Mapback is a term used by paperback collectors to refer to the earliest paperback books published by Dell Books, beginning in 1943. The books are known as mapbacks because the back cover of the book contains a map that illustrates the location of the action. Dell books were numbered in series. Mapbacks extend from #5 to at least #550; then maps became less of a fixed feature of the books and disappeared entirely in 1951. (Numbers 1 through 4 had no map, although a later re-publication of #4, The American Gun Mystery by Ellery Queen, added a map.) The occasional number in the series between #5 and #550 contains no map, but some sort of full-page graphic or text connected with the book's contents.
The artwork of the maps began with quite detailed maps, and later numbers contain more stylized ones. "The back cover map was very popular with readers and remains popular with collectors ... the Dell 'mapbacks' are among the most well known vintage paperbacks."
"Dell's most memorable design innovation was not on the front but on the back covers ... the entire back covers given over to maps, or variously charts, blueprints, or what have you to represent story locale or scene of the crime: a stretch of California highway, the interior of an apartment, a sheik's 'city of stones.' It was an enjoyable if slightly goofy gimmick and, amazingly, managed to last nearly ten years."
Dreams of Gerontius is a great resources providing some fascinating and in-depth solves of puzzle and Treasure Hunt books. From the website:
"The Dreams of Gerontius is all about puzzles and games.
Its author is Geoff Dallimore, a lapsed physicist, hobbyist programmer and musician, and professional European patent attorney at xpatent.co.uk."
"Armchair treasure hunt books were the primary motivator for creating this site. The best is still the classic Masquerade by Kit Williams, but The [less classic] Merlin Mystery by Jonathan Gunson and Marten Coombe remains a source of intrigue for many. There are plenty of others in the genre of varying quality, and you’ll find articles and hints about some of the more famous under the Treasure Hunts category."
"I like board games, computer games and puzzles of all types. Computer puzzle games come and go a lot more quickly than full armchair treasure hunts, so there are probably more articles about them than other things."
"There are also also several personal projects that I’m working on and publish from time to time. There’s even an armchair treasure hunt book of my own that I’m writing. Maybe I’ll finish it one day!"
From the website (translated from French):
Hello to all pop-up collectors, or simple readers curious to discover this strange world which brings together young people from 3 to 95 years old! I present here all of my personal collection (around 840 pop-ups).
But by creating the Pop-Up-Féerie site (following an exhibition at the Cholet media library), I was far from imagining the work it took to get there. The site set up, the pop-up files published, it was obvious to create a Facebook account and even more to create a You Tube channel, which is done from May 2020, the following Instagram account shortly!
Being a simple amateur even if I was greatly helped by the designer of the site Charlotte of @cgcommunication and by my daughter Elodie, I beg you to excuse any errors, or delays on some pages, everyone knowing that retirees never have space on their agendas: too busy!
Happy reading to you and know that you can always join me for an exhibition or conference.
From the ABC News Article:
"Melbourne mathematician Sam Blake and two fellow cryptologists have been officially recognised by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation for solving a 50-year-old cryptic message written by an as yet unnamed serial killer, known only as the Zodiac."
What's fascinating about this effort, and eventual solve, is not only the solution itself, but how Blake could determine the cypher contained a legible message through the use of a computer program, and an understanding of true randomness.
Even if you're not a fan of sudokus or everyday puzzles, "Cracking the Cryptic" tackles some extremely interesting spin's on the traditional format, leading to some fascinating solve method's.
The channel's videos are typically between 30-60 minutes long depending on the complexity. The hosts provide ongoing description of their method's, with them solving it in real time, and provide's an online template of the puzzle to follow along with.
If you can get past the dreadful video thumbnails, you'll find some interesting - and even oddly relaxing - viewing!
If you're looking for a 'one stop shop' for puzzles and treasure hunts, this is it. run by multiple contributors, some published authors themselves, this website is a collection of reviews, solutions, interviews, news and solves, and has a strong community and social media following.
From the website:
"Get your Quest on with MW! Mysterious Writings is leading the way into Armchair Treasure Hunts, Lost Treasures, Found Treasures, Mystery, and Adventure! Come Join us!"
Everyone's familiar with Easter Eggs, in media, games, literature etc. Think of a collectible hidden in a video game from another franchise, or a running joke hidden between two sitcoms, or Steven King's town of Derry tying Pennywise the Clown from "IT" into multiple other books from him). They give an extra dimension for fans to explore.
ARG's often take it one step further - building extraordinarily complex puzzles into video games that can take months and years (and in some cases decades) for fans to uncover.
Gathered below are a few interesting links, from straightforward Easter Egg's to fascinating treasure hunts in media.
Reddit also has a great subreddit for "In Real Life" Easter Eggs - fun things hidden in everyday objects like streetsigns, packaging and products.Reddit's r/IRLEasterEggs subreddit
From the website:
"This website is dedicated to reviews of wordless picturebooks for children. It draws on the personal collection of Clare Walters, a UK writer and journalist with a long-standing interest in the subject. The books featured originate from across the world, but most have at some time been published in an English edition. Many have been reissued in several versions, and in each case details of the original publisher and date are given alongside those of the title depicted."
This archive of Gamebook's from Demian Katz spans back as far as the 90s and is as comprehensive a list of the genre as you'll find out there.
Maintained by a group of avid fans and contributors you'll find a tonne of resources here, all meticulously maintained with book versioning/variants, cover photos, reviews etc etc.
Livres-Jeux (French for "Game Books") is a modern blog which reviews new release gamebooks and puzzle books. While it's in French, it has a lot of resources and categories, and a tonne of imagery - often with videos of inside each book.
Meticulously run by an author themselves, with the hopes of promoting Gamebooks, their fans, and writers, there's a tonne here to explore!
From the website:
"In March 1992 treasure hunt author Dan James, famous for his work in the art of illustrating and producing treasure hunt books, founded The Armchair Treasure Hunt Club and produced its first bimonthly club newsletter. This newsletter offered a challenge for people to pit their wits against each other, in the search for buried treasure, as in the long lost days of old, but this time the clues to the treasure could be solved from the comfort of your own armchair.
For the cost of just £20 per year, members receive club treasure hunts and puzzles to solve, plus news from the treasure hunting world, within the pages of the club's newsletters.
The first club treasure hunt (March 1992) was written and produced by Dan James himself was entitled A Timeless Moral. The prize, a statuette of the character within the story, Dr Emmanuel Worsfold, was crafted in bronze, and set on a rosewood base embellished with silver decorations, beaten, cut, and polished by hand. This treasure remained buried for three years, as people from all walks of life tried to solve the hidden clues within the story.
Since A Timeless Moral, club hunts have come thick and fast - with at least one new major club hunt each year. Some club hunts remain unsolved and are open to new and current members alike. Most recently, A Monkish Plot offers a wooden chest of silver trinkets to the finder of a buried antique key."
Into the Abyss is the work of pseudonymous blogger 'White Raven' and their quest to solve Christopher Manson's complex puzzle book "MAZE". They have an interesting breakdown of each daunting page of MAZE, with the reply comments often being just as useful as the blog post.
From the website:
“This site is devoted to the genre of the immersive puzzle, but until there is another like MAZE, this site stands as a testament to the brilliance of Christopher Manson, who, in one stroke launched and mastered a new genre of literature.”
Planet Idvelh is the French homage to gamebooks.org - an archive of all things gamebooks and/or puzzles.
Idvelh stands for "books in which you are the heroes" (in English), essentially the French category for CYOA ("Choose your Own Adventure") and features lots of screenshots and alternative covers.
Similar to The Armchair Treasure Hunt Club, this website collects open and closed treasure hunts in a clean, simple layout. Much of this collection isn't limited to books, but any sort of treasure hunt involving a puzzle and a prize.[Archive]Treasure Hunt Cache Website
This... 'interesting' tumblr collects scenes of pinboard glory from modern media (you know the type - red string, mugshots, plot exposition etc).[Archive]Crazy Walls
If you grew up on Sierra and LucasArts, and lament the death of the Adventure/Point and Click genre, rest assured that it's alive and well.
This channel collects newly made games in the classic style.