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DC Database

"The Riddle Unanswered": Gotham City Police are on the scene of an early morning murder. It's the third recent murder in which the killer first dosed the victim with chloroform before slitting their throat with an Indian ghurka khukri kn

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Detective Comics #845 is an issue of the series Detective Comics (Volume 1) with a cover date of August, 2008.

Synopsis for "The Riddle Unanswered"

Gotham City Police are on the scene of an early morning murder. It's the third recent murder in which the killer first dosed the victim with chloroform before slitting their throat with an Indian ghurka khukri knife then left a white lilly in the pool of blood. As Commissioner Gordon and Batman discuss the lack of any apparent patterns, the Riddler arrives, making a big show for the press about how he intends to solve the case.

Leaving the scene, Batman finds Catwoman waiting for him in the Batmobile. She rides with him for a while, first discussing the new serial killer in Gotham, then shifting the conversation to Batman's recent relationships with Jezebel Jet and Zatanna Zatara. He denies that there's anything going on with Zatanna, but Catwoman continues to press the issue until she makes a sudden exit from the vehicle by wrapping her whip around a streetlight they're passing. He briefly considers going after her, but decides against it in favor of working on the serial killer case.

In the Batcave, Alfred Pennyworth convinces Batman to at least take some food at his workstation if he won't take a break from his research. Batman decides to log-on to an amateur detective's chat room to gauge other people's viewpoints and trade theories. In the chat room, with everyone under assumed names, he talks to a Gotham police officer, a criminology student, Detective Chimp--who is aware of Batman's screen name, and the Riddler. During the chatting, Chimp sends Batman a private message asking if he thinks Riddler is aware of their identities, which Batman doubts. No one in the chat comes up with any great ideas, and when the Riddler is given a just delivered envelope he logs off and leaves.

After the Riddler leaves, Batman begins to wonder about the nature of the crimes, eventually considering they're being done to cover up a previous one. Going through the 58 murders committed in Gotham in the three weeks before the first "White Lilly" murder, he narrows them down to one anomalous one--high school coach Robert Benjamin--who was killed in what the police have put down as a mugging gone wrong. Wrestling with his conscience, Batman breaks into the high school's computers to look through Benjamin's files, after which he attempts to call the Riddler, with no luck.

With the aide of a tracer placed on his car long ago, Batman goes after the Riddler and finds his car half submerged in a swamp. After fighting a couple of guard dogs off, he positions himself on the roof of a barn. Inside, the Riddler is tied to a chair and being abused. His captor admits to being the White Lilly killer when asked and decides to kill the Riddler without answering any of his questions as to why, but just as he's about to, a batarang flies through the air knocking the exotic knife from his hand.

Batman swoops down from behind and recites the killer's reasoning for him. Six years ago, at the Skylite Club, Jeremy Ellis proposed to his girlfriend Sarah Welter. On the same night, the Riddler robbed the club and in the crossfire between the Riddler's gang and the guards, Sarah was shot and killed. In his grief Ellis went to Robert Benjamin, his former counselor, which meant that when he started killing people in hopes of attracting the Riddler's attention with the fake serial killings, Benjamin had to die first. After the Riddler made a big show in front of the press, he was sent a message from a "witness", which he believed and chased down.

Ellis says it's not fair that people like the Riddler get to destroy people's lives and walk away, especially to look like they're on the side of the law. Riddler apologizes for Sarah's death, but says that he doesn't even remember half of what he did during those days. Ellis doesn't care and fires his shotgun, only to have the Batman leap in front and take the shot. He offers to get Ellis help, but he says he'll never forgive or forget about this before killing himself.

Batman asks the still tied up Riddler how many people with shattered lives he's responsible for, and Riddler asks him how many he's responsible for. Batman tells him that he checked forensics reports and it wasn't a security guards bullet that killed Ellis' fiance, to which the Riddler coldly replies that it must have been one of his people. Instead of untying him, Batman slides a knife close to the Riddler and says he estimates it'll take six minutes to free himself, and five for the guard dogs to wake up before leaving.

Appearing in "The Riddle Unanswered"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:


  • The Lilly Killer (Single appearance)

Other Characters:





  • Collected in Batman: Private Casebook.


  • Batman uses the screen name JonDoe297, Detective Chimp uses JPHRED52, and the Riddler uses Wizard101.
  • Batman chats on "The Heirs of Dupin", which has actually been registered and displays a message saying it's "down" from MarpleMiss99, one of the chatters in this issue.
  • The "Dupin" being referenced is C. Auguste Dupin, a detective from the works of Edgar Allan Poe. The Dupin stories have been called the groundwork for the likes of Sherlock Holmes and Batman himself.
  • Dupin has been previously referenced in issues of Batman Confidential wherein the Batcomputer is named Dupin and Before that He is alluded too in the Dark Knight Returns when Alfred comments that he read one of Dupin's stories to Bruce as a child.
  • MarpleMiss99, one of the people Batman chats with and the apparent webmaster of The Heirs of Dupin, took her name from Agatha Christie's amateur detective Miss Marple.

See Also

Recommended Reading

Links and References