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The Mystery Of Ravensdene Park

The mystery of Ravensdene Park, which I will now present, was a tragic affair, as it involved the assassination of Mr. Cyril Hastings at his country house a short distance from London.

On February 17th, at 11 p.m., there was a heavy fall of snow, and though it lasted only half an hour, the ground was covered to a depth of several inches. Mr. Hastings had been spending the evening at the house of a neighbour, and left at midnight to walk home, taking the short route that lay through Ravensdene Park—that is, from D to A in the sketch-plan. But in the early morning he was found dead, at the point indicated by the star in our diagram, stabbed to the heart. All the seven gates were promptly closed, and the footprints in the snow examined. These were fortunately very distinct, and the police obtained the following facts:—

The footprints of Mr. Hastings were very clear, straight from D to the spot where he was found. There were the footprints of the Ravensdene butler—who retired to bed five minutes before midnight—from E to EE. There were the footprints of the gamekeeper from A to his lodge at AA. Other footprints showed that one individual had come in at gate B and left at gate BB, while another had entered by gate C and left at gate CC.

Only these five persons had entered the park since the fall of snow. Now, it was a very foggy night, and some of these pedestrians had consequently taken circuitous routes, but it was particularly noticed that no track ever crossed another track. Of this the police were absolutely certain, but they stupidly omitted to make a sketch of the various routes before the snow had melted and utterly effaced them.

The mystery was brought before the members of the Puzzle Club, who at once set themselves the task of solving it. Was it possible to discover who committed the crime? Was it the butler? Or the gamekeeper? Or the man who came in at B and went out at BB? Or the man who went in at C and left at CC? They provided themselves with diagrams—sketch-plans, like the one we have reproduced, which simplified the real form of Ravensdene Park without destroying the necessary conditions of the problem.

Our friends then proceeded to trace out the route of each person, in accordance with the positive statements of the police that we have given. It was soon evident that, as no path ever crossed another, some of the pedestrians must have lost their way considerably in the fog. But when the tracks were recorded in all possible ways, they had no difficulty in deciding on the assassin's route; and as the police luckily knew whose footprints this route represented, an arrest was made that led to the man's conviction.

Can our readers discover whether A, B, C, or E committed the deed? Just trace out the route of each of the four persons, and the key to the mystery will reveal itself.

Next: The Buried Treasure

Previous: The Runaway Motor-car

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