Puzzle Books by R.W. Galland

Lots of new puzzle books are coming out that use new and innovative ways to enhance the puzzle solving experience.  Many are using smart phones or websites.  What can you do when you head out to go camping or loose that precious wifi signal though?  For that reason, sometimes it’s better to go old school.  You won’t need to look for the USB connection for the puzzle books by R.W. Galland.  You will need to power up that brain though.

So far I have worked my way through ‘Puzzles in Wonderland’, ‘The Knights of the Round Table Puzzle Quest’, and ‘The Leonardo Da Vinci Puzzle Codex’.  Each book works the same way.  Almost 200 pages of puzzles and all of the answers are in the back.  Sweet and simple.  Each book is split into three sections.  The easy puzzles, the medium puzzles, and the hard puzzles.  Each section is roughly the same length.  The puzzles in these books tend to require explanations so you won’t spoil it for yourself by flipping to the back and accidentally looking at the next problem’s solution.

The puzzles range from beginner level to pretty complex.  The books favor riddles and word problems which make up roughly eighty percent of the puzzles.  In each book there are no repeats, but from book to book I noticed several of the riddles were duplicates.  The word problems are heavily math based so be wary if you failed math or if numbers make your head spin.  The remaining puzzles are actually pretty different between the different books.  The Alice book has image puzzles where you need to find the differences between two mirrored images.  These are difficult but a fun and classic image puzzle.  The Leonardo book had a ridiculously easy puzzle where you have to match missing blocks to some of Da Vinci’s paintings.  Almost as easy as learning not to put the square block in the round hole.  The King Arthur book had a maze type puzzle where you had to collect all the water and leaf symbols while following rules.  It also had a battle type of puzzle that I still don’t really understand that was heavily math based. 

The puzzles are perfectly melded with the narrative that takes place.  For ‘Puzzles in Wonderland’ we follow Alice through her whimsical adventures in Wonderland.  For ‘The Knight’s of the Round Table Puzzle Quest’ we follow the King Arthur myths from childhood to death.  For ‘The Leonardo Da Vinci Puzzle Codex’ we follow one of Leonardo’s apprentices and are presented the puzzles as Leonardo would to his students.  I learned a lot from the King Arthur and Leonardo Da Vinci books.  These books tell the stories through a series of riddles and puzzles.

The art in each book is taken from its original source material.  Some of the art has been modified to turn it into a puzzle.  This was mostly used in ‘Puzzles in Wonderland’ and ‘Leonardo Da Vinci’s Puzzle Codex’.  If you love Da Vinci’s artwork, many of his sketches were used to make the puzzles.  His paintings were chopped up though to make the lame matching puzzle, so don’t expect to get a good print of the Mona Lisa.  The original artwork from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is colored and enhanced in this book.  The puzzles simply mirror the artwork and make small changes which keeps the original looking good.  I’m not completely sure where the artwork from the King Arthur book is from.  I would guess several sources from artwork, books and stories over the centuries. 

My personal favorite was the ‘Puzzles in Wonderland’ book.  As you may know, Lewis Carroll was the author of ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’.  He was also a mathematician and huge nerd of puzzles, just like us!  He actually published countless puzzles in magazines, books, and leaflets.  This book features several puzzles that he created or that he loved.  Even the writing matches the fun poetic and riddling speech that Lewis Carroll uses in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  It’s basically the perfect theme for a puzzle book and collects several Lewis Carroll originals.

So if you’re looking for a way to cut down on that blue light before you go bed, picking up these puzzle books is a great way to do it.  They are beautifully illustrated and have a great range of puzzles.  You could simply read through the books and check on the answers for some relaxing entertainment. You can also challenge yourself and try to solve the puzzles on your own.  Start with the theme that intrigues you the most and go from there.  The latest two books remaining from the series that I haven’t tried is ‘The Nikola Tesla Puzzle Collection’ and ‘Pride and Prejudice and Puzzles’.  I’ll definitely be finishing my collection in the future and picking those up.  Never leave a puzzle unsolved!

J.C. Mystery Detective