Monday Mystery: Cold Clash

Note: Last time Melissa chose a medium mystery.


William Fremont was a captain George Washington’s Continental army, stationed in Valley Forge during the bitter winter of 1778. Like many other southern gentlemen, when William joined the fight he brought along his indentured servant. Joe, the servant, hated his master and yearned for a better life. Joe figured that if the war didn’t kill William, the winter would. And then Joe would be free.

But as the war and the winter lived on, so did William, and Joe decided to take matters into his own hands. Joe found some wild oleander, which he knew was poisonous. That evening, Joe brought William his meager dinner, garnished with plenty of poison. William ate heartily and died quickly. The murder was never detected because so many soldiers died of exposure that winter at Valley Forge. In the meantime, Joe slyly worked his way north and became a free man.

The Case:

Captain William Fremont, a handsome 20-year-old, is found dead in the snow. His murder is never detected.

The Mystery:

How was Fremont killed? And why was his murder undetected?

(The winning solution MUST contain all of these elements, please don’t assume information from a previous question.)

Hint #1: William came from a wealthy family
Hint #2: History has recorded it as a particularly bitter winter.


You’re free to ask anything, (please keep it to one question a post for simplicity’s sake,) but Jurd can only answer your questions with:

  • Yes
  • No
  • Yes and No
  • Irrelevant
  • I don’t know
  • Rephrase your question
  • Define what you mean by…

Disclaimer: Monday Mysteries are culled from the 1993 Milton Bradley game, Crack the Case – but don’t go peeking.

Skinner Co. makes no claim to the intellectual property presented here, we’re just a number of friends playing a board game in a digital living room.


Filed under Monday Mystery

113 Responses to Monday Mystery: Cold Clash

  1. Hugh

    Is Fremont wearing his uniform?

  2. Hugh

    Did Fremont die of hypothermia?

  3. Anna

    Was he shot on the battlefield?

  4. Colorado Joe

    Was there snow on the ground when Fremont was killed?

  5. Colorado Joe

    Were there any visible wounds on his body?

  6. jrdskinner

    First hint is up!

  7. Opope

    was he a ship captain?

  8. Colorado Joe

    Did he die of suffocation?

  9. Hugh

    Was Captain Fremont a polar explorer?

  10. Hugh

    Did Fremont’s family make their money in an illegal or underhanded fashion?

  11. Colorado Joe

    Did Fremont’s killer hope to benefit financially from his death?

  12. Colorado Joe

    Did Fremont’s killer die shortly after his death, making it harder to realize a crime had been committed?

  13. Hugh

    Did Fremont die of asphyxiation?

  14. Anna Vizard

    Was jealousy a motive?

  15. jrdskinner

    Second hint is up!

  16. Colorado Linda

    Was the murder weapon poison?

  17. Hugh

    Was Fremont’s killer out for revenge?

  18. jrdskinner

    American mobsters have a slight edge on this one.

  19. Woodard

    Was he murdered by a family member?

  20. Colorado Joe

    Is cannibalism involved in this case in any way?

  21. Colorado Linda

    Was he murdered by someone who was jealous of his rank?

  22. Colorado Joe

    Was there an expedition that he was part of?

  23. Colorado Joe

    Assuming yes, was his killer second in charge of the expedition?

  24. Colorado Linda

    Was the killer an in-law?

  25. Colorado Joe

    Assuming yes (there was an expedition), did the expedition get bogged down in the snow?

  26. Colorado Joe

    Do the makers of this game understand the definition of easy, medium, and hard? πŸ˜›

  27. Colorado Joe

    So, a recap of what I think we know…

    Fremont is dead in the snow, wearing his uniform. Has a little frostbite, but otherwise undamaged.
    He died of poisoning.
    Killer was not a relative or in-law.
    Killer was not his second-in-command.
    His family money comes from something underhanded, but not illegal.
    The killer benefited financially, but this was not the main motive for the killing.
    The killer was not jealous of Fremont or his rank.
    The killer was part of a group that was not an expedition that got bogged down, but not by snow.

    Mob, please reply to this if I missed anything or got something wrong.

  28. Colorado Joe

    “The killer was part of a group that was not an expedition that got bogged down, but not by snow.”

    I jumped the gun on that one. Killer should have read Fremont.

    So, to clarify, was the killer part of Fremont’s group?

  29. Colorado Joe

    This hit me driving into work, gonna take a stab at it…

    The young Captain Fremont led a group of settlers destined for West and a new life. Young, fearless, but not the brightest bulb on the tree, Fremont got the party lost in the wilderness.

    With winter fast approaching and still lost, many in the group became angry with their leader. One particularly angry firebrand poisoned the captain. With all of the other disease and illness in the group, this action passed unnoticed.

    How was Fremont killed? Poison
    And why was his murder undetected? Other illness in the group

  30. Melissa

    Captain Fremont went on this trip and brought his own family’s brand of tinned food. This sketchy company cut corners in packaging the food, he was given the food knowing that it would kill him if he heated it up in the can (letting the chemicals leach out) which he did because it was so chilly.

  31. Opope

    so captain freemont is part of the army?

  32. jrdskinner

    Apologies for the delay in posting, I had some experimental dental surgery and the resulting drugs left me utterly incoherent.

  33. Hugh

    Was this a military scouting mission?

  34. Colorado Joe

    Was the group Fremont and the killer were part of a military one?

  35. Colorado Joe

    Was the group Fremont and the killer were part of settlers heading west in frontier times?

  36. Colorado Joe

    Was Fremont in charge of the group?

  37. Anna Vizard

    Did Was the cold winter, the very one that Washinton crossed the Delaware in?

  38. jrdskinner

    You might say this mystery was forged in a valley.

  39. Anna Vizard

    Was Fremont Williams one of Washington’s soldiers in Valley Forge?

  40. Colorado Joe

    Was Fremont’s death incorrectly attributed to being killed by the English?

  41. jrdskinner

    No, though you’re close to EXPOSING what it was mistaken for. πŸ˜‰

  42. Colorado Joe

    AH! Was Fremont’s death incorrectly attributed to dying of exposure, i.e., freezing to death?

  43. Colorado Joe

    Using my best lawyerly voice…

    As stipulated in the contract:

    How was Fremont killed? Poisoning
    And why was his murder undetected? Fremont’s death was incorrectly attributed to dying of exposure, i.e., freezing to death.

    But that seems like weak sauce for two weeks of questioning. :-/

    Anyway, if this is valid, seems like real winners are Linda and Anna, who came up with the key answers.

  44. jrdskinner

    In this case I’m going to rule that the how of the murder includes the whom.

    (And the whom explains a lot about the whym. πŸ˜‰ )

  45. Colorado Joe

    Was Fremont killed by a relative?

  46. Colorado Joe

    Was Fremont killed by a fellow soldier?

  47. Colorado Joe

    Was Fremont killed by one of his commanding officers?

  48. Anna Vizard

    Was desperate need a motive?

  49. Anna Vizard

    Was the killer a doctor?

    • jrdskinner

      Nope, but you guys are slowly whittling away all of the people who might have been found among a well-to-do officer’s army camp in 1777.

  50. Colorado Joe

    Was the killer a camp prostitute?

  51. Colorado Joe

    Was the killer the camp cook?

  52. Anna Vizard

    Was the soldier selling something?

  53. Colorado Joe

    Was the killer a merchant?

  54. Hugh

    Was the killer Fremont’s aide?

  55. jrdskinner

    Full solution posted, sorry for the delay – my day job has been murder lately.

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