Cain’s Jawbone is an incredibly entertaining, interesting, and mind-boggling murder mystery puzzle book written by Edward Powys Mathers.
Writing under the pseudonym “Torquemada”, Mathers was widely regarded as one of the best writers in the world when it comes to the murder mystery puzzle genre.
Often compared to a long-form riddle or literary cryptic crossword, this puzzle book was first released in 1930.
The book has been so highly thought of for so long that a Crowdfunding publisher managed to re-release the book as a new standalone edition in 2019.
Once part of the Torquemada Puzzle Book, Cain’s Jawbone is a 100-page puzzle book that was designed to put the reader’s skills to the test.
What makes this puzzle so hard is that all of the pages are in the wrong order.
It is down to the reader to solve the puzzle. To do so, readers must determine the correct page order and the names of the victims and murderers in the story.
The puzzle book is so hard to solve that the answer has never been made public.
If you liked Cain’s Jawbone, you’ll also enjoy Could You Survive Midsomer, The Cypher Files, The Paper Labyrinth, Who Killed The Robins Family, and Montague Island Mysteries. These addictive puzzle books will drive you crazy!
Themes In Cain’s Jawbone
Easily the most common and most important theme in Cain’s Jawbone is reader interaction.
The whole idea of this book is to engage the reader in an addictive puzzle that seems almost impossible to solve.
Whilst the murder mystery puzzle genre is packed with entertaining and interesting books, Edward Mathers’ Cain’s Jawbone is widely regarded as the best.
The reader will have to work hard to crack the puzzle. If they can, they should be able to work out who the victims and murderers in the story are.
In terms of themes found in the story, this book centers around murder.
It is down to the reader to find the people responsible for six murders. As a result, this book features crime scenes, grizzly murders, murderers, and violence.
Only by unscrambling the pages will the reader be able to find the murderers.
As you would expect from an addictive murder mystery puzzle book, one of the most common themes throughout is mystery.
Mathers has brilliantly put together a story that can only be solved using great skill and intelligence.
The book is designed to keep the reader guessing right until the very end.
Having said that, there is no guessing in Cain’s Jawbone. It takes great patience and skill to crack the case.
Finally, patience is also a key theme presented in this book. The mystery wasn’t designed to be solved straight away.
Instead, Mathers wants the readers to work hard for the answers.
In fact, it could be argued that the puzzle is impossible to solve without a great deal of patience.
Books Like Cain’s Jawbone
The first book similar to Cain’s Jawbone is Could You Survive Midsomer.
Written by Simon Brew, this book is an official Midsomer Murders novel that tasks the reader with the difficult challenge of solving a local murder.
Set in a charming British village, it is down to you to solve the mystery of a man that lies dead, smelling of damson jam.
Who could have done it? It’s down to you to find out.
As Midsomer’s newest recruit, you must make the right choices to solve the mystery.
Every choice you make will lead the story down a different path. Will you solve the murder?
Can you find justice? Or might you be the next victim? You’ll just have to read the book to find out!
If you love murder mystery puzzles, this book is perfect.
- Compared to Cain’s Jawbone, this puzzle is easier to solve.
- This book has a more interesting story than Cain’s Jawbone.
- This book is quite long for a murder mystery puzzle book. It has over 300 pages.
Themes: Murder, mystery, crime solving, detectives, puzzles, decision-making, and humor.
If you liked Cain’s Jawbone simply for its puzzle, the Cypher Files are perfect for you.
Unlike Could You Survive Midsomer, this book focuses more on cracking codes than the actual outcome of the story.
Likened to an escape room in a book, the book makes you an agent of C.Y.P.H.E.R. As a member of this secret international agency, you are tasked with solving a selection of “unsolvable” cases.
Every case in the book requires you to crack a code. You must investigate the cryptic clues to solve mysterious disappearances.
Every page has a new puzzle and to progress, you first have to submit the previous answer online.
- This book is very hands-on, making the experience more unique and exciting.
- Every page offers a new puzzle.
- The book does ask you to go online.
Themes: Mystery, crime, code-breaking, ciphers, cryptic puzzles, and reader interaction.
The Paper Labyrinth is the first of three puzzle books that make up the Paper Labyrinth series.
Written by author Charlie Wheeler, this book features a maze of tricky puzzles, mysteries, and tough-to-solve riddles.
One thing you’ll love about this puzzle book is how all the puzzles are cleverly interconnected.
Every page offers a challenging puzzle that will send you to the next page or give you a missing piece to one of the puzzles you’ve already solved.
Another cool thing about this book is that you’re given a 5-digit code upon completion.
This 5-digit code is used in the sequel.
- The way the puzzles all interconnect is brilliant.
- There are three Paper Labyrinth books to get through.
- The series doesn’t make much sense if you don’t read all three books.
Themes: Puzzles, mystery, reader interaction, codebreaking, riddles, and ciphers.
Moving back to murder mystery puzzle books, Who Killed The Robins was once an extremely popular murder mystery that took the genre by storm.
This unorthodox murder mystery was published in 1983.
In classic fashion, this book features a murderous story with plenty of twists, turns, and surprises.
Unlike most murder mystery books though, the solution can only be revealed by the reader.
The reader is tasked with piecing the jigsaw puzzle together to find out who murdered the Robins and what happened.
Lots of fun, this book once came with a $10,000 reward for the first person that cracked it – so don’t expect an easy ride.
- This murder mystery is surprisingly challenging.
- This book features a more classic murder mystery story.
- Who Killed The Robins is quite hard to get hold of.
Themes: Mystery, murder, crime, violence, puzzles, psychological tricks, and patience.
The final book on this list is Montague Island Mysteries by R. Wayne Schmittberger.
Once again, this is a novel that all murder mystery puzzle lovers will love.
Reading just like an immersive novel, this entertaining puzzle book tells the story of a group of friends who meet every week to play a murder mystery game.
The best part about it is that you get to join in with them.
Transporting you to another world, this book takes you to the luxurious island home of a wealthy couple.
As you make your way through the book, you’ll come to learn more about each guest, the island, and the house.
If you’re lucky, you might even uncover some mysteries about the mansion.
- Montague Island Mysteries comes with maps of the island to enhance the reader’s experience.
- The book’s clever plot makes the reader feel part of the story.
- The puzzles in this book might be too hard to solve.
Themes: Immersion, murder, mystery, adventure, friends, and puzzles.
Most murder mystery puzzle book fans will argue that Cain’s Jawbone is by far the best murder mystery puzzle book ever released.
Whilst I would probably agree with that statement, there are definitely other murder mystery puzzle books out there that readers can enjoy.
In this post, I’ve shown you 5 addictive mystery puzzle books that offer readers an immersive experience.
Full of challenges, mystery, tasks, and entertaining storylines, the books on this list offer readers a great escape from reality.
Another great thing about the books on this list is that they offer versatility.
Almost every book on this list features multiple endings, interconnecting puzzles, and changeable pathways.
Now all that’s left to do is for you to choose the puzzle book you want to read first.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Many People Have Solved Cain’s Jawbone?
Only four people have ever come forward to say that they have solved Cain’s Jawbone. The most recent person to do so was comedy writer John Finnemore in 2020.
Is There Still A Prize Available To Those That Solve Cain’s Jawbone?
Yes, readers that solve Cain’s Jawbone are given approximately $400 worth of Unbound Books credit. You’d also be only the fifth person to solve the book.
How Many Cain’s Jawbone Combinations Are There?
Cain’s Jawbone is believed to be the hardest mystery to solve in literary history. There are more than 30 million potential combinations, but only one is right.