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Murder!

Walter Smethers has been found dead in his office. Which of his seven coworkers is the perpetrator?


Solve the Mystery

"Choose your own path" books have been around for quite some time, but there aren't many Android apps that do the same thing. Choose and Clues injects you into a story and lets you control the flow, as you jump to different characters while you learn characteristics of people, motives, and weapons. Match these to clues, and through the process of elimination, solve the mystery. There's a catch, though.

You're not quite human.

Intelligent Bot

You are a Miniature Intelligent Bot, small enough to travel about unseen on the shoulders of the humans, and smart enough to understand what they are talking about, usually. By observing them and their environment you learn characteristics, which can be matched to known clues.

If you are not making enough progress with the current suspect, when an opportunity presents itself, jump to another. Keep track of what you learn in your notebook, and when you have solved who, how, and why, go to the comm portal and report your findings.

In the meantime, enjoy the story.

Jump or Stay

You control the flow of the story by jumping to a new character, or staying where you are. In either case you will continue the story line from the perspective of the human you are with. That person does not know you are there, but you can see and hear everything they do.

Jump or stay? Either path may lead to information needed to solve the mystery. Cold, hard logic may dictate these decisions, or it may be simple curiosity about a character you have not yet spent much time with. In any event, you have until the end of the work day to report your findings.

How to Proceed

The first step is to install the Android app.

From your mobile device go to the Google Play store, and under Apps search for Choose and Clues, or use this link to go directly there: Play Store

The app requires only minimal permissions, and takes a short time to install. When you run the app you will see the intro screen. Swipe vertically to read the entire screen, and horizontally from right to left to continue. The app will then move on to character selection.

The app will then move on to character selection. Choose which of seven characters to begin the story with. The story will then begin. Keep swiping horizontally to turn the page, and when a jump screen appears, proceed as desired. When you think you can eliminate a suspect, go to the Notebook and check off the appropriate who, how or why. When only one of each remains, you have solved the mystery.

Report it via the Comm Portal. The Help menu is available from the main menu.

Conclusion.

Choose your own path stories and apps have been around for a while. Their popularity is due to the element of control it imparts to the reader. In Choose and Clues you read a story, control its flow, and solve a mystery by matching characteristics to clues, and by the process of elimination.

Keep watching this site for more information about the app, and for more stories.

Solving a Murder Mystery

Is there any such thing as the perfect crime? Maybe, but once a modern team of investigators is on the scene, chances are they will solve the murder mystery.


Assess the Scene

Each murder is unique, and the environment is treated as such. Once the area is secured, and any required warrants are obtained, an overall impression of the crime scene is derived by a walkthrough. Notes are taken, and sketches or video utilized to help document the scene. This is part of a systematic approach to solving the crime, which helps to determine how best to proceed in solving this murder.

At each stage of the investigation, everything is documented, using notes, sketches, photos, or video. Nearby video surveillance that may have caught evidence inadvertantly may provide useful information as wells . Cameras are everywhere these days.

Depending on the nature of the murder, specialists may be called in to help assess. If explosives were used, or some specialized weapon, experts in those areas may be needed. Speed can be of the essence both to ensure that evidence is collected while still fresh, and to prevent weather or other influences from affecting the evidence.

Collect Evidence

If the evidence collected at the scene is perfect, and solves the crime, it is useless if not allowable in court. Ultimately the goal is a successful prosecution, so all steps to preserve the chain of possesion of the evidence, as well as to preserve its efficacy, must be followed.

The use of labelled evidence bags, blood sample containers, DNA swabs, and even more specialized recpticles for the unexpected piece of forensic evidence, ensure that at trial the efforts will not be in vain.

Everything will be attacked by the defense, so documentation and preservation are key components of the evidentary process.

All evidence goes to the lab for analysis, and the results are documented and added to the case file to help not only in solving the crime, but proviing it in court.

Analysis

Analyzing the collected evidence is a combination of lab results, expert reports, and specialized testing, but also involves context. How the evidence fits in with the established timeline, for example, may be the difference between proof and coincidence.

The hard science of lab work and forensics must follow all the rules of documentation and professional standards, and in the end is only as good as the personnel doing the work. Even that will be attacked during the trial, so the standard is high. The net result is objective information based on observable data, which must be combined with logic, and sometimes a bit of luck, and almost always a lot of hard work, to solve the murder.

When all is said and done, the goal is to identify the perpetrator of the murder. Part of this includes the process of elimination, when evidence indicates that certain suspects could not have committed the crime.

An interesting aspect of modern forensics is the use of DNA, both to identify suspects and victims, but also for other purposes. Cold cases, that may have gone unsolved for many years, are sometimes now cleared due to new DNA evidence. Further, in some cases wrongly incarcerated people are sometines cleared, even after years in prison, when DNA evidence implicates a suspect in that case.

The future will almost certainly yield even more powerful techniques for identifying the perpetrators of the ultimate crime.

Prosecution

It is one thing to assess, collect, and document evidence. It is quite another to survive cross examination by a hostile defense lawyer while on the stand during the trial. Depending on the role of the investigator, such as CSI, Detective, Police Officer, or Expert Witness, the actions taken and results derived during the investigation will be probed for the slightest weakness by the defense. A professionally conducted investigation will help reduce the chance of evidence being disallowed, but it is equally important for the investigator to not get flustered when being questioned about their role.

Remaining calm and professional under the duress of an antagonistic, and probably clever, questioing, is a skill of its own. Sometimes only experience can hone this skill, but preparation is also important. Mock trials and interviews are tools used to help prepare investigators for this onslaught, but command of the facts is the best preparation.

Conclusion

Murders are solved by applying a system. This system consists of a predicatble series of logical steps and documentation that is employed from the moment a homocide is reported. Assessing the scene, collecting evidence, analyzing the evidence, and following through to prosecution are all part of the repetitive cycle.

Highly trained professionals bring to bear unique skill sets, both in the field, and in the lab. To become a true professional requires training in the area of specialty, as well as experience over many years.

Most murders are the result of passion, and have an element of spontaneity. Under these circumstances, the evidence that is typically left at a crime scene is generally substantial, however, according to FBI UCR data, nearly one in three murders goes unsolved (uncleared) in the united States.

It would seem there is still room for improvement.

About

In this app you are immersed in a mystery, and your job is to solve it. By matching characteristics learned in the story to clues provided, you eliminate suspects, methods, and motives.

On the journey to a solution you control which way the story flows by choosing whether to jump to other characters as opportunities arise.

More stories should be available soon.