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Only Columbo Could Solve This One!

Ace Detective Shamrock Bones of the City Homicide Squad is investigating a murder at the Old Grand Hotel. Five men are being held as suspects.

  • "Giant Gene" Green, who is 250 cm tall, weighs 140 kg, and loves his dear mother so much that he has never spent a night away from home.
  • "Yoko" Red, who is a 200 kg Sumo wrestler.
  • "Hi" Willie Brown, who is a small man only 130 cm tall and hates high places because of a fear of falling.
  • "Curly" Black, whose nickname is a result of his totally bald head.
  • Harvey "The Hook" White, who lost both of his hands in an accident.
Use these clues to help Detective Bones solve the crime:
  1. The killer was registered at the hotel.
  2. Beforfe he died, the vivtim said the killer had served time in prison with him.
  3. Brown hair from the killer was found in the victim's hand.
  4. The killer escaped by diving from the third floor balcony into the river running by the hotel and then swimming away.
  5. Smudges were found on the glass table indicating that the killer wore gloves.
Who did it...as the clues make it "obvious"?

Now, rethink...how can you actually only eliminate one suspect? That is, why are the clues "too helpful"...based on unwarranted assumptions?


Source: An Addison-Wesley text, 1983

Hint: Check each suspect in terms of the clues ofefred...I.e. could it be...?


Solution Commentary: I believe the obvious answer is that "Yoko" Red was the killer.

But, carefully rethink about how only "Giant Gene" Green can be eliminated....unless you can argue that his home was the prison, where his mother lived as well!