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1934 Puzzle Book ‘Cain’s Jawbone’ Sold Out Thanks to Tik Tok

By November 27, 2021Literature, News

A 1934 murder mystery puzzle book has become so popular that it has sold out, thanks to Tik Tok.

The book was enjoyed in the 1930s and 40s and is now reaching popularity in a new century as Tik Tok users attempt to solve the clues once more, in the hopes to perhaps be the fifth person to solve it.

Cain’s Jawbone: A Novel Problem is a 100-page crime novel first published in 1934 and tells the story of six different murders, each with its own victim and killer.

The pages of the book are not like any other. They actually individual loose cards that have been placed randomly back together and held in a case.

TikTok user Sarah Scannell explained in a video how she had found the book in a shop and was now trying to crack the code and solve the murders by piecing the story together out of the 32 million possible combinations.

Cain’s Jawbone was originally devised by The Observer crossword compiler Edward Powys Mathers, who used the men name Torquemada who kept the solution a secret until his death in 1939.

The book was then donated to the Laurence Sterne Trust in York, and Patrick Wildgust, who worked with the trust, attempted to solve the puzzle. He asked readers for help in 2016, and in 2017 was fairly certain he had cracked the code.

cains jawbone puzzle tik tok

Tik Tok users are attempting to solve the clues 

The book was re-released in 2019 with a £1000 prize offered by the publisher Unbound to anyone who could solve it by the following year. BBC comedy writer John Finnemore has been the most recent person to solve the puzzle.

TikTok user Sarah hopes to be the next person to add her name to the short list of puzzle solvers.

Sarah shared photos and videos of her room papered in the book’s pages, saying: ‘I’ve decided to take this nearly impossible task as an opportunity to fulfil a lifelong dream and turn my entire bedroom wall into a murder board.’

Her Tik Tok video went viral and soon after copies of Cain’s Jawbone have sold out everywhere online.

Unbound has said orders in the US are now at 10,000 copies, Canada more than 3,000 copies, and another 10,000 copies in the UK.

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