Detective 1: Blacksea Island

a Mystery / Puzzle by Will11

Commended by mizal on 10/5/2018 11:18:48 AM

Player Rating6.87/8

"#69 overall, #7 for 2018"
based on 88 ratings since 10/04/2018
played 2,934 times (finished 98)

Story Difficulty7/8

"wade in shark infested water"

Play Length4/8

"A well spent lunch break"

Maturity Level4/8

"need to be accompanied by an adult"
Contains content that may not be suitable for persons under age 13. If this were a movie, it would probably be PG.
The first in a new series of stories featuring the teenage amateur detective Susan Knox as the reader's character. Set in open world locations where the reader is free to choose where to look for clues, who to interview, what to ask and where the correct suspect, motive and murder method must be identified within a set time limit, this first story is set on the mysterious and notorious Blacksea Island whose history of insanity and death holds the secret to the unusual death of Knox's best friend...

I hope the reader enjoys my latest story.

Note: This story includes a few cases of naughty words (for example one of these words rhymes with "bunt", "punt" and "hunt" and isn't "runt") so those with delicate sensibilities, easily offended eyes or a nervous disposition should avoid this story to avoid mental distress, disorders or damaging derangements of dangerous and diabolical dimensions.

Finally I estimate this story would take roughly one hour to complete, give or take, and the reader might benefit from making notes or a map of the island, depending how good their memory is :)

Player Comments

I missed reading classic mystery so this felt really nice. I've tried the hard mode first because I'm stuck-up and also believe in the power of the "GO BACK" button; luckily in the end it wasn't hard at all.

I understood the main gist of the story more or less halfway through, then checked some details and after talking to the right people I was sure of what had happened with a few time points to go. The story never bored me though, and I think the level of difficulty might be just right for a younger audience, or one with little experience in mystery plots.

The style is direct and to the point and I think that works best when reading mystery fiction. There are very few grammar errors and the pace is well balanced (even in the relevant/non relevant ratio of the interactions).

The geography of the island was also built really well; I managed to picture it in my mind easily enough and I'm not exactly known for my sense of direction.

Going more into details (still no spoilers though) I really liked all the parts that described the history of the island, including the little appendix on real-life references at the end. I was positively surprised to see that the story continued after the reveal of the culprit, but I have to side with Mizal on the chest wound matter.

In the end this was a fun and tightly packed mystery game and I can't wait to read the future additions to the series. A 7/8 for this genre.
-- undr on 10/5/2018 3:03:12 PM with a score of 0
This was fun. :)

I'd known you were working on a murder mystery but this wasn't what I expected at all. It's nice seeing more kid friendly stuff on the site and I'll be looking forward to the next installments in the series.

The timer countdown is such a simple thing but it's so effective for adding an extra level to it all, instead of just clicking every little thing it got me thinking about how to use each click the most effectively and what I should really be focusing on for clues. It got me thinking of all kids of ways that could be used in a puzzle too.

The writing is pretty solid as usual, although I think it would pay to remind yourself to break up sentences as you write. Some of it is just a style thing I know across all your stories but some lines really do threaten to become run ons, or just go on too long and become a slog. (I think the worst offender in this case is 'You lay down the Dorsetshire Gazette for 1 July 2000 (by now, nearly a month old) and stare moodily over the Blacksea Ferry’s railing towards Blacksea Island, squatting like a bug on the gentle sea, its thickly-growing dark green trees clustering together like a wall which, together with the almost total lack of beach beneath the steep cliffs, makes the island and its secrets appear ominously impenetrable.') which could easily have been split into two or three sentences that would've had more impact.

Just a note, I beat the game on the hardest difficulty the first time through. Since that apparently wasn't supposed to happen just letting you know in case you want to up the challenge level a little on the next one. Although honestly I feel like I shouldn't have beat it, I missed some details and time ran out just as I started talking to the person who would've told me about a gun. But I had to accuse somebody and once I looked over the suspect list there was only one person it could be based on another bit of info I'd been told. (Avoiding spoilers since new story and all and I will be featuring this comment.) Maybe some kind of 'wow I guess I really have no idea?' failure option at the end would be reasonable...or a more detailed tracker on that variable if one already exists, idk I didn't go back and do a deliberate time wasting run yet.

The mystery itself was fun to piece together and I enjoyed poking around for clues, and they all came together in a logical way. I felt like you hit a nice balance there of relevant vs non relevant stuff to look into. In the end however I felt like I had a good idea of what happened but no evidence whatsoever...if there hadn't been that handy public confession the character would've not remotely been believed. (Put me in mind of a Mitchell and Webb skit called The Evil Voice, you might get a chuckle out of looking it up.) But to be fair, I suspect this is just me massively overthinking a YA detective story.

Although, still in that vein...just sayin, a shotgun point blank to the chest would definitely, unquestioningly kill someone. Like, immediately.

-- mizal on 10/5/2018 1:06:40 PM with a score of 0
A great read!
-- Helox on 5/10/2020 1:23:32 AM with a score of 0
+ Very well written, excellently researched (I was fascinated by the background) and really enjoyed the fact it was based on real events (perhaps more so as I'm a Brit). Very well adapted from real-life events too.
+ Each page had a very well-measured amount of detail to it.
+ Excellent twist at the end when things turn ugly, requiring your memory of certain details...

- I would've enjoyed more variation in the questions you asked the volunteers, these felt a little formulaic and repetitive.
- I live in the UK and 'National Group' sounds just a bit like a fascist organisation to me. Perhaps this was based on the National Trust and you wanted to use a different name, but the National Trust would make perfect sense to Brits.
- Especially for Easier Time Limit, an option to 'go to the 5pm end' could've been good. (I chose this to 'see' what a story looks like in all its possible detail to help writing my own.)
- SPOILER ALERT I would've loved a plausible false trail to suggest another suspect, even if it soon becomes evident that this is false.
- SPOILER ALERT - being able to make more than 1 accusation at the end seems a little unrealistic.
+ This being said this kind of story is difficult to plan in terms of the getting the reader to name their reasons the suspect is guilty, without making it obvious to them. You did do this fairly well. SPOILER AL-(you get the picture) As I said a false trail could've spiced things up a little further.

Thanks very much, really enjoyed it, am feeling inspired. I will look out for more with Susan Knox...
-- MistyTrail on 5/2/2020 8:28:25 PM with a score of 0
Very well written. Almost got lost through the Wetlands, but made my way through and solved the mystery on my very first try (on time level NORMAL or 100 though...)
-- S on 9/30/2019 6:58:40 AM with a score of 0
What a fun read. Thanks for an entertaining story.
-- Cstonegroove on 8/21/2019 10:08:01 PM with a score of 0
Thank you for making this. What a fantastic journey.
-- Andrew Henderson on 6/9/2019 5:10:07 PM with a score of 0
The flirting and sudden relationship with Charlie felt both forced and out of place. It kept mentioning he had strong arms and nothing else. Come on, she's 15 and her close friend (or "first love" as it suddenly says at the end) was just killed.
-- aartbastiaan on 4/17/2019 9:48:56 PM with a score of 0
I couldnt figure it out. I had crossed out Iris first on the list of suspects as not the killer. ( besides Olivia).
-- OLivers2 on 3/1/2019 10:55:20 AM with a score of 0
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