It’s no secret that I’m sort of a nerd. One thing I find fascinating is folded paper. I think origami is amazing and I particularly like how some people have used modular paper folding as an art form. But those aren’t really conducive to the book arts.
A few years ago, though, I became interested in flexagons–paper folded in such as way that you can bend it and reveal a hidden side. In particular, I like to make hexahexaflexagons, which look like a two-sided hexagon, but which really have six faces. Like an old school “cootie-catcher,” you squeeze it and then open it to reveal another side.
This is an excellent opportunity to introduce you to Vi Hart, YouTube vlogger who makes math fun. Vi explains and demonstrates the hexaflexagon in her most popular video yet.
Cool, right? But a hexahexaflexagon is more than freaky, geeky toy. It’s made of paper (I make mine with register tape) and begs for text. But the way it flexes, while mathematical and predictable, is not like turning the pages of a book. I wondered if I could create a narrative using non-linear story telling.
“New Tricks” is the rough draft of a simple murder mystery told using the hexahexaflexagon format. Find each face to reveal the clues, five on each face. Piece together the 25 clues to figure out who dunnit.
New Tricks by Eliza Lane
Although she was getting on in years, Lady Ellsworth did not die of natural causes.
Who took Lady Ellsworth’s life?
Lady Ellsworth lived in a brownstone near the Keller Institute.
She was a loyal friend, beloved by all who knew her.
Although she work faithfully every day, she died without a penny to her name.
She and Thurston had not left the apartment for almost a week.
She took her last breath on a winter afternoon, surrounded by friends.
The body lay on the floor of the bedroom, covered by only a blanket.
Nothing in the apartment was out of place.
The only clock in the apartment was exactly one hour fast.
Thurston had tried to hide her medicine in a plate of food, but it sat on the counter untouched.
Detective Cleary took Lady Ellsworth’s body away from the scene.
Thurston Ellsworth calls Lady Ellsworth is “best friend.”
Dr. Loomis has a private practice and also volunteers at the zoo.
Max, the upstairs neighbor, also sees Dr. Loomis.
Buddy is silently thankful that Max is at his side.
Mr. Wong delivers groceries to the Ellsworth apartment twice each week.
The killer had known Lady Ellsworth since she was young.
In Chinese astronomy, the killer was born in the year of the dog, the victim in the year of the dragon.
Lady Ellsworth was more mature than her killer.
The killer received a phone call that morning from Thurston’s daughter.
The killer thought to himself, “this never gets easier.”
None of the people living in the brownstone saw the killer.
Five people were known to have been in the apartment that day.
Six pairs of footprints could be seen in the fresh snow outside the front door.
Detective Cleary spent the afternoon talking with the neighbors.
The police were never called.
Any ideas? Leave your guesses in the comments below!
While this is merely a draft, I can imagine this weird, flexible book on lovely paper, perhaps even letterpressed. This hexaflexagon, with just three faces, is for sale as a limited edition on Etsy.
Curious to learn more? Here are two good sites:
- Aunt Annie’s Crafts for printable patterns
- Flexagon Fever for an in depth look at the face variations
And if you loved Vi Hart, check out her other videos on this subject: