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Also known as the "open mystery" or "How To Catch Them" (shortened to "Howcatchem"); a style of CrimeAndPunishmentSeries show popularized by ''Series/{{Columbo}}''.

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Also known as the "open mystery" or "How To Catch Them" (shortened to "Howcatchem"); Them"; a style of CrimeAndPunishmentSeries show popularized by ''Series/{{Columbo}}''.


Also known as the "open mystery" or "How To Catch Them"; a style of CrimeAndPunishmentSeries show popularized by ''Series/{{Columbo}}''.

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Also known as the "open mystery" or "How To Catch Them"; Them" (shortened to "Howcatchem"); a style of CrimeAndPunishmentSeries show popularized by ''Series/{{Columbo}}''.

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* The theme of the second act of ''Theatre/{{Sleuth}}'', as the inspector arrives to unravel the events shown in the first act. [[spoiler:Subverted as no actual murder happened. In fact, the inspector is actually the supposed victim in disguise, putting his own plan in motion to get even.]]


This was probably invented by R. Austin Freeman in 1912, in his collection of detective short stories ''The Singing Bone'', which featured Literature/DrThorndyke. He called this concept the 'inverted detective story'. The TropeCodifier is the hugely popular 1970s TV series ''Series/{{Columbo}}'', which used this setup for (nearly) every episode.

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This was probably invented by R. Austin Freeman in 1912, in his a short story collection of detective short stories ''The Singing Bone'', which featured Literature/DrThorndyke. He called this concept the 'inverted detective story'. The TropeCodifier is the hugely popular 1970s TV series ''Series/{{Columbo}}'', which used this setup for (nearly) every episode.



* ''Literature/DrThorndyke'' was one of the first to do this; several of his stories will show the killer performing an apparently perfect coverup in the first half, then following it with scientific deduction through the second half. R. Austin Freeman stated that such stories were an experiment in whether it was possible to eliminate what he felt were implausibly melodramatic numbers of possible suspects in detective stories by making it clear from the start who did it and how, but the tension instead coming from whether the reader has spotted ''how'' a detective could find out by studying what evidence the criminal left.

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* ''Literature/DrThorndyke'' was one of the first to do this; several of his stories will show the killer performing an apparently perfect coverup in the first half, then following it with scientific deduction through the second half. (The first four such stories were collected together and published as ''Literature/TheSingingBone'' in 1912. R. Austin Freeman stated that such stories were an experiment in whether it was possible to eliminate what he felt were implausibly melodramatic numbers of possible suspects in detective stories by making it clear from the start who did it and how, but the tension instead coming from whether the reader has spotted ''how'' a detective could find out by studying what evidence the criminal left.


The traditional mystery challenges the viewer to solve the mystery along with the detective. Usually, the viewer is disadvantaged by the fact that the detective knows more than the viewer (WeWouldHaveToldYouBut; TomatoSurprise; CluelessMystery). But in the ReverseWhodunnit, the advantage goes to the viewer: we actually get to ''see'' the murder as it is committed.

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The traditional mystery challenges the viewer to solve the mystery along with the detective. Usually, the viewer is disadvantaged by the fact that the detective knows more than the viewer (WeWouldHaveToldYouBut; TomatoSurprise; CluelessMystery). Sometimes, the viewer gets to see all the clues along with the detective; that is FairPlayWhodunit. But in the ReverseWhodunnit, the advantage goes to the viewer: we actually get to ''see'' the murder as it is committed.


* In Part 4 of [[Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure JoJo's Bizzare Adventure]] we already know from the first moment he appears on screen that Kira Yoshikage is the serial killer that murdered Reimi along with a lot of women in the town of Morioh, but the protagonists don't know untill he slips up. [[spoiler: It goes even further when Kira murders and steals the identity of another man. We get several scenes of him attempting to fit in his new 'family' and resisting the urge to kill, but the protagonists are left unaware of his new identity till the very last fight against him.]]

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* In Part 4 of [[Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure JoJo's Bizzare Adventure]] we already know from the first moment he appears on screen that ''Manga/JojosBizarreAdventureDiamondIsUnbreakable'', Kira Yoshikage is revealed almost immediately after his introduction to be the serial killer that SerialKiller who murdered Reimi along (along with a lot of women many other victims in the town of Morioh, Morioh), but the protagonists don't know untill until he slips up. [[spoiler: It up when Shigechi accidentally takes [[ALoveToDismember one of his severed hands]] due to it being in an identical bag to his sandwich. [[spoiler:It goes even further when Kira murders and steals the identity of another man. We man: we get several scenes scenes, and even a VillainEpisode, of him attempting to fit in with his new 'family' and resisting "family", while trying to resist the urge to kill, but the protagonists are left unaware of his new identity till until the very last fight against him.fight.]]


* Used to great effect by Mary Higgins Clark in numerous mystery novels.

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* %%* Used to great effect by Mary Higgins Clark Creator/MaryHigginsClark in numerous mystery novels.


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* Occurs in the first two ''Literature/ProvostsDog'' books alongside regular whodunnits. In ''Terrier'', it's obvious early on that Crookshank is the one behind the fire opal disappearances, but they have a hard time finding proof. Everyone in ''Bloodhound'' also knows that Pearl Skinner is behind the counterfeits, too, but in addition to evidence, they also have a Lord Provost who's ''terrified'' of her.

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* Occurs in the first two ''Literature/ProvostsDog'' ''Literature/BekaCooper'' books alongside regular whodunnits. In ''Terrier'', it's obvious early on that Crookshank is the one behind the fire opal disappearances, but they have a hard time finding proof. Everyone in ''Bloodhound'' also knows that Pearl Skinner is behind the counterfeits, too, but in addition to evidence, they also have a Lord Provost who's ''terrified'' of her.


* The subtitle of ''Discworld/FeetOfClay'' is "A Discworld Howdunnit", though the actual story is a classic whodunit.

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* The subtitle of ''Discworld/FeetOfClay'' ''Literature/FeetOfClay'' is "A Discworld Howdunnit", though the actual story is a classic whodunit.



** [[WordOfGod Word of Pterry]] describes both ''Discworld/GuardsGuards'' and ''Discworld/MenAtArms'' in similar terms, although they're more along the lines of thrillers that happen to star policemen. Both villains ''think'' they're in an open mystery, and that they're the main villain of the piece. [[spoiler: They're not. [[EvilIsNotAToy Their murder weapons are]].]]
** ''Discworld/TheTruth'' is similar, except with reporters as the protagonists.

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** [[WordOfGod Word of Pterry]] describes both ''Discworld/GuardsGuards'' ''Literature/GuardsGuards'' and ''Discworld/MenAtArms'' ''Literature/MenAtArms'' in similar terms, although they're more along the lines of thrillers that happen to star policemen. Both villains ''think'' they're in an open mystery, and that they're the main villain of the piece. [[spoiler: They're not. [[EvilIsNotAToy Their murder weapons are]].]]
** ''Discworld/TheTruth'' ''Literature/TheTruth'' is similar, except with reporters as the protagonists.


* Since ''Series/{{Hannibal}}'' is a prequel to the Hannibal Lector film and book series (barring HannibalRising, which takes place even earlier), the entire series is based around the build-up to Hannibal's eventual capture by Will. They also show us some of the other killers in advance.

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* Since ''Series/{{Hannibal}}'' is a prequel to the Hannibal Lector film and book series (barring HannibalRising, ''Literature/HannibalRising'', which takes place even earlier), the entire series is based around the build-up to Hannibal's eventual capture by Will. They also show us some of the other killers in advance.


** In the extended ''Literature/BookOfDaniel'' we have a story of [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bel_and_the_Dragon Bel and the Dragon]]. In that story, Daniel exposes the lies of Belís priests. It is one of the earlest examles of LockedRoomMystery.

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** In the extended ''Literature/BookOfDaniel'' ''Literature/BookOfDaniel'', we have a story of [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bel_and_the_Dragon Bel and the Dragon]]. In that story, Daniel exposes the lies of Belís priests. It is one of the earlest examles of LockedRoomMystery.


* Literature/{{The Bible}}: The deuterocanonical (or apocryphal, according to Protestants) extended ''Literature/BookOfDaniel'' has a story of [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susanna_(Book_of_Daniel) Susanna]], a woman falsly accused of adultery. Daniel proves that Susanna is innosent using detective methods.

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* Literature/{{The Bible}}: Bible}}:
**
The deuterocanonical (or apocryphal, according to Protestants) extended ''Literature/BookOfDaniel'' has a story of [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susanna_(Book_of_Daniel) Susanna]], a woman falsly accused of adultery. Daniel proves that Susanna is innosent using detective methods.methods.
** In the extended ''Literature/BookOfDaniel'' we have a story of [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bel_and_the_Dragon Bel and the Dragon]]. In that story, Daniel exposes the lies of Belís priests. It is one of the earlest examles of LockedRoomMystery.


* Literature/{{The Bible}}: The deuterocanonical (or apocryphal, according to Protestants) extended Book of Daniel has a story of [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susanna_(Book_of_Daniel) Susanna]], a woman falsly accused of adultery. Daniel proves that Susanna is innosent using detective methods.

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* Literature/{{The Bible}}: The deuterocanonical (or apocryphal, according to Protestants) extended Book of Daniel ''Literature/BookOfDaniel'' has a story of [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susanna_(Book_of_Daniel) Susanna]], a woman falsly accused of adultery. Daniel proves that Susanna is innosent using detective methods.

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* Literature/{{The Bible}}: The deuterocanonical (or apocryphal, according to Protestants) extended Book of Daniel has a story of [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susanna_(Book_of_Daniel) Susanna]], a woman falsly accused of adultery. Daniel proves that Susanna is innosent using detective methods.
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