Text Box:  Jigsaws


The word “jigsaw” has many meanings.  It is a type of mechanical saw, used by early puzzle makers to cut wooden jigsaw puzzles.  It also means “to arrange or place in an intricate or interlocking way.”  Detectives are also frequently referred to as jigsaws since they put the pieces of a mystery together to solve it.


In the spirit of the old British saying that “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away”...I would like to think that old jigsaw puzzle addicts never die – they just live life “on the edge” and then they go to pieces!


My favorite jigsaw puzzle links

American Puzzle Company

Association of Game and Puzzle Collectors

BePuzzled Mystery Jigsaw Puzzles

Bits and Pieces

Canadian Jigsaw Puzzles

Great American Puzzle Factory

History of Jigsaw Puzzles (from puzzlehistory.com)

Jigsaw Jungle – Canadian dealer covering a variety of manufacturers

Jigsaw Puzzles – A Brief History – by Anne D. Williams

Jigsaw Puzzles With an Added Twist

Jigsaw Puzzles Worldwide – good site for locating address and phone numbers for puzzle companies

List of Jigsaw Puzzles Related to Mysteries

Purchasing Tips for Older Jigsaw Puzzles

Puzzle House – “upscale, high quality, hard to find puzzles”

Springbok Jigsaw Puzzles

Stave Puzzles


Detective stuff

Bibliomania:  Mystery, Crime and Spy Books – resources for mystery book buffs

Bibliomysteries Detectives – books relating to librarian or bibliophilic detectives

CSI:  Crime Scene Investigation – official CBS website for the TV show – the handbook link has a lot of cool scientific info

Happy-Hollisters.com: The Unofficial Happy Hollisters Site – children’s book series by Jerry West

Jigsaw Jones – children’s book series by James Preller

Librarians in Fiction - explores portrayals of librarians in selected works of fiction, notably those involving mystery or detection.

Ultimate Mystery/Detective Web Guide



Ever wonder “why” human beings are so addicted to puzzles and mysteries?

For some, puzzles are entertaining diversions from life’s weighty problems.  An overabundance of curiosity and the need for intellectual stimulation drives others to spend days/years unraveling the most complex mysteries.  Add an insatiable competitive spirit to the mix and suddenly popular detective shows like Perry Mason, Murder She Wrote, and Magnum PI have groups of people gathered around a television trying to figure out “who dun it” before everyone else in the room.  CSI takes this one step further and provides a good deal of intellectual stimulation mixed with some stunning visual effects.


Suggested readings: 


Danesi, Marcel.  The Puzzle Instinct: the meaning of puzzles in human life.  Bloomington, Ind.:  Indiana University Press, 2002.

          At the beginning of the book, Danesi postulates that “puzzles and mysteries are intrinsically intertwined in human life...they appeal to people for the very same reason –- they generate a feeling of suspense that calls out for relief....unraveling the solution to a mystery story or to a puzzle seems to produce a kind of ‘mental catharsis,’ since people typically feel a sense of relief from suspense when they find the answer to the mystery or puzzle....humans seem to need this kind of catharsis on a regular basis.”  Throughout the remainder of the book, he covers a wide range of other possible reasons such as genetics, evolution, philosophy, and psychology.


Dawkins, R. Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion, and the Appetite for Wonder.  Boston:  Houghton Mifflin, 1998.


Sternberg, R.J., and J.E. Davidson.  “The Mind of the Puzzler,” Psychology Today, June 1982, p. 37-44.


Stewart, I., and J. Cohen.  Figments of Reality: The Evolution of the Curious Mind.  Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 1997.


Wilson, E.O., and M. Harris.  “Heredity versus Culture: A Debate.”  IN Anthropological Realities:  Readings in the Science of Culture, edited by J. Guillemin, pp. 450-465.  New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books, 1981.



Links checked:  January 8, 2009

Text updated:  March 16, 2007

©2003-2007, Lorrie Pellack
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