Mystery Fiction Contest Results Announced!

The hour has finally arrived when the results of ‘Whodunnit?- The mystery Fiction contest’ will be announced. Our readers and the participants have been spending sleepless nights and some have joined twitter just to get the breaking news. πŸ™‚

The wait is finally over as Sidin Vadukut – The Managing Editor of Livemint.com who had to spend sleepless nights judging this contest is here with the results. We thank him for taking out time to read so many entries. You can know more about him by reading his interview at our Adda. Do not forget to follow him on Twitter to have interesting conversations with his patented sense of humour. Here is what he has to say about the posts, contest and how he chose the winners.

Sidin writes:

Sometimes it has to be the butler

Why do mysteries captivate? What makes us read mystery stories and mystery novels with wide eyes and quickening hearts? And why do so many readers experience such joy, perhaps even closure at some level, when a mystery is solved and loose ends are tucked away?

I am no scholar of such high literary or cognitive conundrums, but given that Blogadda kindly asked me to judge the Mystery Fiction contest, I am going to muse aloud my experiences with mystery fiction, before announcing the winners in this delightful contest.

Human beings, I think, hate ambiguity. While some of use ambiguity successfuly at work and at home to manage relationships–“It is not a question of whether you need a Macbook or not honey. Forget it. Do what you want. Just don’t ask me next time.”–we deeply dislike it in our fiction and stories. A murder must have a victim, a culprit, a motive and a method. Nothing is, or must be, by accident. Coincidences are suffered silently, but only so much and no further.

But then at some level we are also dissapointed when puzzles unravel too well. When everything makes too much sense. Or maybe it is just me. Which is why, perhaps, while I grew up enjoying Sherlock Holmes, I have now begun to enjoy the dirty, unclean and often cruel solutions of Martin Cruz Smith. And the honest, realistic drudgery of the Martin Beck novels.

In both those cases the problem solvers, Arkady Renko and Swedish policemen respectively, are anything but like Sherlock Holmes. They are small, hazy characters with nothing to set them apart but their overall ordinariness.

But in the end the characters are all incidental. Only the solution matters. And so it was with Blogadda’s Mystery Writing Contest. Lila was dead. But who killed her? Reunion, the short story by Ajay Nair, that needed a solution, is tight and adequately ambiguous.

While judging the contest I looked for not just the right answer, but also for presentation. Many people got the right answer. And many people got the perfect wrong answer. Who can resist the identical twin?

My choices are as follows:

  1. The Party by Soumya – They were the worst years of his life. But the best years of Lila’s life. A delightful irony.
  2. BlogAdda “who dunnit” Mystery contest by Shankha – “I have started perspiring I can figure out something, something so terribly frightening, I am losing my breath.” A Belgian in Kolkatta. Very nice.

I have only chosen two. While there were so many other who got it right, not one really stood out. These two did.

Our Special Thanks to Sidin Vadukut once again for taking the time out to judge this contest and announce the winners with a special note for them.

All the winners are being sent an email as to how they can get the goodies. If you don’t receive an email from us by tonight, do let us know. Once again, all of you are awesome and we enjoyed reading every single entry. We love you all! Come back in sometime as we have another special contest for all of you.

20 Replies to “Mystery Fiction Contest Results Announced!”

  1. “I used to serve her tea in bed everyday. Every day, a little concoction that I’d brewed was mixed with it”
    Does it say the tea leaves were poisoned. ???????

    congrats to the winners. I would like Ajay/Pal to comment on the result.

  2. I am finding it really hard to believe the reasoning behind both the answers. Both the answers are polls apart. But there has to be just “One” right answer as specified earlier.
    It would be nice if Ajay could give tell us what he had in mind, when he wrote the story.
    Congratulations to the winners!! πŸ™‚

  3. Congrats to the Winners, but somehow, and with all due respect to Sidin, the results don’t sound convincing at all. So who did kill Lila? I would really like to know Ajay’s version as well.

  4. This was not a “complete the story” contest. It was a mystery, to be solved with specific described personalities and specific props and clues. I think that’s what most folks assumed.

    The result does nothing to enhance our knowledge of who the killer was. It leans towards generalities rather than specifics. Currently Lila could be dead, or she could be Sia . A reading of admin’s comments , in answer to a poem on the contest announcement page , clearly insists that Lila, for sure, is dead.

    And so, it appears that somewhere along the way to the final judgement, the emphasis changed.

    A lot o folks , racked their brains, evaluated scenarios, examined their assumptions and spent a lot of time trying to figure out the answer to the question posed by this contest.

    I think it would be in the fitness of things if Ajay were to complete this story for us.

  5. Phew!! am I glad that you guys rescued me from sleepless nights thinking about the killer. That was one hell of a contest and looking forward for more from you guys.

  6. it is really unfortunate that such a great contest should go wasted in controversy. I am really disappointed in the way Sidin has judged the contest.

    The fact that he says :”While there were so many other who got it right, not one really stood out. These two did” is a very bad statement.

    Chandana Shekhar, Gyanban, being two. I can give you many names who stand out.I wont include mine or else you may think its all about sour grapes. It is not. It is about ethics and right judgment.

    The original story had no clues but they were provided to make it easier for the participants.. I have given the reasons which will prove that the reasoning behind the winning posts is not correct. wonder why the two winners have not posted any comments here.

    I wonder if he really read or understood the story himself. I have already written to Ajay.

    Sidin may be some famous blogger and director of a well known site but that does not qualify him to be a mystery fiction writer or reader leave alone a judge for that.
    on what grounds was he selected as judge and what are his reasons for the choice he made. there has to be some explanation.

    here is my entry

    http://tikulicious.wordpress.com/2010/05/18/reunion-who-dunnit/

    I hope you read the other entries too.

    Let the organizer, author or the judge along with admin do some explaining.

  7. I lost faith in BlogAdda’s contests after participating in this contest. You made us wait for a lot of time and this is what we get as results. I am sure this will be the last contest in which I will ever take part.

  8. We have received a few mail with concerns about the results . We would like to make a few things clear and try and address your concerns at the same time.

    1. The results were delayed because of bereavement in Sidin Vadukut’s family. This is out of anyone’s control.

    2. As in any game or sport. We should respect the decision of the judge which is binding.

    3 Users had written requesting for an allowance of words not more than 100 characters. We allowed this leeway to keep the users happy. If you think that is wrong, we will be more stricter in the coming contests.

    4. Ajay would be shortly commenting on his version of the story.

    We want this Adda to be a fun loving one and every Addaite should be happy. All these initiatives are being done to achieve that. We request your co-operation to make this a successful one.

    We thank you and appreciate all those who have taken part in the contest and we can assure you there is a lot to look forward to. We would not want to see any blogger unhappy.

  9. Hi guys,

    Just clarifying a few things.

    When I wrote this story, for me there was a simple psychological solution inherent in it. Apart from the clues, the details and red herrings, the questions were:

    Who would want to kill Lila?
    Who could succeed?

    The answer to the first question is more difficult. Everyone in the room had a motive and since the story was from the point of view of only one of the characters, it’d never be possible to judge the motives of others, except make educated guesses. So you have to trust implicitly in the judgment of that one character as he runs down the list to suggest why not any one of them is the murderer.

    The second question is the the more reliable one. There is a history of failed attempts – and as the narrator goes through that history, you can rely more on them.

    The one thread that’s constant is Lila’s infallibility. This is a woman who has been shot, been in an accident, almost drowned and was poisoned. And survived. Until she contracts something from which there is no escape. A woman who obviously believes in living life her way. The inference I’d draw (or tried to suggest) is that she’d want to control her death too. And what’s death without drama for her?

    Hence, the logical answer of a suicide.

    Having said that, the point was to create enough ambiguity to make it interesting. In that light, I’d think Sidin picking a second winner with a different answer is quite fascinating. That answer swallows the red herring – of the twin sister – whole but is presented in a creative manner. I’ll refrain from judging the quality of other answers – I was overwhelmed by the responses and many of them were well thought out and interesting.

    Being a life-long cricket fan, I subscribe to the edict that the final verdict does belong to the umpire. And as a judge, you always have to have some latitude, which Sidin’s exercised in this case. From someone as consistently witty and funny as him (Exhibit A: http://www.whatay.com/ ), you’d not expect a dry, boring judgment, would you?

  10. Reading all the comments to the “winner announcement”, I would rather like to say something about my post.

    First of all, I myself never have written the post with “winning” in mind. I have read the T&C thoroughly and also the comments from “admin” before posting into this competition.

    In response to questions asked by “tikulicious” and “gyanban”, “admin” mentioned that this need not to be written in the form of a story in the first place. So, what “suranga” has mentioned in this comment is absolutely true.

    I read the post written by “Chandana Shekhar” before writing mine, so I knew that she is the one getting the “right answer”, “sucide”, Lila killed herself.

    I read some other opinions like the “author” is the killer. Now, like “gyanban” mentioned in his post about the “flaws” and “loose ends” of this story, I started writing it in the form of the story, which is not ended. It was like another entry in my “story telling” blog “GolporKhata” – > the storybook, and commented on all most all the posts whichever I found interesting, in hope, that they will read mine in return.

    That was only thing I had in mind. I have never “dreamt” of winning and therefore chosen “nothing” from pingoo.com, rather used HCN as murder weapon, which leaves a little trace as it evaporate quickly and kills really fast, within seconds.

    I don’t want to be considered as a “winner” if that really hurts someone, who actually is my dear friend blogger, who waited just to know the answer and visited blogAdda blog page now and again. Most of the competitors visited my blog, commented and that is the real “winning prize” for me.

    Also, please visit and read my other stories in your spare time, “honestly” comment on them, so that I can be better and may someday really become a “good” writer to fulfill my dreams. That’s all I want from you, not to “win” over anybody.

    I finally would like to thank Mr. Sidin for giving my biggest prize I ever got in my blogging life, calling me “A Belgian in Kolkatta”. Apart from my daily life of “writing code”, the story telling really is a thing “I really want to do.”

    And last, but not the least, Lila – created by Ajay, still creating controversies after she is “long dead”, that’s the best price an author can get all the time. Thanks Ajay for your masterpiece.

    Thanks BlogAdda! Thanks my dear friends!

    With regards and best wishes,
    Shankha

  11. Did u know? All this was just a dream..These were just the last thoughts of the author before he accidentally drank his own ‘Green’ tea. So there u go,no one got killed!
    Its just that he was too clumsy and ended up in the hospital for 2 months! πŸ˜€

    :Mrgreen:

    Enough of the controversies people! Peace! πŸ™‚

    Looking forward to more cool contests frm u guys! U guys rock!

  12. first and foremost, THANK U SO MUCH blogadda for even considering mine for the contest. I should really thank Maria (http://wannabauthor.wordpress.com) that wonderful writer friend of mine, who posted her entry first and helped me post mine.

    πŸ™‚

    As for the rest of the comments, I really didn’t get time to check all of them but i’m sure they all deserve to win in their own rights.

    And Good one Karate brat, among all of us, u nailed it right!
    πŸ™‚

  13. For the first time am gloomily holding Karate Brat’s hand in this. πŸ˜₯ He is right and let’s congratulate the winners and pat Mr Sidin for his good work (ok those of you who are angry can get to pat him a little harder :mrgreen: ).

    Blogadda I thoroughly enjoyed this contest and hope to see a ton more from you guys! See this contest at least got me to log in here and put comments :mrgreen:

  14. First of all, Congratulations Soumya & Shankha! πŸ™‚ And Congrats Ajay to…..ur Lila acheived what she aspired to….invasion in to the memories of readers and thus immortality!

    Regarding the Contest, I learnt a lot about story-writing….mine was a plane
    mathematical answer to the Contest….but few people were able to hold the flow of author’s imagination brilliantly! So, though I lost the contest, I learnt a lot about srory tellling….Thank You Guys!

    Thanks Blogadda! πŸ™‚

  15. Became a fan of the contest once i came to know about it…now that the results are out, am no more a fan…In fact a few of us friends, who were following some of the entries and the contest in general were quite miffed by the entries that came up trumps… but again, once the finger is raised you gotta walk the walk…so be it… πŸ™‚

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