?” cried Rogers as he rushed into the hospital three minutes after his ex-wife died from a bullet through her head.
“Just a minute, Mr. Rogers,” said Professor Stiggins. “We’ll have to ask you a few questions-routine, you know. Although divorced for the past six months, you have been living in the same house with your ex-wife, have you not?”
“That’s right,” replied Rogers.
“Had any trouble recently?”
“Well, yesterday, when I told her I was going on a business trip, she threatened to commit suicide. In fact, I grabbed a bottle of iodine from her as she was about to drink it. When I left last evening at seven, however, telling her I was spending the night with friends in Sewickley, she made no objection. Returning to town this afternoon,” continued Rogers, “I called my home and the maid answered.”
“Just what did she say?” inquired Stiggins.
“‘Oh, Mr. Rogers, they took poor mistress to St. Ann’s Hospital about half an hour ago. Please hurry to her.’ “She was crying, so I couldn’t get anything else out of her; then I hurried here. Where is she?”
“The nurse will direct you,” said Stiggins with a nod.
“A queer case, this, Professor,” said Inspector Kelley. “These moderns are a little too much for me, I’m afraid. A man and woman living together after being divorced six months!”
“A queer case indeed, Inspector,” mused the professor, “and you’d better detain Mr. Rogers. If he didn’t shoot her himself, I’m confident he knows who did.”
Why did the professor advise the Inspector to detain Rogers?
Answer: Rogers could not have known that his ex-wife had been shot unless he had the guilty knowledge of the crime. The maid did not say why she had been taken to the hospital. Yet Rogers’ first words on entering the hospital were, “Who shot her?”
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