Jack Heath

Bestselling author of HANGMAN


I promised that if Hangman made it into the Dymocks 101 Club (a list of the 101 best books of all time as voted by Dymocks booklovers) I would reveal the answers to all the riddles in the book. You delivered, so now I have to do the same. Here are the answers (along with, in some cases, the clue within the chapter). Be warned—some spoilers follow.

Chapter 1

The more of me you take, the more you leave behind. What am I?

Answer: Footsteps

Chapter 2:

What is so fragile that you can break it just by saying its name?

Answer: Silence

Chapter 3

What belongs to you, but is used mostly by others?

Answer: Your name

Chapter 4

I’m as big as you are, but I weigh nothing. I follow you around all day, but at night I am invisible. What am I?

Answer: Your shadow

Chapter 5

What has many keys, but cannot open any door?

Answer: A piano (there’s one on Harry Crudup’s key ring)

Chapter 6

Die without me, walk right through me, never see me, never feel me. What am I?

Answer: Air

Chapter 7

I always run but never walk, often murmur but never talk. I have a bed but never sleep, and have a mouth but never eat. What am I?

Answer: A river

Chapter 8

When is a door not a door?

Answer: When it’s ajar

Chapter 9

A perching barrel, filled with meat, takes hits from leaps and dives. Look inside, but do not eat – the meat in there is still alive! What is it?

Answer: A thimble

Chapter 10

I’m a butcher. I’m six feet tall, with size nine shoes. What do I weigh?

Answer: Meat

Chapter 11

I am brown. I have a head and a tail but no body. What am I?

Answer: A penny

Chapter 12

The first is dead and slowly shrinks. The second is always eating and will never be full. Once the third is gone, it never returns. What are they?

Answer: Wood, fire and smoke

Chapter 13

The first room is on fire, the second contains assassins with loaded guns, and the third is full of lions that haven’t eaten in three years. Which room is safest to enter?

Answer: The third one (the lions are dead)

(There’s a reference to lions in this chapter; the death row inmates are “softened like lions in cages”)

Chapter 14

Why didn’t the vampire attack the snowman?

Answer: He was afraid of frostbite

Chapter 15

If you have me, you want to share me. If you share me, you don’t have me. What am I?

Answer: A secret

Chapter 16

I have six faces and twenty-one eyes, but I am blind. What am I?

Answer: A die

Chapter 17

I weigh almost nothing and I’m not hot, but you can’t hold me for long. What am I?

Answer: Breath

Chapter 18

A man takes his son to a doctor. The doctor says, ‘I cannot treat this boy — he is my son.’ How is this possible?

Answer: The doctor is the mother of the boy (this chapter is the first time Charlie Warner is revealed to be a woman, hence the riddle)

Chapter 19

My maker has never used me. My buyer will not use me. When you use me, you will not see me, smell me or hear me. What am I?

Answer: A coffin

Chapter 20

My life can be measured in hours. I serve by being devoured. Thin, I am quick. Fat, I am slow. The older I get, the shorter I grow. The dark is my friend, the wind is my foe. What am I?

Answer: A candle

Chapter 21

Tracy died in Florida. Shortly after, Craig died at sea. Nobody mourned them – in fact, people rejoiced. Why?

Answer: They are hurricanes

Chapter 22

Why do you always find me in the last place you look?

Answer: because you don’t need to keep looking once you’ve found me (this is relevant to the chapter because Blake finally finds the missing kids)

Chapter 23

Is a clock which loses a minute per day better than one which has stopped?

Answer: no, because a stopped clock is right twice per day (this riddle is relevant to the chapter because after many theories, Blake is finally right about the identity of the kidnapper, but he found out only by chance)

Chapter 24

What crime is punished if attempted, but not if committed?

Answer: suicide (relevant because Luzhin shoots himself)

Chapter 25

What anniversary present did the hangman buy his wife?

Answer: a choker (which the lawyer is wearing)

Chapter 26

Some people fear me. Others long for me. No-one has ever seen me—in fact, I never existed—but you speak my name every day. What am I?

Answer: Tomorrow (because the chapter is about Blake’s uncertain future)