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Blackmail in the Baking Tent... a mystery puzzle



You step into the baking tent. Your heart swells. Who knew you would be one of 7 distinguished bakers to appear on TV?


As you approach your baking station, your cell phone rings: UNKNOWN.


"Hello?"


"I know what you did," breathes a hoarse, whispery voice. 


You freeze. Someone knows your secret. But who?


The voice continues, "You will pay."


Before you can finish fully gasping, they've rung off. You look around at the other 6 bakers, gleefully chatting and drinking tea.


You take a deep breath. At the front of the tent is a table with 7 pictures; someone is announcing that these pie fillings have been randomly assigned to each baker, and in 75 minutes you will be judged on your result.


But which one is yours? You never got an assignment. Now you're really stressed.


The 7 fillings pictured are:

🍋 🍑 🍏 🍇 🥝 🍒 🍌

(lemon, peach, apple, grape, kiwi, cherry, banana)


You look around your station, but nothing in the way of ingredients can point you in a flavor direction. Behind you; a sharp gasp! You whirl around to find Auntie Boddy pale as a sheet.


"Auntie Boddy, you look like you've seen a ghost!"


Her eyes gradually focus on you. "I... I think I have." She gets a little woozy just as Mr. Sneaky rushes to catch her. 


"I got a sinister message too," says Mr. Sneaky. "But it was from my neighbor, Raspberry Kettle. It gave me a fright, but she claims she was only joking! We seem to have a few pranksters among us."


Two other bakers chime in that their threats were also harmless jokes. You don’t catch who says what, but the man who gave the 5 pips to Raspberry was pitting the fruit for his pie and thought it would be funny. The baker who pranked Parker Palmer with a coded note was inspired while peeling a waiting for water to boil.


Okay, time to write this down. Whispering to Auntie Boddy, you ask to be reminded of the other two bakers’ names. She seems to be reviving from her apparition sighting: “Sassy Parilla is ahead of you, and the one in front is Susan Scorch.”


Chatter from the tent sifts through your muddled brain as you jot down your thoughts. Baking historian Parker explains that grapes were first used in Ancient Roman cuisine and he is keeping the seeds in for the sake of historical accuracy.


Next to him, Susan Scorch appears very focused, bent over her work station without a peep. From behind, she appears to be zesting something, but you can’t tell what.


The baker who received an anonymous letter looks like a crime scene, spattered in juice from mashing their fruit.


Behind you, Auntie Boddy is complaining about her fruit being unripe. Raspberry - surrounded by green and red peels - calls out, “at least you didn’t get bananas!”


Sassy Parilla keeps muttering about how she should have been assigned lemons, not these orange balls. Suddenly her hand shakes as she picks up a paper from the bench.


“It’s… it’s… the black spot! Mercy! Ahhhh!”


Looking over her shoulder, you see it yourself - a black blotch on an otherwise clean sheet of paper. Goodness, this has gone too far.


It’s time for a smart, capable, baker sleuth to take action.


You put your head down on your spotless baking station and try to make sense of this. 


So six threats have been made, but only three of them seem to have come from an actual blackmailer. With seven bakers, that leaves one who has received NO threat - could they be the source of your hoarse whisper?


WHO is blackmailing you all?


And what is the MEANS by which each baker has been threatened?


And certainly not the least important of all, WHICH pie filling should you be making?


(if you're dying to know which closely guarded secret of yours has fallen into the hands of a blackmailer, make plans to join the next Mystery Cafe on June 20)


TIPS TO SOLVE:

  1. Anything in orange is a clue

  2. Anything in pink underline is handy info that you might enjoy knowing

  3. First write down all the clues in categories (suspect, method, filling) 

  4. From the story, see if you can make connections about who is baking what, and who received which type of threat

  5. You CAN solve the main mystery without figuring out all 7 bakers and their filling flavors. You get credit for correct solutions of any kind.


Every baker is telling the truth.


NEED A HINT?

Drop a comment on this Facebook post.

It’s a spoiler-free zone! Lots of helpful sleuths hanging around. 


Along with the faint scent of vanilla.


Ready to submit your answers? Click here.

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