After my Math Murder Mystery presentation at the 3rd Annual Mathematics Day, students and faculty made some comments to me. The students said that they never saw any math problems presented this way and that they had actually enjoyed doing Math and English in solving the Math Murder Mysteries. The faculty said it was an excellent idea connecting Math and English in a mystery setting. At the presentation, I presented four of my Math Murder Mysteries. I have included the Math Murder Mystery that involved James Bond in this article as everyone knows who James Bond is. The James Bond Mystery is at the end of this article. A faculty member asked me if there was a way that more students, especially students who did not attend the presentation, could see and work on the mysteries. I have decided that to get more students interested to work on the mysteries what better way than to create a Math Murder Mystery contest that would be open to all of the students at Hostos Community College. The 1st Math Murder Mystery Contest was held in the Spring of 2019. I presented the winners with their certificates and prize money at the 4th Annual Mathematics Day.

As I explained at the presentation, originally, the list of suspects was not the current list of students in the class, but students that I had in my classes fifteen years ago. One day, in one of my classes after the students had finished the 1st mystery, one of my students had asked me if she could be the next murderer. In the next Math Murder Mystery that I did in this class, I made her the murderer and she enjoyed it. From then on, I have used the names of the current students in my classes as the list of murder suspects and the first thing that the students realize is that their names are on the list of suspects!
Also, at my presentation of my Math Murder Mysteries, I said that the student that I had picked to be the murderer for the mystery that the class was to be working on that day was absent and I then asked the audience what do you think happened in the class. Some of the students said he got an F. What actually happened is more interesting. When I went to this group to help them with the mystery, every student in the group that the absent student had always worked with had told me they had texted him and they had asked him why did he do it. He then texted them back and he asked them did what. I then told all of the students to send the mystery to him and then each of the students did.

The James Bond Mystery: James Bond was just handed the case file number 007 from M. After reading the file, James Bond discovers that each victim had exactly $3.35. Investigating further, he notices that for each victim they had twice as many quarters as dimes and two more nickels than dimes. Exactly how many nickels, dimes, and quarters did each victim have? He then notices that each victim had a tablet with the same strange and unusual barcode. Is someone making illegal copies of the tablet? Is this the reason M put him on the case? Does Q know what the barcode means? The tablet is unusual because the length of the tablet is four less than five times the width, and the perimeter is 28 millimeters. What is the length and width? After many days of investigating, he discovered that when he subtracts the number of nickels from the number of quarters and then adds this result to the sum of the length of the tablet, and a third of the width of the tablet he will have the murder’s number. Who did it? M demands answers now!!!!! Please help Mr. Bond by setting up the equations, solving them, and showing all the work, so that he will have time to finally take Moneypenny out for dinner.


Terence Brenner

Terence Brenner

In 2012, a colleague and I developed the new math course: MAT 15, a one semester course that combines MAT 10 and MAT 20. Starting in the spring of 2019, I started the Math Murder Mystery Contest which is based on the original Math Murder Mysteries activity that I have been using in my classes. I have been the editor of the Hostos Community College Mathematics Journal since its beginning. Among the seven textbooks that I have co-authored, includes the current textbook being used in MAT 150. Over the years, I have published math papers in Quantum Mechanics, and other papers at the community college mathematics level.


Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?