Saturday, March 6, 2010

Old Gimmick Hits New Trash Can

I just unburdened our shelves of this little gem. It was for all of us know-it-alls who second guess their way through mystery novels, trying to stay a step ahead of the hero. I guess they had an actual award. That's certainly one way to boost sales. The best part for me was that you had to send a buck fifty in with your solution as an "entry fee." So after the first 6667 suckers contestants sent in their fees, it was all gravy.

The contest ended in 1991, so don't get excited. This happened during the dark, pre-Internet age, so my searches for the winner turned up nothing.


  1. These books always interest me with how quickly these gimmicks fade, but then the sticker on the cover advertises it for the next 20 years on the library shelf. The folks at our admin have to remove contest inserts from the teen books because otherwise they will get ripped out.

    Somewhere I have a collection of old comic book ads that I might consider posting because they advertise weird things at ancient prices, but I still sometimes fantasize about writing in for the old offer.


    One of his more famous tricks — a word he preferred to gimmicks — was the 1983 mystery novel “Who Killed the Robins Family?” by Bill Adler and Thomas Chastain. On the cover was an offer of a $10,000 reward for solving a series of fictional murders.

    A team of four married couples from Denver won by coming up with the answers to 39 of 40 questions posed in the book. The book reached No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list in January 1984 and remained there for the better part of a year, selling about a million copies.