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Old 08-27-2010   #1 (permalink)
aŮejo
 
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Question The Case of the Dead Ornithologist

The Case of the Dead Ornithologist

It was a beautiful morning as Doctor Haledjian began his morning walk. The sun was shining brightly and the birds were singing. His walk was brought to an abrupt end, however, as he followed the curve of the path and found Henry Bugle, the world famous Ornithologist, lying face down on the trail with a bullet hole through his heart. Without disturbing the evidence, Doctor Haledjian quickly examined the corpse and determined that Henry had been killed within the hour.

Glancing further down the path, Haledjian noticed that the previous evening's rain had made it possible to discern footsteps in the soft moist earth. While there were two sets of footprints leading to the body, only one set returned directly westward along the trail. The detective followed the trail of the footprints until they ended at the door of a modest country cottage. In response to Haledjian's loud knocking, the door was opened by Dr. Bugle's secretary, a short, balding, shifty eyed man. The man was out of breath and obviously quite nervous and upset.

"Dr. Bugle has been shot," the man stammered excitedly. "I was just about to head off to the village to get a doctor and the local constable."

"I'm a doctor, and I know something about police methods as I often help my friend Inspector Winters on his more difficult assignments. Calm down, and tell me what happened," Haledjian demanded.

The secretary replied, "Henry and I go out for a walk every morning just after sunrise as it is the best time of the day to study the feeding habits of many species of birds. Today was no different than any other morning except that after we had been walking for no more than 15 minutes a shot rang out. Dr. Henry clutched his heart and fell to the ground. I didn't know what to do so I returned to the cottage and was just about to go to the village for help when you showed up."

Haledjian asked, "Did you see anyone else in the forest after you heard the gunshot?"

"I thought that I heard someone running in the distance, but to be honest with you I was pretty frightened and returned to the cottage quickly," the secretary stammered. "It is hunting season and we often hear gunshots so it could have been an accident."

"Can you describe the scene just before you heard the shot," said Haledjian.

"Well, I remember that Dr. Bugle had just called my attention to a very rare sighting of a Cedar Waxwing that was sitting in the top of a tree directly in front of us. That's when I heard the shot and saw Dr. Bugle drop to the ground."

"Well, when the cops get here, you'd better think up a better story," exclaimed Dr. Haledjian. I know that your story is false, and I can't help but wonder why you are lying!"
How did Dr. Haledjian know that the secretary was not telling the truth?


EDIT: You may have noticed this thread was closed as soon as it was entered. That was not intended to limit your input or enjoyment in any way. On the contrary, your participation is most welcome. The action was taken to prevent eager Peeps from going into some search engine, finding the answer, and posting it, as happened on several occasions in the past. (Of course I harvest a lot of this material from other sources. You didnít think I create it all myself, did you? Iím good, but Iím not that good!) Regrettably, that also means that folks who legitimately work out their own answers, and would like to post them, donít get to display their prowess, but Iím afraid that canít be helped. Iíll open the thread in a couple of days, when Peeps have had an opportunity to try their hand at a solution, and you can post away then. The official answer will come a bit after that. I appreciate your patience and understanding, and hope you enjoy the exercise.
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Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a pristine, well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally used up and worn out, shouting "Holy Shit...what a ride!!"

Last edited by Bumper; 08-31-2010 at 06:57 PM..
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Old 09-01-2010   #2 (permalink)
aŮejo
 
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The thread is unlocked....Can I solve it now?
(answer at the bottom of this e-mail)
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Cedar waxwings are not rare...
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Old 09-01-2010   #3 (permalink)
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Two sets of footsteps, one from the dead man and one from the doctor. The secretary was not with the ornithologist when he was shot.
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Old 09-01-2010   #4 (permalink)
reposado
 
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The DIRECTION of the footprints??
West???
Am I close?
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Old 09-02-2010   #5 (permalink)
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They fly in flocks?
So one alone would be a rare sighting...which is possible - but rare.
This is a tough one.

I've been reading this thing for 30 minutes. lol. It's now time to go home from work. I'll be back to reading it & attempting to solve the mystery..once I get home. GL everyone!
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Old 09-03-2010   #6 (permalink)
very sparkly
 
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I'm stumped..I'll just wait for the answer to be posted by someone! Please someone get this right! It's driving me crazy not knowing the answer, haha! Good one BUMPER!



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Old 09-04-2010   #7 (permalink)
aŮejo
 
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The Official Answer

Clues:

1. While there were two sets of footprints leading to the body, only one set returned directly westward along the trail.
2. The secretary replied, "Henry and I go out for a walk every morning just after sunrise as it is the best time of the day to study the feeding habits of many species of birds.
3. "Well, I remember that Dr. Bugle had just called my attention to a very rare sighting of a Cedar Waxwing that was sitting in the top of a tree directly in front of us.

Dr. Haledjian realized that no ornithologist would be looking directly into the rising sun and be able to spot a bird, let alone identify it. Dr. Bugle's secretary did it and Haledjian saw through the lie.
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Old 09-07-2010   #8 (permalink)
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Wow, I was wayyyyy off on that one. I would have never guessed that.
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