Find a puzzle book?
November 2, 2012 9:09 PM   Subscribe

I recall really enjoying the book Maze by Christopher Manson when I was young. Are there any books that offer something similar in that they are slightly narrative but built with a critical thinking and/or puzzle goal in mind?
posted by sendai sleep master to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (14 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
The Eleventh Hour.
posted by Night_owl at 9:16 PM on November 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I should note that the book need not be a kids book (though I don't think I would describe Maze thusly) and, in fact, I would prefer if the puzzle aspect of the book was aimed at an older audience regarding difficulty.
posted by sendai sleep master at 9:25 PM on November 2, 2012

I think the book I recommended definitely fits that bill. Morse code hidden in page borders, hieroglyphics, and a different puzzle on every page. I could stare at it for hours.
posted by Night_owl at 9:29 PM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

A good murder mystery is like that. The game is for the reader to guess who the murderer is before the fictional detective finds out.

A twist on that is the "Columbo" story, where the audience watches the criminal commit what seems to be a perfect crime, and the game is to figure out how Columbo comes up with evidence to convict.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:34 PM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Number Devil by Hans Magnus Enzensberger might be along the lines of what you're looking for. It's less about puzzles/riddles and more about mathematical concepts / problem solving introduced through a story. I really enjoyed it.
posted by clerestory at 11:53 PM on November 2, 2012

Oh, and I also really liked Chasing Vermeer, The Wright 3 and The Calder Game by Blue Balliet - they mix art and problem solving with an old-fashioned mystery - like a Mixed-Up Files + Westing Game mash-up.
posted by clerestory at 11:58 PM on November 2, 2012

Oh, oh and the Winston Breen books!

But none of mine are very visual - I'd second Night_owl's pick of Graeme Base's 11th Hour as the most similar in terms of format to Manson's book.
posted by clerestory at 12:08 AM on November 3, 2012

The Egyptian Jukebox: A Conundrum
posted by mannequito at 1:37 AM on November 3, 2012

Puzzle Island is fun and beautifully illustrated.
posted by wats at 5:41 AM on November 3, 2012

I loved The Egyptian Jukebox, but the puzzles are really, really easy.
posted by jeather at 6:14 AM on November 3, 2012

The Westing Game! The ultimate puzzle mystery novel.

If you're willing to go the traditional mystery route, try the Ellery Queen novels. Also, long ago I asked this question, and many of the suggestions were superb, especially this one.
posted by jbickers at 6:23 AM on November 3, 2012

The Eleventh Hour and Puzzle Island* are great suggestions. Graeme Base also has Enigma, and Animalia might qualify, too.

Along the same lines, Kit Williams' Masquerade. All of these books belong to the puzzle book genre. There are probably more.

*Thanks for mentioning Puzzle Island; I used to gobble it up at my physician's office as a kid but had forgotten the title.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:01 AM on November 3, 2012

Oh, and you might look into various metafictional works to scratch the same itch in a more grown-up way. House of Leaves and Only Revolutions by Mark Danielewski, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban, If On A Winter's Night a Traveler by Calvino, The Princess Bride by William Goldman all play with logic and notions of reality as well as the narrative itself and stretch critical thinking skills in interesting ways. I've found the effect to be pretty similar to the sort of main-bendy transformation I felt when reading works like Maze as a kid.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:08 AM on November 3, 2012

Seconding The Westing Game, as well as my other favorite Ellen Raskin book, The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel)
posted by Mchelly at 6:34 PM on November 3, 2012

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