Murder Mystery

After Hours Magic: A Book of Al Thatcher Card Magic

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RSC is used to solved a murder mystery.

This routine evolved out of "Time and Again" from Robin's Card Modes (1983).

WORKING

1. Talk about the current popularity of mystery parties, where a murder is enacted and the guests try to solve the mystery. Tell them that "with your help—and a deck of cards—we will try and solve just such a murder mystery."

Ask who will be willing to select the murderer (M), who will be willing to identify the victim (V), and who will note the time (T) when the crime takes place. After three spectators have volunteered, pick up the deck and hold it face-up.

2. "First we have to pick the possible murderers," you say, as you spread the cards from hand to hand, silently counting them as you do so. When you come to the thirteenth card, secretly injog it. Openly outjog the four Kings as you come to them. Don't include any Kings in your count. Strip the Kings out and lay them face-up on the table. Tell "M," "One of these is our murderer. You can see that they are all armed." Point to their various weapons (swords and axes). Leave them face-up on the table.

3. Turn the deck face-down sideways and pick up a break above the injogged card. Cut off about half the cards above the break and drop them on the table, followed by all the cards above the break in a second pile. Finally lay the remaining cards beside the first two. This is the thirteen card pile.

Ask "V" to pick one pile, and "T" to pick another. If either is the thirteen card pile, you're ready to proceed. If not, ask them to shuffle their piles together. Then you shuffle the thirteen card pile into the other pile, but leave the cards protruding halfway.

4. Use the RSC procedure to have two cards noted. The thirteen card section should be inwards and "V" should remember the top card of the pair. We'll say it's the Jack of Diamonds. "T" only has to remember the number/value of the bottom card of the pair, thinking of it as an hour. Let's pretend that it is an Eight. "Aces are one, Jacks are eleven and Queens are twelve," you state.

Complete RSC. Secretly glimpse the number of the bottom card (which is the Time card) before you drop it onto the pile left on the table, if there is one. The thirteenth card from the top of the deck will be the Victim.

5. "It's up to you now to select the Murderer from these cut-throats." Pick up the face-up Kings, so that the King of Hearts will be on top when they are turned face-down. False-shuffle them, leaving the King of Hearts on top, then hand them to "M." Tell him you want the murderer selected by chance. Have him put the top card on the bottom of the packet, then discard the next card, then continue until he has only one card left. "Only you know the Murderer's identity. We don't want anyone else to know, so hold it between your hands for now," you say.

6. Pick up the deck, put it behind your back and silently count off the number of cards (the hour number) that you noted: eight in our example. Bring the deck back in front again and hand the cards you counted off to "T," asking him to hold them hidden in his hands for now.

7. Continue, saying, "I need twelve cards to represent twelve hours on the clock, twelve potential victims." Count the top twelve cards off the deck, reversing their order, then set the deck aside. Lay the cards out face-down to form a clock face, starting at One (Fig.1). Ask "T" to whisper the hour the crime was committed to "V." Then ask "V" to silently count to that hour on the clock and put his hand over the card at that position. Once he has done so, gather up the other cards and lay them aside with the rest of the deck.

8. Say, "We're ready now to solve the crime." Turn to "V" and ask him the name of the Victim. He says the Jack of Diamonds. Then ask him to lift his hand and turn over the card. It is the Jack of Diamonds.

Now turn to "T," and ask, "What time was the murder committed?" He says eight o'clock. Ask him to count the cards in his hands onto the table, as you count aloud, "One, two, three four, five, six, seven, eight."

Self Correcting

Finally turn to "M," and say, "At this point, you are the only person in the room who knows the name of the Murderer. Until now. The Murderer was the King of Hearts." When he shows that in fact he's holding the King of Hearts, lighten the situation by pointing at how the King of Hearts is sticking his sword into his own head, remarking, "I knew it had to be the King of Hearts. He's so overcome with guilt, he committed suicide."

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