If you are looking for my complete walkthrough with hints and solutions, click here! If not, please continue to the review.
Sleuth Kings is a monthly subscription that delivers fictional detective stories to your door. The premise for each case is that you have been contacted by Detective Sullivan King about a recent case that he has been hired for in which he needs your help. Each month you receive a manila envelope that contains:
- Instructions on where to go to begin email interactions with Sullivan regarding the case
- A list of the cases contents (so that you can check that you’ve received everything)
- A case overview written by Sullivan
- Approximately 4 clues
- A Clue Analysis that describes the clues and how to approach each one. (Ignore this paper for an extra challenge)
- Some additional material/props
Each case is its own story so unlike certain mystery subscriptions (like Hunt A Killer), you can solve the entire case in one sitting. I am told that every 4 cases you receive a bonus case about finding Sullivan’s missing father. (So far I have not received this but I have received several bonus emails regarding his father.)
Case 006: Abraca-Debra (Premise)
Sullivan has been contacted by Debra Hartfield, who claims that she is being framed for the murder of her ex-boyfriend Rich Daughtry. Rich worked as a magician and Debra was his assistant/girlfriend–that is until she found out Rich got another girl pregnant while they were dating. Now, Rich has gone missing, the police assume he’s dead, and several pieces of evidence point in her direction.
The police have yet to find Rich’s body and Sullivan thinks it might just be what he needs to clear Debra’s name. He asks for your help in finding the body and any additional evidence that the police may have missed.
Review (No Spoilers)
This was the first Sleuth Kings mystery that my partner and I attempted to solve so neither of us really knew what to expect. The actual first case that we were scheduled to have delivered was Case 022 (reviewed separately) but when you sign up for an account, they email you a discount for Archive cases which we used to buy this one. That being said, I think both of us were extremely excited to being this new journey and we entered in this mystery with much enthusiasm.
What was delivered to us was a box so we expected the contents to be more…volumized? I’m not sure what the word I want is but we expected there to be larger objects, since the box was a good size. Unfortunately what’s inside the box is a simple manila envelope which is what actually contains the case material. I think the box is just for show.
We opened up the envelope and the first thing we noticed was that for some reason there are two instructions on how to start the case that are almost identical. I’m not sure why. My best guess is that they started with one form and decided to update it at a later point and as a result they now just have two? Who knows. My suggestion is to get rid of the (albeit cool looking) instructional paper and simply keep the smaller card-stock version that has the list of contents on the back.
Basically how this works is you go to a site (included in both instructions) to send Sullivan an email indicating that you are ready to begin. He responds with basically the exact same set of instructions that can be found in the “Final Thoughts” portion of the My Investigation paper. He tells you what he needs from you to successfully solve the case and what keywords to include in your emails so that he can know what you’re talking about.
We made our way through this case in approximately 1 hour (slightly less). This may have been in large part due to the Clue Analysis paper which basically told us exactly how to approach each clue. This was my main complaint.
I later found out–after doing another case where the instructions are slightly altered–that we could have skipped reading this paper to make the case more challenging. Unfortunately since this sentence wasn’t written for Case 004, we didn’t know that we could skip it. Not knowing much about how this subscription package worked, we had assumed that all papers were important in solving the mystery.
Additionally, I believe that one of our clues was made improperly. In the box is a few fake playing cards and one of them seems to have been printed upside down. This didn’t affect our ability to solve the case because we just had to flip it but knowing the orientation of that card was something that was kind of important for decoding one of the clues.
The last unfortunate setback is that Sullivan isn’t as “smart” as we would have hoped. By that I mean Sullivan is clearly some sort of email bot; we just thought that he was programmed to handle human interaction better. One of the reviews that my partner and I read online seemed to suggest that Sullivan actually responds to things you say (this review mentioned Sullivan no longer being upset at being called silly nicknames). I discovered during this case that this reviewer was probably just making a joke.
For example, one of the instructions Sullivan tells you is that when you finally solve the case, you should include the word “solution” in your email to him. My partner–hoping to get a real life sort of vibe from these emails–sent out an email that said “The solution isn’t what you think! *answer written here*“. Unfortunately, Bot Sully could not understand this email and responded with some random hint to a clue that we had already solved. After that we decided to just keep our emails as basic as possible (E.g. A reply that simply states “solution *insert solution*“). This took away from the fun immersive experience.
Overall, I am optimistic about this subscription. We are signed up for a prepaid 6 month subscription so we have a lot more to experience! Stay tuned for more reviews and walkthroughs!