Agatha Christie is one of the world's best-selling authors, second only to William Shakespeare. In her lifetime, she wrote 85 novels, most of which were "Whodunits?" such as the famous "Murder on the Orient Express."
To solve the crimes, she created whip-smart characters such as Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple. However, it turns out you might not have to be at their level of crime-solving to figure out the mystery.
In honor of Agatha Christie's 125th birthday, the TV channel Drama put researchers to the task of finding a pattern in Christie's works. They examined 27 of her novels and found clues that let a computer program figure out whodunnit long before the ending.
For example, the way the murder happened, the location, the detective investigating, the relationships of the characters and even words describing the characters can eliminate suspects or even give away the murderer.
For example, if the location is a country house, there's a 75% chance the killer is female. If the murder was done by strangling, then the murderer was almost certainly a male. If the murder took place on a car or train, then the culprit is likely female. Male murders strike more on boats or planes.
If you're interested in the actual formulas, here they are:
Those might work for a computer, but for the rest of us it might just be easier to figure it out the old fashioned way: finishing the book.
What's your favorite Agatha Christie novel? Let us know in the comments.