Cryptology in Fiction
Stories added since 2005
Last Updated 23 August 2012
This list is all the books and stories found since the publication of my article Codes and Ciphers in Fiction: An Overview in the journal Cryptologia in October, 2005. In includes entries from Henry E. Langen's list that were not in the original paper, and also a few entries from Galland's list that were not in the paper. If you know of others that aren't in this list, please let me know.
Crypto Fiction Stories
Adams, will. 2009. The Alexander Cipher. hardcover. New York, NY: Grand Central Publishing. 320 pgs.
Disgraced archeologist Daniel Knox stumbles across evidence for the location of Alexander the Great's long lost tomb.
- Albrand, Martha. 1954. Nightmare in Copenhagen. paperback ed. New York: Random House. 250 pgs.
Spy story with a simple code in which each letter of a word stands for a codeword.
- Anderson, Frederick Irving. 1913. Counterpoint. In Adventures of The Infallible Gadahl. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, Publishers. 266 pgs.
Ace thief, the Infallible Godahl is engaged to steal a ring from Mr. Mapes, who at one time was in charge of a spy ring, but has apparently retired. Mr. Mapes, though has some letters in his possession that appear to have been steamed open. The letters contain stock information on one side, and musical scribblings on the other. The scribblings turn out to be a simple cipher akin to a Baconian biliteral cipher. Pairs of notes are turned into letters of the alphabet. For example, a = aa, b = ab, c = ac, f = ba, etc. The letters turn out to describe US military defense plans for the Panama Canal.
- Appleton, Victor. 1933. Tom Swift and his Television Detector: or Trailing the Secret Plotters. hardcover ed. New York: Grosset & Dunlap. 217 pgs.
From www.tomswift.info: The book opens with Ned Newton working on a "small, but complicated mechanism." Ultimately, we find it is a "pocket wireless sender" to be used to communicate via a cipher code if/when one of the chums is in trouble. He proposes to Tom that a means of seeing through brick walls would be invaluable in "finding criminals and anyone who might be kidnapped." Tom has other things on his mind, and pooh-poohs the idea.
It seems that a secret vault, located below his lab and protected by double-locks and alarms has been penetrated, and a small wooden box containing the formula for a deadly war gas has been stolen. Tom must recover the formula before it can be used to cause death & destruction at home and abroad.
It is learned that the formula was purloined by a nefarious foreigner who goes by the moniker "The Leopard." He leaves three muddy thumbprints as a calling card whenever he works his evil deeds, and seems to be able to come and go whenever he pleases, in spite of locks, alarms, and watchmen. He was even seen to appear to fly over a fifteen foot tall electrified fence.
In short, Ned's worst fears are realized when he is captured and held as ransom against Tom finishing his detector and using it to locate the Leopard and the stolen formula.
Along the way, Tom & Ned are accosted by not one, but two bearded (-they are always bearded...) spies and anarchists. They suffer hardships and solve technical mysteries that threaten the project's completion. Ned is able to contact Tom with his pocket wireless, and send the secret code.
- Bailey, Henry C. 1926. Mr. Fortune's Trials. hardcover ed. New York: E. P. Dutton, Publishers. 248 pgs.
Mr. Fortune solves another crime that contains a coded message. This time it's a transposition cipher.
- ----- 1929. The German Song. In Mr. Fortune Speaking. London, UK: Ward, Lock & Company. 320 pgs.
A selection of short stories about the famous Mr. Fortune, sleuth, doctor, and all around cool guy. In "The German Song", Mr. Fortune finds the key to a cipher message. The message gives the location of some stolen property. The monoalphabetic substitution cipher uses a German song as its key.
- ----- 1932. The Mountain Meadow. In Case for Mr. Fortune. London, UK: Ward, Lock & Company. 308 pgs.
Mr. Fortune is called in to the mysterious case of a millionaire who dies in London and whose teeth are found on the side of a mountain in Switzerland. The story contains a coded message using code words.
- ----- 1941. The Bishop's Crime. hardcover ed. New York: Doubleday Doran and Company. 308 pgs.
Reggis Fortune investigates a series of murders of petty criminals and the attempted murder of a cathedral dean. Medieval documents and gold highlight the crimes. A code book is discussed but no examples of coded messages or cryptanalysis are given.
- Barry, Charles (pseudonym of Bryson, Charles). 1927. The Mouls House Mystery. hardcover ed. New York: E. P. Dutton. 240 pgs.
A Scotland Yard Mystery. Contains a simple monoalphabetic substitution cipher.
- Barton, George. 1918. The Adventure of the Stolen Message. hardcover ed. Boston, MA: Page and Company. pgs.
Bromley Barnes, Detective series. This story contains a null cipher. Langen gets the name wrong. HIs story is titled "Adventure of the Stolen Messenger." The original book is out of print and unavailable except for a Kindle ebook version in a collection titled "Bromley Barnes, Detective: A Collection of Mysteries (Twelve Bromley Barnes mysteries in one collection!) " published in 2010.
- Bax, Roger (pseudonym of Paul Winterton). 1949. Two if By Sea. hardcover ed. New York: Harper & Bros. pgs.
Standard escape tale - a foreign correspondent has married a Russian woman and needs to smuggle her out of the Soviet Union. A null cipher is used in a radio broadcast. Originally published in Britain as "Come the Dawn." Later made into a movie by MGM.
- Bechtel, J. 1942. The Pig's Birthday. hardcover ed: The Moody press. 248 pgs.
Contains a number cipher.
- Beeding, Francis. 1934. The One Sane Man. hardcover ed. Boston: Little Brown and Co. 258 pgs.
Uses a code message.
- ----- 1938. The Nine Waxed Faces. hardcover ed. New York: Burt and Co. 319 pgs.
Contains an example of a book code. (Langen gives the publication date as 1936.)
- Bell, William Dixon. 1940. Trailed by G-Men. hardcover ed. New York: The World Publishing Company. 244 pgs.
Uses steganography (invisible ink).
- Bennett, John. 2004. The Treasure of Peyre Gaillard. paperback. Charleston, SC: The History Press. 370 pgs.
Jack Gignillat and Jeanne Gaillard solve the centuries old cipher that leads to Peyre Gaillard's treasure. The cipher is a double cryptogram where the initial work is a simple subsitution cipher (remarkably like the cipher in Poe's "The Gold Bug") which yields a riddle in Gullah, the patois spoken in the low country of South Carolina. This edition by the History Press is a reprint of the original 1906 edition with a new introduction.
- Bentley, John. 1945. Dark Disguise: A Thriller in War-Time England. hardcover. London: Hutchinson & Company. 176 pgs.
Spy story about a German spy ring in England in the middle of WW2. Contains a cryptogram (215 letters; 43 five-letter groups) that is a transposition - by cipher group - of a simple mixed-alphabet monoalphabetic substitution cipher. The cipher gives away one of the spies, leading to the others.
- Bernhard, R. 1974. The Ullman Code. paperback ed. New York: Penguin Putnam. 250 pgs.
When one-time Talmudic scholar and ex-CIA cryptanalyst Paul Nomberg takes a crack at deciphering the Ullman diary, he has no idea what he's getting himself into. Asher Ullman, a doctor in the crematorium of a Polish concentration camp, was planning an uprising of the workers when he was evidently betrayed by a member of his own revolutionary committee -- someone who reportedly now holds an important position in the Israeli government. The coded -- perhaps in chess language -- diary indicates the location of a time capsule which contains the name of the informer. Nomberg takes the assignment even though he doesn't know which of his two employers -- Aaron Smilansky or Mayanna Tamir -- is actually working for Israeli Internal Security (Shin Beth). The mathematically minded New Yorker confesses he has ""no interest in causes"" when he first arrives at the Nazi archives in Jerusalem. After meeting with assorted camp survivors, the decoder realizes he doesn't know ""what or who"" he's supposed to be tracking down -- whether it's a perfidious Jew or a cache of valuables from the Nazi plunder which Ullman intended to return to the camp victims' heirs. The befuddled cryptologist is ""drifting in a fog of doubts"" until Mayanna, moonlighting from Shin Beth and desperate, admits that a fortune in diamonds does exist. Nomberg somehow breaks the code (an easy tangram); however, he's so disenchanted with it all -- fed up with ""the word game he was playing with a dead man. . ."" -- that he resolves the treasure should stay buried.
- Birmingham, George A. 1931. The Hymn Tune Mystery. hardcover ed. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Co. 295 pgs.
Uses an example of a musical cipher. Birmingham is a pseudonym of the Irish (Anglican) cleric Rev. James Owen Hannay.
- Blaine, John. 1947. The Rocket's Shadow. hardcover ed. New York: Grosset and Dunlap. 209 pgs.
Rick Brant's father is trying to build a rocket to reach the moon. A large monetary prize has been offered for the first group able to do so and the Brant group is the leading contender. However, there are other groups in the chase and one of them is a criminal group that does everything it can to sabotage the Brant effort. The novel contains a book code.
- Blake, Nicholas (pseudonym of Cecil Day-Lewis). 1939. The Smiler with the Knife: A Nigel Strangeways Mystery. hardcover ed. New York: Harper Collins. pgs.
A bad guy tries to instigate the Fascist takeover of Great Britain on the eve of World War II. There is an example of a book code in the novel.
- Browne, Barum (pseudonym of Hilary Aidan Saint George Saunders). 1931. The Devil and X.Y.Z. hardcover ed. Garden City, NY: The Crime Club (Doubleday). 288 pgs.
Contains a cipher written in Greek characters. the cipher is tattooed in four lines onto the chests of three men. From LibraryThing.com: "The Devil And X.Y.Z. - After an over-convivial dinner with his uncle, Harry Hansell speeds back to Oxford in order to beat the midnight curfew. As he drives through the narrow roads of the villages near the university, to his horror he suddenly sees a man in the road ahead of him - and, unable to stop in time, hits him. After bringing his car to a skidding halt, Hansell hurries back and examines the man by matchlight, trying to detect breathing or a pulse. He discovers two things - that the man has four rows of Greek letters tattooed across his chest, and that he is dead. Hansell goes through the man's pockets, looking for identification, but finds only a notebook filled with writing in French, plus two phrases in English referring to a local hotel, and a bathing-place. He then drives on to the nearest house, where he rouses the owner and gives a stumbling explanation of the situation. The man, a Mr Origen Blaithwaite, tells him there is no doctor nearby but that he has some medical knowledge and will come with him - after he gets dressed. After what Hansell considers this unnecessary delay, he and Blaithwaite return to the scene of the accident - but the body is gone... Waking the next morning to a splitting headache and uncertain recollections, Hansell tells his story to his roommate, Roderick Ffolliott. Longing to accept Ffolliott's comforting suggestion that the man was only stunned and left the scene under his own power, Hansell decides to act on the directions in the notebook and takes himself to the bathing-place known as the Parson's Pleasure, in case the man is there. He does not find him, but is stunned to observe another man with Greek letters tattooed on his chest... This chance encounter plunges Hansell and Ffolliott into a bizarre and terrifying adventure, as they learn of the key to a long-hidden fortune that was divided between three friends, Xavier, Yves and Zennor, comrades together in the hellish prison colony of Cayenne; and of another man, a defrocked priest known as "the Devil" by those who know him best, who seeks not the fortune itself, but something else darkly hinted at - that which is beside..."
- Brundidge, Harry T. 1954. 3-X The Man Behind the Gun. American Mercury Magazine, April 1954, 59-63.
Mysterious coded messages appear at a New York newspaper threatening murder if the messages aren't printed. The messages demand the return of coded documents. All the messages are signed "3-X The Man Behind the Gun". After two murders, 3-X announces he has his documents and disappears.
- Buckley, Fiona. 2004. The Siren Queen. paperback. New York: Pocket Books. 277 pgs.
Lady Ursula Blanchard Stannard decrypts a series of letters in a decimation cipher that uncover a plot to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I.
- Bush, Christopher. 1929. The Perfect Murder Case. 314 ed. New York: The Crime Club (Doubleday). pgs.
A murder case that leads detective Ludovic Travers nearly around the globe. Contains a null cipher.
- ----- 1931. Dead Man's Music. hardcover ed. New York: The Crime Club (Doubleday). 310 pgs.
Ludovic Travers is given a sheet of music by a man who soon turns up dead. Deciphering the musical cipher leads to the killer.
- Candler, Howard. 1902. Mrs. Gallup's Cypher Story. Nineteenth Century, January 1902, 39-49.
- Carr, John Dickson. 1933. Hag's Nook. hardcover ed. New York: Harper Co. 222 pgs.
On the night of his 25th birthday, the Starberth heir is found beneath a balcony with his neck broken. Dr. Gideon Fell must solve the murder to break the Starberth family curse. The cipher message uses beginning letters of certain words to form a message; these words are then replaced by equivalents and disguised as a poem.
- Carter, Nick. 1975. The Ultimate Code. paperback ed. New York: Award Books. 172 pgs.
Nick Carter, ace AXE agent, is loaned to the NSA, much to his disappointment, for a simple delivery job. He is to go to Athens with replacement rotors for a top secret crypto machine that has mysteriously stopped working. Along the way he's hijacked, saddled with a CIA agent for a boss, dropped into the middle of a Greek resistance movement cell, and fighting Russians. All in a days work. There are no cryptograms in the novel, but there are some descriptions of the rotor machine.
- Chambers, Robert W. 1919. In Secret. hardcover. New York: Grosset and Dunlap. pgs.
Evelyn Erith, member of the E.C.D, recovers a code book and decrypts a cryptogram in book code that uncovers a German spy ring during WW1.
- ----- 1934. Secret Service Operator 13. hardcover ed. New York: D. Appleton Century. 405 pgs.
Actress Gail Loveless is initiated into the Union Secret Service during the American Civil War and is sent on a mission to spy on Confederate General Jeb Stuart. There she meets and falls in love with Confederate spy Jack Gaillard. Confusion ensues. Novel contains examples of secret inks and coded signals.
- Cheyney, Peter. 1943. The Stars are Dark. hardcover ed. New York: Dodd Mead, Company. 192 pgs.
WW2 spy novel. Contains an example of a book code.
- ----- 1947. Dark Interlude. hardcover ed. New York: Dodd Mead & Company. 191 pgs.
WW2 spy novel. Contains a book code.
- Christie, Agatha. 1951. They Came To Baghdad. hardcover ed. London: Collins Crime Club. 256 pgs.
An adventure/spy story rather than a typical Christie whodonit. Tourist Victoria Jones discovers a dying British secret agent in her Baghdad hotel room and his dying words are a code she needs to crack to prevent the disruption of a peace conference. Also describes how a secret message is woven into a piece of cloth.
- Clason, Clyde B. 1939. Dragon's Cave. hardcover ed. New York: The Crime Club (Dodd, Mead & Co.). 260 pgs.
From Publisher's Weekly: Historian and amateur sleuth Lucius Theocritus Westborough is called upon by the police, in the form of his longtime friend Chicago Lt. Johnny Mack, when Mack is stumped by the classic locked room murder of antique weapon collector Jonas Wright. Wright was found in his mansion's weapons room, the apparent victim of a deadly blow from a halberd, but there was no obvious way for his killer to escape the room while leaving the door and windows still bolted. The field of suspects include the dead man's three children, three men with designs on the daughter of the house, and a servant with a skeleton in her closet. The novel contains an example of a key monoalphabetic substitution cipher.
- Clift, Denison. 1944. The Spy in the Room. paperback ed. New York, NY: Metro Publications. 126 pgs.
Story about a spy in Room 40. Contains a substitution cipher and a book code that must be solved to find the identity of the spy.
- Collins, Gilbert. 1932. Red Death. hardcover ed. New York: Henry Holt Company. 272 pgs.
Theatrical shenanigans in China. The plot involves a secret society, knife throwing, a kidnapped heroine, a deserted monastery and murder. Novel contains a dictionary book code.
- ----- 1934. Death Meets the King's Messenger. hardcover ed. New York: The Crime Club (Doubleday). 308 pgs.
The murder of the King's messenger on a sleepy English train leads to drug rings, abduction and takes the reader from Scotland Yard to the Surete. Novel contains an example of a monoalphabetic key substitution cipher.
- Connington, J. J. 1928. The Case with Nine Solutions. hardcover ed. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company. 280 pgs.
Chief Detective Sir Clinton Driffield is called into a grisly double, triple, and then quadruple murder. One of the victims was the possible lover of one of the others. Two maids may have seen or heard too much are the other two victims. Is it murder/suicide? Is it a serial killer? The novel contains a couple of clues including coded newspaper messages and a simple substitution cipher.
- ----- 1940. The Four Defences. hardcover ed. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company. pgs.
Connington's other detective, radio broadcaster Mark Brand (aka 'The Counselor'), leaps into a multiple murder case with all his brash and arrogant style. The plot is complex and Brand is very clever, even employing an analytical chemist to analyze soil samples. The novel contains a good example of a ralifence transposition cipher.
- Copplestone, Bennet. 1917. The Adventuress. hardcover ed. New York: Harper & Bros. unknown pgs.
Can't find this book. Langen says it contains an example of usage of secret inks.
- Cortes, Carlos J. 2008. Perfect Circle. paperback. New York, NY: Bantam Books. 483 pgs.
Really, really bad book on the end of the world as we know it. There's a single cryptogram in it (a steganographic message where every 10th letter spells out the message) that does nearly nothing to move the plot along.
- Cosby, Andrew, and Michael Alan Nelson. 2006. Enigma Cipher. 1. Los Angeles: Boom Entertainment, Inc. 44 pgs.
Professor Miller distributes a copy of a cryptogram enciphered using an Enigma (how he knows this we don't know) for his four graduate seminar students to decipher. Twelve hours later, Miller, three of his students and two innocent bystanders are dead and the last remaining student is running for her life. This is how the new comig book series "Enigma Cipher" begins.
- ----- 2007. Enigma Cipher, part 2. comic book edition. Los Angeles, CA: Boom! Entertainment, Inc. 44 pgs.
Continuing the saga of Casandra Williams as she tries to stay alive long enough to decrypt an Enigma cipher message and find out why unknown bad guys are trying to kill her. The comic is very dark, the story jumps around and leaves large plot holes, and the cryptography is weak.
- Crofts, Freeman W. 1924. Inspector French's Greatest Case. hardcover ed. 252 pgs.
In the Hatton Garden district of London, a jewelry store safe is open, the head clerk is dead, and all the jewels are gone. This is how Inspector Joseph French's first and greatest (well, maybe) case begins. A classic police procedural, a bit plodding at times, but good in the end. The novel contains a cipher message that uses stock exchange symbols in the message.
- ----- 1926. Inspector French and the Cheyne Mystery. hardcover ed. New York: Albert and Chaboni. 289 pgs.
This is the second of the Inspector French novels. There are kidnappings, gangs of criminals, murder attempts, robberies, ciphers, and a treasure trove at the end of it all. There is plenty of action and Inspector French wraps things up nicely at the end. The novel contains a null cipher.
- Crowley, John. 2005. Lord Byron's Novel: The Evening Land. hardcover ed. New York: William Morrow & Company. 480 pgs.
From Publishers Weekly - 2005 (and copyrighted by them)
Starred Review. On a stormy night at Lord Byron's Swiss villa, Mary Shelley challenged her host, her husband and herself to write a ghost story. Mary's, of course, became Frankenstein. Byron supposedly soon gave up his, but, Crowley asks, what if he didn't? The result is this brilliant gothic novel of manners enclosed in two frames. In one, Byron's manuscript comes into the hands of Ada, his daughter by his estranged wife. Ada, in reality, became famous as a proto-cyberneticist, having collaborated on mathematician Charles Babbage's "difference engine." In Crowley's novel, Ada ciphers Byron's work into a kind of code in order to keep it from her mother. The second frame consists of the contemporary discovery of Ada's notes on Byron's story by Alexandra Novak, who's researching Ada for a Web site dedicated to the history of women in science. Alex is, a little too conveniently (this novel's one structural flaw), the estranged daughter of a Byron scholar and filmmaker; her interest in Ada dovetails with her father's interest in Byron, and she's fascinated by the notes and the code both. By applying Byron's scintillating epistolary style to the novel he should have written, Crowley creates a pseudo-Byronic masterpiece. The plot follows Ali, the bastard son of Lord "Satan" Sane and an unfortunate minor wife of a minor Albanian "Bey." Sane finds and takes the boy, aged 12, back to Regency England. Ali's life is filled with gothic events, from the murder of his father (of which he is accused) to his escape from England with the help of a "zombi," the fortuitous and critical aid he gives the English army at the Battle of Salamanca and his love affair with a married woman.
- Daly, Elizabeth. 1950. Death and Letters. hardcover ed. New York: Rinehart and Company. 217 pgs.
The Maples is a secluded estate north of New York along the Hudson River. It is the home of the powerful Coldfield clan, which recently has several questions to answer. Why did Glendon Coldfield suddenly commit suicide? Why is his widow held prisoner in an upstairs bedroom? What clues are contained in a carefully ordered crossword puzzle? The answers lay hidden in letters from the past; letters whose message is danger, adultery, and hatred. The younger Mrs. Coldfield has only one chance to get a message to detective Henry Gamadge. She doesn't know what her in-laws have planned for her since her husband's death, and Gamadge must ferrit out the truth. The novel also contains a transposition cipher.
- Dams, Jeanne M. 2004. Winter of Discontent: A Dorothy Martin Mystery. hardcover. New York, NY: Tom Doherty Associates, LLC. 254 pgs.
Dorothy Martin's good friend Bill is found dead, in the local museum, his assistant is beaten to within an inch of death, and it's up to Dorothy to decipher the message that might lead to the perpetrator. The message Bill was grasping in his hand turns out to be a code message that talks about air raids - and is obviously sent by a spy to a German contact in England. The message is decoded by an ex-MI5 type and provides another clue into a war-time conspiracy that only comes to light forty years later - and to the widow who will do anything to preserve the reputation of her dead husband, and who thinks the now septuagenarian conspirators should pay. Not much crypto in the novel, the key scene in the decryption is pretty anti-climactic. No discussion of the type of code, etc.
- Darlington, W. A. 1948. The "Baby" Cipher. Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, May 1948, 81 - 93.
Originally written in 1939. The story uses a substitution cipher with Morse Code. No other information is available.
- Davis, Frederick C. 1942. Deep Lay The Dead. hardcover ed. Garden City, NY: The Crime Club (Doubleday, Doran). 304 pgs.
In the countryside near Doylestown, PA, a doctor and a young mathematician, are brought together by the State Department during WW2 to create an indecipherable cipher for war use. Danger hovers, striking twice to prevent their success. Two of the doctor's previous assistants are murdered by one of the stranded house guests; there are suspects galore, for the work is going on in the midst of a strangely assorted snowbound houseparty. The novel contains a monoalphabetic substitution cipher that the doctor uses to test the skills of the mathematician. There are are also several discussions about cryptology (including mention of Herbert Yardley and the American Black Chamber) and cryptanalysis. Davis gets a few minor things wrong; for example, he says that the Playfair cipher is three hundred years old. (It was invented by Charles Wheatstone in 1854 and popularized by Lord Playfair.) As part of his research for the novel Davis must have read "The American Black Chamber" and correctly states that difficult ciphers must eliminate repetitions in the ciphertext, but he's obviously not heard of the Vernam cipher at this point.
- Davis, J. Frank. 1920. The Chinese Label. hardcover ed. Boston, MA: Little, Brown & Co. 320 pgs.
U.S. Federal Treasury agent Julian Napier is sent to San Antonio, hot on the trail of diamond smugglers. The novel contains two instances where Napier uses a code book to decipher coded telegrams from his boss. The code book is not identified, and neither the original coded telegrams nor the process of the decryption are included.
- Davis, Susan Page. 2010. The Crimson Cipher. paperback ed. Minneapolis, MN: Summerside Press. 345 pgs.
Really bad novel about WW1. Erroneously puts the Signal Corps in the Navy. Mis-spells Vigenere as Viginere. One Playfair cipher that doesn't use a keyword. Lots of Christian overtones that don't add anything to the story. Emma Shuster is a math major from Vassar whose father - who teaches at Bowdoin is murdered for his cipher machine. Machine is not described at all, but is supposed to be able to decrypt random German ciphers. Most of the discussion of ciphers is about simple German Vigenere ciphers. Riverbank labs is mentioned once (and too early - this novel takes place in 1915). The author did not do her homework on ciphers or the history of WW1 at all.
- Dee, Barbara. 2009. Solving Zoe: Margaret K. McElderry. 240 pgs.
Zoe Bennett feels lost at her fancy private school. She's not the star drama queen like her sister, or a brainiac math genius like her brother. Luckily her best friend, Dara, is just as content as Zoe is to stay in the shadows -- or is she? When Dara gets a part in the school musical, Zoe feels abandoned. What's worse, Zoe's practically being stalked by the weird new kid, Lucas. Then Lucas accidentally drops his notebook and Zoe finds it's written in symbols and numbers -- it's complete gibberish. Yet she sees her name in there, plain as day. Now Lucas is telling her she's a natural code-reading genius -- or some kind of mental freak. As Zoe's daydreaming lands her in trouble at school, anonymous notes start to appear in students' lockers, and Zoe is the number one suspect. Solving word puzzles may come easily to her, but now there's more at stake -- will Zoe be able to solve her way out of this? With plenty of wit and insight, Barbara Dee has created this fresh, funny story of a girl who discovers that fitting in sometimes means standing out.
- DeMille, James. 1871. The Cryptogram. hardcover ed. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers. 267 pgs.
A series of cryptograms (all in various monoalphabetic ciphers) uncovers the secrets of the life of the late Pemberton Pomeroy. Chapters VII and VIII describe the first set of cryptograms and provides a nice description of frequency analysis and decrypting monoalphabetic substitution ciphers. Chapter LXXVII gives the details of the final cryptogram solution. Most of the original cryptograms themselves are not shown.
- Doherty, P.C. 2004. The Gates of Hell: A Mystery of Alexander the Great. paperback ed. New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers. 352 pgs.
Review from Amazon: By Mary Whipple
It is 334 B.C., and Memnon of Rhodes, a mercenary, has been appointed Governor of Lower Asia by King Darius of Persia. Memnon's mission is to prevent Alexander the Great of Macedon from taking the important Persian city of Halicarnassus as easily as he has taken other Persian cities in his southward march through Asia Minor. With vivid sense imagery and a keen eye for detail, Doherty brings color and drama to the maneuvering by both sides as they get ready for the siege of Halicarnassus, a city of strategic importance, which overlooks the Aegean and the Greek islands.
Using primary sources for much of his research, Doherty recreates the story of this ferocious and bloody battle. Ignoring the lofty, epic rhetoric of classic battles, he chooses instead a conversational tone, creating a sense of urgency and rapid movement in the narrative which matches the speed and drama of the action. His research, however serious it might be, is fully integrated into an exciting story, not imposed upon it, and gives a sense of harsh reality to events. His characters on both sides are memorable despite their large number, and his stunning descriptions of costume, customs, weaponry, and the frenzy of battle keep the reader almost breathless with anticipation.
While the battle rages, both sides try to decipher a mysterious manuscript by Pythias, the architect of the walls around Halicarnassus, in which he supposedly reveals a secret weakness in the walls and the location of a treasure. Scribes and cryptographers work non-stop, the breaking of the code providing an underlying motive for a series of murders which take place within the battle drama. The murder mystery adds intrigue and excitement to the historical setting, but it is the siege itself, and the details of the war, which really bring the narrative to life. Catapults turning men and horses into torches, and the euthanasia of wounded men and horses convey the brutality of warfare, while the formality of movements and the parades of warriors in battle dress show the choreography within this brutality. In this testament of one of Alexander's most ferocious battles, the reader sees that though he can be brutal and quixotic, "Alexander has a genius. He seems to have been touched by fortune." Mary Whipple
- ----- 2009. The Magician's Death. hardcover ed. New York: St. Martin's Press. 280 pgs.
Sir Hugh Corbett, King Edward I's cryptographer, is sent to Corfe Castle to meet with French cryptographers to decrypt a volume of Sir Roger Bacon's works. One by one the French scholars begin to die mysterious deaths. Sir Hugh must uncover the murderers and stop the French from deciphering the Bacon text on their own. No real cryptograms here, but some discussion of Baconian stuff.
- Dooley, John F., and Yvonne I. Ramirez. 2009. Who Wrote The Blonde Countess? A Stylometric Analysis of Herbert O. Yardley's Fiction. Cryptologia 33 (2):108-117.
- Dorling, Henry Taprell (pseudonym Taffrail). 1932. Cypher K. hardcover ed. London, UK: Hodder and Stoughton. 300 pgs.
The latest cipher system is stolen from a Royal Navy cruiser. A retired naval officer works on the case. A Vigenere cipher message is included in the novel.
- Dos Santos, Jose Rodregues. 2007. Codex 632: The Secret Identity of Christopher Columbus. paperback. New York: William Morrow. 351 pgs.
Historian Thomas Noronha is employed by the shadowy American History Foundation to finish the research of now dead scholar Martinho Toscano on the discovery of Brazil. Thomas travels to New York, Brazil, Portugal, Spain, Greece, and Italy running down clues found in Toscano's notes, some of which are enciphered. We encounter transpositions, book codes, and substitution ciphers. Like the daVinci Code, the book is short on crypto and long on puzzles and very long monologues on the history of Portugal, Brazil, and the various ways Chrisotpher Columbus hid his background.
- ----- 2010. The Einstein Enigma. hardcover ed. New York: Harper Collins Publishers. 485 pgs.
Portuguese Professor Thomas Noronha is back and this time he's trying to decipher "The God Formula", and unpublished manuscript by Albert Einstein that has been stolen by the Iranians and may lead to world-wide destruction. It's actually a "proof" for the existence of God. There are two short transposition ciphers and a double-enciphered substitution cipher (for which Thomas is given the keys). The substitution cipher starts with a two-alphabet polyalphabetic and the resulting decryption is in an atbash cipher.
- Douglas, Lloyd C. 1939. Dr. Hudson's Secret Journal. hardcover ed. New York: Houghton Mifflin. 472 pgs.
This is the prequel to Magnificent Obsession and contains the same railfence cipher that is in the first novel.
- Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan. 1911. Adventure of the Red Circle. The Strand Magazine.
An Italian couple in London use a simple cipher with lights to communicate across a street. In the cipher, one flash equals A, two flashes equals B, three flashes equals C, etc. Cumbersome but doable. It takes Holmes about ten seconds to figure it out.
- Eglin, Anthony. 2004. The Blue Rose. hardcover. New York: St. Martin's Press. 304 pgs.
Kate and Alex Sheppard discover a unique blue rose in the garden of their newly acquired house. The value of the blue rose leads to a mad scramble to steal it. The deaths of a friend and the nephew of the man who developed the rose make the rose a dangerous possession. The notes kept by the developer are encrypted - he worked at Bletchley Park during WWII and kept all his journals in code. Kate and Alex's friend Laurence Kingston (happily, a botanist specializing in roses), takes the journals to the Defence Intelligence and Security Centre at Chicksands, Bedfordshire where they are decrpyted, yielding the formula for hybridizing the blue rose. The author, Eglin, makes the mistake of saying that the Colossus computer built by Tommy Flowers was used to decrypt Enigma messages. In fact, Colossus was only used on the "Fish" messages enciphered by the Lorenz Z42 cipher machine.
- Farjeon, Benjamin L. 1899. Samuel Boyd of Catchpole Square. hardcover ed. New York: Hutchinson and Co. 405 pgs.
In the course of a murder and blackmail investigation we find a bit of steganography in the form of invisible ink, and a simple substitution cipher that reveals how to open a hollow cane containing a fortune in jewels.
- Faulkner, Nancy. 1965. The Secret of the Simple Code. paperback ed. New York: Doubleday & Company. 206 pgs.
From Kirkus Reviews:
Jewel thieves, an old mine, coded messages--these are familiar landmarks to mystery readers, but the eager ones will find them worth travelling again in this version. It all takes place in North Carolina, and there are some pleasant descriptions of local color. Paul is staying there with his aunt and uncle, recuperating from the automobile accident that crippled him and destroyed his hopes for a career in football. Helping to bring him out of his despondency is Abby, who is intent on finding some sort of treasure to finance music school. And then there is her friend Luke, who seems quite nasty but is really just reacting to his father's drunkenness and mental illness. The trio discovers that some city slicker visitors are sending each other mysterious notes wrapped up in half-smoked cigars. A geology professor, who keeps spouting the wisdom of the local rocks, pieces them together as part of a map. From this evidence the kids are able to figure out that the two visitors, disguised in tinted contact lenses, have hidden a valuable star ruby in a deserted ruby mine. There's nothing terribly puzzling, but the story is attention-holding. The author has written many books for this age level, mainly historical fiction.
- Fielding, Archibald. 1934. The Tall House Mystery. hardcover ed. New York: A. L. Burt Company. 305 pgs.
A group of young people visiting in a posh house. A ghostly prank. An accidental shooting.
"In the bottom drawer of the bureau was a locked attache case. The lock was a most peculiar one. Un-pickable, Pointer fancied. Unlocking it with one of the keys on Ingram's bunch, he found it chiefly filled with books neatly strapped together and three piles of manuscripts. The first was on Baphomet of the Templars. The second consisted of the first seven chapters of a book on The Law of Rationality of Indices. The third was the first volume, finished apparently, of a work on cryptography. It dealt exclusively with ciphers. Ingram seemed to be just finishing an exposition of Dr. Blair's clever three dot system with sidelights on an adaptation of the A.B.C. system in use during the war. He stood awhile looking down at the pages. They seemed to have been proof-read by some other hand, a sprawling, rather smudged hand. Apparently the bundle was just about to be sent off to the publishers. . . . He examined the books. They were works on ciphers, such as that of Andrew Langie Katscher, there was one on Lord Bacon's famous two-letter cipher, a copy of Bacon's De Augmentis . . . and many others, mostly on the same subject, or on some mathematical point. He also found, last of all, two dictionaries, one a Chambers, one a Nuttall's. Opening them he found beside many words a dot or a collection of dots. The compiler of a cryptogram might well have made them. That was all." It looks like poor Charles Ingram was killed because he had (invented?) a new type of cipher. But actually he was killed for his system of writing and solving crossword puzzles. No cryptograms and only brief discussions of ciphers like the one above.
- Fisher, Ruth L. 2003. Bull by the Horns. paperback ed: Publish America. 240 pgs.
Murder mystery with "a seemingly unbreakable cipher".
- FitzHugh, Mildred. 1916. Jerry and the Bacon Puppy. Riverbank edition. paperback ed. Chicago: The Riverbank Press.
- Flower, E. 1902. Tragedy of the cipher-code. Cosmopolitan, November 1902, 100.
- Froest, Frank. 1913. The Grell Mystery. hardcover ed. New York: Grosset and Dunlap Publishers. pgs.
From Chapter XVII, ""Cipher!" he exclaimed. It was undoubtedly cipher, but whether a simple or abstruse one Foyle was in no position to judge. He had an elementary knowledge of the subject, but he had no intention of attempting to solve it by himself. There were always experts to whom appeal could be made. A successful detective, like a successful journalist, is a man who knows the value of specialists; who knows where to go for the information he wants. That meaningless jumble of letters could only be juggled into sense by an expert. Foyle nevertheless scrutinised them closely, more as a matter of habit than of reading anything from them. They were: UJQW. BJNT. FJ. UJM. FJTV. UIYIQL. SK. DQUQZOKKEYJPK. ANUJ. M.Q. NG. N. AYUQNQIX. IGZ. ANUJ. SIO. IGZ. SMPPN. RT. 12845 HGZVFSF."
The cipher uses a repeating numeric key that gives the count of how many letters down from the plaintext letter is the next ciphertext letter. See Chapter XXIX. (Book is also in Project Gutenberg)
- Futrelle, Jacques. 1905. The Problem of Cell 13. Boston American, 1905.
The Thinking Machine accepts a challenge to break out of a prison cell within a week. The story was originally published in the Boston American newspaper and later (in 1907) in the story collection "The Thinking Machine". The story contains a bit of steganography and a simple transposition cipher.
- ----- 1909. Elusive Isabel. hardcover ed. Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill. 273 pgs.
The American Secret Service tries to break up a spy ring (really a plot by the Italian secret service). The novel contains messages in invisible ink (milk-based) and a cryptogram transmitted in Morse code (but the cryptogram is never deciphered in the novel), and also a mention of a "Secret Service code".
- Galland, Joseph Stanislaus. 1945. An historical and analytical bibliography of the literature of cryptology. paperback ed. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press. 209 pgs.
Most extensive bibliography of cryptologic literature up until 1945. Also contains a number of references to crypto fiction works. See in particular pages: 10, 13, 34, 55, 57, 65, 79, 102, 122, 125, 145, 146, 156, 148, 160, 172, 175, 177, 191, 200, 203, and 207.
- Garden, Nancy. 1989. Mystery of The Secret Marks. hardcover. New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux. 225 pgs.
Darcy, Brian, and Numbles, the Monster Hunters, must find the people involved in the harrassment of Darcy's roommate, Ro. The only clues are a series of cipher messages made entirely of X's and O's. The messages are a simple substitution cipher where a plaintext letter is replaced by a variable number of X's and O's. For example, A = X, B = O, C = XX, D = OO, E = XXO, F = OOX, etc.
- Gardner, Erle Stanley. 1941. The Case of the Empty Tin. paperback ed. New York: Ballantine Books (Random House). 250 pgs.
Perry Mason must solve a book code to get his client off.
- Garis, Howard R. 1944. Buddy and the G-Man Mystery or A Boy and A Strange Cipher. hardcover ed. New York, NY: Cupples & Leon Company. 212 pgs.
Buddy and his friemds help the FBI to find a saboteur. Simple discussions of codes and the skytale transposition cipher.
- Gluck, Sinclair. 1924. The House of the Missing. hardcover ed. New York: A. L. Burt Company. 303 pgs.
Contains a simple substitution cipher.
- ----- 1925. The Green Blot. hardcover ed. New York: Dodd Mead & Co. 294 pgs.
Novel contains a null cipher.
- Gold, H. L. 1938. A Matter of Form. Astounding Science Fiction, December 1938, 9 - 50.
Contains a cryptogram that uses a Polybius square. (Can not confirm)
- Gordon, Neil (pseudo. for A. G. MacDonell). 1933. The Shakespeare Murders. hardcover ed. New York: Henry Holt Co. 274 pgs.
An old, dark mansion, homocide, a hidden family treasure, and a set of mysterious clues - all misquotations from Shakespeare - lead to a jolly good mystery. The novel includes a book code.
- Grant, Maxwell. 1935. The Man From Scotland Yard. The Shadow Magazine, 6-99.
The Shadow breaks up a smuggling ring. The novel contains a monoalphabetic substitution cipher.
- ----- 1936. The Ghost Murders. The Shadow Magazine #93, January 1, 1936.
A murder, a stolen cigarette case, a coded message that leads to a hidden treasure. The Shadow must solve the coded message to stop the murderer from killing again. "Such ordinary items as letter frequency had not concerned The Shadow long. Fribbs had covered that ground. The Shadow, was looking for artifices; points that made this cryptogram different from ordinary ones. His first thought concerned spacings. They would be needed in this blocky code. Off to the extreme right were four blocks, one for each line, all of which were blank. They could mean spaces, particularly since a word might end on the first line; and certainly a word would mark the finish of the fourth line. Despite the fact that spaces might be unnecessary at the ends of lines, The Shadow held to this idea. He could see that this code was a simple one; almost crude, once its basic system was known. It had been fashioned in painstaking manner. It was not a code used in regular correspondence; it had been used to carry a single message." The cipher message is a simple monoalphabetic substitution with the ciphertext arranged in blocks of letters rather than divided by words or in five-letter groups.
- ----- 1939. Wizard of Crime. The Shadow Magazine #180, August 15, 1939.
The Shadow takes on his most nefarious enemy - the Wizard of Crime! The story includes a simple transposition cipher and a "visual cipher" where the Shadow signals one of his henchmen with his eyes using a complicated cipher while both are tied up by the Wizard's minions.
- ----- 1946. The Blackest Mail. The Shadow Magazine #306, August, 1946.
The Shadow once again comes up against Crime, Inc. The story contains a bit of steganography in the form of a hidden message written around the edges of a deck of cards. When the deck is shuffled the message disappears; when the deck is back in the right order, it reappears.
- Greene, Graham. 1978. The Human Factor. hardcover ed. New York: Simon and Schuster. 347 pgs.
MI6 is looking for a mole who is sending coded messages to Moscow. Maurice Castle is a thirty-plus year employee of MI6 whose speciality is South Africa. He has a wife and a child, no bad habits, no debts, and no secrets. So why does he always go to the same bookstore in London and always buy two copies of certain classic novels? The novel uses a book code for several cryptograms and a talks about a one-time pad.
- Gribble, Leonard. 1932. The Stolen Statesman (aka The Stolen Home Secretary). hardcover ed. New York: Dodd Mead and Company. 264 pgs.
The novel contains a dictionary book code. (Not confirmed.)
- Gruber, Michael. 2007. The Book of Air and Shadows. 1st. New York: Harper Collins Publishers. 466 pgs.
A set of encrypted letters that reveal the location of an unknown Shakespearean play are the centerpiece of this novel. Jake Mishkin, attorney, son of a mobster and brother of a supermodel is the central character in the appearance and disappearance of the letters and the manuscript. Good descriptions of different ciphering methods and cryptanalytic techniques. Erroneously calls the Babbage-Kasiski method the "Kasiski-Kerckhoff Method" (page 207). the letters turn out to be enciphered using a grille cipher, the result of which is a Vigenere; their contents lead to the Shakespeare manuscript.
- Hagerty, Harry J. 1936. The Jasmine Trail. hardcover ed. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Company. 260 pgs.
A detective fiction novelist tries to solve three murders, a millionaire, a young physician, and a famous surgeon, each killed in a different way. The story features a monoalphabetic substitution cipher. See Chapter 12, "The Cryptogram."
- Halliday, Brett. 1954. Dead Man's Code. This Week Magazine, November 28, 1954, 9 - 20.
Actually written by Halliday's wife - the mystery writer Helen McCloy ("Panic"). The first of several short stories that contain cryptograms. Detective Mike Shayne solves a murder.
- ----- 1955. Death Has Three Lives. hardcover ed. New York: Dodd Mead Company. 191 pgs.
Mike Shayne must solve a cipher message in order to prevent the next in a series of murders - and he may be the victim! The cipher is a null type cipher where the plaintext message is hidden in the cryptogram as the last letter of each word in the message.
- Harris, Colver. 1938. Murder in Amber. hardcover ed. New York: Hillman Curl, Inc. 262 pgs.
On board a trans-Pacific liner, a whack on the head kills one traveler, another dies suspiciously, and detective Fowler, has a nice problem. Smuggled jewels, man of mystery. a cryptogram, and comic lady enliven a rather pedestrian shipboard tale. Novel contains a book code.
- Heard, H. F. 1942. Reply Paid. hardcover ed. New York: The Vanguard Press. 282 pgs.
Heard's second novel with the touchy, conceited Sidney Silchester, and his ponderous mentor, Myles Mycroft (A Taste for Honey) as they work together, not always amicably, on the race for an invaluable mineral, whose location is hidden in a death rewarding code. (from Kirkus Reviews)
- Hendrix, Howard V. 2004. The Labyrinth Key. paperback ed. New York: Del Rey Books. 434 pgs.
The race is on between the US and China for the development of the first viable quantum computer. Dr Jaron Kwok, an American of Chinese descent, who is key to the American effort, is found as a pile of dust in an Hong Kong hotel room. The NSA and the Chinese Department of State Security are soon involved. No cryptograms in the novel, but lots of dicsussion of the NSA, ciphers and quantum computing.
- Hoch, Edward. 1965. The Spy Who Had Faith in Double-C. Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, August 1965, 24-32.
Jeffery Rand must decode the last message of a now deceased medical missionary who also provided information to the Department of Concealed Communications. The cryptogram is a coded message "Father come our art in is earth bread." The cipher uses phrases from the Bible to produce a 26-letter cipher alphabet that uses words to represent single letters. In this case the the phrase comes from the beginning of the Lord's Prayer, with duplicates removed.
- ----- 1966. The Spy Who Came To The End Of The Road. Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, July 1966, 67-77.
Jeffery Rand catches a spy from the WW II era who is now freelancing. The cryptogram in the story is a simple piece of steganography where the first letter of each word in a telegram forms the real message.
- ----- 1967. The Spy Who Worked for Peace. Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, August, 1967, 44-55.
Martin Dime defected to the Russians five years before the beginning of this story. Everyone thought him a traitor, but there was no evidence to prove it. Now he's coming back to London to work for world peace. Jeffery Rand is told to examine all of the speeches Dime gave in the eighteen months before his defection to see if there are any hidden messages in them. Rand finds a Cardano grille cipher that produces messages in many of the speeches and the fun begins.
- ----- 1969. The Spy Who Purchased a Lavender. Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, April 1969, 10.
Jeffery Rand breaks a smuggling spy ring that is attempting to steal an American Lavender cipher machine. "The Lavender Machine could be described as an outgrowth of the famous Japanese Purple Machine of World War II, but actually it is much closer in concept to the American SIGABA, the German ENIGMA, and our own TYPEX." Rand's colleague in the investigation of a missing Lavender machine is murdered and the only clue is a one word message JOKE. Rand figures out that his colleague was using the International Code of Signals (the pre 1969 edition) and uncovers the identity of the murderer.
- ----- 1971. The Spy and The Thief. paperback ed. New York: Davis Publications. 192 pgs.
Book containing seven (7) Jeffery Rand spy stories and seven (7) Nick Velvet mysteries. Several of the Rand stories contain cryptograms as part of each story. The Rand stories with cryptograms or references to crypto systems in them are "The Spy Who Had Faith in Double-C", "The Spy Who Came To The End of The Road," and "The Spy Who Purchased A Lavender."
- ----- 1972. The Spy Who Didn't Remember. Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, April 1972.
Another Jeffery Rand story. Need to find it to get the cryptosystem.
- Honness, Elizabeth. 1958. Mystery of the Wooden Indian. hardcover. New York: J. B. Lippincott Company. 188 pgs.
The Holland kids decipher a Caesear cipher found in an old diary and uncover the hiding place of a long lost collection of rare coins.
- Hume, Fergus. 1899. Hagar of the pawn-shop. hardcover ed. New York: F. M. Buckles and Company. 296 pgs.
In Chapter II, "The First Customer and the Florentine Dante", newly ensconsed pawn shop operator Hagar decrypts a book code (that turns into a null cipher) and finds the "treasure" of his uncle's inheritance for Eustace Lorn, and her eventual love.
- ----- 1909. The Disappearing Eye. hardcover ed. New York: G. W. Dillingham Company. 312 pgs.
Cyrus and Gertrude, two young lovers, must find out who killed Mrs. Caldershaw and stole her glass eye in order to clear themselves. Alas, the eye (and the cipher engraved on the back side) keeps on disappearing and reappearing all over southern England. The cipher is really a puzzle diagram that gives instructions on how to find a treasure in diamonds - Gertrude's inheritance.
- Jaediker, Kermit. 1947. Tall, Dark, and Dead. hardcover ed. New York: Mystery House. 256 pgs.
A hard-boiled detective finds a possible blackmailer dead with a knife in her. Two more deaths follow. What is going on? The key may lie in a cryptogram. A good discussion of transposition ciphers is included.
- Johnston, William. 1919. The Apartment Next Door. hardcover ed. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. 301 pgs.
Heroine Jane Strong helps decipher coded messages and break up a German spy ring that is communicating ship convoy information during World War I. The novel uses two types of cipher, a book code that uses an almanac as the book, and a null-type cipher that uses the length of the first word of an advertisement for dental cream to give the count for a message hidden in the ad. (e.g. REMEMBER is 8 letters long, so one extracts every eighth letter in the ad to recover the hidden message)
- ----- 1920. The Mystery in the Ritsmore. hardcover ed. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company. 293 pgs.
Bob LeBaron and his new wife Betty's honeymoon at the swanky Hotel Ritsmore begins badly when a young woman, stabbed through the heart, falls out of their bedroom wardrobe. The novel uses a book code.
- Jones, Charles R. 1931. The Van Norton Murders. hardcover ed. New York: Macauley Company. 301 pgs.
The novel contains a null cipher (no confirmation yet).
- Judd, Frances K. 1942. The Mysterious Neighbors. hardcover ed. New York: Grosset and Dunlap, Publishers. 206 pgs.
Sixteen-year-old Kay Tracey is an intelligent detective in the mold of Nancy Drew. In The Mysterious Neighbors Kay is on vacation on a houseboat with two of her friends. They are being trailed by a sinister black boat and that leads them into a serious mystery. In this novel a simple monoalphabetic substitution cipher is used.
- Kauffman, Reginald Wright. 1929. Barbary Bo: A Story of the Barbary Pirates. hardcover ed. New York: Hampton Publishing Company. 261 pgs.
An adventure tale of the Barbary pirates. The story contains a message written in invisible ink.
- Keeler, Harry S. 1929. The Spectacles of Mr. Cagliostro. hardcover ed. New York: E. P. Hutton, Publishers. 278 pgs.
Jerome Middleton is in the middle of a plot to defraud him of his $10 milliion inheritance and kill him in the process. Middleton is committed to an insane asylum (by the plotters) for being paranoid. So here's his problem. He is committed for being paranoid and he's trying to convince the doctors that he's sane AND that there really are people plotting against him. Oh, and to get his $10 million, Middleton must wear a pair of blue goggles (the spectacles) for a year, just so he can read an invisible ink message that is only visible through the blue lenses.
- ----- 1930. Riddle of the Yellow Zuri. hardcover ed. New York: E. P. Dutton, Publishers. 294 pgs.
Jake Jenningw is willing to pay a small fortune for the return of his wife's Yellow Zuri (an Indian Tiger Snake). Cliff Carson is eager to help. And that's where the mystery begins. Story contains a null cipher.
- ----- 1938. Finger, Finger! hardcover ed. New York: E. P. Dutton, Publishers. 392 pgs.
Chinese and Japanese gangs are struggling for control in America. The thirteenth coin of Confucius will decide the winner. However, it has been stolen and is now sewn into an overcoat. But which overcoat? There seem to be a lot of them in this novel. Also involved in the labyrinthine plot are missing fingers-two of them-a literary con artist and his long-winded employee, and a host of other odd characters.The novel contains a good example of a Caesar monoalphabetic substitution cipher.
- Keene, Carolyn. 1939. Clue of the Tapping Heels. hardcover ed. Nancy Drew #16. New York: Grosset and Dunlap, Publishers. 192 pgs.
Nancy Drew is drawn into the mystery of strange tapping in the house of Miss Carter, a retired actress and cat fancier. The tapping turns out to be in Morse code and Nancy must discover how the tapper gets into the securely locked house. No real cryptograms here, but Nancy must decipher the Morse code and figure out the meaning of the messages.
- Kendrick, Bayard. 1941. The Odor of Violets. hardcover ed. Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company. 307 pgs.
Captain Duncan Maclain is a private detective (and in the original story a government agent) who is called in - by the mother - to help break up a May-December romance between a 17-year old girl and a 50-year old actor. It turns out that the girls father is working on a top-secret government project that the Nazis would love to get their hands on. A good combination of a puzzle mystery and a spy story. The story contains a null cipher - and a dog.
- Kenner, Julie. 2005. The Givenchy Code. paperback. New York: Downtown Press. 351 pgs.
Mathematician/historian Melanie Prescott is drawn into a real-live version of the online role-playing game "Play-Survive-Win". She's the target and an assassin, Lynx, is really trying to kill her on the streets of Manhattan. To win the game - and survive - Melanie has to evade Lynx and solve a series of coded messages to reach a final destination before she's killed. The messages include several puzzles, a pigpen cipher, an Enigma message, and a book cipher.
- Keystone, Oliver. 1948. Major Crime. hardcover ed. Prize Mystery Novels #30. New York: Phoenix Press. 253 pgs.
A mystery set in post-war Germany. Contains an excellent example of a phonetic cipher.
- King, C. Daly. 1933. Obelists at Sea. hardcover ed. New York: Afred A. Knopf. 326 pgs.
This was the first of King"s novels and the first of his "Obelist" trilogy, all of which combine murder, travel and psychiatry. It is set on a luxury transatlantic liner traveling from New York to Cherbourg. One evening lightning shorts out the generator and the first class smoking lounge is plunged into darkness. While the lights are out a shot is fired and when they return, self-made millionaire Victor Smith is dead, his female companion's pearl necklace has been stolen and another man, a shady lawyer, is literally holding a smoking gun. But nothing is what it seems. Indeed it turns out that Smith has not one but two bullets inside him, one immediately on top of the other, even though only one shot was heard - and neither has been fired from the lawyer's gun. The twist here is that there is not one detective but four - four psychologists, each of whom is pretty incoompetent as a detective. The novel contains a transposition cipher.
- King, Rufus. 1930. Murder by Latitude. paperback ed. New York: Doubleday, Doran & Company. 307 pgs.
The novel contains a transposition cipher. The cipher is on pages 121 and 124 and the solution is on page 304.
- Kingsbury, Hunt. 2003. The Moses Riddle. paperback. Winnetka, IL: Bimini Road Publishing. 348 pgs.
Egyptologist Thomas McAllister is on the trail of the Ten Commandments. Unfortunately, so is the US government. McAllister must elude a dogged FBI agent, decipher some ancient Egyptian and Hebrew texts and solve a riddle that leads to the location of the Ark of the Covenant and the Ten Commandments. No ciphers in the text, but there is a cipher challenge at the end of the book.
- Kipling, Rudyard. 1888. The Man Who Would Be King. In The Phantom Rickshaw and other Eerie Tales. Allahabad: A. H. Wheeler and Company. 352 pgs.
From the novel: "The letter?" Oh! "The letter! Keep looking at me between the eyes, please. It was a string-talk letter, that we'd learned the way of it from a blind beggar in the Punjab. - I remember that there had once come to the office a blind man with a knotted twig and a piece of string which he wound round the twig according to some cypher of his own. He could, after the lapse of days or hours, repeat the sentence which he had reeled up. He had reduced the alphabet to eleven primitive sounds; and tried to teach me his method, but failed."
- Knox, Ronald A. 1925. The Viaduct Murder. hardcover ed. London: Methuen & Co. Ltd. 252 pgs.
Four friends (a clergyman, a retired don, a former military-intellegence officer, and a ne'er-do-well) meet at a local hostelry for a vacation of golf. One of our heros slices his drive over the trees and, while searching a railroad viaduct, finds the ball as well as a dead body. A few clues around the scene of the crime (e.g. the victim's hat is 15 feet from his body) and on the body lead the four to suspect foul play. A classic British mystery with four bumbling 'detectives'. and a solution that they should trip over, but don't. The novel contains a book code message.
- Koehler, Robert P. 1948. The Blue Parakeet Murders. hardcover ed. New York: Phoenix Press. 252 pgs.
The novel contains a book code. (Not confirmed.)
- Lamb, George. 1933. Wanted, A Corpse. The Cryptogram, February 1933, 1-3.
A story within a story within a story, all in 2 and a half pages! The story contains a short monoalphabetic substitution cipher.
- Le Carre, John. 1965. The Looking Glass War. hardcover ed. New York: Putnam Publishing Group. 288 pgs.
A British Secret Service office called "The Department" sends a poorly trained Pole into East Germany to discover if the Soviets are putting nuclear missiles near the West German border. The agent makes himself known by killing an East German border guard and by his poor security techniques; notably the fact that he takes a very long time to make radio transmission reports. The chase is on as the East Germans try to close in on the agent before he can complete his mission. The novel contains a bungled Vigenere cipher as part of the plot.
- Le Queux, William. 1901. Her Majesty's Minister. hardcover ed. London: Houghton. 402 pgs.
Adventures of an English Ambassador. There are no real cryptograms in the novel, but it gives a good representation of using a code book to encipher and decipher code messages.
- ----- 1914. The Four Faces. hardcover ed. New York: Brentano's. 345 pgs.
Our hero, Michael Berrington, is tracking down a gang of very sophisticated, very high-class thieves who rob the mansions of upper crust English genry. There are robberies, murders, mind control, hypnosis, coded messages (using a substitution cipher) in newspapers, and even a romance. It's got it all. The cryptograms use a progressive key substitution where the first sutstitution uses a standard alphabet starting at B, the next substitution uses the alphabet starting at D, the next starting at F, etc. repeating. There is also a message using a word code.
- ----- 1928. The Crime Code. hardcover ed. New York: Macauley. 314 pgs.
Contains a cipher that uses musical notes to convey the message. An innocent man gets involved with a gang of society crooks.
- LeBlanc, Maurice. 1910. The Hollow Needle. hardcover ed. New York: Doubleday Page Company. 168 pgs.
The treasures of the Kings of France are in The Hollow Needle, and Aursene Lupin must decrypt a monoalphabetic substitution cipher which leads to a puzzle to find the treasure. His only problem is a young detective racing to find the solution as well.
- Lee, Babs. 1945. Passport to Oblivion. hardcover ed. New York: Charles Scribners Sons. 233 pgs.
With war-time Lisbon serving as the background for the backstairs activities of Nazi sympathizers and collaborators the plot revolves around two murders in and out of cafe society. Argue Steele, a private detective, and Ellen, his USO girl, solve the murders and prevent a pro-fascist plot. A coded message using a roulette wheel as the key is central to the plot.
- Lee, Thorne. 1949. The Monster of Lazy Hook. hardcover ed. New York: Duell, Sloan, and Pearce. 221 pgs.
From the book jacket: "In swift succession, three men - all leading citizens of the little California coastal town of Lazy Hook - vanished without a trace. All three had been connected with the late Spencer Van Dyke, eccentric millionaire, who though he died of natural causes had managed to surround his death with many-sided mystery. What had Spencer Van Dyke done with the huge sum of cash withdrawn from his bank shortly before his death? What was the meaning of the fantastic poem he caused to be engraved on his marble gravestone? Why had he bequeathed the vast and dilapidated Van Dyke mansion to his hermit butler? Had he come from beyond the grave to spirit away Lyman Hobbs, his undertaker, Henri Picard, his lawyer, and Peter Ramsey, the local editor? These were the questions that were thrust at the strange pair of detectives who set out to solve the apparently insoluble. The two, handicapped Julian Renard, mostly brains, and Robert Bannister, mostly brawn, found themselves in a peculiar and dangerous setup, and only their assorted but well-balanced gifts, together with a certain bit of luck, brought them through alive and entitled to the rewards they had been promised." The novel contains a cipher message using a null cipher.
- Lincoln, Joseph C., and Freeman Lincoln. 1939. The Ownley Inn. hardcover ed. New York: Coward-McCann, Inc. 316 pgs.
(Partly from the Chicago Tribune) The novel is an intriguing story about the theft of a valuable first edition from a college library. The scene shifts to an island off Cape Cod, where the inn is located. There's plenty of mystery, considerable action, much quaint conversation, a romance, and some slugging, but only one death - apparently accidental. There's also a null cipher that leads to the solution.
- Lincoln, Natalie S. 1918. The Three Strings. hardcover ed. New York: D Appleton and Company. 321 pgs.
A mysterious man is found dead in the Preston's home. No one knows how he got there and no one knows who he is. A suspiciion of a German spy ring evolves. The novel contains a cipher that uses a series of chess end game diagrams. The alphabet is embedded in the top half of the board and the letters are read off the white pieces in the order of their power King, Queen, etc.
- ----- 1924. The Thirteenth Letter. hardcover ed. New York: D. Appleton and Company. 289 pgs.
A murder mystery that uses the postage stamps on a series of letters to create a cipher message.
- ----- 1926. The Blue Car Mystery. hardcover ed. New York: A. L. Burt and Company. 314 pgs.
Uses a pigpen cipher (also called the angle cipher).
- Locke, Clinton W. 1931. Who Opened the Safe? (The Perry Pierce Mystery Stories for Boys #2). hardcover ed. New York: M. A. Donohue and Company. 216 pgs.
Perry and his friends help pretty Jessica Kenwood and her grandfather look for his inheritance - a safe containing a treasure. The clue is a grille cipher message (pages 161 - 162). Unfortunately, there are others looking for the safe as well.
- Locke, Gladys E. 1923. The Scarlet Macaw. hardcover ed. Boston, MA: L. C. Page & Company. 350 pgs.
When Genevera Tressady is poisoned in her locked study the mystery begins. Hal Inderwick rushes to the side of his soon to be love, Jasmine Holland and jumps into the deep end of the mystery. A book code that uses Macbeth as its text provides the final clue to the murderer.
- Lockmiller, Frank. 1947. The Case of the Cryptic Will. Fifty Crosswords Magazine, 1947.
Langen states that this short story contains a transposition cipher. (Neither magazine nor story found. Author is believed to be Frank Ulrey Lockmiller, 1910 - ?.)
- MacLeod, Adam Gordon. 1926. The Cathra Mystery. hardcover ed. New York: The Dial Press. 302 pgs.
A murder in the North Country sends Scotland Yard on the hunt. The novel contains a null cipher message.
- Mangrum, Dennis L. 2009. The Mystic Cipher. paperback ed. Springville, UT: Bonneville Books. 247 pgs.
Manly man and ex Army Ranger Carver Nash finds a box while digging post holes on his ranch in rural Utah. the box contains several million dollars worth of Spanish gold and a document that purports to be a clue to the location of the lost Rhoades Gold Mine - a mine said to contain billions in gold and gold artifacts. Of course somebody else is after the gold, and of course there's a smart (but vulnerable) femaie mathematician who can also solve ciphers. Each clue contains a cipher that must be solved before the location of the next clue can be revealed. There are five ciphers in all - two Vigenere ciphers, a transposition cipher, and two Bacon biliteral ciphers. ALL the ciphers are incorrectly encrypted so that the keywords for each will not corectly decrypt the ciphertext. Most of hte cryptanalysis in the novel consists of AHA! moments when somebody miraculously guesses a keyword. The examples in the Appendix are also mostly wrong.
- Martinek, Frank V. 1940. Don Winslow and the Scorpion's Stronghold. hardcover ed. Racine, WI: Whitman Publishing Company. 248 pgs.
A novel that is based on the newspaper comic strip created by retired Lieutenant Commander Frank V. Martinek. Navy officer Don Winslow battles a foreign sabotage ring led by a mysterious figure calling himself 'The Scorpion', who barks his orders to his agents through a giant TV screen in their underwater hideout. As The Scorpion unfolds plan after plan to stop the Navy from constructing a new base Winslow finds himself a hair away from certain death at the end of each chapter. The novel contains a railfence cipher message.
- Mason, F. van Wyck. 1930. Seeds of murder. hardcover ed: Published for the Crime Club, Inc. by Doubleday, Doran & Co., Inc. 302 pgs.
A number of gypsy signs are used as a cipher message.
- ----- 1932. The Fort Terror Murders. hardcover ed. New York: Doubleday. 309 pgs.
Captain Hugh North of Army intelligence is posted to the Philippines. While at a dinner party in the commanding officer's house a story about a treasure is told and in impromptu treasure hunt is organized. While on the hunt one man is stabbed to death and another is missing. North figures that the treasure is a clue to the murder and so begins to search for both treasure and the murderer. His only clues are a couple of rosaries with the wrong number of beads. The story includes a Mirabeau cipher. A Mirabeau is a monoalphabetic sustitution cipher that arranges the keyed letters of the alphabet in five groups of five letters each. Each group is also numbered, so that the cipher text for each letter is a two number sequence (group, index of letter within group).
- ----- 1932. The Branded Spy Murders. hardcover ed. New York: Grosset and Dunlap Publishers. 301 pgs.
Captain Hugh North is sent to Hawaii to try to catch a Russian spy. Instead he stumbles headlong into political intrigue between the Japanese and the United States (it is 1932) and spies everywhere. A dead woman floating near a dock with a suspicious tattoo and a lovely Russian who might just be the spy he's looking for complicate the search. The novel contains a Playfair cipher.
- ----- 1935. The Washington Legation Murders. hardcover ed. New York: Doubleday and Company. 300 pgs.
Captain Hugh North and his British intelligence buddy scoursWashington for a spy known as the "Guardsman" who is stealing military secrets and blueprints for weaponry in the era just after Hitler comes ot power and Japan invades China. Several messages using secret inks are used.
- ----- 1935. The Budapest Parade Murders. hardcover ed. New York: Grosset and Dunlap. 308 pgs.
Captain Hugh North looks for spies in Budapest. Secret ink messages are involved in the plot.
- ----- 1937. The Hong Knog Airbase Murders. hardcover ed. New York: Grosset and Dunlap. 339 pgs.
Captain Hugh North (G-2) is sent to Hong Kong to prevent foreign agents (in 1937 they're all Japanese and German) from stealing a secret airplane fuel formula developed by Trans-Pacific Airways. Of course there's a murder (or two) and several clues including some messages that use secret ink.
- ----- 1938. The Cairo Garter Murders. hardcover ed. New York: Grosset and Dunlap. 305 pgs.
Captain Hugh North of G-2 Army Intelligence is called to Cairo to help a British agent, Major Bruce Kilgour, on a case involving a series of murders in Cairo. The killer leaves a red-and-black women's garter on the left arm of each victim. The murders are somehow linked a group supplying weapons to Arab nationalists. Solution of the crimes is aided by the ability of North and his allies to decode messages, including a simple monoalphabetic substitution cipher. Another message is written in hieroglyphics.
- ----- 1939. The Singapore Exile Murders. hardcover ed. New York: Grosset and Dunlap. 300 pgs.
Captain (and later Major) Hugh North is sent to Singapore at the very beginning of WW2 to find a man who has developed a new formula for a lightweight but strong alloy that could be vital to the U.S. war effort. Messages hidden with secret ink give clues. The feeling in Singapore is given by the following quote: "Portents of increasing tension hung still heavier in the air. Police in silent and watchful squads of four stalked along streets eddying with a restless, polyglot crowd. On the horizon in the direction of Tanglin and the Naval Base, searchlights played, raking the hot, starry sky with tenuous, silver fingers. Newsboys, hoarse with excitement, rushed about waving extras printed in English, Chinese, Malay and Sanskrit. Before glaring clusters of naked electric bulbs illuminating native shops, dark-faced men argued and gesticulated. Lights glowed, too, in the official offices in the Fullerton building, and quantities of chit coolies ran errands as if the devil were after them. A lively disquiet filled North. What the devil could be going on at the other end of the cables and the radio stations? Of only one thing was he sure: The breath of war beat hot on Singapore."
- ----- 1941. The Rio Casino Intrigue. hardcover ed. New York: Grosset and Dunlap. pgs.
Set in Brazil after the fall of France, but before Pearl Harbor, this Hugh North adventure takes the G-2 Major from Sao Paulo to Rio de Janeiro investigating Nazi sympathizers in an American company. When the president of the company is murdered at a party filled with Axis sympathizers, North is hot on the trail, trying to find the murderer and to stop a ship loaded with supplies for the Nazis. North solves a crossword puzzle cipher message as part of the novel.
- McCloy, Helen. 1943. The Goblin Market. hardcover ed. New York: William Morrow. 249 pgs.
When an American wire service reporter is murdered on the island of Santa Teresa off the coast of Brazil during WW2, our hero must solve the murder. Down-on-his-luck former journalist Philip Stark is hired by the wire service to find the murderer. Nazi activity, submarines attacking transport ships, and secret codes (using a journalistic short-hand code in telegram messages, "cablese") provide one problem after another that must be solved before the murderer is revealed.
- ----- 1964. Murder Ad Lib. Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, November 1964.
- ----- 1970. The Pleasant Assassin. Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, December 1970.
- ----- 1976. The Changeling Conspiracy. hardcover ed. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co. 182 pgs.
Kidnapping, terrorists (the New Hashashin led by someone who calls himself the Old Man of the Mountain), Mafiosi, CIA and FBI.
- ----- 1977. The Imposter. hardcover. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company. 180 pgs.
Marina Skinner wakes up from a car accident in a sanatorium confronted by a man claiming to be her husbend. But he's an imposter! Lots of crypto stuff in the book .Starting with a 19 line cipher (we only see the last 4 lines). The cryptogram is a superencipherment - a two-step cipher that uses a Vigenere cipher to encipher an already enciphered message. The first encipherment uses a running key polyalphabetic. The cipher is cleaver because the message is a formula involving laser technology and using practically nothing but abbreviations. Great crypto discussion with references to David Kahn, The Codebreakers, and Parker Hitt's 1916 Military Cryptanalysis manual.
- ----- 1979. Murphy's Law. Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, May 1979.
- McNeile, H. C. 1934. Bulldog Drummond at Bay. hardcover ed. New York: Doubleday, Doran Co. 254 pgs.
Bulldog Drummond is relaxing in his Scottish retreat when a rock with a coded message attached smashes his window. The rock was thrown by an inventor who is being kidnapped for the secret to his new airplane design.
- Mearson, Lyon. 1924. The Whisper on the Stair. hardcover ed. New York: Macauley Company. 301 pgs.
The novel contains a concealment cipher (a form of steganography).
- Meeker, Anne. 1936. The Queen's rings: the true romance of Elizabeth, Queen of England. hardcover ed. Chicago: D. Ryerson, Inc. 278 pgs.
Historical romance in which several ciphers and coded messages are reproduced.
- Meno, Joe. 2006. The Boy Detective Fails. paperback ed. Chicago, IL: Punk Planet Books. 338 pgs.
After his younger sister Caroline commits suicide, Billy Argo, the boy detective spends ten years in St. Vitus Hospital for the Mentally Ill because his parents are afraid he'll also come unhinged. Once he's out, the boy detective tries to come to terms with Caroline's suicide and get life back together. The book contains a cardboard cipher disk that allows you to solve the three Caesar ciphers in the text. No cryptanalysis because each cipher comes with the key.
- Morley, Christopher. 1925. The Haunted Bookshop. hardcover ed. New York: Doubleday, Payne & Co. 289 pgs.
A romantic tail about the owner of a small New York bookshop. A spy uses a number code to hide information in book dust jackets.
- Morris, Anthony P. 1890. The Cipher Detective: or, Fighting for a Fortune. paperback. New York: Beadle's New York Dime Library. pgs.
Mark Magic again, solving a monoalphabetic substitution cipher and catching a crook.
- Morrison, Arthur. 1903. The Red Triangle: being some further chronicles of Martin Hewitt, Investigator. hardcover ed. London, UK: L. C. Page, Company. 304 pgs.
Featuring his famous detective Martin Hewitt, this collection of Morrison's short stories contains two that have references to codes and ciphers in them. In "The Adventure of the Channel Marsh", Hewitt solves a transposition cipher that uses a knight's tour as the route through the cryptograms table. While there are no cryptograms in "The Case of The Admiralty Code" the entire story revolves around the theft (and recovery) of the British Admiraltiy's code book.
- Neville, Katherine. 1988. The Eight. paperback. New York: Ballantine Books. 598 pgs.
Search for a magical chess set leads to many puzzles and spans centuries.
- Newman, Bernard. 1940. Papa Pontivy and the Maginot Murder. hardcover ed. New York: Henry Holt Company. 328 pgs.
A mutilated corpse in a Maginot Line ammunition room leads our here to Brittany and an archeological expedition on the Breton coast. Enlisting the aid of an English actor-spy, and with Papa Pontivy using his instincts to the limit, they ferret out ciphers, identities, and organization and solve the murder and catch (sort of) the murderer. All the ciphers in the book are simple substitution ciphers.
- O'Brien, Howard V. 1928. Four and Twenty Blackbirds. hardcover ed. New York: A. L. Burt Company. 251 pgs.
Novel contains a monoalphabetic substitution cipher.
- O'Keefe, Bernard J. 1988. Trapdoor. hardcover ed. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company. 324 pgs.
So the US is using the RSA algorithm to protect its nuclear launch codes and a clever software developer changes the public-private key pair, rendering the US nuclear arsenal useless. Alas, the description of the RSA algorithm on page 107 is "almost" correct. In describing the algorithm, June Malik (the good software designer in the novel) says, "The beauty of this technique is that to calculate the private key you would have to factor one of the original primes, ..." Really she means you have to factor the composite product of the two original primes to recover them.
- O'Shaughnessy, Perri. 2005. Case of Lies. hardcover ed. New York: Delacorte Press. 390 pgs.
Lawyer Nina O'Reilly investigates a murder that occured during an armed robbery. The victims lead to three MIT students who played blackjack to make spending money. One of them, a mathematician, develops an algorithm to factor composite numbers, breaking the RSA algorithm in the process.
- Ognibene, Peter. 1984. The Big Byte. paperback ed. New York: Ballantine Books. 320 pgs.
Novel about the insecurity of various computer systems including bank, networking, and government systems. Public key cryptography is discussed at some length in the novel, although there are no real cryptograms to solve.
- Oldfield, Peter. 1929. The Alchemy Murder. New York: Ives Washburn Publisher. 613 pgs.
- Oppenheim, E. Phillips. 1914. The Vanished Messenger. hardcover. Boston: Little, Brown and Company. 332 pgs.
British traitor deciphers American diplomats code, but is foiled in the end.
- Ostrander, Isabel. 1918. Suspense. hardcover ed. New York: Grosset and Dunlap. 352 pgs.
Poor Miss Page is hired as a seamstress for a rich woman and gets involved in smuggling and other nefarious doings. A steganographic word code is used in the novel. For example, one message reads: "Your letter received. Send me ten of the thousand circulars quoting sheep prices for March. Home market good this week for forty or fifty and even more points rise if my brokers handled the situation properly." Reading every third word reveals the hidden message.
- ----- 1919. The Twenty-Six Clues. hardcover ed. New York: W.J. Watt and Company. 277 pgs.
Calvin Norwood, a high society financier is hosting a dinner party. Mr. Norwood has a private museum of crime artifacts that fascinates his dinner guests, especially, scientific detective Wade Terhune and retired NYC detective Timothy McCarty. A good time is had by all until someone discovers Norwood"s neighbor Evelyn Jarvis dead under one of the displays. Terhune"s science and deduction is pitted against McCarty"s dogged procedural plodding to find the murderer. McCarty comes through albeit using some of Terhune's own techniques. McCarty finds an accusatory message on a seemingly blank sheet of paper. (Not secret ink, but an accidental steganographic message composed on a typewriter with no ribbon.)
- ----- 1925. The Black Joker. hardcover ed. New York: A. L. Burt Company. 361 pgs.
Intrigue on a Mediterranean steamship.The plot involves a girl embroiled in a shipboard mystery. She has at least two gangs after her and possibly the police, as her father may, or may not, have been a master criminal. She doesn't know whom to trust. There is, of course, a mysterious and sinister deck of cards involved. A keyphrase monoalphabetic substitution cipher is used.
- Otis, James. 1891. The Braganza Diamond. hardcover ed. Philadelphia, PA: Penn Publishing Company. 383 pgs.
Plot unknown. Juvenile fiction involving pirates and cipher messages.
- Packard, Frank L. 1918. The Wire Devils. hardcover ed. New York: A. L. Burt Company Publishers. 318 pgs.
Harry Maul, aka "The Hawk" has just gotten out of Sing Sing prison and he takes up his larcenous ways again. This time the Hawk is trailing a gang of railway thieves, staying one step ahead of them and stealing their loot before they can get at it. The Hawk can stay ahead of the crooks because he's figured out the key to their cipher system. They're using a transposition cipher with nulls added to the cipher text and transmitting their messages over the railway line's telegraph wires. The Hawk decrypts several cryptograms during the course of the novel. There is a nice twist at the end.
- ----- 1920. The White Moll. eBook ed. New York. pgs.
Rhoda Gray, aka "The White Moll", is trying to help the down-trodden in NY city in the early 20th century. "Code" is a simple cipher were each letter in the message is the sum of three single digits (e.g. 739 = 7+3+9 = 19 = S).
- ----- 1922. Doors of the Night. hardcover ed. New York: A. L. Burt Company, Publishers. 248 pgs.
Billy Kane, confidential secretary to multi-millionaire David Ellsworth is framed for murder. Billy runs and must find the real murderer before he's caught. Luckily for Billy he is the spitting image of a small-time crook - the Rat - and so descends into New York's underworld to save himself and find the murderer. A simple substitution cipher is used for a couple of messages in the novel. Each word is reversed and then shifted just one place in the standard alphabet.
- ----- 1929. The Big Shot. hardcover. New York: P. F. Collier & Son Company. 286 pgs.
Enid thinks that The Big Shot - a gangster in 1920s New York - may be her long lost brother Roy. Turns out she's wrong and pretty much the entire gang gets it in the end. There's a cipher message of unknown type that the Big Shot receives over the phone. He deciphers the message and heads out. Enid, using a pencil, reads the impressions of his decipherment from the next page on the pad. It's a message with information on cracking a rich man's safe that night.
- Paige, Robin. 2004. Death at Glamis Castle. paperback. New York: Berkeley Publishing Group. 338 pgs.
Lord Sheridan and his American-born wife Kate are enlisted by King Edward to find his brother and solve a murder at Glamis Castle in Scotland. Pretty predictable plot. The cipher is a page of numbers found in the coat of a German spy (it's 1901). The cipher is a book cipher that uses a history of Scotland by Sir Walter Scott as the book reference. it has practically no impact on the plot except to confirm that the spy is, in fact, a spy.
- Parker, Maude. 1953. Invisible Red. hardcover ed. New York: Rinehart and Company. 247 pgs.
Anne Douglass, long residing behind the Iron Curtain is dispatched from Moscow to contact a scientist with a dangerous chemical formula. John Pickering, attorney and government agent falls for Anne, but doesn't trust her. Invisible ink messages on the backs of a pack of playing cards provide a clue.
- Parker, Robert B. 1950. Ticket to Oblivion. hardcover ed. New York: Rinehart and Company. 247 pgs.
American spy, Peter Morrow, is dispatched to Paris to break up a Soviet plot to run terrorist trains from Hungary into France. On the way he meets and falls for Kitty Blake, whose parents are being held by the Soviets in Bucharest. Morrow saves the parents, and catches the evil Soviet angents in a thrilling chase through a train. A transposition cipher is used in the novel.
- Penny, Louise. 2009. The Brutal Telling. hardcover ed. New York: St. Martin's Press. 372 pgs.
The ciphers are carved into two larger carvings. The message is short -only 14 characters MRKBVYDDO OWSVI. The description of a Caesar cipher is accurate but then there's the sentence " The brilliance of the Caesar's shift is that it's almost impossible to break because the shift can be whatever length you want." Well, not really. All you have to do is try the 25 possible keys. And that leads to a shift of 11 (in the book the author says the shift is 16. The author mis-interprets the word shift. When she says "a shift of 16" she means that the A is shifted down 16 letters in the plain alphabet so the ciphertext A is underneath the 17th letter of the plain alphabet Q. Starting from there, the cipher letter K maps to the plain alphabet letter A. This is normally described as a shift of 11. The two ciphertexts above decrypt to CHARLOTTE and EMILY. Leading to the murderer.
- Peters, Elizabeth. 2006. Tomb of the Golden Bird. paperback. New York: Harper Collins Publishers. 540 pgs.
Amelia Peabody and family become involved in a conspiracy to assassinate several British Middle East officials in the aftermath of World War I. The key to the plot is a cryptogram in what Ramses (Amelia's son) determines to be a book code. Amelia identifies the book as a torrid romance novel of the time "Desert Passion" and deciphers the message - of course.
- Pollard, Alfred Oliver. 1932. The cipher five. hardcover ed. London: Hutchinson & Company, Ltd. 288 pgs.
Chapter II - "Instructions from M.I." and Chapter III - "The Cryptograph Machine"
- Preuss, Paul. 2000. Venus Prime 2: Maelstrom. paperback. New York: iBooks, Inc. 282 pgs.
"Ellen Troy" aka Sparta tracks thieves and her new lover, Blake Redfield, in this mystery set in the future. Sparta must decrypt a message left by Blake. The message is a riddle wrapped in a Playfair cipher, wrapped in a book cipher. The book used is Howard Gardner's "The Theory of Multiple Intelligences". The cipher allows Sparta to track Blake to Paris in time to save him from the thieves.
- Propper, Milton. 1934. The Family Burial Murders. New York: Harper and Sons. pgs.
Tommy Rankin, homicide investigator for the Philadelphia police, is called in on a strange case. An elderly dowager has died a peaceful and natural death and is being buried. Unfortunately, one of her nephew's also ends up in the coffin, having died most unnaturally. A cipher that uses a telephone keypad to create messages is described and used in the novel.
- Queen, Ellery. 1938. The Four of Hearts. hardcover ed. New York: Fred Stokes Company. 250 pgs.
Ellery Queen is having a go at Hollywodd. He's working for studio head Jacques Butcher on a biopic about two stars John Royle and Blythe Stuart, whose on-again-off-again romance and long simmering feud are Hollywood legend. When John and Blythe decide to (re)marry and are then murdered in their honeymoon plane (poison; nobody else in the plane), Queen steps in to investigate. It turns out that Blythe had been receiving a series of bizarre letters, each containing a playing card. And now her daughter Bonnie is also receiving letters and cards. Queen has to figure out the cryptic message hidden in the cards to solve the murders. The playing cards form a coded message that Queen solves in the end.
- Reeve, Arthur. 1912. The Germ of Death. In The Poisoned Pen. New York: Harper and Row. 398 pgs.
Craig Kennedy is on the hunt for Soviet spies who are poisoning some Russian refugees in New York. A checkerboard cipher (a simple substitution similar to a Polybius square) is used to communicate between the spies and Kennedy easily decrypts an intercepted message.
- ----- 1912. The Poisoned Pen. In The Poisoned Pen. New York: Harper and Row. 398 pgs.
Craig Kennedy saves the reputation (and life) of his client by discovering a set of messages written in secret ink that exonerates him from murder. The messages (steganography here) were written on the backs of other, damning messages.
- ----- 1917. The Treasure Train. hardcover ed. New York: Harper and Row. 334 pgs.
A collection of Craig Kennedy short stories, several of which contain cryptograms, including The Mystic Poisoner, which contains a substitution cipher.
- ----- 1917. The Mystic Poisoner. In The Treasure Train. New York: Harper and Row. 334 pgs.
Craig Kennedy is drawn into a mysterious murder. The victim is seemingly paralyzed but is able to write a mysterious message before he expires. A digraphic cipher is used with a two letter key (one letter to start the first letter of the plaintext alphabet across the columns, and one to start the plaintext letters down the rows of the 27 x 27 grid that contains the ciphertext pairs.
- ----- 1917. The Adventuress. hardcover ed. New York: Harper Brothers. 342 pgs.
Who killed Marshall Maddox? That is the question Craig Kennedy must answer. The mystery revolves around the death of the American munitions manufacturer. Was it a crime of passion? Paquita, the adventuress is interested in the Maddox brothers. Was it to steal the secrets of the new weapon, the teleautomaton? It appears that only Criag Kennedy and his scientific detection can figure this one out. A checkerboard cipher (like a Polybius square) is used in the novel.
- Resnicow, Herbert. 1987. The Crossword Legacy. paperback. New York: Ballantine Books. 197 pgs.
Crossword puzzle expert Giles Sullivan and his friend Isabel Macintosh are involved in a crossword puzzle game that decides who among six relatives gets an eighteen million dollar inheritance. The crossword puzzles produce transposition ciphers that lead to the whereabouts of the legacy.
- Reynolds, Baillie. 1923. The Lost Discovery. hardcover ed. New York: Doran and Company. 320 pgs.
A man is murdered in his library for the secret to an ancient treasure. A monoalphabetic substitution cipher message holds the key.
- Rhode, John. 1935. Hendon's First Case. hardcover ed. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company Publishers. 278 pgs.
Jimmy Waghorn, an indifferent Cambridge student, enrolls in the new Hendon Police College and is given a chance to solve a break-in. The break-in turns into a murder and Jimmie is up to his eyeballs in problems. Dr. Priestly comes in at the end, and gives a good discourse on solving ciphers. Jimmy proceeds to solve the cipher message and solve the crimes. The cipher uses the signature at the bottom of the message as a key for a homophonic, polygraphic cipher The signature is 25 letters long, forming a 13 x 12 rectangle where the letters of the alphabet are continuously written one per cell, starting with 'a' to fill in the table. A plaintext letter is mapped to two ciphertext letters. Because multiple copies of the alphabet are used to fill the table, there are either six or seven plaintext letters in the table and any of the row/column headers may be the ciphertext for a particular plaintext letter. For example, a plaintext 'e' can be encrypted as any of AT, NN, RH, EE, BF, GA, or NL.
- Rice, Robert. 2003. The Nature of Midnight. hardcover. New York: Tom Doherty Associates. 396 pgs.
Postal inspectors Max Dombroski and Gillian Loomis are thrust into a series of murders revolving around some lost letters mailed in 1918 and related to the sinking of the Lusitania. One of the letters is in a British field cipher "MV Series I" with a key of 4-1-5-1-3. One adds those numbers successively to letters of the message to encipher and subtract them to decipher. (see pages 268-269.)
- Rinehart, Mary Roberts. 1925. The Red Lamp. hardcover ed. New York: George H. Doran Co. 317 pgs.
From GoodReads.com: "William Porter has just inherited Twin Hollows, an isolated lakeside estate shrouded in mystery and doom. But William and his wife aren't easily swayed by ghost stories and whispered rumors. Until a shadowy apparition beckons to them from the undying glow of a red lamp. Is a stranger with a deadly purpose trying to frighten them away? Or are they being haunted by a chilling warning from the grave?" Beginning on page 109, a simple cipher.
- Rinkoff, Barbara. 1971. The Case of the Stolen Code Book. paperback. Middletown, CT: American Education Publications. 36 pgs.
The Secret Agent's Club, Winnie, Alex, John, Holly and Panic have lost their secret code book! A series of clues written as coded messages lead them to their book. The messages include one written in invisible ink (milk), a simple substitution cipher, and a mirror cipher.
- Rohmer, Sax. 1927. Moon of Madness. hardcover ed. New York: McBride Company. pgs.
Fu Manchu is out there being bad again. Novel contains a simiple monoalphabetic substitution cipher.
- Russell, Charllotte M. 1942. The Message of the Mute Dog. hardcover ed. New York: Doubleday Publishers. 155 pgs.
During World War II, in Rockport Illinois (a thinly disguised Rock Island, IL), amateur sleuth Jane Amanda Edwards leaps into the mystery surrounding an attempted sabotage and the subsequent the murder of the owner of the local defense plant. It's important that she solve the murder because her brother Arthur is one of the suspects! Jane finds a cipher message in a porcelain dog and must decipher it to uncover the saboteurs. The cipher is a monoalphabetic substitution cipher that uses the manufacturer's information on the bottom of the dog as the keyword and uses numbers to represent the vowels and fill out the alphabet.
- Saxon, Samantha. 2006. The Lady's Code. paperback. New York, NY: Berkeley Publishing. 300 pgs.
A real bodice-ripper. No, really, there's a scene with bodice-ripping. it's 1802. Lady Juliet Pervill has had her reputation ruined, so clearly the only thing she can do is volunteer with the Foreign Office's nascent crypto office. Naturally, the chief cryptographer is the hunky Seamus McCurren who sees no use for Lady Juliet (well, there's one use). Lady Juliet, while she can't go to Oxford, apparently sat in on some math classes, so she's qualified.
- Scoggins, C. E. 1931. The House of Darkness. hardcover ed. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill. 319 pgs.
Novel with a cipher in it.
- Scott, John Reed. 1916. The Cab of the Sleeping Horse. paperback. New York: HardPress.net. 194 pgs.
- Scott, Mansfield. 1927. The Phantom Passenger. hardcover ed. New York: Edward J. Clode. 313 pgs.
Novel contains a word code message.(No other data found.)
- Seaman, Augusta H. 1919. The Slipper Point Mystery. hardcover ed. New York: The Century Company. 221 pgs.
Doris, Sally, and little Genevieve are exploring around Slipper Point when they discover a cave. Inside the cave they find an old tin box and in the box is a scrap of paper with a peculiar alphabet table written on it. Further in the cave is what appears to be an old cedar door that conceals a tunnel that leads to Miss Camilla's basement! An old mysterious message found in a notebook combined with the cipher key from the tin box yields the solution to a fifty year old mystery! The cipher is a Polybius square with a key sequence.
- ----- 1930. The Charlemonte Crest: A Novel of Modern Haiti. hardcover ed. Garden City, NY: Doubleday Doran. 252 pgs.
An historical mystery novel set in Haiti. The story shifts between modern-day Haiti and the adventures of two American families and the turbulent time in the 1820s as Haiti fought for its independencd from France. The novel contains a simple monoalphabetic substitution cipher.
- ----- 1949. The Vanishing Octant Mystery. hardcover ed. Garden City, NY: Doubleday Company. 206 pgs.
A mystery based on a navigator's octant. Contains a simple monoalphabetic substitution cipher message.
- Selkirk, Jane. 1942. Clue of the Cipher Key. hardcover ed. New York: Dodd Mead and Company. 291 pgs.
The setting is a Georgia town. An architect with a mysterious past loses his suitcase containing his latest building plans that he hopes will revitalize his career. On top of this, his home is burglarized. A group of local kids takes on the job of solving the mystery. But eventually, it is the children who solve the puzzle. There is a simple monoalphabetic substitution cipher in the novel.
- ----- 1949. Mystery of Horseshoe Caves. hardcover ed. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company. 209 pgs.
The novel contains a simple monoalphabetic substitution cipher message. No other plot details are available.
- Sherwood, John. 1949. Dr. Bruderstein Vanishes. hardcover ed. Garden City, NY: Doubleday for The Crime Club. 190 pgs.
Mr. Blessington, a staid and settled Englishman, is sent on a financial mission to the English sector of post World War II Germany. He is accidentally involved in a spy ring, gold smuggling and chasing a secret, evil Nazi underground. Blessington chases clues all around war-torn Germany, including a mysterious message written in a null cipher. At the end Dr. Bruderstein is found alive and the gold is recovered almost intact.
- Shiel, M. P. 1895. The S. S. In Prince Zaleski. Boston, MA: Roberts Brothers. 100 pgs.
Prince Zaleski is forced to leave his stately (if dark) estate to try to solve a mysterious series of apparent suicides all across Europe. They start with the death of an elderly wealthy man of science, Professor Dr. Schleschinger. Next to Schleschinger's body is a piece of papyrus with a message written in mysterious symbols (hence a symbol cipher - monoalphabetic substitution; the cipher is like a rebus and decrypts to a Latin sentence). As Zaleski's investigations continue, more suicides crop up in Germany, France, and Britain, all of whom have the same cryptic message beside them. A very philosophical mystery story, the end of the story leads Zaleski to ruminate on the fate of society and of humanity itself.
- Singer, Marilyn. 1985. A Clue in Code. hardcover. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers. 53 pgs.
Sam and Dave and their friend Rita O'Toole must decipher a hidden message to figure out who stole the class trip money. The message is embedded in a seemingly random sequence of words; the first letter of every word turns into the real message.
- Sleath, Frederick. 1923. The Red Vulture. hardcover ed. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company. 317 pgs.
See Chapter XV, "The Code" pgs. 166-182.
- Smith, Justin R. 2006. The Mills of God. hardcover ed. Holliston, MA: Silver Leaf Books, LLC. 273 pgs.
Constance Fairchild is the only heir to a vast business empire; unfortunately, she's only 16 and an orphan. Her guardian ships her off to boarding school in Switzerland and all the people close to Constance begin to die mysteriously. Fortunately for Constance, she's a genius, and has some very powerful friends. Some discussino of crypto but no real cryptograms to solve.
- Smith, Laurence Dwight. 1938. The G-Men In Jeopardy. hardcover ed. New York: Grosset and Dunlap. 238 pgs.
The third in Smith's "G-Men" series. The novel contains a dictionary code. In 1943 Smith also wrote a trade book on "Cryptography: The Science of Secret Writing" which was an acclaimed introduction to cryptology. A Dover edition was published in 1955, after Smith's death.
- Smithline, Lawren M. 2009. A Cipher to Thomas Jefferson. American Scientist 97 (2):142-149.
- Springer, Nancy. 2006. The Case of the Missing Marquess: An Enola Holmes Mystery. paperback ed. New York: Penguin Group. 216 pgs.
Enola Holmes, much younger sister of detective Sherlock Holmes (she's 14), must travel to London in disguise to unravel the disappearance of her missing mother. She also solves the disppearance of a young Marquess along the way. There are three cipher messages in the novel - all railfence ciphers with the message written backwards and then enciphered. The ciphers are left to Enola by her mother as a message on her whereabouts.
- Sterling, Stewart. 1949. Dead Sure. hardcover ed. New York: E. P. Dutton Company. 248 pgs.
Fancy hotel detective, Gil Vane handles a case where a candy tycoon is murdered just as he is about to recognize a long-lost daughter. His second wife and son stand to inherit. Gil has to find the murderer. Codes and ciphers are mentioned and described but there are no messages to decrypt in the novel.
- Stilson, Charles. 1923. Seven Blue Diamonds of Baroda. Short Stories, April 25, 1923, 69.
Contains a 28 letter monoalphabetic substitution cipher message.
- Stoutenburg, Adrien. 1943. The Model Airplane Mystery. hardcover ed. New York: Doubleday, Doran & Company. 249 pgs.
The first of Stoutenburg's many juvenile fiction books. Contains a number substitution cipher.
- Sutphen, Van Tassel. 1922. In Jeopardy. hardcover ed. New York: Harper and Brothers Publishers. 300 pgs.
There is a mystery surrounding the otherwise lovely Maryland horse country estate called the "Hildebrand Hundred". For the last 60 years or so, the owners keep dying - all within a day of the summer solstice, and all while in the gorgeous library of the estate. Hugh Hildebrand gets involved in the mystery while attending the funeral of his cousin, the latest master of the 'Hundred' to meet his maker. There is a long Vigenere cipher message that is key to unravelling the mystery and a very good description of how to encrypt and decrypt Vigenere cipher messages. Chapter XIII "Le Chifre Indechiffrable" gives a concise treatment of ciphers and the Vigenere table. Chapter XXI explains how to decipher a Vigenere.
- Theiss, Lewis E. 1919. The Hidden Aerial. hardcover ed. Boston, MA: W. A. Wilde Company. 332 pgs.
A hunt for spies that are listening in on wireless traffic and sending code messages to their handlers. The Boy's Reserve during World War I comes to the rescue. The novel contiains a word code with null words in it.
- Thomas, Scarlett. 2004. PopCo. paperback. Orlando, FL: Harcourt, Inc. 505 pgs.
Alice Butler is creative, but lost and confused. She's anti-corporate and works for one of the worlds largest toy companies. She hates modern style but people are always telling her she's at the forefront of pop culture. She's a loner but has spasmodic episodes of desperately wanting to belong. Some simple Vigenere ciphers are involved, but there's some terrific discussion of the Beale and Voynich ciphers. Alice was raised by her grandparents - both mathematicians. The book is riddled with math! Alice's grandmother worked at Benchley Park during the war, but her grandfather was prohibited because of youthful political activity. Her grandmother now spends her time trying to solve the Riemann Hypothesis. During her childhood Alice's grandfather has her help work on deciphering the Voynich cipher, and has her factoring large composite numbers into their prime factors. He has been secretly, and continuously working on another long unsolved (and fictional) cipher message - the Stevenson/Heath cipher. In fact he's solve the cipher and could claim the treasure that it leads to, but he won't because the location of the treasure is now a rare tropical bird santuary. Alice's necklace. The simple Vigenere ciphers slipped under her door.
- Trant, Balmer and. 1910. The Private Band Puzzle. hardcover ed. Boston, MA: Small, Maynard and Company. pgs.
This reference is in Langen's list, but has not been found anywhere.
- Van Dine, S. S. 1928. The Greene Murder Case. hardcover ed. New York: Charles Scribners Sons. 388 pgs.
In this Philo Vance mystery, the amateur detective is called in to help with a series of murders at the Greene Mansion in the upper East side of New York. It seems as though someone has it in for the Greene family, shooting two sons, and two daughters over a several week period, and poisoning the matriarch, Mrs. Greene. The novel has everything, a dark, brooding mansion, a cast of not very likable suspects, mood-setting snowstorms, murder, and lots of dark and stormy nights. There is a seeming cipher message that throws suspicion on one of the family members, but it turns out to be a hoax (and really a rebus, not a cipher).
- Vanardy, Varick. 1913. The Return of The Night Wind. hardcover ed. New York: G. W. Dillingham Company Publishers. 326 pgs.
Bingham Harvard, aka, "The Night Wind" has returned to New York to clear his name of robbery and assault charges and to clean up a gang of corrupt New York City cops. With the help of his wife "Lady Kate" and his best friend, Tom Clancy, Harvard works his way through the clues and the criminals to find the evidence he needs. The key piece is a cipher message (a monoalphabetic substitution cipher) that also contains coded names of the perpetrators.
- Walk, Charles E. 1910. The Paternoster Ruby. hardcover ed. Chicago: A. C. McClurg. 374 pgs.
The famous, valuable Paternoster ruby has vanished! Felix Page, Chicago millionaire, businessman and owner of the Paternoster ruby has been murdered and the ruby is missing. Detective Swift of the Chicago PD is assigned to the case and must deal with several not pleasant characters (and one very pleasant one in the form of Miss Genevieve Cooper) on his way to a solution. A graphic cipher message is found that leads to the resolution of the disappearance of the ruby.
- Wallace, Edgar. 1908. Angel Esquire. hardcover ed. New York: Henry Holt Company. 332 pgs.
Mr. Reale, an elderly and successful crook and proprieter of gambling establishments, is killed by one of his associates as he describes how he is going to leave his millions to the person who can solve a puzzle. The puzzle is a poem that is a cipher that must be solved. The solution should lead to the fortune, but instead it leads to another cipher puzzle, a substitution cipher this time.
- ----- 1927. The Feathered Serpent. hardcover ed. London, UK: Hodder & Stoughton. 196 pgs.
People begin receiving calling cards with the words "The Feathered Serpent". And then someone who receives a card is murdered. Reporter Peter Derwin smells a story and gets on the trail of the Feathered Serpent. The novel contains a simple monoalphabetic substitution cipher as a clue.
- ----- 1929. The India-Rubber Men. hardcover ed. London, UK: Hodder & Stoughton. 326 pgs.
Inspectors Wade and Elk are tracking a gang of criminals in the area of London near the Thames. The gang's trademark is to dress in rubber masks, crepe rubber shoes, and rubber gloves and to hurl gas bombs to avoid pursuit. When they kidnap the lovely Lila Smith, things get ugly. The Novel contains a simple monoalphabetic substitution cipher message that Inspector Wade dispatches quickly.
- Walsh, Jill Paton, and Dorothy Sayers. 2002. A Presumption of Death. hardcover ed. New York: St. Martin's Minotaur. 372 pgs.
Harriet Vane Wimsey and Lord Peter Wimsey solve two murders involving German spies in England in the early days of WW2. Cryptogram is in Chapter 7, pages 143-158. Harriet solves a cryptogram sent to her by Peter (who is under cover in German-occupied Europe). The cryptogram is a numeric substitution cipher that uses a poem that Peter had written to Harriet as the key. Each number denotes either the first or last letter of the numbered word in the poem.
- Webster, F. A. M. 1930. The Black Shadow. hardcover ed. London: Nisbet & Co. 320 pgs.
- Wells, Carolyn. 1919. The Diamond Pin. hardcover ed. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincotts Publishers. 312 pgs.
The key to the whereabouts of dear old (and seemingly murdered) Aunt Ursula's jewelry is in 39 cipher letters engraved on the head of a diamond pin. The cipher is a very short Vigenere cryptogram that must be solved by finding the key. Detective Fleming Stone and his assistant Fibsy (yes, Fibsy) solve the cipher, which, of course, leads to another puzzle and eventually to the jewels.
- Wentworth, Patricia. 1927. Hue and Cry. hardcover ed. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company. 320 pgs.
Mally Lee is hired by Sir George Peterson to be the governess of his daughter, Barbara. Barbara is a budding artist, much to her father's dismay, and one day when Mally scoops up a set of Barbara's drawings she inadvertedly picks up a coded message. Rather than expose his (illegal and treasonous) dealings, Sir George and his brother-in-law and co-conspirator Mr. Craddock accuse Mally of stealing a priceless diamond broach from her employer. Scotland Yard issues a warrant for Mally and before long she's on the run. Scotland Yard is after her, but so is Mr. Craddock, who wants the coded message and will do anything to get it back. The coded message that is so important is a 'crossword' puzzle that uses two names from the title of the puzzle as the key to a monoalphabetic substitution cipher and the first letters of each of the crossword clues as the cipher message.
- White, Ared. 1931. The Spy Net. hardcover ed. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company. 323 pgs.
Captain Fox Elton, a counter-espionage agent in G2 of the American Expeditionary Force in France is sent to hunt down a spy net. This Imperial German Secret Service spy ring is run out of Switzerland and is trying to steal the American plans for the St. Mihiel offensive. Elton has to stop them and capture the head of the ring. There are two different cipher systems used in the novel. Several messages are sent using a numeric homophonic cipher system where each plaintext letter has exactly three ciphertext equivalents. The second system is a simple ROT-13 system with a short keyword to scramble the letters in the second row of the substitution alphabet. See Chapters VIII, XVII and XXVIII.
- ----- 1934. Agent B-7. hardcover ed. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company. 299 pgs.
Captain Fox Elton of the counter-espionage unit of G2 in the American Expeditionary Force is sent on a dangerous mission through Germany, the Netherlands, and occupied Belgium in September 1918. He is to uncover and destroy not one, but two spy rings, one run by the German Imperial Secret Service and a freelance ring run by an Austrian masquerading as a Bolshevik Russian who is trying to bring down not only the German Empire, but the Allied Powers as well. Of course there are the beautiful female spies, one English, and one Austrian whose attentions nearly get in the way of Elton's mission. There are several cryptograms in the novel, all of them using a simple Caesar cipher as the crypto system. Oddly enough, while Elton has no problem deciphering the cryptograms, the spies can't seem to make any sense of them.
- Wilde, Percival. 1941. Design for Murder. hardcover ed. New York: Random House. 274 pgs.
A group of n'er-do-well and pretty amoral young rich folks get together at a Connecticut estate and decide to play a game of "murder". Unfortunately for them the murder turns real and then a second death occurs. There is no real detective here. Each of the players narrates part of the story, imagined as if the people are writing down their impressions as the game and investigation progresses. One solution is proposed, but that suspect is the second victim. A second solution is proposed and the novel ends; but that solution is wrong as well. An appendix to the book contains the real murder's confession. A null substitution cipher is included in the novel.
- William, Peter. 1944. The Affair at Abu Mina. hardcover ed. New York: Macrae Smith Company. 238 pgs.
South African secret agent Dan Dupreee is sent into the North African desert during WW II to investigate strange goings-on at Abu Mina. He suspects it is being used as a rendezvous for Rommel's tanks for their next push against the Allies. Working with a beautiful spy, Eve, Dan uncovers a Nazi collaborator, and the catacombs being used to hide the German tanks. A military code and code book are used in the novel.
- Williams, Valentine. 1924. The Yellow Streak. hardcover ed. New York: Houghton Mifflin. pgs.
Hartley Parrish, successful businessman and country squire is dead. Was it murder or suicide? If it's murder who did it? His soon-to-be fiancee? Her unrequited lover? The butler? With the discovery of a series of strange letters from an import-export business and a grille, it seems as if murder is on the menu. A grille cipher is key to solving the murder.
- ----- 1924. The Three of Clubs. hardcover ed. London, UK: Hodder & Stoughton. 320 pgs.
Godfrey Cairsdale, a British secret agent is sent to Hundary to investigate a group of conspirators that use playing cards (notably the three of clubs) as their secret identification. Waiting for him is Valerie, an Austrian spy, who, of course, falls for him as well. Unfortunately for Valerie, there's another woman - Virginia, a spunky American who chases after her lover when he disappears. Tragedy is inevitable. The novel contains coded messages that use playing cards as the cipher elements.
- ----- 1932. The Gold Confit Box (The Mystery of the Gold Box). hardcover ed. London, UK: Hodder and Stoughton, Limited. 313 pgs.
British Secret Service agent Philip Clavering is on the trail of a gold snuff box. His colleague the late George Forrest was relieved of the box and murdered with a stiletto on a train from Berlin to Brussels. Clavering wanders Europe in search of the box, conflicted over the affections of the German spy Madeline and his true love Garnet Wolseley. Nobody knows why the box is so important, but it's imperative that Clavering find it and return it to London. A code message that is an anagram is the key to the mystery of the box.
- Wilson, George W. 1929. Fifty original cryptogram limericks: rhymes in code. New York: G Sully & Co. 101 pgs.
Just what the title says. Fifty (typically bad) limericks in code.
- Wise, David. 1983. The Children's Game. hardcover ed. New York: St. Martin's Press. 280 pgs.
William Danner is dragged back into the CIA to uncover a mole. He discovers much more and needs to outrun the CIA, the KGB, and a group of former CIA agents to save himself and his daughter. Danner decrypts a voice message that uses a disguised voice. There are no cryptograms in the novel, but there is a decent description of brute force computer password cracking circa 1983.
- Woodford, Jack, and John B. Thompson. 1952. Desire in New Orleans. hardcover ed. Baltimore, MD: Signature Press. 190 pgs.
The novel contains a book code.
- Wray, Sarah. 2008. The Trap. paperback ed. London, UK: Faber and Faber, Ltd. 232 pgs.
Weird things are happening at Camp Hope, a camp for smart kids. Mysterious clues to a supposedly hidden treasure are being left in different campers cabins. Following the clues is getting dangerous though, as one camper disappears and others are poisoned. What is going on at Camp Hope? There are four different cryptograms in the novel. First a simple monoalphabetic substitution using a mixed alphabet. Next an even simpler substitution using numbers to represent the position of letters in a standard alphabet. Third is a transposition cipher using a nine-letter keyword. The last cryptogram uses a pigpen cipher.
- Wright, Sally. 2008. Code of Silence. hardcover. London, England: Severn House Publishers LTD. 251 pgs.
Recently widowed Ben Reese needs something to focus on besides his dead wife and child in order to move on with his life. The focus comes in the form of the murder of an acquaintaince, Carl Walker, while Carl is himself on the trail of the 10-year old murder of the woman he loved. The murders both involve a suspected Soviet spy who seems determined to also kill Ben in order to retrieve incriminating photos and papers. Ben and his English professor friend Richard West must decode ciphered clues left to them by Carl before they can uncover the spy and save themselves. Book also touches on the Venona project at Arlington Hall and Richard's work at Bletchley.
- Yardley, Herbert O. 1931. Cryptograms and Their Solution. The Saturday Evening Post, 21, 63-65.
Yardley gives a history of crypto. This article may have been ghost-written by someone else. See Dooley paper "Another Yardley Mystery" in Cryptologia.
- ----- 1933. The Beautiful Secret Agent. Liberty, 30-36.
Head of the Black Chamber, Nathaniel Greenleaf, snares a spy, cracks a cipher, and saves a beautiful double agent.
- ----- 1934. H-27, The Blonde Woman from Antwerp. Liberty Magazine, 22-30.
Black Chamber chief, Nathaniel Greenleaf uncovers a German spy ring, nabs a beautifly spy who was stealing ciphered messages from a White House safe, and deciphers a German transposition cipher.
- ----- 1934. The Blonde Countess. hardcover. New York: A. L. Burt Company. 314 pgs.
Nathaniel Greenleaf and his associates at the Black Chamber break up a German spy ring. Unfortunately, the ring leader - The Blonde Countess gets away. Greenleaf breaks the German ADFGVX cipher. There are also several discussions about secret inks and the ways of developing them.
- ----- 1934. Red Sun of Nippon. hardcover. New York: A. L. Burt Company. 247 pgs.
Our hero, Black Chamber chief Nathaniel Greenleaf, uncovers another spy, saves the reputation of a half-Chinese socialite, and decrypts another cipher.
- ----- 1934. The Commissioner Turns Cryptographer. Detective Fiction Weekly, 45-57.
Nathaniel Greenleaf helps his friend the Police Commissioner solve a peculiar double murder disguised as a suicide. The suicide note and other notes are encrypted in a monoalphabetic cipher that uses symbols to replace individual letters.
- ----- 1937. Shadows in Washington. Unpublished novel. 276pp.
Yardley's only novel without any crypto in it at all. It's a pure spy story, with competing groups of independent spies trying to buy the latest in poison gas. In the middle is newspaperman Larry Moore, who is chasing the story and is madly in love with one of the spies. Really badly written - it's gotta be nearly 100% Yardley.
- Yardley, Herbert O., and Carl Grabo. 1944. Crows Are Black Everywhere. hardcover. New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons. 247 pgs.
From the book jacket: "Peggy Cameron, an American reporter, arrives in Chungking in pre-Pearl Harbor days, determined to bring back to her American newspapers an impartial story of the Sino-Japanese conflict. She elects to stay at a Chinese rest house so that her judgments will not be influenced by officialdom, and in not time she is involved with a mixed group that includes Chinese patriots, enemy agents, and some Americans working as advisers to the Government. Bill Fremont is chief among the Americans, an instructor and leader of the Chinese fighter pilots. Among the other characters are Tina, his Eurasian mistress; Fritz, a German-American of Nazi sympathies, in charge of anti-aircraft; a renegade American doctor; Wang, half brother of Tina, of dubious patriotism; and Sato, a Japanese spy. In spite of her resolve to be impartial, Peggy finds herself entangled in mysterious happenings. It is obvious that the Japanese bombers know too much about important targets in Chungking. The discovery and tracking down of the treachery that is responsible comprises the main part of the story.:
- Yardley, Jane. 2004. Rainy Day Women. Hardcover. London: Doubleday. 361 pgs.
Jane Yardley's second novel is an excellent read. It is at once a mystery story, a coming of age tale, and a ghost story and shines at each. It is 1971 and Jo Starkey is a fifteen-year-old prodigy in a small village in Essex, England. She is at the center of a seriously dysfunctional family - her parents are both doctors, her father an alcoholic who is constantly being stopped for DUI and her mother a workaholic who is never home. Jo's parents appear hardly at all in the novel, and their absence is the central, empty place at the core of the story. At home are two of Jo's three brothers. Tarquin, a famous musician who spends all his time in his room coaxing more and more unusual sounds from his Moog synthesizer, and Tim, Jo's twin and a mathematical genius who also hides himself away. Throw in Geoffrey, brother number three, maniacal sister-in-law Angela, and their out of control toddler Angus and you have a household anyone would be desperate to escape. Jo's only solace from the madness at home is her friend Frankie, an American transplant whose mother is desperate to leave the Essex countryside and move to London. Jo's parents are also trying to sell their home, the Red House, but the house doesn't seem to want to let them go. A decrepit architectural mishmash built by an eighteenth century merchant to irritate his wife, the house has a life - or poltergeist - of its own that is actively driving prospective buyers away. Jo and Frankie are convinced that a girl who went missing back in 1963 was murdered and is haunting Red House. In the midst of their investigations along comes Florian, a drop-dead handsome folk singer that both of the girls fall for. Jo's investigation into the strange goings-on at Red House centers around a ciphertext message supposedly left for her by Clarence the poltergeist. The message is in a Vigenere cipher and Yardley does a good job of explaining substitution ciphers and Vigeneres in particular. Without any reference books, Jo re-invents the Kasiski method (she is a prodigy, after all) and solves the cipher, only to discover that it's a superencipherment of a book code. Deduction and a lucky guess lead her to the book and to the key. The resulting plaintext proves critical to solving the murder mystery and uncovering Clarence's true identity. Yardley's story moves along quickly, the characters are engaging and well drawn, and a plot twist at the end helps bring about a strange and interesting ending. The novel is very well written and highly recommended.
- Yates, Margaret Taylor. 1938. Death Sends a Cable. hardcover ed. New York: Macmillan Publishers. 276 pgs.
Two young cable operators at Guantanamo Bay are murdered and Special Investigator Bill Duncan is sent to solve the case. He's helped by a nurse who is also the wife of the Base doctor. A puncture cipher message is a clue to the murderer. (A puncture cipher system puts small holes under the letters of the plaintext message.)
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