Cryptology in Fiction
Stories added to the Crypto Fiction list before and during 2005
Last Updated 23 August 2012
This list is all the books and stories found in my October, 2005 article Codes and Ciphers in Fiction: An Overview in the journal Cryptologia. This particular list has been frozen. See the new Crypto Fiction Titles page for all the titles added post-2005. If you know of others that aren't in this list, please let me know.
Crypto Fiction List <= 2005
Allingham, Margery. 1936. The White Elephant. In Mr. Campion, Criminologist. New York: Doubleday & Company. 21 pgs.
Albert Campion solves a simple name code and saves Auntie Flo, the Dowager Countess of Marle, from a burglary gang. The gang uses a book of common names and their meanings to transmit short, simple messages via radio. Campion deduces this and discovers whre Auntie Flo is being held captive. The story is lively and typically witty.
- Armstrong, Charlotte. 1959. The Ring in the Fish. Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, 5-9.
A fisherman's wife finds a ring in a fish and two con artists try to guess the initials inside the ring. A simple puzzle in a simple, short story based on letters that still look like letters upside down, rightside up, backwards & forwards - M, W, O, H, I, Z, N, S, ...
- -----. 1967. The Cool Ones. Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, 153-161.
Feisty 75-year old Grandma Finney is kidnapped and sends a ransom message that is a puzzle to her grandson based on the arrangements of the letters on a telephone dial. His solution helps rescue Mrs. Finney. The whole story revolves around the puzzle and the boy's solution. The puzzle itself is clever, depending on the sounds in the message rather than their actual starting lettets, but the story is somewhat weak.
- Asimov, Issac. 1974. Go, Little Book! In Tales of the Black Widowers. New York: Doubleday. 43-61 pgs.
Henry, the astute waiter for the Black Widowers, figures out a possible cryptographic system that uses just a matchbook as the key and the message transmission medium. The system marks the thirty matches in a standard matchbook to transmit messages. It is clear from the story that the messages are numbers in the range zero to around two billion but what is not clear is what the numbers mean. From the context they are likely an index to a code book.
- -----. 1986. The Key. In The Best Mysteries of Isaac Asimov. New York: Doubleday. 287-315 pgs.
Dr. Wendell Urth solves a punning puzzle left by a dying astronaut. The puzzle leads to Urth himself, and the pun (in two languages) provides the location of a hidden alien device. This is quite a long story for a fairly obscure - and short - message.
- -----. 1986. The Key Word. In The Best Mysteries of Isaac Asimov. New York: Doubleday. 333-336 pgs.
Larry, the kid, helps his father the detective by figuring out how a gang of criminals is using The New York Times crossword puzzle to change keys for a cipher. A very clear and succinct description of one way to solve the key management problem.
- -----. 1986. Sixty Million Trillion Combinations. In The Best Mysteries of Isaac Asimov. New York: Doubleday. 170-183 pgs.
Henry, the clever waiter for the Black Widowers, figures out a mathematician's computer password, based on the first letter of each line in a sonnet. The basis for the solution is the analysis of the mathematician's background and character that leads Henry to the correct guess of which sonnet to use.
- -----. 1986. The Three Numbers. In The Best Mysteries of Isaac Asimov. New York: Doubleday. 77-92 pgs.
Henry, the waiter, figures out a puzzle that leads to the combination of a safe. The puzzle depends on visual differences between the L and 1 keys on a typewriter. As with most Asimov stories, the writing is wonderful and the setup of the puzzle is interesting, but the puzzle itself is weak.
- -----. 1987. 1 to 999. In Mathenauts, edited by R. Rucker. New York: New English Library. 1-7 pgs.
A dying scientist leaves a puzzle whose solution leads to the person who is supposed to inherit all his research notes. Contrary to the title, this is a linguistic puzzle that depends on knowing the fact that none of the words for the integers from one to nine hundred ninety-nine contain the letter 'a'. The answer to this puzzle is a pun on the heir's name. Well written, but the solution really requires an "Aha" moment.
- Austin, Jane Goodwin. 1869. Cipher: A Romance. Hardcover. New York: Sheldon and Company. pgs.
A good samaritan (who turns out to be the bastard child of his benefactor) inherits an estate and a cipher that unlocks a family secret. The cipher is a monoalphabetic substitution using the family motto as the key phrase. The novel itself is somewhat long and turgid, but the solution to the cipher is very clever.
- Balian, Lorna. 1984. Humbug Potion: An A B Cipher. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press. 100 pgs.
A homely witch is delighted to find a secret recipe for beauty but it is written in a code that the reader must help her decipher by learning the letters of the alphabet. The cipher is a monoalphabetic substitution. A children's novel meant for pre-schoolers through early elementary grades, with a cipher to match.
- Balzac, Honore de. 1846. Complete Works. hardcover ed. Paris: Fume. 400 pgs.
Balzac wrote two works with cryptograms in them. "Physiologie de Mariage", with a long, 3600 character cryptogram of unknown type, and "Histoire des Treize: Ferragus, chef des Devorants" which contains a grille cipher. Balzac gives the solution of the cryptogram but not the original text.
- Barker, Elsa. 1926. The Key in Michael. Red Book Magazine.
In 1920, Dexter Drake solves a mixed-alphabet monoalphabetic substitution cipher that uses the numbers on a roulette wheel to mix the alphabet. The cipher message uncovers a puzzle in the form of a short poem that leads to a Russian family treasure. The story is very well written and plausible and there is a good discussion of Drake's thought processes as he unravels the mystery.
- Barsky, Robert E. 2004. Adventure of the Turning Century: http://robb9000.home.comcast.net/sherlock.htm. pgs.
Sherlock Holmes uncovers a message hidden in a supposed cryptogram (using chaff and winnowing) using the Binomial Theorem as the method of uncovering the key. The positions of Jupiter and Venus relative to the other planets out from the sun give the values of X and Y. Holmes then uses the binomial theorem to compute the distances between plaintext letters in a piece of supposedly random text sent by Professor Moariarty to his gang. The cipher is clever, but its solution depends on knowing facts about Professor Moriarty that the reader is unlikely to possess.
- Base, Graeme. 1989. The Eleventh Hour: A Curious Mystery. Hardcover. London: Harry N. Abrams. 38 pgs.
A mystery in verse. When Horace the Elephant decides to throw a party for his own 11th birthday, he never suspects that a crime will be committed by lunchtime. Who has stolen the birthday feast? The solution lies in the solutions of puzzles embedded in each illustration, including hieroglyphics, anagrams, a pigpen cipher, a Caesar cipher, and Morse code.
- Bentley, Edmund C. 1938. The Ministering Angel. The Strand Magazine.
A younger wife viciously controls her older husband, but before he dies he leaves clues to a new will in the made-up Latin names of the flowers in his rock-garden. The famous detective, Philip Trent, recognizes the made-up Latin and figures out the location of the hidden will. A very well written story with a nice twist. The linguistic puzzle, with references to Lewis Carroll is very clever.
- Bond, Raymond T. 1947. Famous Stories of Code and Cipher. Hardcover. New York: Rinehart and Company. 342 pgs.
A collection of mystery stories all of which involve codes or ciphers. The book includes an excellent short introduction to cryptology. This original edition includes Dorothy Sayers' story "The Learned Adventure of the Dragon's Head" rather than "Code No. 2" by Edgar Wallace which is in the 1965 paperback edition.
- -----. 1965. Famous Stories of Code and Cipher. Paperback. New York: Collier Books. 383 pgs.
A collection of mystery stories all of which involve codes of ciphers. The book includes an excellent introduction to cryptology. This edition includes "Code No. 2" by Edgar Wallace instead of the Dorothy Sayers' story "The Learned Adventure of the Dragon's Head" which is in the original 1947 hardcover edition.
- Bonsall, Crosby. 1982. The Case of the Double Cross: Sagebrush Education Resources. pgs.
Wizard's private eyes don't want any girls in their clubhouse. But a funny little man double-crosses the boys with a message in cipher (a monoalphabetic substitution). Then Marigold and her girlfriends get to show just how much the private eyes really need them. A very simple story and cipher aimed at the early elementary grades.
- Boucher, Anthony. 1943. QL 696 .C9. Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine.
Disgraced cop Nick Noble decodes the Library of Congress call letters left by the murder victim and uncovers the killer. The Library of Congress call letters lead to the catgory that gives a hint to the identity of the murderer. A second cipher in a "typewriter code" where a plaintext letter is replaced with the one above it in the QWERTY keyboard pattern is also used for a spy ring of which the murderer is a member.
- -----. 1986. The Case of The Baker Street Irregulars. paperback. New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc. 252 pgs.
The Baker Street Irregulars, a group of Holmes enthusiats, help solve the murder of a writer. Several clues turn up using three different ciphers. The first is a death threat using the Dancing Men cipher. The second is a book cipher variant that uses record albums instead of a book to give the location of an accomplice. And the third is an anagram, the dying man's last message and his epitaph. The book is a clever, involved story with a couple of good discussions on elementary cryptanalytic techniques.
- Boyer, Bruce H. 1979. The Solstice Cipher. Hardcover. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company. 312 pgs.
A series of intercepted cipher messages (both mono and polyalphabetic substitution) lead the Allies to believe that Rommel and the Wehrmacht want to surrender on D-Day. The Wehrmacht conspirators embed the key to the ciphers in a series of messages from the French resistance. There is good discussion of the discovery of the key and some short discussions about cryptanalyzing monoalphabetic ciphers. The decryptions of the messages is carried on behind the scene.
- Brittain, William. 1969. The Man Who Read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In Ellery Queen's Murder Menu, edited by E. Queen. New York: World Publishing Co. 220-228 pgs.
A journalist decodes a puzzle in a letter - ultimately a pun on his own name - and recovers the combination to a box holding a list of spies. A classic puzzle message.
- Brown, Dan. 1998. Digital Fortress. Paperback. New York: St. Martin's Press. 431 pgs.
An NSA cryptographer tries to break a seemingly unbreakable code that releases a worm that breaks down the firewall defenses of NSA's secret supercomputer. The key is in a message left by a dying former NSA cryptologist who wrote the unbreakable cipher. The book is full of mistakes about cryptology and the NSA. One example is that the author consistently confuses 64 characters with 64 bits, as in a '64-character key'.
- -----. 2003. The DaVinci Code. Hardcover. New York: Doubleday. 454 pgs.
To exonerate himself from a possible murder charge, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon works with French cryptologist Sophie Neveu to unravel a series of puzzles that lead to the Holy Grail. There are four rhyming riddles in the text, with only a single simple cipher as part of one of them. The cipher uses an atbash cipher message using the Hebrew alphabet to uncover a key to a locked cylinder containing the next clue.
- Buckley, Fiona. 2001. Queen of Ambition. Hardcover. New York, NY: Scribner Book Company. 286 pgs.
Lady Ursula Blanchard goes undercover in a pie shop to uncover a plot to kill Queen Elizabeth I during a visit to Cambridge. The consipirators communicate using correspondence in a cipher where code words represent letters of the alphabet. The resulting message is a Caesar cipher written in Latin. There is a short discussion of the cryptanalysis of the message. A well-written mystery with a simple cipher. Fifth novel in the series.
- Burgess, Frank Gellett. 1912. The Master of Mysteries: Being an Account of the Problems Solved By Astro, Seer of Secrets, and His Love Affair with Valeska Wynne, His Assistant. Hardcover. Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill Company Publishers. 480 pgs.
A collection of short stories featuring the Armenian seer, Astro. The book, originally published anonymously, identifies its author by means of a cryptogram embedded in the text. Astro has gathered about him the trappings of a psychic detective, but actually derives his power from superior, specialized knowledge and skill in logic. The ciphers are typical monoalphabetic substitutions, sometimes using different alphabets (e.g. Greek).
- Caldwell, Ian, and Dustin Thomason. 2004. The Rule of Four. Hardcover. New York, NY: Dial Books. 384 pgs.
Princeton seniors decrypt a 500-year old manuscript that leads to a crypt full of ancient masterpieces. There are two different types of cipher in the book. The first uses riddles to uncover keywords that indicate which letters to pick out of each chapter of the book. The second uses the "Rule of Four" that gives directions for walking through the text and selecting letters in a route transposition.
- Card, Orson Scott. 2000. Shadow of the Hegemon. Hardcover. New York: Tom Doherty Associates, LLC. 365 pgs.
A kidnapped military genius (who's actually a teenage girl) sends an encrypted message to friends on the outside in an effort to be rescued. The message uses steganography - the message is hidden in a digital picture - and a substitution cipher where the text is shifted two-byte Unicode characters. The message is a small, but critical part of the story.
- Chambers, Robert W. 1906. The Tracer of Lost Persons. Hardcover. New York: Appleton and Company. 293 pgs.
Mr. Keen, the Tracer of Lost Persons, solves a cipher that consists of rectangular symbols crossed with diagonals. The cipher turns out to be a monoalphabetic substitution where the symbols are crude representations of numbers. The numbers are mapped to letters using 1 = a, 2 = b, etc. to form the cipher system. Mr. Keen's solution allows him to unite two lovers.
- Christie, Agatha. 1933. The Four Suspects. In The Tuesday Club Murders. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company. 16 pgs.
Miss Marple does it again, solving a book code message hidden in a letter and exposing an assassin. Flowers and a flower catalog provide the meaning of the code words.
- Connington, J. J. 1933. Gold Brick Island. Hardcover. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company. 310 pgs.
Colin Trent and Cyril Northfleet solve a clever transposition cipher that leads to smugglers and a fencing operation on a small island off the coast of Scotland. The text contains a very good description of how to cryptanalyze a complete rectangle transposition cipher.
- de la Torre, Lillian. 1944. The Stolen Christmas Box. In Dr. Sam Johnson, Detector. New York: Alfred A. Knopfpgs.
Dr. Samuel Johnson decrypts a Bacon biliteral cipher and a skytale message to solve the mystery of the disappearance of a Christmas present.
- Dexter, Colin. 1977. The Silent World of Nicholas Quinn. hardcover ed. hardcover. New York: St. Martin's Press. 228 pgs.
Deaf Mr. Nicholas Quinn stumbles on a cheating consipiracy at the Foreign Examinations Syndicate and pays for it with his life whilst drinking a glass of cyanide-laced sherry. A letter with a secret message embedded in it is the clue to the reason for Mr. Quinn's murder. The message is read by extracting the far right-hand word of each line of the letter.
- Dickson, S. B. 1925. Coded Limericks. Fifty brilliant limericks, presented in secret cipher, to be decoded by the reader, together with full instructions explaining the technique of unravelling these mysteries. London: Jarrolds. 125 pgs.
Fifty limericks in cipher. Includes "The Gold Bug" to give the reader instructions on cryptanalysis. All the limericks use monoalphabetic substitutions embedded in the rhyme.
- Douglas, Lloyd C. 1929. Magnificent Obsession. Hardcover. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. 330 pgs.
The novel tells the story of Robert Merrick, a neurosurgeon who is given the secret journal of his mentor, Dr. Hudson. The journal is written in script in a railfence cipher, which is solved by the young neurosurgeon and sets him on his life's work. The novel is a classic of popular fiction from the first third of the twentieth century. The cipher is never named as a "railfence" and the entire cryptanalysis relies on an "Aha!" moment by Dr. Merrick. The system also uses the Greek letters mu and omega to indicate line breaks (omega) and where to split the railfence into two lines (mu) in the ciphered journal entries.
- Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan. 1893. The Adventure of the "Gloria Scott". The Strand Magazine, 395-406.
An old school friend of Holmes' calls him down to his country home to solve the mystery of his father's death. Trevor's father dies of dispair after being blackmailed. A note in which every third letter reveals a cipher message and which says 'The game is up, Hudson has told all. Fly for your life.' pushes the old man over the edge.
- -----. 1903. The Adventure of the Dancing Men. The Strand Magazine.
Sherlock Holmes solves a case involving a series of mysterious messages - a bit late to save his client. The messages are in a simple substitution cipher, using stick figures as the cipher letters. One quirk is the use of "flags" to indicate word stops. The symbols are sometimes hard to distinguish, and there are some errors in the messages as documented in Kahn's "The Codebreakers" (page 797).
- -----. 1914. The Valley of Fear: Part 1 The Tragedy of Birlstone. The Strand Magazine.
Holmes solves a message in a book cipher that uses an almanac as its key. From just the single message plus a follow-up letter begging him to destroy the message, Holmes deduces the book used for the cipher and decrypts the message.
- Eco, Umberto. 1989. Foucault's Pendulum. Hardcover. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. 641 pgs.
A message supposedly in a cipher by Johannes Trithemius starts a quest for a secret plan set in motion by the Knights Templar. The message decodes differently using different cipher systems, including a cipher disk. Baconians show up as well.
- Farber, Erica. 1994. The Secret Code. Paperback. Racine, WI: Western Publishing Company. 68 pgs.
A short novel for elementary school children. Trying to solve enciphered messages (monoalphabetic substitutions) leads the Critter Kids to a new member for their club.
- Follett, Ken. 1980. The Key To Rebecca. hardcover. New York: William Morrow and Company, Inc. 381 pgs.
Major William Vandam is tracking a German spy in Cairo. During World War II, Alex Wolff sneaks into Cairo determined to get the information Rommel needs to stop the English in the North African desert. Wolff is using Daphne duMaurier's novel "Rebecca" to generate a key stream that acts like a Vernam one-time pad. Taking the last two digits of the year, and adding the day of the month gets the page to use as the key. The number of the current month tells which characters to ignore. One then starts at the top of the page and looks for the first occurrence of the first plaintext character. The index of this character is the index of the first ciphertext letter. For example, if H is the first plaintext letter and the first H on the page is the tenth letter in the book (ignoring every Nth character if you're in the Nth month), you use a J (the tenth letter of the alphabet) as the first ciphertext letter. If A is the next plaintext letter, and the next A in the book text is the sixth letter after the H, then the next cipher text letter is F.
- Freeman, R. Austin. 1927. The Blue Scarab. In The Dr. Thorndyke Omnibus. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co. 1-38 pgs.
Dr. Thorndyke solves a cipher using Egyptian hieroglyphics phonetically as English words to uncover a cache of jewels.
- -----. 1927. The Puzzle Lock. In The Dr. Thorndyke Omnibus. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co. 1-35 pgs.
Dr. Thorndyke must solve a chronogram to escape from a safe containing stolen goods and a corpse. The key to the 15 digit puzzle hinges on the Roman numerals hidden in a short poem inscribed on a bracelet worn by the victim.
- -----. 1973. The Moabite Cipher. In The Best Dr. Thorndyke Detective Stories. New York: Dover. 151-173 pgs.
Dr. Thorndyke uncovers a hidden message underneath what appears to be a cipher (but isn't) to solve a robbery and capture the members of the burglary ring. What appears to be a substitution cipher turns out to be steganography (the message is written in invisible ink across the "cipher"). The story leads the reader to believe right up till the end that the cipher message is real.
- Futrelle, Jacques. 1910. Mystery of the Fatal Cipher. Hardcover. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company. pgs.
The famous scientist and detective known as The Thinking Machine unravels the mystery of an inventor's apparent suicide. The suicide note is a cipher where each plaintext word is five words further on than the last. The story takes a couple of surprising twists.
- Gaboriau, Emile. 1913. Caught in the Net. Hardcover. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 365 pgs.
Three con men try to convince the Duke de Champdoce and his former lover, Diana the Countess of Mussidan, that one of them is their long lost illlegitimate son. Part of their "proof" is a cipher message - a message in French written backwards (so it's technically a transposition cipher) in which the Countess begs the Duke to see her son again. The cipher is read in "Caught in the Net" but the story doesn't conclude until the end of the sequel, "The Mystery of Champdoce" when the real son is found.
- Gordon, Alex. 1961. The Cipher. paperback. New York: Grove Press. 252 pgs.
Novel from which the movie "Arabesque" is derived. Milquetoast college professor Philip Hoag is engaged by a shady foreign businessman to decipher a telegram. The telegram discloses a plot by the businessman and an ambassador to assassinate their country's prime minister. No real details of the cipher are given; it's probably a super-enciphered Vigenere.
- Grant, Maxwell. 1934. Chain of Death. The Shadow Magazine, 8-96.
The Shadow deals a blow to Crime Incorporated. The story contains a cryptogram using a monoalphabetic substitution cipher.
- Graves, Robert. 1934. I, Claudius. hardcover. New York: Harrison Smith and Robert Haas, Inc. 494 pgs.
Claudius breaks a book cipher invented by Augustus and is able to decipher a number of criminal dossiers encrypted in the cipher. Claudius is ableto break the cipher because he finds the book! The first one hundred lines of the Illiad in Greek are used to encipher the dossiers. Claudius also mentions a simple Caesar cipher. Neither of these ciphers is more than a trivial part of the plot of the novel.
- Green, Anna Katherine. 1907. The Mayor's Wife. Hardcover. Indianapolis, IN: The Bobbs-Merrill Company. 196 pgs.
A tale of murder, bigamy, and blackmail. Miss Saunders, the companion of the mayor's wife, helps capture the blackmailer by solving several monoalphabetic substitution cipher messages. The messages use a pigpen cipher that is used to communicate between the blackmailer and his victim. Miss Saunders has five messages, with a total of 150 characters, to work with. She uses "The Gold Bug" as her source of cryptanalytic information and makes reference to it many times during her solution. A twist in the pigpen cipher is that the symbols are turned 90 degrees counterclockwise for every word enciphered.
- Greenwood, L. B. 1997. The Case of the Last Battle. In The Mammoth Book of New Sherlock Holmes Adventures, edited by M. Ashley. New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers. 354 pgs.
Sherlock Holmes solves a grille cipher to help end World War I. The cipher messages are being exchanged between the President of the United States and the Chancellor of Germany in a effort to broker an armistice. The untimely illness of the chancellor requires Holmes' services to solve the last message. The cipher uses dummy words and leaves out the vowels to further obscure the message. The story, a follow-on Holmes piece, take place in November, 1918.
- Haggard, H. Rider. 1888. Colonel Quaritch, Q. V.: A Tale of Country Life. Hardcover. London: Longmans, Green and Company. 771 pgs.
Colonel Quaritch deciphers the dying note of Sir James de la Molle. The note gives a hint to the location of the family treasure that old Sir James buried to save from Cromwell's men. The cipher is hidden in the knight's last message and is deciphered by taking the first letter of every fifth word in the note. The Colonel comes upon the solution purely by chance - he's looking at the note in a poor light without his glasses and focuses on the right letters. The discovery of the treasure enables the Colonel to marry his lady love.
- Hall, Parness. 2003. With This Puzzle, I Thee Kill. Hardcover. New York: Bantam Books. 322 pgs.
A series of cryptograms warn The Puzzle Lady, Cora Felton, not to marry her latest beau. When the fiance is murdered, more messages uncover a drug smuggling ring. The messages are in a mixed alphabet monoalphabetic substitution and in a rectangular transposition cipher.
- Harness, Charles L. 1998. The GUAC Bug. Analog Science Fiction/Science Fact, 112-124.
Ms. Hatfield, the pizza delivery girl, decrypts a cipher built into an RNA specimen. The message is a double encipherment of an RNA sequence, where the nucleides (G, U, A, and C) define amino acids. Each of the 20 amino acids then represents a letter of the alphabet in a simple monoalphabetic substitution. The message is used in a patent hearing to verify the author and authenticity of the RNA specimen. The pizza delivery girl is used to show that the cipher message is easy enough for a knowledgeable amateur to solve.
- Harris, Robert. 1995. Enigma. Paperback. New York: Random House. 320 pgs.
Bletchley Park cryptanalyst Tom Jericho stumbles on a missing girlfriend, stolen cryptograms, and possible Nazi spies while trying to solve a new four-rotor Enigma machine before Allied convoys are decimated. This book was also made into a movie of the same name. There is not much in the way of ciphers in the novel. There is a decent description of the Enigma, but it's incomplete. A brief and very incomplete description of the bombes is also given. The story does give one a feel for how the cryptanalysts had to work at Bletchley Park. The novel is far-fetched, but well written.
- Harrison, Harry. 1993. The Mothballed Spaceship. In Stainless Steel Visions. New York: Tom Doherty Associates, Inc. 53-72 pgs.
Jason dinAlt and his friends have 30 days to figure out the "unmothballing code" for a space battleship. Ten digits long, it turns out to be the numeric values of the Esperanto word "Haltu" 0801122021, so it's a simple substitution with A=01, B=02, ...
- Harrison, Payne. 1994. Black Cipher. Hardcover. New York, NY: Crown Publishers, Inc. 337 pgs.
Faisal Shaikh, a crack cryptanalyst for the British government, solves a series of cryptograms in a new Russian cipher and uncovers a terrorist plot between the IRA and rogue elements of the British Government. Then he has to run for his life. Neither the type of cipher nor the method of cryptanalysis is ever revealed.
- Healey, Tim. 1982. Mr. Enigma's Code Mysteries. Paperback. London: The Hamlyn Publishing Group Limited. 111 pgs.
Mr. Enigma sets a set of cryptograms for young readers to solve. The puzzles in the story include simple transposition and monoalphabetic substitution ciphers. The cryptograms are embedded in eighteen short stories in the book.
- Henry, O. 1905. Calloway's Code. In Whirligigs. New York: Doubleday and Companypgs.
To avoid censors during the Russo-Japanese War, reporter Calloway transmits his messages in code - a code that no one in the newspaper office knows. It takes a young reporter to find the key. The code depends on knowing the second half of several colloquial phrases, as in "foregone conclusion.
- Hicks, Clifford B. 1998. Alvin's Secret code. Paperback. New York: Penguin Putnam, Inc. 158 pgs.
Twelve-year-old Alvin and his best friend Shoie use their knowledge of codes and ciphers to solve a dangerous mystery. The story describes simple monoalphabetic substitution and transposition ciphers via a skytale. Mr. Link, Alvin's friend, teachs Alvin and Shoie about skytales and simple monoalphabetic substitutions. Alvin puts his new knowledge to good use deciphering a Caesar cipher Mr. Link throws out his window. The message tells Alvin that Mr. Link and his housekeeper are being held prisoner by a burglar.
- Hoch, Edward. 1958. Traynor's Cipher. The Saint Mystery Magazine, 125-128.
Doomed agent Pete Traynor leaves the location of an island that houses a spy ring encoded in a watercolor painting. Steganography and a puzzle reveal the latitude and longitude of the island.
- -----. 1970. The Spy and the Bermuda Cipher. Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, 137-150.
British spy Rand solves a book cipher that uses clocks and the Encyclopedia Britannica as the "book" to uncover a murderer and a spy.
- -----. 1972. The Spy in the Pyramid. In The Old Spies Club. Norfolk, VA: Crippen & Landru. 25-40 pgs.
British spy and cryptographer Rand and his girlfriend Leila foil Russian spies at the pyramid of Cheops. The spies communicate via a transposition cipher using a model pyramid as the key to a skytale.
- -----. 1981. The Spy and The Walrus Cipher. Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, 142-152.
British spy and cryptographer Rand uncovers a double agent by solving a unique transposition cipher made from a typewriter ribbon.
- -----. 1987. The Spy and the Short-Order Cipher. Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, 3-20.
British spy Rand solves a monoalphabetic substitution cipher that uses dates as the keys to solve a murder and catch a spy.
- -----. 1990. The Spy and the Christmas Cipher. Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, 45-62.
British spy and cryptographer Rand and his co-workers decrypt a mixed alphabet monoalphabetic substitution cipher that was written in invisible ink on a Christmas present. The cipher leads to a terrorist bomb.
- -----. 2000. The Adventure of the Cipher in the Sand. Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, 42-52.
Holmes solves a theft and murder. The cipher is a mirror image message left in the sand alongside a body on the banks of the Thames.
- -----. 2001. The Old Spies Club & Other Intrigues of Rand. Hardcover. Norfolk, VA: Crippen & Landru. pgs.
A collection of spy short stories all involving the same main character, British spy and head of crypographic services, Jeremy Rand. Several of the stories involve the solution of puzzles and ciphers.
- Howe, Norma. 2000. Blue Avenger Cracks the Code. Paperback. New York: Henry Holt & Co. 296 pgs.
David Schumacher, the Blue Avenger, a teenage superhero, researches who really wrote Shakespeare's plays, explains and solves some Bacon bi-literal ciphers. deciphers a book cipher message and helps his best friend recover the copyright to his video game invention.
- Hume, Fergus. 1900. The Crimson Cryptogram. hardcover. New York: F. M. Buckles and Company. 255 pgs.
A dying man scrawls a clue to his murderer in his own blood on his arm in a pigpen cipher. The clue (which also includes a drawing of a lizard) leads to an address book and the ultimate identity of the killer.
- James, Montague Rhodes. 1904. The Treasure of Abbot Thomas. In The Ghost Stories of an Antiquary. New York: Longmans, Green and Company, Inc.pgs.
Mr. Somerton uncovers a cryptogram under some paint on a set of stained-glass windows. Solving the transposition cipher he goes in search of Abbot Thomas' gold and is scared out of his wits.
- Johnston, William. 1923. The Waddington Cipher. hardcover. New York: A. L. Burt Company. 300 pgs.
Socialite, war hero, and bon vivant James Waddington Hurd learns of his ownership of the old family estate in upstate New York on his twenty-fifth birthday. Traveling there he becomes embroiled in working out the terms of his great-grandfather's forty-year-old will, which will disinherit his great-uncles in eight days if they don't reconcile. He also becomes interested in finding the "Waddington jewels", a treasure hidden by his great-grandfather and hinted at in the will, but as yet undiscovered. The cipher in the title is a poem in the will that points to three gold chain-links that give instructions for finding the jewels.
- Keech, Scott. 1980. Ciphered. Hardcover. New York: Harper & Row. 253 pgs.
The young and dedicated chief inspector of police in a university town has his work cut out for him when he finds himself in the middle of a murder case in which four of the five victims were German refugees - and one of them was engaged in secret biological research. To make matters worse, ciphered messages suggesting spy activities are found near the scene of the crime. The cipher used is a Vigenere that uses an agenda for the key phrases. The plaintext messages were enciphered using the inspirational phrases on each page of the agenda as the key phrase. The ciphertext was then converted into numbers to further hide the meaning of the message.
- Keene, Carolyn. 1944. The Clue in the Crossword Cipher (Nancy Drew). Hardcover. New York: Grosset and Dunlap. 177 pgs.
Nancy and friends journey to South America to solve a puzzle, discover an ancient treasure and foil a smuggling ring. The puzzle is written in letters on an ancient wooden plaque in the form of a simple crossword. While some of the words have been worn off, enough remain for Nancy to read them and figure out the clues.
- Kenny, Kathryn. 1961. Trixie Belden #7: The Mysterious Code. Hardcover. Racine, WI: Western Publishing Company. 236 pgs.
In the process of finding antiques to sell, Trixie discovers a key in the attic and its attached tag has a enciphered message upon it. After cracking the cipher the Trixie's club adopts it as their own. The cipher is a monoalphabetic substitution using stick figures to represent letters, similar to the cipher in the Adventure of the Dancing Men.
- Kersh, Gerald. 2003. The Karmesin Affair. In Karmesin: World's Greatest Criminal--or Most Outrageous Liar, edited by P. Duncan. Norfolk, VA: Crippen & Landru. 151-164 pgs.
To help an old friend down on his luck, Karmesin creates a cipher message to prove that Francis Bacon wrote the plays of Shakespeare. The cipher is in the form of a sonnet that gives clues for the reader to extract certain letters from Hamlet's soliloquy. The letters form the message "Bacon wrote this tragedie."
- King, Ross. 1998. Ex-Libris. Paperback. London: Chatto & Windus, Random House. 392 pgs.
Isaac Inchbold, a London bookseller, is commissioned by a widowed woman to recover a rare text that was stolen from her father's mansion during the English Civil War. As Inchbold soon discovers, what appears to be a search for a significant literary work soon becomes a dangerous quest to stay one step ahead of a trio of killers and other political agents who are seeking this same ancient prize. A Vigenere cipher provides a clue to the whereabouts of the manuscript.
- Le Queux, William. 1919. Cipher Six. hardcover. London: Hodder and Stoughton, Ltd. 320 pgs.
Major Nicholas Nicholson probes the mysterious death 'by natural causes' of Ruby Hollis. The perpetrators, a couple who run a crime syndicate, use a book cipher. The book is Samuel Johnson's "Rasselas: Prince of Abissinia". The cipher messages are transmitted in the personals column of the newspaper using some number of sixes before a period to indicate the page, sixes before a colon to indicate a line, sixes before a semi-colon to indicate a word on the line, and sixes before a comma to indicate which letter in the word. There is also a bit of steganography when one of the victims uses lemon juice to hide a declaration of innocence in an otherwise incriminiating letter.
- Leonard, Paul. 2000. The Turing Test. London: BBC Worldwide, Ltd. 200 pgs.
Doctor Who tries to help some aliens get home during World War II with the unlikely help of Alan Turing, Graham Greene, and Joseph Heller. There is some discussion of cryptography but no real ciphers to solve. The text is very weird and not very well written. It uses a very complicated and bizarre plot and provides not very realistic characterizations of Turing or Greene or Heller.
- Leverage, Henry. 1919. The White Cipher. hardcover. New York: Grosset and Dunlap. 272 pgs.
Safe-cracker Chester Fay is released from Dartmoor prison shortly after World War I so he can steal the key to a cipher for Scotland Yard. The cipher, which has defied the efforts of English and American cryptanalysts, contains the formulas for all the dyes used in the industrial dye industry. Getting those formulas would break the German monopoly on the industry. It turns out the cipher is a ruse and the real formulas are steganographically hidden on the pages using radium ink.
- Marchmont, Arthur W. 1902. Miser Hoadley's Secret. hardcover. New York: New Amsterdam Book Company. 305 pgs.
Simeon Jannaway leads a double life. At night he is the poor silversmith, depending on his daughter Marion's income. During the day he is Simeon Hoadley, a receiver of stolen goods and a very rich miser. When Simeon is murdered by a man he had sent to prison on false charges, Marion discovers his double life and a cipher that will lead to the fortune that Simeon has hidden. The cipher is a simple monoalphabetic substitution that uses a Hammond typewriter to perform the substitutions. The Hammond (first manufactured in 1884) was unique in having two shift keys, one for capital letters and one for numerals and punctuation. It is the second shift key that is used for the substitutions.
- McCloy, Helen. 1944. Panic. Paperback. New York: William Morrow. 369 pgs.
Alison Tracey figures out the key to a mixed-alphabet Vigenere cipher and helps solve her uncle's murder and uncovers a traitor during WWII. The novel contains good descriptions of polyalphabetic substitution ciphers and the Bazeries and Kasiski methods of cryptanalysis.
- Melchior, Ib. 1983. The Tombstone Cipher. paperback. New York: Bantam Books, Inc. 260 pgs.
Scott Sanders and Janie Flynn, two Hollywood screenwriters, are propelled into a hell of neo-Nazi plots and murders as they try to decipher the quatrain etched on Shakespeare's tombstone and find a supposedly priceless treasure. The plot is weak and the cryptology weaker. Bacon's bi-literal cipher is mentioned. The cipher in the book is a combination of steganography - the message is hidden in the quatrain - and an unlikely monoalphabetic substitution cipher. The cipher depends heavily on guessing the locations of nulls and even more guessing of how words are spelled in seventeenth century England. The author also mis-identifies Col. George Fabyan as a "U.S. Army cryptographer." The book contains an appendix in which the author describes his cryptanalysis of the real cipher.
- Morris, Anthony P. 1885. The Cipher Detective: or, Mark Magic on a New Trail. paperback. New York: Beadle's New York Dime Library. pgs.
A Baltimore detective story. Detective Mark Magic solves a Polybius cipher message to help nab a murderer and solve a lover's mystery.
- Murphy, Walter F. 1981. The Roman Enigma. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company. 306 pgs.
Naval Lieutenant Roberto Rovere is sent to Rome in 1943 to secretly photograph a German Enigma machine and Wehrmacht code book. Unbeknownst to Rovere his mission is a setup by the Americans to convince the Germans the secret of the Enigma is still intact. No ciphers are used in the book, but a reasonable explanation of the workings of the Enigma is given. The author erroneously describes Ultra as a machine.
- Myers, Katherine. 2000. Codebreaker. Paperback. Bend, Oregon: Salvo Press. 289 pgs.
Meg Parrish, cryptographer for the NSA steals a set of cryptograms (called codes) while an undercover agent. The cryptograms turn out to be partial DNA sequences of telepaths the government is hunting. Not decipherable because there is no way to distinguish between possible plaintexts - the author of the cipher is dead and took the key with him. There isn't much cryptology in the book. The novel does contain short discussions of password cracking and the Clipper Chip.
- Nicholson, Peggy, and John F. Warner. 1994. Case of the Mysterious Codes. Paperback. New York, NY: Lerner Publishing Group. 120 pgs.
The mystery starts with the arrival of coded messages and some unwelcome gifts. The Casecrackers, young amateur detectives from New England, use logical deductions and powers of observation to get to the resolution of their cases. The cipher used is a simple direct standard monoalphabetic substitution.
- Noyes, Alfred. 1918. Uncle Hyacinth. In Walking Shadows: Sea Tales and Others. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Companypgs.
A Nazi spy, en route from Argentina to Portugal discovers too late that the coded message he received just before sailing warned him not to sail. His choices boil down to either giving himself up and saving the ship or waiting for the inevitable torpedo.
- O'Higgins, Harvey. 1915. The Blackmailers. In The Adventures of Detective Barney. New York: D. Appleton-Century Company, Inc.pgs.
Young Barney Cook starts his career as a detective by grabbing the pocket dictionary that is the key to a blackmail ring's dictionary code. His boss uses the dictionary to decrypt several messages, leading to the blackmailer's apprehension.
- Packard, Frank L. 1927. Two Stolen Idols. Hardcover. New York: A. L. Burt Company. 160 pgs.
Bob Kingsley must solve a substitution cipher (the message is hidden in one of the two idols, the key in the second) where a single cipher letter represents multiple plaintext letters. The message helps solve his uncle's murder and leads to a South Sea's pirate's treasure.
- Parrish, Peggy. 1966. Key to the Treasure. paperback. New York: Dell Publishing. 154 pgs.
Jed, Liza, and Bill are visiting their grandparents for the summer. Their grandfather tells them the story of a hidden treasure of Indian artifacts, the only clue being a sketch of three objects and a question mark. Each of the objects reveals a clue that will lead them closer to the treasure. The children accidentally find the first clue and the chase is on! The novel contains three puzzles, the first is a simple monoalphabetic substitution that uses the numbers of the letters of the alphabet as the cipher alphabet. The second is a fill-in-the-blank guessing game that creates a transposition cipher. The third is a crossword puzzle whose answers lead to the treasure.
- Pears, Iain. 1998. An Instance of the Fingerpost. Hardcover. New York: Riverhead Books. 691 pgs.
The story revolves around the solution of the murder of Dr. Robert Grove in Oxford, England in 1663. Four different characters give their version of events: Marco da Cola, a visiting Italian physician and spy; Jack Prestcott, the son of a traitor who fled the country to avoid execution; Dr. John Wallis, a mathematician and cryptographer; and Anthony Wood, a mild-mannered Oxford antiquarian. Wallis solves several ciphers including a polyalphabetic that uses the first letters of a phrase from a book to change the cipher alphabets every word of the message.
- Pirie, David. 2001. The Patient's Eyes. Hardcover. New York: St. Martin's Press. 288 pgs.
Conan Doyle and his mentor Dr. Bell must solve the mystery of a beautiful patient with hallucinations about her parent's murders. Bell solves a mixed alphabet monoalphabetic substitution cipher that uses Mary Shelley's Frankenstein as the key. He also discusses the Beale cipher and Poe's The Gold Bug.
- Poe, Edgar Allan. 1843. The Gold-Bug. The Dollar Newspaper.
The best and first of the classic cipher stories. Poe uses punctuation symbols as cipher letters in his message. The message is really a puzzle within a monoalphabetic substitution cipher as William Legrand solves the cipher message and unravels the resulting puzzle to find a pirate treasure. The highlight of the story is Poe's detailed description of how to cryptanalyze a monoalphabetic substitution cipher.
- Post, Melville Davisson. 1929. The Great Cipher. In Monsieur Jonquelle. New York: Appleton-Century-Croftspgs.
Monsieur Jonquelle explains how the explorer Chauvannes wove a puzzle into his journal to disguise the hiding place of priceless emeralds. Once one discovers the real identity of Chauvannes' mysterious invisible visitors, the diary takes on an entirely different viewpoint. The story is very well written and keeps its mystery right up till the very end. There is, however, no cryptanalysis in the story and the secret message is the journal itself.
- Powell, James. 1974. The Oubliette Cipher. Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, 121-129.
An example of a word puzzle cipher. Monsieur Ganelon solves the mystery of the meaning of two coins left by a woman thrown down an oubliette. The solution, while plausible, stretches the limits of believability a bit.
- Powers, Richard. 1991. The Gold Bug Variations. Hardcover. New York: William Morrow and Company. 639 pgs.
A meandering, pretentious novel of love, science, art, computers, and music. Simple substitution ciphers abound, but don't move the plot, which is pretty weak to begin with.
- Preston, Douglas, and Lincoln Child. 1998. Riptide. Hardcover. New York: Warner Books. 417 pgs.
A seventeenth-century architect's encrypted journal provides the key to a $2 billion-dollar pirate treasure. The journal is believed to contain the design - and the location of the booby-traps - of the Water Pit where the treasure is hidden. The encrypted journal entries are hidden using invisible ink. The entries are then broken up into two parts. The first part encrypted using a nomenclator, and the second using a polyalphabetic cipher with between five and 15 cipher alphabets. The story is a take-off on the real mystery of Oak Island, Nova Scotia, Canada.
- Queen, Ellery. 1982. Ellery Queen's Eyewitnesses. Hardcover. New York: The Dial Press. 288 pgs.
Collection of short stories, including one crypto story by Conrad Smith, Steffi Duna, I Love You!
- Quennel, Xavier I. 1998. The Electronic Money Mill: self-published on the web, http://www.msen.com/fievel/mmill/. 182 pgs.
A slightly dodgy computer consultant is enmeshed in a hackers plot to milk the world's electronic funds transfer process. Many discussions of public-key cryptography, key management, digital signatures, and the DES, but not much cryptanalysis.
- Quittner, Joshua, and Michelle Slatalla. 1997. Flame War. hardcover. New York: William Morrow and Company. 291 pgs.
After new law school graduate Harry Garnet and anthro major and geek Anne Ames are nearly blown up in an explosion that kills Anne's mathematician father, they set out on the trail of the bomber. The plot hinges on the proposed adoption by the U.S. government of a new encryption algorithm that requires an escrowed key system. No real cryptograms in this novel. Several descriptions of escrowed systems, some discussion of modern computer encryption schemes, and discussions of email vulnerabilities and MOOs.
- Rawlings, William. 2004. The Rutherford Cipher. Hardcover. Augusta, GA: Harbor House Publishing. pgs.
Matthew Rutherford sets out to find a cache of Confederate government gold stolen by his great-great-great grandfather. Using tips from his ancestor's diary, he and his beautiful sidekick solve two cryptograms that lead them to the treasure. The first cipher is a transposition with many nulls. Once the transposition is solved, the cipher is cut and pasted into a skytale that gives the key to the second cipher. The second cipher is a standard Vigenere with a long key (from the Confederate constitution). A good read with some interesting and plausible discussions of the ciphers and their cryptanalysis.
- Reeve, Arthur. 1912. The Poisoned Pen. New York: Harper and Row. 398 pgs.
Scientist and detective Craig Kennedy solves several cases in this collection of short stories. Several of the stories use cryptology as part of the plot line. In "The Poisoned Pen" steganography is used. "The Germ of Death" uses a type of grille that conceals a Polybius square cipher. Two other stories, "The Yeggman" and "The Unofficial Spy" make use of ciphers but never identify them.
- Rendell, Ruth. 1987. Talking to Strange Men. hardcover ed. Hardcover. London: Hutchinson, Ltd. 300 pgs.
John Creevey gets involved with two groups of public school boys swapping cryptograms while trying to recover from his wife abandoning him and his sister's death. The ciphers are monoalphabetic substitutions that use quotations from books as the key to the cipher messages.
- Resnicow, Herbert. 1986. The Crossword Code. paperback. New York: Ballantine Books. 247 pgs.
Crossword puzzle expert Giles Sullivan and his friend Isabel Macintosh are called to Washington to solve a series of cipher messages hidden in a daily crossword puzzle. The cipher is a route cipher variant used by a Russian spy ring to pass messages about a disarmament conference. The cipher messages are squares or rectangles that start at the crossword clue corresponding to the day of the month (start at square 29 on the 29th of the month). All the crossword puzzles are fifteen by fifteen puzzles and each message is twenty-eight characters long. The letters in the messages are also swapped by pairs. Most vowels are removed and nearly all the words are abbreviated.
- Rhode, John. 1930. Peril at Cranbury Hall. hardcover. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company. 296 pgs.
Bad apple Oliver Gilroy gets out of prison and tries to blackmail some of his former associates and his former fiancee. The story takes several turns as his former partners try unsuccessfully to kill Oliver. Gilroy is lured to a rendevous with a former partner by a message using a Playfair cipher. Several cipher messages are used in the novel and Dr. Priestley, a private investigator, gives a good discussion of the cryptanalysis of a Playfair using a known-plaintext attack (Priestley has possession of part of the grid and one word of the cipher).
- Robinson, Glen, and Mark Ford. 1995. The Case of the Secret Code. Nampa, ID: Pacific Press Publishing Association. 95 pgs.
When Willie, confined to a wheelchair, receives coded messages signed "G.O.D." on his computer, he needs the help of the other Shoebox Kids to identify the writer and find Willie's missing dog. One of a series of books for elementary school children with a Christian theme and message. The ciphers are simple substitution ciphers.
- Rohmer, Sax. 1917. Zagazig. In The Hand of Fu Manchu. New York: Robert M. McBride and Company. 308 pgs.
An excerpt from The Hand of Fu Manchu in which sleuth Nayland Smith solves two cipher messages while on the hunt for the elusive doctor. The ciphers are a monoalphabetic substitution using punctuation marks to substitute for letters. The punctuation marks can each substitute for more than one letter by using italicized letters (which act like a shift key) immediately preceeding them.
- Sayers, Dorothy. 1928. The Learned Adventure of the Dragon's Head. In Lord Peter Views the Body. London: Victor Gollancz Publishers. 317 pgs.
Lord Peter Wimsey and his 10-year-old nephew "Gherkins" solve a puzzle hidden in the text and illustrations of an ancient book. The solution leads them to a hidden treasure and the capture of a thief. Note that this story is included in the original 1947 hardcover edition of Famous Stories of Code and Cipher, but is not in the 1965 paperback edition.
- -----. 1932. Have His Carcase: A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery. New York: Brewer, Warren & Putnam. 334 pgs.
When Harriet Vane discovers the dead body of a man on a beach she finds that it is impossible to escape from the mystery, or from the attentions of Lord Peter Wimsey. The mystery surrounding the death of the hotel gigolo Paul Alexis is that it appears to have been suicide. The excellent discussion and solution of a Playfair cipher plays a pivotal role in the solution of the mystery.
- -----. 1962. The Nine Tailors. hardcover. New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, Inc. 280 pgs.
Lord Peter Wimsey tracks down a murderer and recovers a stolen necklace in this classic detective novel. The clue to the location of the necklace lies in a seemingly random message found in the belltower of the church at Fenchurch St. Pauls. The message is a cipher that uses the order of ringing of the eight church bells in a particular song to pick letters out of the message. The cipher is made into a rectangle 8 columns wide (there are 8 bells), written out in row-major order; the key tells you which letter in each row to use.
- -----. 1972. The Fascinating Problem of Uncle Meleager's Will. In Lord Peter: A Collection of All the Lord Peter Wimsey Stories, edited by J. Sandoe. New York: Harper and Row, Publishers. 487 pgs.
Lord Peter must solve a mysterious crossword puzzle left by Uncle Meleager. The puzzle contains the whereabouts of Uncle Meleager's real last will.
- Sharp, David. 1932. The Code-Letter Mystery. hardcover. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. 224 pgs.
Professor Henry Fielding and his friend, the inquisitive Mr. Sheridan Orford find themselves mixed up in murder. Mr. Orford is mistakenly given a letter to be delivered and when the (it turns out erroneous) recipient dies right in front of him, he leaps in to investigate the death. It turns out the letter contained a pointer to the key to a book cipher that uses the Bible as it's text. Two letters are sent for each cipher message, one with the cryptogram in it and one with a Biblical book, chapter and verse that indicates where to start the key. From there the cipher simply converts letters to numbers and adds (or subtracts if one is deciphering) to get the ciphertext/plaintext.
- Silbert, Leslie. 2004. The Intelligencer. Hardcover. New York: Atria Books. 352 pgs.
Renaissance scholar and private investigator Kate Morgan solves a number of messages from a sixteenth century book of intelligence reports in cipher which has caused more than one murder. She discovers a message written in invisible ink, decrypts a message using a Cardano grille, and solves a Vigenere polyalphabetic cipher message.
- Smith, Conrad S. 1982. Steffi Duna, I Love You! In Ellery Queen's Eye Witnesses, edited by E. Queen. New York: The Dial Press. 17 pgs.
A group of movie buffs solves a message from a friend being held captive. The story provides an example of a message embedded in the answer to a puzzle; the movie buffs first answer the questions in a trivia game, then take the first letter of each answer as the hidden message. The solution leads to the liberation of their friend and the arrest of the kidnappers.
- Stanley, George E. 1987. The Codebreaker Kids. Paperback. New York: Avon Books. 118 pgs.
Three friends form a codebreaking service and meet a motley cast of characters including a Bulgarian spy, a man from the State Department, and a little old lady who wants her diary enciphered. The kids use transposition, monoalphabetic, and polyalphabetic ciphers, including a Gronsfeld to do their work.
- -----. 1988. The Codebreaker Kids Return. Paperback. New York: Avon Books. pgs.
The kids are back, but this time they are in the heart of Texas working for The First Lady and the crazy University of Texas cheerleaders. The kids create simple substitution ciphers for the football coach (plays) and the cheerleaders (cheers).
- Stephenson, Neal. 1999. Cryptonomicon. Paperback. New York: Avon Books. 1168 pgs.
In one section of the novel a protagonist, Enoch Root uses a running key stream cipher to exchange messages with a fellow prisoner, Randy Waterhouse. The cipher is implemented using a deck of cards to generate the key stream. The cards generate numbers between 1 and 26 which are added to the plaintext characters modulo 26 to produce the ciphertext. The cipher system, called Solitaire, was developed by cryptologist and writer Bruce Schneier. A detailed description of the system in included as an appendix in the book.
- Stoker, Bram. 1902. Mystery of the Sea. Hardcover. New York, NY: Doubleday and Company. 300 pgs.
When Archibald Hunter comes to Cruden Bay, Aberdeenshire, for his annual holiday, he looks forward to a tranquil few days by the sea. But his holiday is disturbed by a beautiful woman, a tragedy, and a murder. What is the significance of the pages of cipher which once belonged to Don de Escoban? The cipher used is a Bacon biliteral cipher. Appendices to the novel contain an explanation of the Bacon biliteral cipher and of the solution process used. The main purpose of the novel seems to be not the plot, but the exposition of the cipher system and the solution of the cipher messages.
- Sutphen, Van Tassel. 1908. The Gates of Chance. Hardcover. London: Ward, Lock and Company, Ltd. 203 pgs.
The adventures of Esper Indiman and his companion Winston Thorp in early twentieth-century Manhattan. One of the escapades involves the solution of a skytale cipher that leads to a missing woman and her fortune.
- Thackeray, William Makepeace. 1852. The History of Henry Esmond, A Colonel in the Service of Queen Anne, Written by Himself. Hardcover. London: Smith, Elder and Company. 344 pgs.
The novel traces the life of Henry Esmond, Viscount of Castlewood, from his childhood through his military career and service during the War of the Spanish Succession. In 1714, Colonel Henry Esmond becomes involved in a plot to ensure the succession of James the Third as King of England. There is a brief mention of cipher messages early in the novel (while Henry's uncle is supporting King James II during the Glorious Revolution of 1688). The other cipher message in the book uses a Cardano grille to hide a message in a letter from Henry's cousin Frank to his mother detailing the arrival of the Pretender James in England. Neither the cipher system nor the key are described in the novel.
- Thompson, Herbert H., and Spyros Nomikos. 2004. The Mezonic Agenda: Hacking the Presidency. paperback. Rockland, MA: Syngress Publishing, Inc. 368 pgs.
Dr. Chad Davis must decrypt a CD to find out who's been hacking the new federal computer-based voting system before the 2004 election. Really badly written and plotted book. The motivations of the characters are murky, scenes that are non-sequitors are thrown in and the resolution of the plot is abrupt and unclear. The level of explanation of cryptology is correct but very uneven, ranging from descriptions of elementary monoalphabetic ciphers to modern crypto systems.
- Tzonis, Alexander. 1990. Hermes and the Golden Thinking Machine. trade paperback. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 282 pgs.
Hermes, a Greek-American archaeologist visiting in Athens, is caught up in a series of murders all related to a mysterious ancient artifact - the Golden Thinking Machine. The text includes discussions of the relation of cryptanalysis to general problem solving, cognitive science, language translation, and artificial intelligence. Examples of cryptarithmetic puzzles and one cryptogram generated by an Enigma simulator are included in the novel.
- Verne, Jules. 1873. The Children of Captain Grant. hardcover. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott and Co. 343 pgs.
Captain Harry Grant is shipwrecked. Lord Glenarvan, while on the sea trials of his new yacht, finds a bottle containing three mysterious messages in a shark's stomach. The messages are in English, German, and French, but have been severely damaged by sea water. Together, the messages might reveal Captain Grant's location. His children, along with Lord Glenarvan set off in search of Captain Grant. Published in the United States under the title "In Search of the Castaways." Also available on-line at http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/2083. The messages are not really cryptograms, but their translation and joining into a single, coherent message makes good reading.
- -----. 1877. Journey to the Center of the Earth. Hardcover. London: Ward, Lock and Company, Ltd. 350 pgs.
Professor Liedenbrock and his nephew decipher a sixteenth century transposition cipher in Latin written in Icelandic Runic characters. The message is also written backwards before translation into Runic. The decrypted message sends them on their journey to the center of the earth.
- -----. 1882. The Cryptogram. In La Jangada, or Eight Hundred Leagues on the Amazon. London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle and Rivington. 409 pgs.
In this second part of Verne's "Eight Hundred Leagues on the Amazon", Judge Jarriquez uses an approximation of the Babbage/Kasiski method to solve a Gronsfeld cipher and save an innocent man from the gallows. The story contains a good narrative of the Judge's thought processes as he struggles to solve the cipher message. Also available as an etext at http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/3091.
- -----. 1888. Mathias Sandorf. Hardcover. London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle & Rivington. 479 pgs.
The hero Mathias Sandorff uses a rotating 6 x 6 Cardano grille to encipher a message for a revolution. The villains Torontal and Sarcany intercept Sandorf's enciphered message steal a copy of the grille to decipher the message. There isn't any cryptanalysis in the story because the villians steal the grille and use it, but Verne gives a very good description of the system and how to decipher messages in it.
- Vinge, Vernor. 1993. A Fire Upon the Deep. Paperback. New York: St. Martin's Press. 391 pgs.
Each of three starship captains carries a third of the key to a one-time-pad cipher. They must cooperate to decipher a message and save a kidnapped family and interstellar civilization itself.
- Wallace, Edgar. 1916. Code No. 2. The Strand Magazine.
A code book is stolen out from under the nose of the chief of British intelligence. The thief is killed but the code book is still missing until it's discovered - transcribed in Braille - in the thief's dining room. Note that this story is included in the 1965 paperback edition of Famous Stories of Code and Cipher, but not in the original 1947 hardcover edition.
- Webster, F. A. M. 1925. The Secret of the Singular Cipher. In Old Ebbie Returns. London: Chapman and Hall, Ltd. 250-266 pgs.
Old Ebbie solves a homophonic substitution cipher to uncover a Bolshevik plot. The cipher key is three proper names of five, 11, and 14 characters each that are mapped to the letters of the alphabet and to several of the sounds in English words (e.g., ch, sh, wh, th).
- Wynne, Anthony. 1926. The Double Thirteen. Hardcover. New York: A. L. Burt Company. 319 pgs.
Amateur detective Doctor Hailey solves a murder mystery involving Bolshevik spies. The evidence includes several cryptograms that use the dates from various coins as the key to a monoalphabetic substitution cipher using numbers as cipher letters. The key is used to eliminate some numbers, leaving the remainder as the substitution values.
- Young, Alan K. 1971. Ponsonby and the classic cipher. Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, 67-82.
Retired college professor and amateur detective Ponsonby solves a cipher for an old friend. It is a substitution cipher using a variation of the same cipher used in The Gold-Bug. The key is in the unenciphered part of the message.
- -----. 1980. The Secret Fate of Fitchew. Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, 16-29.
Professor Ponsonby solves a 30-year-old cipher message embedded in a newspaper and uncovers the fate of a Soviet spy. The cipher is a combination of a book code (using the newspaper as the book) and a substitution that replaces letters in the code words with letters from a fake cryptogram in the newspaper.
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