Saturday, September 23, 2006

The solution to the mystery of Who Killed The Robins Family?

Who Killed The Robins Family?

This is the solution to the mystery of Who Killed The Robins Family? as written by the author, Thomas Chastain. The solution has been in a bank vault since the contest began and was removed from the bank vault on 15 April 1984.

Answers to Who Killed The Robins Family?

Chapter 1 - The Death of Tyler Robins

Who killed him: Evelyn Robins, with the assistance of Dr John Forbes.

Where: On th yacht, Falconer, in the Pacific Ocean (nothing for the reader to figure out on this question).

When: This is a tricky one; he died as the yacht was crossing the international date-line. The clue: he made an entry in the log notebook he was keeping on the morning of his death which was dated Thursday, the afternoon of that same day he died as he was making a second entry dated Wednesday, hed died at the time the yacht was passing the date-line. The difference in date is because the storm caused the yacht to recross the international date-line.

How: Tyler was poisoned by the sedative, prepared by Dr Forbes and sent to Tyler by Evelyn. (The guilt and frustration Forbes feels leads him to commit suicide in Chapter 6 after he discovers he has helped Evelyn kill her husband, only to lose her to another man).

Why: The clue is contained in the diary entry made by Evelyn; that Tyler told John Forbes Evelyn was having an affair. She was - but not with Forbes (who had hoped to marry her and who therefore helped her kill Tyler) - with Julian Shields who, it is revealed in Chapter 6, she plans to marry.

Additional Clue: No one could have stabbed Tyler in his locked cabin since Tyler locked the door after Alfred brought him the poisoned sedative. Once the locked door was removed from its hinges, Evelyn, wearing a bulky caftan to conceal the knife she was carrying, rushed inot the cabin and stuck the knife into his already-dead body to make it appear he had been stabbed. Later, Evelyn and John Forbes found it easy to return to the unlocked cabin and throw the body out of a porthole, so that there would be no body to autopsy, which would have shown that Tyler died of poisoning instead of a knife stabbing.

Chapter 2 - The Death of James Robins

Who killed him: This one purposely was mady easy: Alfred, the butler, did it aided by his wife Dorina.

Where and When: Nothing for the reader to figure out; all was included in the chapter.

How: Alfred shot James with a real gun from the gun-cabinet while holding the gun with blanks to throw off suspicion, then tossed the real gun under the table. Alfred's wife, Dorina, drowned Percival, the ship's steward, in the swimming pool when he panicked and ran from the library - because of his past police record - and through the kitchen where Dorina was (noboby else in the house saw Percival run out the front way). Dorina saw a chance to divert suspicion from Alfred to Percival and drowned Percival in the swimming pool (the clue to this: her hair was still wet when the police brought her to the library after James was killed. Also, the letters to James, found in his steamer trunk after his death, were planted by Dorina to further divert suspicion from Alfred).

Why: Alfred and his wife expected James to marry their daughter after she has his child (clue in Prologue) and wanted revenge after James married another woman. Also, Alfred and Dorina counted on the fact that Evelyn would make financial arrangements for their daughter and her child if James wer dead. Evelyn did do this, as she reveals while writing in her diary after the death of James.

Chapter 3 - The deaths of Cynthia and Candace Robins

Who Killed Them: This was a 'swap' of murders, as was attempted in the classic mystery novel, 'Strangers On A Train'.

Who Killed Cynthia: Stephen Boland did, in exchange for someone killing Candace. Clue: he was missing from the group when Cynthia was killed.

Where: On the Orient Express; nothing for the reader to figure out on this question.

When: This is a tricky one; Cynthia was strangled while the train was passing through the Simplon Tunnel between Switzerland and Italy (as research will show). That the train was between the two countries is stated in the book. The clue that the train was in the tunnel at the time of the murder is that the killer made an awkward job of twisting the wire around Cynthia's throat; it was dark in the compartment was shown at the time Cynthia's body was discovered and he couldn't see.

How: Boland strangled Cynthia with a strand of wire; nothing for the reader to figure out on this question.

Why: Boland, as previously stated, killed Cynthia in exchange for someone else killing Candace, who he vowed would die for leaving him.

Who killed Candace: Ava 'Wingate' did. Ava, as we discover in Chapter 4, was working with Philip Wingate. She knew Stephen Boland (they spoke briefly on the train) and swapped murders with him. Clue: she was missing from the group when Candace disappears from the train.

Where: On the Orient Express; nothing for the reader to figure out on this question.

When: This is a tricky one; Candace was thrown from the train when it was on the causeway spanning the body of water separating Venice from the mainland. (Clue: in Chapter 8, Candace's skeleton washes ashore in the Gulf of Trieste where it has drifted from the body of water between Venice and the mainland).

How: Candace was thrown from the train, an obvious fact since it is clear in the chapter that there is no place on the train where she could be.

Why: As stated above, in a swap of murders; Wingate and Ava wanted Cynthia dead so Wingate could inherit.

Additional Notes on Chapter 3: The magician and his assistant have nothing to do with the murders. The reason the ominious-looking crate was on the train and the reason Paul Bryce was aboard was that Bryce did plan to kidnap on of the twins - as happened in the classic 'The Lady Vanishes' - hide her in the crate and later demand as ransom the money Evelyn wanted from him. His plan was never put into effect because both twins were dead before he reached them. Also, later in Chapter 3, the spiritualist was hired by Stephen Boland to stage the seance in the hope that what she said would divert suspicion away from him. (The reader does not have to figure out these additonal notes, but the reader who does correctly answer all the other questions should be able to answer these as well).

Chapter 4 - The death of Lewis Robins

Who killed him: He killed himself, by accident.

Where and When: Nothing for the reader to figure out; all was included in the chapter.

How: When Lewis picked up Wingate, Lewis was carrying in his car a bomb he had constructed. (The clue: in the prologue it is stated that Lewis had a degree in chemistry. Marshall Robins was following in Wingate's car and Lewis and Marshall had planned to overpower Wingate and place Wingate's body in Wingate's car and explode the bomb when they were in a dark, deserted spot. Before they could carry off the plan, the bomb prematurely exploded killing both Lewis and Wingate).

Why: Lewis planned to kill Phillip Wingate in revenge, believing as he did that Wingate killed Cynthia (and Lewis told this to the investigater, Henry Fowles).

Chapter 5 - The deaths of Libby Pittman (Libby Robins Pittman)

Who killed her: Ernest Truax, just as Evelyn Robins told the police.

Where: Libby was smothered to death in the home of Ernest Truax.

When: She was killed while a party was going on at the home of Ernest Truax and her body was later returned to her house.

How: The 6pm - midnight time element is the key to this. Truax killed her during that period in his home. And later, long after midnight, transported her body to her house wher she was found. Libby had gone to meet Truax secretly at his home at 8pm which is what the notation in her notebook meant and no one saw her at Truax's home. After Truax returned the body to the Pittman house, he wrecked the house to make it look like a robbery, the 'red herrings'.

Why: She was killed because, as Evelyn told the police, Libby was going to testify in a trial against Truax and Paul Bryce.

Additional notes on Chapter 5 A subtle clue is contained in the fact that at the moment Libby is being smothered, she hears the song 'Laura' playing on the radio; in that classic story, the clue to the mystery of 'Laura' is found - not in 'Laura's' home - but in another house. Also in Chapter 5, the character of Agnes Ellsworth is another 'red herring' (this time the author's) who is simply a busybody of the type often found in mystery stories to give false clues.

Chapter 6 - The death of Evelyn Robins

Who killed her: Dr John Forbes did.

Where: This is a tricky one; on a Greek Island. (The clue: the single line of engraved letters Evelyn sees in the turret - TO ETTITI MOI - which are Greek and translate to MY HOUSE.

When: Nothing for the reader to figure out; all was included in the chapter.

How: Nothing for the reader to figure out on this question; all was included in the chapter.

Why: Dr John Forbes helped Evelyn kill her husband, in Chapter 1, thinking she would marry him. When he discovered that she planned to marry Julian Shields, Forbes first faked his own suicide, then pushed Evelyn from the turret, in a fit of remorse and frustration.

Additional notes on Chapter 6 Forbes faked his interest in the magician's assistant, Genet, so no one would suspect how he really felt about Evelyn. He also faked his suicide before he killed Evelyn - then did commit suicide - because he wanted Julian Shields to puzzle over the mystery. Also a subtle clue is contained in Chapter 1 where Evelyn is reading an 'Agatha Christie' novel, one of Agatha Christie's most famous works is about 10 people on an island who are all supposedly killed. The solution to that story is that one of the 10 faked his death, killed the others, as John Forbes, after typing his suicide note, fakes his suicide before killing Evelyn.

Chapter 7 There are no murders in this chapter; Marshall 'staged' all the incidents to make it look like somebody was trying to kill him - this was in preparation for what he planned to do in Chapter 8, fake his own murder and escape to Switzerland with the money he had stolen from Robins Cosmetics.

Chapter 8 - The death of Marshall Robins

Who killed him: George Pittman did.

Where: At George Pittman's house.

When: Before Julian Shields arrived.

How: George Pittman sealed Marshall Robins up inside the huge monument George Pittman had constructed. (The clue: The monument's inscription and date on it - 3-83 - which means if you take th 3rd letter of each word of the inscription the letters spell out MARSHALL ROBINS and, additionally, if you add 3 and 8 and 3 together, you get 14, which is exactly the number of letters in the full name; the use of cryptology in mystery stories has been used frequently, from Edgar Allan Poe's 'The Goldbug' on).

Why George Pittman always believed (and said) that Marshall had killed Libby Robins Pittman.

Additional notes on chapter 8 The blood in Marshall Robin's house was (and the notes found addressed to him were all written by him) to fake his murder, as stated previously. The explanation for what happened to Candace also has been stated in the answers given for Chapter 3.

Final note on chapter 8 Neither Julian Shields or Janice Elgar - who bought and restored the Robins estate, Greenlawn, at the conclusion of the story - had anything to do with any of the murders.