Letter to a Death Row Inmate

Here’s Challenge 22 for February 8, 2018.

Death is a way out, but perhaps there is a better escape. I won’t say much about this concealment technique except that it has a celebrated (and perhaps apocryphal) origin story.

Find the hidden message that made it past the prison mail censors.

Dear Marcus.

I am very sorry for you. Ethel too. Do know that your family loves you. Ask the warden if he will extend our visit time next Tuesday.

Chris, young as he is, will not understand what is happening. I pray that he will some day. He eventually will know what you did. The bad deeds cannot be absolved, but you should still pray for God’s forgiveness.

The dreaded day is almost here. Time eats away at my resolve. I do ask God every day to ease your suffering. Doctor Bradford tells us that it will be quick and painless.

You have so many good qualities. Your heart is pure. You only lack empathy.

I know you are in pain. You must know that the families of your victims also hurt. We all hurt. We seek some sort of closure; but a tidy end, all desire, few secure. It could be that you alone will secure it.

Salut my dear son,


With CodeAWeek.com, I hope to release one cipher, puzzle, or mystery each week. Anyone can attempt to solve. The winner is the first person to send a correct solution and a description of the solve method to codemaster@codeaweek.com. Once a correct solution is e-mailed, I will publish a follow-up post, congratulating the winner and revealing the secrets of the code.

You may post questions or theories in the comments, but DO NOT POST SOLUTIONS. E-mail them to codemaster@codeaweek.com.


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