Deadbolt Mystery Society is a monthly subscription box service for lovers of mystery and suspense.
Each box is a standalone mystery with puzzles written and designed by escape room creators with immersive scenarios, intriguing characters and original, compelling stories. Imagine yourself as a detective consulting on specific cases.
This box was sent to us at no cost to review. (Check out our review process to learn about how we review boxes.)
About Deadbolt Mystery Society
The Subscription Box: Deadbolt Mystery Society
The Cost: $24.99 + $4.99 shipping
ACTIVE DEAL: Save 20% off your first box!
The Products: Clues and puzzles to help solve a murder mystery
Ships to: the US
Deadbolt Mystery Society “Infected” Review
Right on top of my box was an introduction page that gave a general explanation of the contents in the box. It starts off with a link to a checklist to ensure we have everything in the box to solve the mystery, instructs us to read everything, look for things that connect to each other and to solve all the puzzles in order to solve the mystery. It also has a link to the hint files (which is VERY resourceful). It also explains that there are QR codes in most of the boxes, so I made sure to download a QR scanner on my phone before starting the mystery. Lastly, it tells you what any good detective tells you: follow your instincts. Let’s dive into the mystery!
My box also came with this collector’s card of Edward Mayfield High School. Initially, I was unsure if it had anything to do with solving the mystery so I put it aside.
Clues & Information
Every box comes with clues and vital information required to solve the case. A good detective reads everything one, twice and then a third time. We aren’t just looking at words, but symbols or pictures. Everything is a clue.
The first item I received is this email to the Chief of Police from the Detective. This was the first step and the opening into the case we are working on: somehow, we are stuck in a quarantine zone and we need to find out why. Since we are in the quarantine zone, may as well investigate.
There are signs around the Quarantine Zone warning that we are inside of it. If we leave, we will be warned then shot.
This is the map of the Quarantine Zone we are in. Is that blood splatter in the corner?
I am 100% a murderino; with that obsession becomes a love for transcripts so I was psyched to see this 911 transcript. Many clues come from those calls to emergency services and shouldn’t be ignored.
This is interesting. A picture of happy newlyweds Clayton and Marguerite, wed in ’99. Who are they? And what does it mean, that “cells are the foundation of life?”
Note from Clayton – wait, Clayton our newlywed?! After reading this, it is clear he is our suspect and that he is losing his darling wife to cancer despite treatments. He has written that he is doing some sort of trials with women who resemble his wife. Is that a motive? What is this guy up to?! There is so much here, I put it aside to read over and over.
There are also these notes on the back of a periodic table. The writing is different and says they are Benjamin’s. I know Benjamin is the detective who wrote the email and made the 911 call. I put these aside, they contain a lot of information regarding cells and things he found.
There is also this card for the Valley Falls Police department (nothing on the back.) I also put this aside. It has significance, I just need to learn more about what I’ve got to learn what it could be.
And this card. I think this is what I am trying to solve! Who is patient zero?!
Pictures from the crime scene
My box came with pictures from the scene of the crime. Like the clues above, everything is significant no matter how small. It is my job to make sure I review these photos, understand where they came from, who is responsible and ultimately discover their significance. Anything can be the key to solving this mystery.
Interesting. A series of numbers and letters, 4 columns written in marker on what appears to be a wall. The blood is creepy…
More letters and numbers, this time mixed up and some even crossed out. Also in black ink. But the writing is different than the writing in the other picture; it must come from two different persons though it appears to be written on the same wall? The writing is over the blood; are the victims being hurt then returned to this room?
More letters, but this time they are written in blood and on a different wall. What could this mean?
This picture seems like it is taken in a locker with some sort of chemicals and a mask. What is the significance of this?
Hash marks. So many hash marks. Kidnapped victims tend to do this to know how many days they’ve been missing. There is so many – is this how long this victim has been missing? It is on the same wall as the bloody letters; is this the same person?
QR Code Cards
To solve the mystery, Deadbolt Mystery Society gives us interactive QR codes. Before I started divulging int this case, I downloaded an app to read these. To keep the mystery mysterious, I have either blocked the code or didn’t take a picture of it; I don’t want to give it away!
A walkie talkie. The QR code is on the back.
A computer screen.
A news alert (QR code on the back).
The scene of a car accident.
And a lock.
Most every crime has a victim. Victimology is crucial to cases; many unsubs (Unknown Subject, credit to Criminal Minds) choose victims for a reason. In this case, we know that the unsub is Clayton and his victims are similar to his wife in height, weight, and age and that he is performing experiments on them to somehow help rid her of her cancer. Let’s meet our victims and learn more about them.
Pam Caldwell, 43, a teacher. Last seen August 29, 2018.
Amanda Gurley, 41, a librarian. Reported missing February 23, 2018.
Brandy Clingan, 41, a teacher. Last seen April 6, 2019.
Lynn Price, 42, works in retail. Last seen February 3, 2019.
Sally Stallings, 42, dance instructor. Missing since March 2, 2019.
Stacy Forbus, 45, realtor. Missing since May 14, 2018.
And finally, Michelle Camp, 43, hairdresser. We don’t have a missing date, but a reference number.
My case file also included some evidence: a playing card, a bobby pin, a ticket stub, a charm, a makeup sponge and a ponytail holder. Where were these found? Will they lead me to patient zero?
Now that I have reviewed all of my information, it is up to me to analyze it. Crack it and solve it. I initially started by sitting on the living room floor and had the contents of the case spread all around me. I had a notebook and paper and made notes. Beware – below are images of me working the case. I am not providing clear answers on how to solve this case, but you may see something that will make this easier to solve the case should you subscribe. If you haven’t worked this box out yet, I suggest skipping on down to the Verdict.
I referred to the link for the clues. They gave me a starting point and lead me through the investigation. Clue one = puzzle 1. My husband and I worked on it for an hour and a half, into the wee hours of the night and had to stop. I went to bed and thought of a better, more organized way to solve the mystery.
The next day, I took it to the dining room where I laid it out. I knew I had to figure out where Clayton placed the victims, so I made cells using Clayton’s notes and determined where the victims where based on both Clayton and Benjamin’s notes. Once I did this, we were able to solve the mystery in about an hour, hour and a half (we started from the beginning, new notes – everything). I found out who Patient Zero was and felt so proud knowing I had cracked this case.
Verdict: This was my first box from Deadbolt Mystery Society, and let me tell you – I haven’t stopped thinking of it and I cannot wait for the next one. Everything about this box is realistic, puzzling and really fed into my sleuth appetite. I loved the different kinds of clues I got: 911 transcripts, picture of the unsub with an important quote, a map of the quarantined area, Benjamin’s notes and Clayton’s notes. I cannot get over the realistic missing persons flyers and the pictures of the crime scene. I also loved the QR codes and the interaction they brought to my experience: they really brought the case to life. This box was created by escape room creators – in my city, Escape Room tickets start at $28 a person! This box is $24.99 plus $4.99 shipping, almost the cost of one ticket to the Escape Room. Deadbolt Mystery Society brought me and my family this experience for nearly the same price! I think this box is well worth the value and is perfect for office-chair sleuths and murderino’s everywhere! Want to know who Patient Zero is? Subscribe and figure it out!
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? No, you will receive the June box. From Deadbolt Mystery Society:
We take subscriptions through the month. The cutoff is the last day of the month. We then mail out all boxes by the 4th of the following month.
Deadbolt Mystery Society also has their past boxes for sale.
ACTIVE DEAL: Save 20% off your first box!
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
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